The Department of Philosophy offers a program of study leading to the Master of Arts degree in Philosophy. The program aims at the acquisition of a broad background in philosophy. It is designed for those preparing for further graduate study or community college teaching, and for self-enrichment. Although the department is analytically oriented, it encourages work in other traditions, for example, continental European philosophy and feminist philosophy. The department includes faculty members with diverse backgrounds and interests actively working in a wide range of philosophical specialties. Classes and seminars are small with a friendly, informal atmosphere that facilitates student-faculty interaction. Philosophy students edit a journal, Philosophy in Practice, which publishes student essays.
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Incoming and Current Students
The M.A. program consists of a minimum of 45 quarter units of approved course work and culminates with either a set of comprehensive examinations or a thesis. At least 50% of the units in the M.A. program must be at the 500-level. Incoming students should consult with a graduate advisor as soon as they are admitted, to discuss course selection, choice of culminating project (comps or thesis), and additional graduation requirements. Important: before contacting an advisor, please review the following information:
For general information on Graduate Programs, please consult the University Graduate Handbook (produced by the Office of Graduate Studies), the College of Arts and Letters Graduate Handbook (similar information and more, but in the context of the college and college programs), and the University Catalog.
The Department also offers a Certificate Program in Teaching Critical Thinking. This program provides specialized training for developing and teaching courses in critical thinking as well as methods for enhancing critical thinking skills in courses devoted to other subjects. The Certificate Program may be taken concurrently with the Master's program or independently of it. Students who intend to teach at either the college or secondary school level may be interested in this program.
Students interested in feminist or LGBT philosophy can supplement their courses in philosophy by enrolling in the Post-baccalaureate Certificate in the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexualitites.
Admission Requirements and Procedures
APPLICATION DEADLINE: /univ/admiss/deadlines.php
The deadline for submitting your documents to our department is the same as the deadline for the university's online application.
Applicants to the M.A. program in philosophy must meet both the university requirements for graduate admissions and additional requirements specific to the philosophy department. Find information regarding university admission requirements and procedures here:
All applicants must complete the university's online application. The online application process is inclusive of appropriate documents such as official transcripts, and for International Students this also includes the Financial Affidavit and/or TOEFL or IELTS scores. Check here for application deadlines.
Departmental Requirements: In addition to the university requirements, the philosophy department requires a 2.75 grade point average in the last 90 quarter units, official transcripts, a writing sample, and two letters of recommendation. GRE scores are not required. Applicants must possess a baccalaureate in philosophy or a baccalaureate with a major in a field other than philosophy supplemented by a minor in philosophy (or its equivalent in course work). Students who have not completed the equivalent of a minor in philosophy (32 quarter units) can take them at any accredited institution before applying, or be admitted to the program as a conditional student and take the required courses at CSULA. (This course work must be arranged in consultation with the philosophy department's Director of Graduate Studies to ensure that it will, together with any courses taken prior to admission, be equivalent to the general minor (PHIL 151 or 152 is not required for admission).)
Under exceptional circumstances, special admission is available for students whose grade point average does not meet the 2.75 GPA standard. While the program maintains modest admission standards, students who succeed in the program usually have done strong undergraduate work in philosophy or related fields.
Please send your transcripts, writing sample and letters of recommendation to the graduate director at the address below. A philosophy paper is preferred as the writing sample, but a statement of interest and purpose is also acceptable. The deadline for submission of these materials to the department is the same as the deadline for the application to the university.
Dr. Michael Shim
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Philosophy
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8114.
Again, while our department requires that you send these documents to us, be aware that the university makes the initial evaluations regarding your acceptance to the university so they need to have a complete file in order to make that determination. The department is then given the opportunity to evaluate your application to our M.A. program. Please remember: One copy of the required documents to the university, and another copy to the philosophy department. Attention to this detail will quicken the university-based decision on your application, thereby allowing the department to proceed with its determination.
For further information, contact Dr. Michael Shim in the philosophy department at (323) 343-5942. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several forms of grants, scholarships and loans are available from the University. Students wishing more information should contact the Financial Aid Office. The Department has several graduate assistantships for which graduate students in good standing are eligible. In addition, internships with nearby community colleges may be available. Information about assistantships is available from the Director of Graduate Studies.
International graduate students may be eligible for a tuition waiver. Follow this link for more information and an application.
Expected Learning Outcomes for the M.A. Program
Knowledge and ability outcomes for students in the M.A. program are similar in kind to those for students in the undergraduate program. However, graduate students are expected to acquire:
• Deeper knowledge of philosophical texts and methods of inquiry.
• More advanced knowledge of and facility in logic.
• The ability to explain philosophical ideas at an appropriate level for students in introductory philosophy courses.
• The skills and knowledge necessary to complete a thesis or comprehensive examinations.