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Philosophy - M.A.

The Master of Arts degree in Philosophy offers intensive, in-depth study of philosophy, with particular attention to the diversity of philosophical methods, perspectives and traditions, as well as their relation to other disciplines.

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Master of Arts in Philosophy

The Master of Arts degree program in philosophy at Kent State University offers intensive, in-depth study of philosophy, with particular attention to the diversity and plurality of philosophical methods, perspectives, and traditions, and their relation to other disciplines. Most of our graduates go on to pursue doctoral degrees in philosophy, while others are seeking a terminal Master's in philosophy to supplement and enhance their careers or their work in other disciplines.

MA PROGRAM HANDBOOK

The graduate program stresses both breadth and depth and offers students the option of a thesis or a non-thesis research project as a culminating experience. We can direct MA theses in the following areas:

  • Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
  • American Pragmatism
  • Applied Ethics, Normative Ethics, and Metaethics
  • Continental Philosophy (Kant—present day)
  • History of Western Philosophy (Ancient, Medieval & Modern)
  • Philosophy of Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy of Race
  • Philosophy of Science 
  • Africana Philosophy
  • Analytic Metaphysics and Epistemology
  • Asian Philosophy
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Phenomenology
  • Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Social and Political Philosophy

Program Information

Program Description

Full Description

The Master of Arts degree in Philosophy offers intensive, in-depth study of philosophy, with particular attention to the diversity and plurality of philosophical methods, perspectives and traditions, and their relation to other disciplines.

Most of our graduates go on to pursue doctoral degrees in philosophy, while others are seeking a terminal master's degree in philosophy to supplement and enhance their careers or their work in other disciplines.

The graduate program stresses both breadth and depth and offers students the option of a thesis or a non-thesis research project as a culminating experience.

Admissions

For more information about graduate admissions, visit the graduate admission website. For more information on international admissions, visit the international admission website.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum 3.000 undergraduate GPA on a 4.000 point scale
  • Official transcript(s)
  • Writing sample
  • Goal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • English language proficiency - all international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning one of the following:
    • Minimum 610 TOEFL PBT score
    • Minimum 102 TOEFL IBT score
    • Minimum 86 MELAB score
    • Minimum 7.5 IELTS score
    • Minimum 73 PTE score
    • Minimum 130 Duolingo English score

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester
    • Priority deadline: February 1
      Applications submitted by this deadline will receive the strongest consideration for admission.
  • Spring Semester
    • Rolling admissions
Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the history of philosophy from the classical period to the present day, of the various fields of philosophical inquiry and of central philosophical questions, both historical and contemporary.
  2. Articulate and defend their positions through philosophical argumentation in both written and oral form.
  3. Successfully navigate the professional academic world and prepare strong applications to doctoral programs, if they choose to continue their studies after completion of the master's degree.
Coursework

Program Requirements

Major Requirements

Major Requirements
PHIL 51038INTERMEDIATE LOGIC 3
PHIL 60191GRADUATE SEMINAR 16
PHIL 69101PROSEMINAR: PROFESSIONAL AND PEDAGOGICAL TRAINING 26
Philosophy (PHIL) Elective Coursework 315
Culminating Experience
Thesis or Research, choose from the following: 46
PHIL 69199
THESIS I
PHIL 69998
RESEARCH
Additional Philosophy (PHIL) coursework and a paper
Minimum Total Credit Hours:36
1

Students take PHIL 60191 in their second and third semesters in the program.

2

Beyond required and elective coursework, students are required to participate in PHIL 69101 for each semester in residence. Maximum 6 credit hours of the course may be counted toward the degree requirements. The graduate coordinator, in consultation with the graduate faculty, will consider various options for satisfying the graduate proseminar requirement where circumstances dictate.

3

One graduate course in a discipline outside of philosophy may be taken with departmental approval.

4

Proposals for a culminating experience can be made only after a student has met the following requirements: completion of (or present good standing in) one section each of PHIL 51038 and PHIL 60191, as well as 6 credit hours of elective course work.

Graduation Requirements

Students who lack background preparation in a specific area will be required to take an undergraduate course and earn a minimum B grade in that course as a prerequisite to further graduate study. The student's advisory group, in consultation with the graduate coordinator, will determine which course prerequisites are needed.

Program Delivery
  • Delivery:
    • In person
  • Location:
    • Kent Campus

Additional Resources for Graduate Students

Placement Information

Graduate Program Placementcop-statue

The majority of our students choose to go on to doctoral study in philosophy or a related discipline, while the rest either pursue further graduate study in other areas, or they seek employment outside academe.

Since 2015, 22 of our 27 MA students who have chosen the thesis option have applied to PhD programs, and 21 of 22 (95.4%) have been accepted with funding. The table below lists the placement results for all students who have chosen the thesis option in recent years.


YearMA Thesis Title

Applied to PhD Programs?

