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M.A. Degree Requirements

MA Progress-to-Degree Checklist in Word format
MA Progress-to-Degree Checklist in PDF (online fillable) format

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. 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. 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. 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.

Transfer Credit for Distribution Requirements

Subject to approval by the Director of Graduate Studies, a student may use transfer courses (i.e. graduate courses taken at another university) or graduate courses taken outside the Philosophy Department, as follows: (1) one course in each of the three sub-fields (the other one in each sub-field must be taken in the Department); (2) one course may be counted toward the history course requirement; (3) one course may be used under each of the four traditions (the other one in each tradition must be taken in the Department). However, in satisfying these requirements, the maximum number of transfer and/or outside the department courses that can be counted is five.

Click here for Approval Form for Transfer Courses (pdf)


  1. Maintain a GPA of 3.3 or better (the GPA will be computed for course work meeting the requirements of the graduate degree);
  2. At any one time, a student shall have no more than 9 credit hours of incomplete (excluding Thesis and associated Research hours; all incompletes shall be completed before degree is awarded);
  3. The number of courses taken toward the graduate degree on a P/NP basis shall not exceed 21 credit hours (excluding Thesis and associated Research hours).

Language Proficiency

To graduate with an advanced degree in Philosophy from the University of Oregon, students must demonstrate proficiency in a second language equivalent to two years of study in that language at the college level. The language must be approved by the student’s advisor and should be relevant to the student’s philosophical interests. Proficiency may be demonstrated by:

  1. providing an official transcript which shows a passing grade in second-year language coursework (normally the 201, 202, 203 sequence; although second-year competency may also be demonstrated by passing a 300 level language course for which 203 is a prerequisite)
  2. successfully testing out (for more information on second-year language tests, contact the UO Testing Center at or 541-346-3230).

Leaves of Absence

Masters students are eligible for a maximum of three academic terms of On-Leave status, regardless of reason, throughout the masters degree program. The online leave request form must be submitted on or before the last day to register for classes in the term for which leave is requested. On-Leave Request for Masters Students (log in to GradWeb)

The time limit for program completion is not extended for an approved On-Leave request when taken for the following reasons:

  • Family emergencies
  • Independent research
  • Other

An approved On-Leave request will automatically extend your time limit for program completion by the same number of terms of approved leave (e.g., an approved leave of one term will extend the time limit by one term) only for the following reasons:

  • The student’s serious health/medical condition
  • Parenting needs during the 12 months immediately following a child’s birth or placement in the home

Thesis Requirements

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.

MA Certificate of Completion

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.

MA Progress-to-Degree Checklist in Word format
MA Progress-to-Degree Checklist in PDF (online fillable) format

Ω Getting Ready to Graduate

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