Philosophy

in the Department of Philosophy and Religion

Requirements for Graduating with a M.A. in Philosophy

Our department offers graduate students both a Short and Long Thesis Option. 

The Short Thesis Option

Course Work: 33 semester hours (11 courses) of graduate-level course work and 3 hours thesis work; students must take at least one graduate-only seminar each semester

Short Thesis Requirements:  Students must submit a one- or two-page thesis prospectus to the departmental graduate faculty by no later than the middle of their third semester. Upon approval of the prospectus and in discussion with the candidate, the faculty will select a director and two other graduate faculty to serve as the thesis committee. The thesis director will be the student’s primary adviser and, together with the other two members of the thesis committee, will evaluate the thesis and the oral examination.  Students should work with the Graduate Coordinator to ensure that all Graduate School forms are submitted on time, and that all administrative deadlines are met.

Faculty Advice: The short thesis should be (roughly) the length of a short article that could be submitted to most professional journals (6k-8k words).  The faculty believes that this is the best option for most students: the short thesis project encourages students to perfect their writing, it gives them a great opportunity to craft a suitable writing sample for Ph.D. applications, and it allows them to get the most from their course work.  Students should seek advice from a faculty member during their third semester (or earlier), and plan to write the short thesis during their fourth (and final) semester.  Students are highly encouraged to use work they have turned in for other graduate classes as a starting point for developing a successful short thesis; think of the paper assignments in your graduate classes as laboratories for your writing.

The Long Thesis Option

Course Work: 30 semester hours (10 courses) of graduate-level course work and 6 hours thesis work; students must take at least one graduate-only seminar each semester

Long Thesis Requirements: Students must submit a one- or two-page thesis prospectus to the departmental graduate faculty by no later than the middle of their third semester. Upon approval of the prospectus and in discussion with the candidate, the faculty will select a director and two other graduate faculty to serve as the thesis committee. The thesis director will be the student’s primary adviser and, together with the other two members of the thesis committee, will evaluate the thesis and the oral examination.  Students should work with the Graduate Coordinator to ensure that all Graduate School forms are submitted on time, and that all administrative deadlines are met.

Faculty Advice: Students should only attempt the long thesis option if they have a very clear idea of their project, and have received encouragement from a faculty member to pursue that project, well before the end of the second semester of their first year.  The faculty believes that an excellent long thesis requires two full semesters of writing, a summer’s worth of background research, and a great deal of preparation and planning.  Students should plan on submitting a long thesis that is (roughly) the length of two or three short articles suitable for professional journals (12k-18k words).

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