Graduate Program Requirements
The M.A. degree in Philosophy requires 36 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree:
Graduate Seminars: 6 hours
Logic Requirement: 3 hours
Elective Coursework: 15 hours
Thesis or Non-thesis Project: 6 hours
Proseminar: 6 hours
Total: 36 hours
As part of the program's emphasis on pluralism, two graduate seminars cultivate the skills required for professional-quality research in diverse areas of philosophical specialization. Taken in the second and third semesters in residence, the graduate seminars are required of all graduate students in the program and offer an opportunity for intensive primary-source reading and critical examination of significant philosophical figures, issues, and traditions.
Students take PHIL 51038, Intermediate Logic, in their first semester in residence. Students who have completed a comparable second course in symbolic logic prior to joining our program may request to be excused from this requirement and to substitute an additional elective course to meet the minimum credit hours for the degree.
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.
Graduate students ordinarily complete the requirements for the M.A. in philosophy by writing a thesis. The thesis offers an opportunity for graduate students to work closely with a faculty member and a faculty advisory group in order to explore a topic of the student's choice. In certain cases, students choose instead to pursue one of our non-thesis project options. In either case, proposals for a culminating experience may be made only after a student has met the following requirements: completion of, or present good standing in, six hours of elective coursework and one section each of PHIL 60191 and PHIL 51038.
The Graduate 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, and applying for grants and fellowships. In addition, students write and revise a paper which is appropriate for submission to conferences or for use as a writing sample for PhD applications. A third important focus of the Graduate Proseminar is the planning and organization of the annual May 4th graduate student conference.