Philosophy Department Graduate Admissions

Graduate Admissions

Applications to the SPEL Program are due on February 1st for students who are seeking fall admission and who wish to be considered for funding.

Students may apply for spring admission; however, no funding is available for students who begin the program in the spring. The application deadline for spring admission is October 15th.

Required Application Materials for the SPEL Program:

  • Application fee and completed application form (online or paper)
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL scores:  If you have received a college or university degree from an institution in the United States, United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or some Canadian provinces, you are not required to submit TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic scores. 
  • Transcripts from all previous institutions
  • Two or three letters of recommendation (three for Ph.D. applicants)
  • Personal statement
  • Writing sample (20 pages or less)

To apply online to the SPEL program visit the Binghamton University Graduate School. But please feel free to contact us (email: Anja Karnein) if you are have any difficulties with or questions about the application process.

FAQ's about admission are below.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have a B.A.  Should I apply to the M.A. program?

That depends.  If you anticipate the M.A. being your terminal degree, then you should apply to the M.A. program.  If you presently intend to go on to the Ph.D. with us in Binghamton, then you may apply now to the Ph.D. program.  In any case, you do not need to already have an M.A. to apply to the Ph.D. program.  Please note that we cannot offer funding to terminal M.A. students.

Which program should I apply to?

If you are reading this page, then you should apply to PHILOSOPHY SPEL.

Do I need to submit a resumé with my application?

No.

I did poorly in formal logic when I was an undergraduate.  Will that be a problem in applying?

It's not a problem in applying, but, if you are admitted and enroll, you will have to complete a Logic Proficiency before you can receive a SPEL degree.

I did not major in philosophy as an undergraduate.  Can I still apply?

Yes.  Several of our current students were not philosophy majors as undergraduates.  You should, however, be able to offer some evidence that you are capable of doing graduate-level coursework in philosophy.  Previous coursework, letters of recommendation, and your writing sample are all ways to do this.

Do you fund international students?

Yes, international students are eligible for teaching assistantships if they meet the Graduate School's TOEFL requirements.  Please see "Financial Support" in the menu to the left.

Will you support my application?

In general we are grateful for our applicants' interest and try to offer support, but individual faculty members have only a limited ability to support particular applicants.  The faculty as a whole reviews the complete dossiers of the applicant pool and makes its decision jointly.

What should go in my statement of purpose?

As with a typical academic statement of purpose, you should explain your understanding of the discipline -- in this case, philosophy -- where you see yourself fitting into the discipline, and how this program in particular would be suitable for you.  In other words, we are primarily interested in what course(s) of research you are inclined to pursue, what preparations you have made to do this, and how you see SPEL faculty supporting you in this work.  We are less interested -- at least for the purpose of admissions -- in the personal reasons that led you to choose philosophy.

Do you support dissertations about .... ?

It is perhaps best to address such questions to individual faculty members.  If you prefer to contact the Graduate Director, she can tell you whom to ask or explain what dissertations have been supported in the past.

Am I eligible for a Clark Diversity Fellowship?

Contact the Graduate Director. Read More

Is it hard to get off the wait list?

It varies tremendously from year to year.

What GRE scores/ GPA do I need to get admitted?

It's really impossible to say.  GPA and, to a lesser extent, GRE scores are important factors in our admissions decisions. But there are no scores that will either guarantee you admission, or automatically disqualify you.  Our students tend to have had high grades and test results, but exceptions are always possible.  A strong writing sample and letters of recommendation can outweigh other factors.

So, what are the minimum TOEFL scores?

This is from the Graduate School:  The TOEFL, IELTS and PTE Academic scores help demonstrate your proficiency in English at the college level.

  • TOEFL: The Graduate School requires a minimum TOEFL score of 80 on the Internet-based test. Teaching assistants must score a minimum of 107.
    • Depending on your location, the TOEFL may be either Internet-based or paper-based.
    • To learn more or register for the test, visit the TOEFL website. To use submit a score report, use Binghamton University's code: 2535.
  • IELTS: The Graduate School requires a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, with no band below 5.0. Teaching assistants must score a minimum of 7.5.
    • To learn more or register for the test, visit the IELTS website. To submit a score report, provide the Test Report Form (TRF) number in the appropriate field on your online application.
  • PTE Academic: The Graduate School requires a minimum PTE Academic score of 53. Teaching assistants must score a minimum of 74.
    • To learn more or register for the test, visit the PTE Academic website. To submit a score report, select "Binghamton University - State University of New York" from the score delivery menu.

Please note that it can take as long as 2 full weeks for the testing agency to process your order and deliver your scores to Binghamton University.

If you have received a college or university degree from an institution in the United States, United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or some Canadian provinces, you are not required to submit TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic scores. If you are unsure whether or not your institution is exempt, please contact International Admissions and Recruitment Advisor Megan Begert.

-- further questions will be added as they are asked frequently.  Feel free to contact the Anja Karnein, Graduate Director.

Last Updated: 2/6/17