Placement (fully funded Philosophy PhD acceptances unless otherwise specified)
2024The Necessary Inclusion of Care Ethics in the Treatment of Addicted PersonsYesAccepted at South Carolina, Temple, Tennessee
2024Deconstruction and Dialectics: Revisiting Derrida's Early Reading of HegelYesAccepted at Duquesne, Western Ontario
2024Authenticity as Being-in-the-WorldYesAccepted at Hawai'i, Temple
2024On Nature, Reason, and the Socio-Historical Dimension of Knowledge: A Conversation Between John McDowell and Hans-Georg GadamerYesAccepted at Kentucky, Oregon
2024The Crisis of the Geosciences: a Husserlian and Latourian Analysis of the Lack of Faith in Climate Science and our Responses to Climate ChangeNoMasters in Counseling program
2024Decoupling Edward Zalta's Intensional Logic from his Metaphysics of IntentionalityNo 
2023Misgivings About the Given: Externalist Elements in Bonjour's Internalist FoundationalismYesUniversity of Georgia (also accepted at Iowa, Kansas, South Carolina)
2023The Necessity of Integrity and Stare Decisis in Anglo-American Judicial SystemsYes (PhD & MLA)Converse University (MLA)
2023Approaching a Theory of Public Health EthicsYesSt. Louis University (Bioethics & Philosophy) 
2023Thinking the Interior: Supplementing Graham Harman's Weird Formalism with Spatial IntimacyNoMBA program (fully funded)
2022The Double-Bind of the Black Scholar: How Racial Embodiment Engages with AcademiaYesMemphis (also accepted at Purdue)
2022Painting, Intersubjectivity, and Ethics in the Philosophy of Merleau-PontyYesBuffalo (also accepted at University of South Florida)
2021Benevolent Politics: A Proposal for Maternal GovernanceYesUniversity of Hawai'i
2021Anxiety and  Death in Being and Time: An Exercise in Formal IndicationYesTexas A&M (also accepted at Buffalo, New Mexico, Hawai'i, and Memphis)
2021Naming the Virtual: History through Hegel and DeleuzeYesEmory
2020Nishitani Keiji's Solution to the Problem of Nihilism: The Way to EmptinessYesUniversity of Hawai'i
2020Meliorism in the 21st CenturyYesTexas A&M
2020Phenomenology and Metaphysical RealismYesUniversity of Kentucky
2020From One to All: The Evolution of Camus' AbsurdismYesemployed outside academe (applied to only one (non-philosophy) program)
2019Property IndividuationYesUniversity of Nebraska
2019On the Philosophy and Psychology of Reasoning and RationalityYesUniversity of Maryland
Assistantships

A limited number of graduate assistantships, which include competitive stipends and tuition/fee waivers, are available for graduate students. Applicants must complete and submit their application by February 1 to be ensured of consideration for a graduate assistantship. All applicants to the MA program who submit their applications by February 1 are automatically considered for funding. There is no separate application for an assistantship.

Currently, the total award per student is approximately $28,500, which includes a $15,500 stipend, a full tuition waiver worth $12,000, a health insurance subsidy (for students who do not otherwise have coverage), and workers compensation. The tuition waiver is sufficient to cover up to 15 credit hours per semester. Given the low cost of living in Kent, this award is highly competitive: according to Salary.com for example, our stipend would be the equivalent of a stipend of nearly $24,000 in Boston.

Graduate assistantships involve assisting with instruction and other pedagogical duties. Graduate assistants must take a full-time load (8 credit hours or more) each semester and maintain a 3.0 GPA or better. Their service generally involves about 20 hours per week during the semester, and they must follow all applicable University policies. The assistantship does not cover summer.

Further information about the amount and number of awards is available from the Graduate Coordinator.

The Philosophy Department requests that all domestic applicants complete the FAFSA.

Applications not completed by February 1 may not be considered for graduate assistantships. Note that this deadline is earlier than the Graduate School application deadline for the Fall semester.

Kent State University is committed to providing all persons equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or identification as a disabled veteran, or veteran of the Vietnam era.

Information for Applicants

Graduate Program Admission Requirements

All applicants to the Graduate Program must submit the following with their application. We no longer require or consider GRE scores.

Documents must be submitted to the Graduate School using the Online Application Site (or emailed to gradapps@kent.edu if you are unable to upload them to the application site). The application is not complete until the Graduate School has received and processed all required application materials.

Applicants who do not have an undergraduate major or minor (at least 18 semester hours or the equivalent) in philosophy or who have an overall GPA below 3.00 (on a 4.00 point scale) should consult the Graduate Coordinator before submitting their application. As the MA degree offers advanced preparation in philosophy, it assumes at a minimum the basic preparation provided by a philosophy minor or the equivalent.

Both domestic and international applicants can apply by visiting the Online Application site.

Deadlines

The department has two different application deadlines, depending on whether the applicant wishes to apply for a Graduate Assistantship:

To apply for a Graduate Assistantship: all application materials must be received and processed by the Graduate School by February 1 for matriculation the following Fall. Students seeking assistantships must apply for admission in the Fall semester. All applicants to the MA program who submit their application by February 1 are automatically considered for funding. There is no separate application for an assistantship.

