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Program Requirements

Graduate Program Requirements

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The M.A. degree in Philosophy requires 33 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree:

Graduate Seminars: 6 hours
Breadth Requirement: 6 Hours
Depth Requirement: 9 Hours
Logic Requirement: 3 Hours
First-Year Paper: 1 Hour
Thesis or Non-thesis Project: 6 Hours
Colloquium: 2 hours

Total: 33 hours

Graduate Seminars

In support of the program's emphasis on pluralistic and interdisciplinary approaches, two graduate seminars cultivate the skills required for professional-quality research in diverse areas of philosophical specialization. Taken in the spring of the first year and fall of the second year, the graduate seminars are required of all graduate students in the program and offer intensive primary-source reading and critical appreciation of significant philosophical figures and issues.

Breadth and Depth

Elective courses are structured into breadth and depth requirements. Students take 1 course each in three of the four areas to promote breadth (9 hours total). In addition, students take 2 further courses in one of those three areas to promote depth (6 hours total).

Area 1
51060 Pragmatism
51065 Plato
51070 Aristotle
51076 Continental Philosophy
51077 British-American Philosophy
51091 World Philosophy
51191 Asian Philosophy
60201 History of Philosophy

Area 2
51010 Problems in the Philosophy of Religion
51015 Philosophical Study of Religion
51055 Phenomenology
51080 Philosophy and Art in the Modern Age
51086 Philosophy of Expression
61055 Semiotics
61056 Hermeneutics

Area 3
51035 Philosophy of Science
51040 Epistemology
51042 Topics in Metaphysics
51045 Metalogic
51048 Metaethics
51050 Philosophical Analysis
61050 Philosophy of Language

Area 4
50005 Health Care Ethics
51020 Social Philosophy
51025 Philosophy of Law
51030 Ethical Theory
51291 History of Ethics

Logic Requirement

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 take an additional elective course to meet the minimum credit hours for the degree.

First-Year Paper

The First-Year Paper PHIL 69198 affords first-year students the opportunity to initiate independent research upon beginning their graduate studies. Under the supervision of their advisory group, students write a paper of approximately 4000 words. This paper will be suitable for submitting to conferences and perhaps journals and might provide a pilot project for the thesis.


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Graduate students ordinarily complete the requirements for the M.A. in philosophy by writing a thesis or by pursuing one of the non-thesis project options. 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. Proposals for a culminating experience may be made only after a student has met the following requirements: six hours toward the breadth requirement (6 hours), and completion of or present good standing in one section each of PHIL 60191 and PHIL 51038.


The colloquium is a one-hour course that meets weekly to afford the graduate students an occasion to prepare for various events throughout the academic year. Considerable focus goes to the annual May 4th graduate student conference, which the graduate students organize.
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