Duke's Department of Philosophy has a strong faculty that is committed to excellence in both research and teaching. In a recent ranking of philosophy programs in the United States, the department was recognized in the areas of:

  • philosophy of biology (rated as one of the two top programs in this area),
  • philosophy of mind,
  • political philosophy,
  • applied ethics,
  • philosophy of social science,
  • 17th- and 18th-Century philosophy and
  • Chinese philosophy.

Expertise in the Department also extends to other areas of the history of philosophy such as ancient philosophy, Kant, 20th-Century analytic philosophy, and history and philosophy of science, as well as to philosophy of science, cognitive science, moral psychology, normative ethics, philosophy of law, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophical logic.

Affiliated Programs & Centers


  • The Department of Biology hosts over 45 active faculty research laboratories studying areas spanning developmental biology, cell biology, molecular biology, ecology, evolution, organismal biology, and genomics.
  • The Center for Cognitive Neuroscience serves as Duke’s portal for research, education and advanced training in the psychological, computational and biological mechanisms of higher mental function, all from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • The Duke – UNC Brain Imaging Analysis Center brings together scientists from throughout Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to find interdisciplinary solutions to fundamental research questions about the human brain.
  • The Center for Philosophy of Biology offers a formal interdisciplinary graduate certificate in the philosophy of biology.

Science, Technology & Society

  • The History and Philosophy of Science, Technology & Medicine is an interdisciplinary graduate certificate program at Duke University designed to complement and enrich the curricula of graduate students studying English, history, philosophy, science, engineering, medicine, or other disciplines.
  • The Kenan Institute of Ethicsan interdisciplinary “think and do” tank committed to promoting moral reflection and commitment, conducting interdisciplinary research, and shaping policy and practice.

Law, Politics & Public Policy

  • The Sanford Institute for Public Policy at Duke University is one of America’s leading schools of public policy, offering undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees in public policy and international development policy.
  • The faculty in the Department of Political Science includes thirty-one full time members, including nine with joint appointments in other departments such as Public Policy, Economics, History, and Law as well as several distinguished visiting faculty from other universities in the United States and Europe.
  • The Duke School of Law is an ambitious, forward-thinking, and innovative institution whose mission is to prepare students for responsible and productive lives in the legal profession.

Literature & Renaissance

  • The Duke Program in Medieval & Renaissance Studies is dedicated to bringing together faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students at Duke and other campuses in the Triangle area to study the period from 500 to 1700 that definitively shaped Western, Western Asian, and New World cultures that we have inherited in the present.
  • The Program in Literature seeks to rethink what comparison might mean in a world rapidly being altered by complex forces of economic and technological integration.