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. He taught at the University of Notre Dame and Syracuse University prior to joining Rutgers University. Zimmerman is a Christian and a member of the Society of Christian Philosophers.
He is the author and editor of Metaphysics: The Big Questions (1998), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics (2003), Persons: Human and Divine (2007), Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics (2008), and the Oxford Studies in Metaphysics series, among others.