Philosophy
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Requirements

The master's degree in philosophy is designed for students who intend to pursue a doctorate in philosophy as well as for those who seek the master's as a terminal degree, either in pursuit of their intellectual interests or to further their professional expertise. Students choose a master's degree with a focus on traditional and contemporary philosophy or one of three concentrations: ethics and public affairs, philosophy and cultural theory, or philosophy and public affairs. The concentration in philosophy and public affairs allows students in the graduate program in philosophy at Moscow's Higher School of Economics to also earn a degree from George Mason. All offerings provide grounding in the history of philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, contemporary continental thought, contemporary analytic philosophy, and philosophy of science.

An accelerated master's option is available to students in the bachelor's program.  See Philosophy, BA/Philosophy, Accelerated MA for specific requirements.

Dual Master's Program

Students interested in pursuing a dual master's program linking philosophy and another discipline should discuss their interest with the graduate program directors of both programs and review the university policies regarding Individualized Dual Master's Degree Programs. Students approved to pursue dual master's study linking the MA philosophy degree and the Interdisciplinary Studies, MAIS with a concentration in women and gender studies will complete WMST 630/PHIL 658 and 3 additional credits of WMST courses approved by the Department of Philosophy to apply to the philosophy degree as elective credit. Six credits of approved PHIL credits will apply to the MAIS degree as elective credit. Application to the second master's program should be pursued with consultation of the directors of both programs. Admission to the second master's program will require that the student has met the minimum prerequisites for admission to the second program. If a student lacks the minimum prerequisites and seeks to be admitted to a second master's program, the director of the second program may identify ways in which the prerequisite can be completed prior to admission.

Degree Requirements (Catalog Year 2015-2016)

Students pursuing this degree must successfully complete 31 credits, which may include a thesis. They may choose a course of study that focuses on traditional and contemporary philosophy or choose to complete one of three concentrations. Students need to identify an advisor on entering the program and meet regularly with that advisor during their course of study.

MA with a Focus on Traditional and Contemporary Philosophy

The focus in traditional and contemporary philosophy is for students who want to deepen their understanding of philosophical issues and for students who are preparing to pursue doctoral studies in philosophy or related fields, e.g. political theory, gender studies. The concentration in philosophy and cultural theory is especially for students interested in pursuing a doctorate in cultural studies. The concentration in ethics and public affairs is designed for professionals who want to combine the study of ethics and the analysis of social and public policies in a variety of settings, including business, health care, biomedical technology, law, or government.

Students may apply up to 9 credits from other departments toward the degree with focus on traditional and contemporary philosophy with prior written approval of their advisor.

One course (1 credit) of Proseminar

This course should be completed in the first fall semester in which the student is enrolled in the MA program.

PHIL 600 - Proseminar in Philosophy

Four core courses (12 credits) in philosophy

One course (3 credits) in ancient or medieval philosophy chosen from:

PHIL 603 - Aristotle: Selected Works

PHIL 681 - Ancient Philosophical Figures

PHIL 691 - Special Topics in Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 721 - Advanced Seminar in Philosophy (May be taken when the topic is relevant and with approval of their advisor.)

One course (3 credits) in modern philosophy chosen from:

PHIL 608 - Hegel's Phenomenology of the Spirit

PHIL 682 - Early Modern Philosophical Figures

PHIL 692 - Special Topics in Early Modern Philosophy

PHIL 721 - Advanced Seminar in Philosophy (May be taken when the topic is relevant and with approval of their advisor.)

One course (3 credits) in contemporary philosophy chosen from:

PHIL 615 - Postmodernist Thought

PHIL 616 - Phenomenology

PHIL 683 - Contemporary Philosophical Figures

PHIL 694 - Special Topics in Contemporary Philosophy

PHIL 721 - Advanced Seminar in Philosophy (May be taken when the topic is relevant and with approval of their advisor.)

One advanced seminar (3 credits) chosen from:

PHIL 720 - Nietzsche and his Readers

PHIL 721 - Advanced Seminar in Philosophy

PHIL 733 - Current Issues in Cognitive Science

Four to six elective courses (12-18 credits) in philosophy

Students who choose to write a thesis (3 or 6 credits) will take correspondingly fewer electives.

Optional Thesis (3 or 6 credits)

Students must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and once enrolled in PHIL 799, maintain continuous enrollment as specified in Academic Policies.

PHIL 799 - Thesis

Total: 31 credits

Concentration in Ethics and Public Affairs (ETPA)

The concentration in ethics and public affairs is designed for professionals who want to combine the study of ethics and the analysis of social and public policies in a variety of settings, including business, health care, biomedical technology, law, or government.

One course (1 credit) of Proseminar

This course should be completed in the first fall semester in which the student is enrolled in the MA program.