Admissions decisions for applications submitted by the February 1 deadline are typically communicated in March.

To apply without requesting a Graduate Assistantship: all application materials must be received and processed by the Graduate School prior to the semester of matriculation (Fall or Spring).

Program Structure

Below is an overview of our four-semester program. All first and second year students register for the Proseminar (PHIL 69101). Although this course extends through the Spring Semester, students register for it in the Fall only. The program also leaves room for each student to tailor a unique course of study through elective choices. The table below is for a student completing the Thesis option; students who choose other capstone options will have slightly different schedules in Year Two.

Year One Year Two 
FALL SemesterSPRING SemesterFALL SemesterSPRING Semester

51038 Intermediate Logic (3 hours)
Elective (3)
69101 Proseminar (3)

TOTAL: 9 credit hours

60191 Graduate Seminar (3)
Electives (6)

TOTAL: 9 credit hours

60191 Graduate Seminar (3)
69199 Thesis I (4)
69101 Proseminar (3)

TOTAL: 10 credit hours

Electives (6)
69199 Thesis I (2)

TOTAL: 8 credit hours

Proseminar

The Proseminar is a three-hour course that meets weekly to provide professional training to our graduate students. Topics covered include preparing strong applications to doctoral programs, applying to and presenting at academic conferences, professional norms and etiquette, and non-academic careers for philosophers. Pedagogical training is also provided. In addition, students complete a professional development assignment of their choosing, which is meant to help further their individual professional goals. A third important focus of the Proseminar is the planning and organization of the annual May 4th graduate student conference.

Elective Coursework

Students in our MA program have a unique opportunity to design an individualized concentration consisting of five of our graduate PHIL courses. This allows them to take full advantage of the extremely wide range of specializations represented by our faculty, many of which are interdisciplinary or cross traditional methodological boundaries within the discipline of philosophy. Our program is thus an excellent fit for students whose own interests span multiple areas and/or methodologies, but it also allows students to design a more traditional concentration in a particular subfield of philosophy. Students work with a faculty advisory group throughout their time in the program in order to design a concentration that reflects their interests, addresses any gaps in their prior philosophical training, and leaves them extremely well prepared to enter a doctoral program.

Thesis

Graduate students ordinarily complete the requirements for the MA in philosophy by writing a thesis. The thesis offers an opportunity for graduate students to work closely with a faculty member and a thesis committee in order to explore a topic of the student's choice. In some cases, students choose instead to pursue one of our non-thesis capstone options. 

Kent State University Philosophy Graduate Student Conference

The M.A. program introduces students to the practices of philosophy beyond reading texts and writing papers. The Department of Philosophy at Kent State University hosts the annual Kent State University Philosophy Graduate Student Conference in Remembrance of May 4th. The graduate student conference is conceived, planned, and organized by philosophy graduate students. Planning for the conference includes a call for papers soliciting submissions from graduate students in philosophy graduate programs from across the US and Canada. In addition to presentations by graduate students, the conference features a keynote speaker. Past keynote speakers include Hubert Dreyfus, Fred Evans, Larry Hickman, Jaakko Hintikka, Sherri Irvin, John Lachs, Charles Scott, and Donn Welton. Papers are posted in an online program available at the conference website.

Guest Speakers and Lectures

In addition to the annual philosophy graduate student conference, the department hosts guest speakers as part of the Veroni lecture series. See the Current Events page for current speakers. Previous Veroni lecturers include Elizabeth Anderson, Richard Bernstein, Susan Bordo, Robert Brandom, David Carr, Donald Davidson, Mark Johnson, Richard Schacht, and Nancy Sherman. Other recent guest speakers include Anthony Appiah, Susan Haack, Sandra Harding, Daphne Patai, Neil Sinhababu, and Naomi Zack.

Graduate Student Handbook

Examples of Possible Careers and Salaries

Philosophy and religion teachers, postsecondary

6.7%

faster than the average

30,900

number of jobs

$76,160

potential earnings

Lawyers

4.0%

about as fast as the average

813,900

number of jobs

$126,930

potential earnings

Social workers, all other

5.1%

faster than the average

62,500

number of jobs

$64,210

potential earnings

Public relations and fundraising managers

9.2%

much faster than the average

88,000

number of jobs

$118,430

potential earnings

Social and community service managers

17.0%

much faster than the average

175,500

number of jobs

$69,600

potential earnings

Media and communication workers, all other

8.1%

much faster than the average

35,200

number of jobs

$49,730

potential earnings

News analysts, reporters, and journalists

-11.2%

decline

52,000

number of jobs

$49,300

potential earnings

Writers and authors

-2.3%

decline

131,200

number of jobs

$67,120

potential earnings

Additional Careers
  • Bioethicist
  • Business/management positions
  • Communication specialists
Notice: Career Information Source
* Source of occupation titles and labor data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. Data comprises projected percent change in employment over the next 10 years; nation-wide employment numbers; and the yearly median wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.

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