MA Program

The MA in Philosophy can be completed either as a course-based or as a thesis-based degree. While prospective students have to apply for one program or the other, it is possible to change the program based on recommendation or approval by the department. Normally students entering the MA program will hold an undergraduate degree in Philosophy or a related discipline. Students with very little background in Philosophy may be required to enroll in a qualifying year or to take additional course.

Course-based MA (with Capstone Project)

Unlike some MA programs at other universities that are strictly course-based, our program includes a research component. Students in the course-based program normally take six graduate seminars in Fall/Winter, followed by a reading course and a capstone project (PHIL 900). The reading course and capstone research project allow students to explore a topic of their choice in greater depth and generate a research paper of publishable quality of approximately 25-35 pages. The research paper is evaluated by the student’s academic advisor and a second member of the Department’s faculty chosen by the student’s Academic Advisor and is often used by students as writing sample for PhD applications.

Course-based MA students are normally offered 8 months of funding and complete the program in 12 months.

Thesis-Based MA  

The Department also offers a thesis-based MA, which requires that students complete six graduate seminars in Fall/Winter, a thesis proposal, a thesis, and an oral examination of the thesis. After completion of their coursework, students are asked to write a thesis proposal in consultation with a potential thesis supervisor. Once their thesis proposal is approved, students write the MA thesis, which, in most cases, will be 60-80 pages.

Thesis-based MA students are normally offered 8 months of guaranteed funding. Funding in the second year of the program is contingent of availability of Department funds. Students normally complete the thesis-based MA in 20 months, though some take 24 months. 

For more information about tuition and funding, see our “Fees and Financial Support” page. 

For specific program requirements, see the Calendar.

For more detailed information about our graduate programs, see the “Guide to Graduate Study in the Department of Philosophy