Program Structure and Requirements

Graduate Program Overviewbooks-quill

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 Semester SPRING Semester FALL Semester SPRING 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


NOTE: Elective coursework may include one graduate course in a discipline outside philosophy.

Graduate Program Requirements

The M.A. degree in Philosophy requires 36 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree:galileo

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

Graduate Seminars

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. The topic varies each semester and reflects the current research interests of the instructor.

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

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.


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. 


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.