PhD in English

PhD in English at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

The Faculty of Arts provides a four-year programme of doctoral study in Philosophy. In order to complete one’s study and be awarded the title of PhD it is necessary to pass the State Doctoral Exam (SDE) and to successfully defend one’s dissertation. During study, the doctoral student proceeds in accordance with an individual study plan which is drawn up in co-operation with the supervisor and which is presented for approval to the Doctoral Board (Oborová rada) that oversees doctoral studies in philosophy.

Please check the Basic structure of study obligations for the PhD programme of study PHILOSOPHY

Admission to doctoral studies requires that the applicant has successfully completed a master’s degree at the university (or equivalent) level. The applicant presents a detailed project for their dissertation in English. Applicants who have gained a master´s degree in other fields of study are required to demonstrate, during the entrance exam interview, the requisite expertise in philosophy, and, as part of their individual study plan, they may also be required to take examinations in one or more core subjects of philosophy.

Applicants should consult their dissertational project with their potential supervisor from the Department of Philosophy and Religious Study before the entrance exams. The approval of the project by the potential supervisor is a necessary condition for acceptance. Part of the entrance exam is constituted by an interview on the project in question. The interview is conducted in English. (General conditions for the entrance exams at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University.)

The study programme allows for individual specialisation within the framework of philosophical studies as accredited at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, The Faculty of Arts, Charles University. The doctoral programme is realised in collaboration with the Philosophy Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

All doctoral students are required to have regular consultations with their supervisors and, when called upon, to co-operate on research projects conducted by members of the department and on grant projects. Doctoral students who are studying within daily, regular program are required to attend the doctoral seminar on weekly basis during the term. Further, PhD students are required to be in contact with researchers in other countries and to make a research visit abroad. Where the requirements of the individual study plan are not properly met, the Committee for Doctoral Studies will recommend corrective measures or, in certain cases, will call for the termination of study.

Note on courses led by PhD students (e.g., fulfilling the Elective professional activity I–II): the course is proposed by the supervisor to the head of the department and the chair of the doctoral board. The supervisor acts as course supervisor (garant), the doctoral student as lecturer.


The State Doctoral Examination (SDE)

The State doctoral examination has two parts: (1) the presentation of a rounded-off part of the dissertation and (2) the defence of a doctoral thesis.

(1) Presentation of a rounded-off part of the dissertation:

Text requirements: this should not be a project of work to be done, but a relatively finished part of the dissertation. It should be a continuous text meeting the standards of specialist treatment of the subject-matter in question. It should be made up of multiple chapters which might be treated as the basis for part of the final text of the dissertation.

It would be appropriate to include a concise introduction (formulation of the problem, presentation of the theme) and to set out the possible conclusions of the dissertation.

The student should include a structured bibliography of the literature used.

The documentation required for the examination: a rounded-off part of the dissertation of roughly 70 pages, together with a statement from the supervisor and a single opponent’s report which will include an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the text in question.

(2) Defence of the thesis:

The student chooses for the examination, in agreement with the supervisor, two themes which should not overlap with the theme of the dissertation. These themes must be chosen from different periods of the history of philosophy and from different topic areas of philosophy. The supervisor determines for each of the themes an adviser or ‘guarantor’. The supervisor may not act as guarantor of the theses of his or her own doctoral students. For each of the theses, the student works in co-operation with the guarantor in developing a particular theme such that a problem is properly formulated that will be the focus of the thesis. The significance of the problem should be demonstrated, and a standpoint should be taken that is backed by argument. The formulation should be concise and to the point throughout so that it may be the basis of a discussion. The student should not present a general or descriptive account, nor should he or she present technical analysis of the details of a particular theory. The thesis should, taken as a whole, present the problem in a way that is comprehensible to a philosophically educated reader who may not be an expert on the theme in question. The doctoral theses should be no longer than two sides (not including bibliography). The guarantor should ensure that the candidate is sufficiently acquainted with the specialist literature on the chosen theme, as well as ensuring that the theme is appropriate for discussion in the SDE itself. The final version of the thesis should be handed to the Doctoral Committee for approval prior to the examination.

The examining committee of the SDE will choose one thesis from the two submitted. The student will start by presenting the thesis and there will follow a discussion in which the candidate will respond to questions from the examiners. In the discussion the student should display not only an orientation in the chosen theme, but also the ability to consider related questions and react to different approaches. When required, the committee may ask the student to present the second thesis that he or she has prepared.

The composition of the committee for the SDE is determined on an individual basis, taking into account all the texts submitted. The time and date will be determined by the availability of committee members. The documents should be submitted by the end of June of the third year of study, or earlier, but always at least two months before the day on which the student would like to take the SDE.


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