Zimmerman received his bachelor's degree from Mankato State University in 1987 in French, Philosophy and English. He went on to receive an M.A. from Brown University in 1990, and then a Ph.D from the same institution in 1992, where he worked with Jaegwon Kim and Roderick Chisholm. He taught at the University of Notre Dame and Syracuse University prior to joining Rutgers University, where he is also now Director of the Rutgers Center for Philosophy of religion. Zimmerman is a Christian and a member of the Society of Christian Philosophers. He also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Marc Sanders Foundation, which awards prizes for outstanding work in philosophy.
Zimmerman is an influential figure in contemporary metaphysics, and has worked on issues in the philosophy of time, on personhood and material constitution, the metaphysics of mind. In philosophy of religion, Zimmerman has worked on divine foreknowledge and human free will, and God and time.
- Metaphysics: The Big Questions co-edited with Peter van Inwagen (Blackwell, 1st ed. 1998, 2nd ed. 2008)
- The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics co-edited with Michael Loux (OUP, 2003)
- Persons: Human and Divine co-edited with Peter van Inwagen (OUP, 2007)
- Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics co-edited with Ted Sider and John Hawthorne (Blackwell, 2008)
- Oxford Studies in Metaphysics co-edited with Karen Bennett (OUP, 2008-2014)
- God in an Open Universe co-edited with William Hasker and Thomas Jay Oord (Pickwick, 2011)
- "Zimmerman, Dean". Philosophy.rutgers.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
- "Error Page" (PDF). Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- https://web.archive.org/web/20110607203119/http://www.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/faraday/Biography.php?ID=144. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2009. Missing or empty
- https://web.archive.org/web/20090329042111/http://www.siu.edu/~scp/officers-committees.htm. Archived from the original on March 29, 2009. Retrieved April 6, 2009. Missing or empty
- "Who's Who". Marc Sanders Foundation. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
- https://web.archive.org/web/20101226211430/http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Philosophy/Metaphysics/?view=usa. Archived from the original on December 26, 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2010. Missing or empty
- "The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics - Hardcover - Michael J. Loux; Dean W. Zimmerman - Oxford University Press". Ukcatalogue.oup.com. Retrieved 2016-02-20.