The Department of Philosophy offers courses of study that lead to a Master of Arts in Philosophy. Master’s students can specialize in applied ethics, particularly animal welfare and environmental ethics; comparative philosophy; ethical theory; history of modern philosophy; metaphysics; aesthetics; or epistemology. Students interested in graduate work should refer to the Graduate and Professional Bulletin and the Department of Philosophy.

Learning Outcomes

Outcome 1: Critical Thinking Skills

Recognize, evaluate, and construct arguments in a way that correctly applies logical methodology and evaluative standards and demonstrates an ability to identify underlying assumptions, ambiguous or contested terms, and potential objections to a thesis.

Outcome 2: Content Mastery

Explain, orally or in writing, the current state of knowledge and research, referencing the major works and positions in the field, on topics within three areas of philosophy: (1) value theory, broadly construed; (2) metaphysics, epistemology, and related fields; and (3) history of philosophy.

Outcome 3: Research Skills

Conduct independent research on a philosophical topic, identifying the major texts, positions, and arguments concerning that topic.

Outcome 4: Writing Skills

Write an original philosophical paper that contributes to knowledge in some field of philosophical study and is of sufficient quality to be presented at a professional conference or published in a professional journal.

Outcome 5: Oral Communication Skills

Give an oral presentation that clearly and effectively explains philosophical arguments, issues, and positions in a manner demonstrating a broad competency in the field.

Effective Fall 2023

Any courses required to address deficiencies must be completed before graduation. Credits earned through completion of such courses do not count toward the M.A. degree.

Group 1: Select 2 courses6
Seminar in Epistemology
Seminar in Philosophy of Science
Seminar in Metaphysics
Seminar in Philosophy of Mind
Group 2: Select 1 course3
Seminar in Meta-Ethics
Seminar in Normative Ethical Theory
Group 3: Select 1 course3
Ethics and International Development
Seminar in Animal Rights
Seminar in Environmental Philosophy
Seminar in Applied Philosophy
Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy
Group 4: Select 1 course3
Seminar in Major Philosophical Texts
Seminar: Topics in History of Philosophy
Philosophy Electives 1, 26-9
Out-of-Department Courses 20-3
Program Total Credits:30

 A minimum of 30 credits are required to complete this program. In addition to completing program credits and courses required to address deficiencies, students must pass an oral defense of their thesis.


Select courses with PHIL subject code. A minimum of 3 credits must be taken as regular courses (courses ending in -00 through -79) at the 500- to 600-level. A maximum of 6 credits may be taken as PHIL 695 and/or PHIL 697. A maximum of 2 credits may be taken as PHIL 684.


Students may select a maximum of 6 credits total within the program at the 400-level with approval of advisor and graduate committee.

Students must complete the minimum number of credits specified in the official program of study as approved by the University Curriculum Committee, and all credit requirements specified in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin for their degree.