The Master of Arts (M.A.) program offered by our department is perennially the highest-ranked of its kind in the United States. It has an excellent record of placing its students in the very best Ph.D. programs in philosophy. The program is ideal for students who wish to pursue a Ph.D. in philosophy but whose undergraduate preparation in the subject might not qualify them for competitive doctoral programs. Students with other career plans are admitted as space permits. The program is designed to be finished in two years, but some students elect to stay a third year.

The department has special strengths in philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, political and social philosophy (including feminism and philosophy of race), ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics and epistemology, philosophy of language, and continental philosophy. Each year at least six seminars are offered, typically on faculty research interests, which range from analytic metaphysics and the philosophy of biology to the history of ethics and philosophy and film.

Students are required to complete 11 courses, including an intensive logic course, a graduate writing seminar. Additionally, students must pass an Area of Strength Exam. No Thesis is required.

Admissions and Application Information

Admission to the M.A. program is highly competitive. We are looking for students who have the potential to do significant and interesting work in philosophy and to succeed in top-tier Ph.D. programs. Many admitted students have studied philosophy as undergraduates, but applicants with little formal training in philosophy are regularly admitted to the program as well. However, we usually do not admit students who have never taken a philosophy course or who do not seem to be familiar with the analytic philosophical tradition. Roughly 10 students are admitted to the program every year, although in recent years some classes have been as small as six students and others as large as 13.

Your application must include:

  • Personal statement
  • Writing Sample: While each application is evaluated holistically, an important part of a successful application is the writing sample. The ideal writing sample is a piece of your writing that best manifests your philosophical capacities. It need not be a philosophy paper. The ideal length of a writing sample is about 15 pages, double-spaced. More than 20 pages are probably too long, while 10 is probably too short.
  • GRE Scores: GRE scores are mandatory for all applicants. We do not have any explicit or implicit minimum scores in mind, and scores vary widely among successful applicants. The scores are considered within the context of the application as a whole. Strong GRE scores are a plus but are not necessary for acceptance into the program.
  • Post-Secondary School Transcripts
  • Three Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation are an important part of each student's application. The ideal letter writers are people who can testify to your potential to do significant and interesting work in philosophy.
  • Application Deadline for Fall admission: January 15
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Last updated December 12, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
2 years
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