Advising, Program Planning, and Registering for Classes

Advising in the Philosophy Department is done on three levels:

First level: Graduate Coordinators Landy and Sowaal

Professors Landy and Sowaal act as liaisons between student and university administration (e.g., Graduate Studies, Office of Admissions and Records, Student Services). More specifically:

Professor Sowaal, Graduate Coordinator

(, Office: HUM 369)

Professor Sowaal handles all matters regarding recruitment, admissions, and student status. This includes applications to the MA program and the Formal Logic Challenge Exam. Principally, she serves as the Adviser for students before they have a Phil 715 Adviser.

Professor Landy, Graduate Coordinator

(, Office: HUM 327)

Professor Landy handles all matters regarding continuing students. This includes petitions concerning prerequisites, Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) and Proposal for Culminating Experience (PCE) forms, and the Change of Graduate Program form, to move from Conditionally Classified to Classified Standing. Additionally, he handles paperwork regarding probation, declassification and disqualification.

Dennis Browe,  Graduate Program Administrative Coordinator

(, Office: HUM 388)

(415) 338-2470

Second level: Phil 715 Adviser

Once a student has taken Phil 715: Seminar on Philosophical Writing, instructor for this course will serve as the student’s de facto adviser until students forms a relationship with a faculty member who will ultimately be the chair of her or his M.A. thesis committee. [Note: It is encouraged that students taken Phil 715 in the first or second semester in which they are taking graduate coursework (that is, after they have completed prerequisite coursework, should any of this have been required).]

Third Level: MA Thesis Chair

Once a student has completed a Proposal for Culminating Experience (PCE), the chair of their thesis will serve as the student’s advisor.

Note: special paperwork is required to allow semi-retired faculty and lecturers in Philosophy or other departments to serve as readers (no such faculty may serve as thesis chairs).

Eligible chairs are the following:

Students are strongly urged to consult with the Graduate Coordinator and their faculty advisers at least once each semester.

The following advising schedule should be kept by new and continuing graduate students:

New students should attend the advising workshop prior to the start of their first semester. This workshop is not to be confused with the general orientation to the university (which is held over the summer). During such workshops in the Department of Philosophy, students will be advised about registration, how to move through the program in a timely manner, and new developments in the program.

Continuing students should meet with their adviser at the beginning of each semester in order to discuss their progress in the program.

Students should consult with the Graduate Coordinator about when to take the PHIL 896, which is the comprehensive examination. The exam is offered every fall and spring. In the semester the student takes the exam, he or she enrolls in PHIL 896 and meets periodically with their PHIL 896 examining committee in order to discuss their current preparations for the examination.

The Philosophy Department realizes that many graduate students have jobs and cannot, therefore, meet with faculty advisers or the Graduate Coordinator during regular daytime office hours. Such graduate students are strongly urged to contact their adviser or the Graduate Coordinator by telephone or e-mail in order to set up a special conference time.

Class Registration at SFSU and Cross Registration at UC Berkeley

Graduate students should register for all classes through the computer. Access “MySFSU” for information about registration (timing, fees, procedures). Enrollment material is available for most classes in time for the priority registration date; however, schedule information and permit numbers for courses like PHIL 699, PHIL 717, PHIL 898 and 899 will be made available during the first week of the semester. Faculty make great efforts to accommodate graduate students so that they can enroll in classes in which they are interested. This is especially the case for prerequisite classes. If you are having trouble enrolling in a prerequisite, please contact the Graduate Coordinator and the professor of the course.

Many of our students benefit from the cross registration program that exists between SFSU and UC Berkeley. Here is a description of the cross registration program in the SFSU Bulletin.