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M.A. Degree Requirements

Click here for MA Progress-to-Degree Checklist for students entering fall 2008 or before (please note that you may also choose to complete your degree under the new requirements for students entering fall 2009 or after)

Click here for MA Progress-to-Degree Checklist for students entering fall 2009 or after

There are two ways to earn a master’s degree.

  1. By satisfying the second language requirement and at least 48 credits of graduate course work, including the completion of the four distribution requirements.
  2. By satisfying the second language requirement, writing a master’s thesis under the direction of a thesis advisor, and completing at least 45 credits of graduate course work, 9 of which can be taken as “thesis credits” (PHIL 503).

Distribution Requirements

The distribution requirements can be satisfied by receiving a mid-B or better in the following:

  1. Students entering fall 2008 or before: Three courses in each of the three sub-disciplinary fields listed below; Students entering fall 2009 or after: Two courses in each of three sub-disciplinary fields listed below:
    • Society and Value – courses in aesthetics, social and political philosophy, and ethics.
    • Knowledge, Rationality and Inquiry – courses in epistemology, philosophy of science, and philosophy of language.
    • Metaphysics – courses in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion.
  2. One course from each of three out of the four historical periods:
    • ancient and medieval
    • modern (16th, 17th and 18th century philosophy)
    • 19th century philosophy
    • 20th and 21st century philosophy.
  3. Students entering fall 2008 or before: Two courses from each of the four philosophical traditions that ground the diverse philosophical perspectives of the department; Students entering fall 2009 or after: Two courses from each of the four philosophical traditions that ground the diverse philosophical perspectives of the department, one of which will be a pro-seminar (tradition offerings alternate years) taken within the first two years of graduate study.
    • Continental Philosophy
    • Analytic Philosophy
    • American Philosophy
    • Feminist Philosophy
  4. Students entering fall 2009 or after: One course in one of the four ARNL Requirement areas:
    • Asian Philosophy
    • Philosophy of Race
    • Native American Philosophy
    • Latin American Philosophy

A single course may count toward each of two categories, but no more than once in a single category. For example, a course may count in a sub-disciplinary field such as metaphysics, and, at the same time, apply to the history requirement or the traditions requirement.

Field satisfaction will be determined by the Graduate Director, in consultation with the faculty member teaching the class, and this information will be posted in advance.

Thesis Requirements

For students entering fall 2011 and thereafter (students who entered before fall 2011 may elect to follow these guidelines): A student electing the Thesis track for the MA will ask two faculty members to serve as their master’s committee, with one agreeing to serve as chair. The student will prepare a short (maximum five pages) description of the proposed thesis topic for approval by the committee. The topic should be sufficiently limited in scope so that it can be adequately treated in approximately 50-75 double-spaced typewritten pages. Once both committee members have approved the thesis proposal, the student will register for up to 9 hours of thesis credit (PHIL 503) during the one or two terms over which the thesis is written. Typically, the committee chair will meet periodically with the student to assess progress and to oversee the writing of the thesis. When both members of the thesis committee agree that the thesis is suitable for a final defense, the candidate will schedule a one-hour oral examination, during which the committee members will ask questions about the argument and make any suggestions for further revision, if necessary. The thesis is completed when it is given final approval by both members of the committee and is accepted by the Graduate School as satisfying its requirements for thesis preparation.

Graduate School Requirements

In addition to specific Philosophy Department requirements, master’s candidates must satisfy all Graduate School requirements as listed in the Graduate School Website.

Progress-to-degree Checklist for MA Students entering fall 2008 or before
Progress-to-degree Checklist for MA Students entering fall 2009 or after