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.
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.