Graduate Degree

Philosophy - Master of Arts

Philosophy - Master of Arts
Plan Code:
Program Level:
Award Type:
Master of Arts
College of Arts and Letters

Excerpt from the official Academic Programs Catalog:

Listed below are the approved requirements for the program from the official Academic Programs Catalog.
Students must consult their advisors to learn which specific requirements apply to their degree programs.

College of Arts and Letters

Department of Philosophy

Graduate Study
Philosophy - Master of Arts

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Arts and Letters, students must meet the requirements specified below.


To be considered for admission to the Master of Arts degree program in philosophy, an applicant must submit a paper that is representative of the applicant's philosophical abilities.

To be admitted to the program on regular status, an applicant must have:

  1. A bachelor's degree in any field.
  2. A grade–point average of at least 3.00 in at least 15 semester credits of philosophy courses.

In addition, an international applicant is required to have fulfilled the University's English language proficiency requirement as described in the Graduate Education section of the catalog in one of the following three ways:

  1. Have a total score of 580 (paper version) or 237 (computer version) or above on the Test of English as a Foreign Language with no subscore below 55 (paper version) or 21 (computer version) and have the approval of the English Language Center.
  2. Have an average score of 85 or higher on the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery with no subscore below 83 and have the approval of the English Language Center.
  3. Have an average score of 85 or higher on the English Language Center Test with no subscore below 83 and have the approval of the English Language Center.

Students are usually admitted to the program for fall semester.  Persons wishing to be considered for financial aid should submit all of their application materials by no later than December 31.

Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Philosophy

The program is available under both Plan A (with thesis) and Plan B (without thesis).  A total of 30 credits is required for the degree under either Plan A or Plan B.  The student's program of study must be approved by the Associate Chairperson.  The student must meet the requirements specified below:

Requirements for Both Plan A and Plan B

  1. Complete 30 credits in courses at the 400 level or higher. At least 21 of the 30 credits must be in Philosophy courses, with not more than 8 credits in Philosophy 890. The 30 credits must be distributed as follows:
    1. Three credits of Philosophy 800.
    2. At least 3 credits in each of the following four areas of philosophy: history of philosophy, value theory, metaphysics and epistemology, and logic and philosophy of science. The credits and courses that are used to satisfy requirement 1. c. may also be used to satisfy requirement 1. b.
    3. At least 9 credits from the following courses: Philosophy 810, 820, 830, 840, 850, 860, 870, and 880.
    4. At least 9 credits in an area within philosophy related to the master’s thesis or paper.
  2. Pass an examination in logic or complete designated course work in logic as specified by the department.

Additional Requirements for Plan A

  1. Complete at least 4, but not more than 8, credits of PHL 899  Master's Thesis Research.
  2. Complete a bibliography and thesis  acceptable to a committee of faculty.
  3. Pass a public oral examination in defense of the thesis that is administered by a committee of faculty.

Additional Requirements for Plan B

  1. Complete a bibliography and philosophical paper  acceptable to a committee of faculty.
  2. Pass an oral final examination that involves a public presentation and defense of the paper. The presentation must be acceptable to a committee of faculty.

The faculty member who directs the student's thesis (Plan A) or philosophical paper (Plan B) shall be a member of the committee.  At least two members of the committee shall be faculty members in the Department of Philosophy. Faculty members from other departments may serve on the committee with the approval of the Associate Chairperson.

Academic Standards

Only those courses for which the student received a grade of 3.0 or higher may be used to satisfy the requirements for the degree.

A student may accumulate no more than 6 credits with a grade below 3.0 in philosophy courses or courses taken for the purpose of satisfying degree requirements.