Jun 03, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Philosophy, M.A.

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Return to 3450 Department of Philosophy  

Eddy Nahmias, Chair
Timothy O’Keefe, Director of Graduate Studies

The department’s M.A. program serves two different communities of students. First, it serves those who seek the M.A. as preparation before seeking admission to a philosophy Ph.D. program. Second, it serves those who seek the M.A. as a terminal degree to advance their chosen careers or as preparation for other degrees. In addition to a traditional M.A. in Philosophy, the Department offers two special programs: an M.A. in Philosophy with a specialization in empirically based philosophy of mind (the Neurophilosophy concentration); and an M.A. with a concentration in History of Philosophy, which is designed to prepare students to complete an M.A. in Teaching degree at GSU and become certified to teach history and other social studies in secondary schools (grades 6-12). 

Applicants may obtain additional information about the Department of Philosophy by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies at the address at 3450 Department of Philosophy .

Degree Requirements

Thesis Option

  1. Twenty-seven hours of graduate coursework in philosophy.
  2. Distribution requirements
    1. Logic requirement: PHIL 6500 - Symbolic Logic  
    2. History Requirement: at least one history course. See below for the list of courses in this area.
    3. Value Theory Requirement: at least one course in value theory. See below for the list of courses in this area.
    4. Metaphysics and Epistemology Requirement: at least one course in metaphysics or epistemology. See below for the list of courses in this area.
    5. Seminar requirement: at least four letter-graded courses with the word “Seminar” in the title. This requirement is exempt from the usual “no double-counting” rule for distribution requirements; e.g. PHIL 8030  can count both toward this requirement and the history requirement.
  3. At least six hours of PHIL 8999 - Thesis Research , a thesis, and an oral thesis defense.

The thesis option is strongly recommended for students who plan to apply to Ph.D. programs in philosophy.

Non-Thesis Option

The non-thesis option requires a minimum of thirty-three hours of graduate coursework in philosophy (six more than the thesis option), and it has the same distribution requirements as the thesis option. It does not require six hours of thesis research, a thesis, or an oral thesis defense. With the approval of the graduate committee, up to six of the hours of graduate coursework may be taken in departments outside of philosophy, if they can be shown to contribute to the student’s personal or professional goals. 

Additional Restrictions Which Apply to All Tracks

  1. Only three credit hours of PHIL 8950 - Directed Reading  may be counted towards the degree. Additional hours of PHIL 8950  may be taken, but they will not count towards the degree.
  2. Other than the exceptions specifically indicated above, only six hours of credit earned outside the Department of Philosophy at Georgia State University may be applied towards the Georgia State M.A. in philosophy.

Graduate Assistants

Graduate assistants are required to enroll for a minimum of 12 credit hours each for the fall/spring semesters and 9 credit hours for the summer semester. These credit hours will consist of courses required for the prescribed program of study, as well as additional hours of PHIL 8960 , PHIL 8970 , PHIL 8980 , and PHIL 8985 .

The M.A. with Distinction

Students who meet all of the following three requirements shall be awarded the M.A. with distinction:

A graduate Georgia State philosophy GPA of 3.85 or higher.
A thesis and oral thesis defense that, upon unanimous vote of the members of the thesis committee, are judged to merit distinction.
The Director of Graduate Studies judges that the student’s record at Georgia State University is one of distinction.

A thesis that deserves distinction is a polished and professional piece of philosophical argumentation that advances knowledge.  It will excel on all or most of the following criteria:
Comprehension: Shows a strong understanding of the relevant positions and arguments.
Originality: Advances understanding of its topic by arguing for an original thesis and/or advancing original arguments for its thesis.
Argument (soundness or cogency of): Makes a strong case for its thesis, and identifies and deals well with important objections.
Scholarship: Engages successfully with the scholarly literature on its topic.
Writing (quality of): Is clearly written and well-organized.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the additional information about the Department of Philosophy which has been placed on its website, philosophy.gsu.edu/.

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