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Department of Philosophy|College of Arts & Sciences

Master Degree Requirements

The student must satisfy the course distribution requirements, including the logic requirement, complete a third semester paper, submit a thesis prospectus, and complete an M.A. thesis including oral defense within four years of matriculation.

Course Distribution Requirements: All students are required to take twenty-seven hours of graduate coursework. First year students will take nine credit hours in each of their first two semesters; second year students will take six credit hours in the fall semester and three credit hours in the spring semester. In the first year, students must meet the following distribution requirements:

  • one course in metaphysics
  • one course in epistemology
  • one course in ethics
  • one course in the history of philosophy

The remaining coursework may be satisfied according to the student's interest.

Logic Requirement: All students must exhibit proficiency in symbolic logic through the quantified predicate calculus (including identity). The logic requirement may be discharged in one of three ways:

  • by passing symbolic logic (3420) with a grade of B- or better (note that 3420 cannot be taken for graduate credit);
  • by passing the equivalent course at another institution with a grade of B- or better;
  • by passing a proficiency exam covering this material.

Third Semester Paper: At the beginning of the student's third semester, each student will be required to submit a substantive research paper (typically 20+ pages) in any area of interest. The student will choose two faculty members (presumably, but not necessarily, the student’s projected thesis advisor and another reader) who will evaluate the paper for overall philosophical quality (clarity, originality, argumentative rigor, and scholarship). Students will receive a mark of either a “pass”, “fail”, or “revise”. A passing mark on the third semester paper will be considered a necessary pre-condition for advancing to thesis work.

Thesis Prospectus: All students are required to enroll in three hours of thesis work during their third semester in the program. During this semester, the student should select a thesis advisor and organize a thesis committee. By the end of the semester, the student will have submitted a thesis proposal (including a bibliography of the relevant literature) and completed a preliminary oral defense of the prospectus.

MA Thesis and Oral Defense: All students will enroll in six hours of thesis work during their final semester. By the end of the semester, the student will have completed their final semester. By the end of the semester, the student will have completed their masters thesis and completed an oral defense of the thesis.

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