PHIL 600 - Proseminar in Philosophy

Two courses (6 credits) in the history of philosophy

One required course (3 credits)

PHIL 640 - History of Ethical Theory

One elective course (3 credits) in the history of philosophy chosen from:

Depending on the topic, PHIL 681, 682, 691, 692, or 721 may be applied to this concentration with prior written permission of the graduate director.

PHIL 603 - Aristotle: Selected Works

PHIL 608 - Hegel's Phenomenology of the Spirit

One course (3 credits) in public administration

PUAD 540 - Public Policy Process

Three courses (9 credits) in ethics chosen from:

Other courses may be used to fulfill this requirement where appropriate and with prior written approval of the student's academic advisor.

PHIL 642 - Biomedical Ethics

PHIL 643 - Environmental Ethics

PHIL 644 - Business and Organizational Ethics

PHIL 645 - Research Ethics

Two to four elective courses (6 - 12 credits)

Students who choose to write a thesis (3 or 6 credits) will take correspondingly fewer electives. Students are encouraged to use courses from around the university in disciplines relevant to their areas of interest, subject to the prior written approval of their academic advisor. A small sample of possible electives outside the Department of Philosophy:

PUAD 700 - Ethics and Public Administration

HAP 714 - Ethical Issues in Health Administration and Policy

EVPP 635 - Environment and Society

Optional Thesis (3 or 6 credits)

Students must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and once enrolled in PHIL 799, maintain continuous enrollment as specified in Academic Policies.

PHIL 799 - Thesis

Total: 31 credits

Concentration in Philosophy and Cultural Theory (PHCT)

The concentration in philosophy and cultural theory is especially for students interested in pursuing a doctorate in cultural studies.

Students may apply up to 9 credits from other departments toward this concentration with prior written approval of their advisor.

One course (1 credit) of Proseminar

This course should be completed in the first fall semester in which the student is enrolled in the MA program.

PHIL 600 - Proseminar in Philosophy

Four core courses (12 credits) in philosophy

One course (3 credits) in ancient or medieval philosophy chosen from:

PHIL 603 - Aristotle: Selected Works

PHIL 681 - Ancient Philosophical Figures

PHIL 691 - Special Topics in Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 721 - Advanced Seminar in Philosophy (May be taken when the topic is relevant and with approval of their advisor.)

One course (3 credits) in modern philosophy chosen from:

PHIL 608 - Hegel's Phenomenology of the Spirit

PHIL 682 - Early Modern Philosophical Figures

PHIL 692 - Special Topics in Early Modern Philosophy

PHIL 721 - Advanced Seminar in Philosophy (May be taken when the topic is relevant and with approval of their advisor.)

One course (3 credits) in contemporary philosophy chosen from:

PHIL 615 - Postmodernist Thought

PHIL 616 - Phenomenology

PHIL 683 - Contemporary Philosophical Figures

PHIL 694 - Special Topics in Contemporary Philosophy

PHIL 721 - Advanced Seminar in Philosophy (May be taken when the topic is relevant and with approval of their advisor.)

One advanced seminar (3 credits) chosen from:

PHIL 720 - Nietzsche and his Readers

PHIL 721 - Advanced Seminar in Philosophy

PHIL 733 - Current Issues in Cognitive Science

Two courses (6 credits) in cultural studies

One required course (3 credits)

CULT 802 - Histories of Cultural Studies

One elective course (3 credits) in cultural studies

Students choose an elective in consultation with an advisor.

Two to four elective courses (6 - 12 credits) in philosophy

Students who choose to write a thesis (3 or 6 credits) will take correspondingly fewer electives.

Optional Thesis (3 or 6 credits)

Students must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and once enrolled in PHIL 799, maintain continuous enrollment as specified in Academic Policies.

PHIL 799 - Thesis

Total: 31 credits

Concentration in Philosophy and Public Affairs (PPAF)

The concentration in philosophy and public affairs allows students in the graduate program in philosophy at Moscow's Higher School of Economics to also earn a degree from George Mason.

One course (1 credit) of Proseminar

PHIL 600 - Proseminar in Philosophy

Four core courses (equivalent of 12 credits) taken at Moscow's Higher School of Economics

- History of Philosophy: Philosophical Anthropology
- Practical Philosophy: Philosophical Anthropology
- Practical Philosophy: Contemporary Problems of Philosophy
- One elective course in philosophy or ethics

Two courses (6 credits) in ethics chosen from:

PHIL 642 - Biomedical Ethics

PHIL 643 - Environmental Ethics

PHIL 644 - Business and Organizational Ethics

PHIL 645 - Research Ethics

Three to four elective courses (9-12 credits) in philosophy

Students who choose to write a thesis will take 3 fewer electives.

Optional Thesis (3 credits)

Students who choose to write a thesis should be aware of the policies governing theses as stated in Academic Policies.

PHIL 799 - Thesis

Total: 31 credits

Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Print Friendly and PDF