University General Course Catalog 2015-2016 
    Aug 14, 2020  

Philosophy, M.A.

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I. Contact Information

Katharine Schweitzer, Graduate Coordinator
(775) 784-6062

Eric Padilla Rios, Administrative Assistant
(775) 784-6846

II. Brief Introduction

As a discipline, philosophy inclusively embraces both ancient traditions of inquiry and commitments to ongoing investigation in a wide variety of domains that have connections to other subjects in the humanities, the arts, and the sciences.

III. Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

The MA program in Philosophy seeks to aid our students in becoming philosophic by helping them to acquire a knowledge of the intellectual tradition of philosophy and to develop their critical and creative intellectual capacities through reading, writing and discussion.   The program aims to expose students to both Anglo-American and continental philosophical traditions, and to provide students with a grounding in both the history of philosophy and in contemporary developments in the field.  The MA degree can serve to prepare students for PhD programs in philosophy and related areas, while also assisting students for careers in law, medicine, government service, community college teaching, the ministry, and business.

IV. Admission Requirements

Applicants must:

  1. Meet the Graduate School’s admission requirements.
  2. Send to the department a letter of intent, a writing sample, and three letters of reference (preferably from philosophy instructors).  

Many of the students accepted into the MA program have completed undergraduate philosophy majors or minors, although students with degrees in related areas or students with compelling philosophical interests but strong undergraduate backgrounds in other areas may also be admitted. 

Normally, applicants should have an undergraduate grade-point average of B or better both overall and in philosophy courses.  Occasionally, students with lower averages are admitted if they can provide strong evidence that they are likely to do well in the program.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required for admission into the program. However, they will be taken into consideration by the admissions committee if they are available.

V. Program Requirements

 Complete either the General or the Ethics, Law, and Politics Track.

a. General Track

  • Plan A (Thesis required)
  • Plan B (Thesis not required)

Students in the General Philosophy MA will choose courses in consultation with their advisors.

Every candidate for the master’s degree must complete a minimum of 18 units in 700-level courses.

All students must enroll in PHIL 795 - Comprehensive Examination  for 1-3 units and pass the written exam. This 700-level requirement will not count toward the 18 units of 700-level courses needed to complete the degree.

b. Ethics, Law, and Politics Track

  • Plan A (Thesis required)
  • Plan B (Thesis not required)

Core Requirements (6 units):

VI. Total Units

Plan A (Thesis option either track):  a total of 30 units are required.  Six to nine of these units may be taken outside the department in a subject area approved by the department, and 6 units must the thesis credits.

Plan B (Non-thesis option either track):  a total of 33 units are required.  Nine to twelve of these units may be taken outside the department in a subject area approved by the department.

VII. Notes

  1. While not required, a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language is highly recommended, especially if the candidate wishes to pursue graduate studies beyond the master’s level.
  2. With approval of the advisor, students specializing in Ethics, Law, and Politics will take at least three credits in Anglo-American philosophy and at least three credits in Continental philosophy and are encouraged to take one or more courses with a global focus.

VIII. Undergraduate Prerequisites

There are no specific undergraduate prerequisites (but see “Admission Requirements” above for general expectations regarding background.

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