Skip to Content | Text-only

Degree Requirements

Download degree requirement worksheet for the Traditional and Neurophilosophy tracks.

With the exception of the J.D./M.A. track, our program is designed to be finished in two years.  However, many students take three years to finish.

Requirements for All Tracks

  1. Only one Phil 8950, Directed Readings, course may be counted towards the degree. Additional Phil 8950 courses may be taken but they will not count towards the degree. (To register for this course you need to take this form to the faculty member with whom you wish to work.)
  2. Thesis Submission Deadlines. The department has submission deadlines so that theses can receive the full consideration that they deserve. Students who do not meet these deadlines must postpone their graduation. (These deadlines do not apply to students who choose the non-thesis option. See below.)
  3. Other than the exceptions specifically indicated below, 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.
  4. No student who has taken the 4000-level version of a course at Georgia State may take the 6000-level version of that course without advance permission of the Director of Graduate Studies. The Director will verify that the course content and requirements of the 6000-level course are different enough to warrant graduate credit for the course.
  5. Students must be enrolled in the semester in which they complete their degree requirements. Any students who are enrolled for fewer than 6 credit hours over a full academic year (3 semesters running, including summer semester) and are not on official leave or covered by other exceptions will automatically be made inactive in the program, and if they wish to continue, are required to follow reentry procedures. The graduate office has further details on this continuous enrollment policy.
  6. M.A. students whose course work is unsatisfactory may be subject to scholastic warning or scholastic termination.

Traditional Track, Thesis Option

  1. Twenty-seven hours of graduate coursework in philosophy.
    Courses numbered 8960 and higher do not count towards the 27-hour requirement.
  2. Distribution requirements
    1. Logic requirement
      Phil 6500, Symbolic Logic, is required of every full-time student in their first year in the program, unless they pass the department's logic competency exam or unless they are enrolled in Phil 2500.  Phil 2500 does not count toward the MA.  Students who take Phil 2500 in their first year must take Phil 6500 in their second year. Phil 6500 is offered each year in the Spring Semester, and the competency exam is offered just prior to the start of each Spring Semester. If you are a part-time or special-status student, please consult with the Director of Graduate Studies about when to enroll in logic.
    2. History Requirement
      At least one history course.
      See below for the list of courses in this area.
    3. Ethics and Social/Political Requirement
      At least one course in ethics or social/political philosophy.
      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 philosophy courses with the word "Seminar" in the title. (For those subject to the requirements prior to the Fall 2014 catalog, only three seminars are needed.) 
      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. Six hours of thesis research, Phil 8999 (To register for this course you need to have the approval of your thesis advisor and fill out this form. During their first three hours of thesis research, students are expected to write and have approved by their thesis committee a thesis prospectus. Approval of the prospectus is normally required before registering for additional hours.)
  4. A thesis which meets the departmental standards.
  5. An oral thesis defense.

      History Courses
      Phil 6010 Plato
      Phil 6020 Aristotle
      Phil 6030 Topics in Ancient Philosophy
      Phil 6040 Augustine and Aquinas
      Phil 6050 Special Topics in Modern Philosophy
      Phil 6055 Hume
      Phil 6060 Kant
      Phil 6070 Marxism
      Phil 6075 Topics in 19th Century Philosophy
      Phil 6085 Topics in History of Philosophy 
      Phil 6090 Topics in Continental Philosophy
      Phil 6095 Topics in Analytic Philosophy
      Phil 8030 Seminar in Ancient Philosophy
      Phil 8050 Seminar in Analytic Philosophy
      Phil 8060 Seminar in Modern Philosophy
      Phil 8090 Seminar in Continental Philosophy

      Value Theory Courses
      Phil 6700 Ethics
      Phil 6720 Environmental Ethics
      Phil 6740 Advanced Biomedical Ethics
      Phil 6750 Topics in Ethics
      Phil 6770 Moral Psychology
      Phil 6780 Neuroethics
      Phil 6790 Topics in Neuroethics
      Phil 6800 Social and Political Philosophy
      Phil 6820 Philosophy of Law
      Phil 6830 Philosophy of Art
      Phil 6855 Advanced Topics in Political Theory
      Phil 6860 Philosophical Perspectives on Women  
      Phil 6890 Topics in Social and Political Philosophy
      Phil 8700 Seminar in Ethics
      Phil 8740 Seminar in Biomedical Ethics
      Phil 8770 Seminar in Moral Psychology
      Phil 8810 Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy
      Phil 8820 Seminar in Philosophy of Law
      Phil 8855 Seminar in Political Theory
      Phil 8870 Seminar in Feminist Philosophy

      Metaphysics and Epistemology Courses
      Phil 6100 Epistemology
      Phil 6150 Topics in Epistemology
      Phil 6130 Philosophy of Science
      Phil 6300 Metaphysics
      Phil 6350 Topics in Metaphysics
      Phil 6330 Philosophy of Mind
      Phil 6530 Philosophy of Language
      Phil 8100 Seminar in Epistemology
      Phil 8130 Seminar in Philosophy of Science
      Phil 8300 Seminar in Metaphysics
      Phil 8330 Seminar in Philosophy of Mind
      Phil 8340 Seminar in Philosophy and Cognitive Science
      Phil 8520 Seminar in Logic
      Phil 8530 Seminar in Philosophy of Language

    Traditional Track, Non-Thesis Option

    The non-thesis option requires 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. Students taking the non-thesis option are not eligible to graduate with distinction and should expect to receive no letters of recommendation to philosophy Ph.D. programs.

    Neurophilosophy Track, Thesis Option

    Neurophilosophy is one of the fastest growing subfields in contemporary philosophy. The Neurophilosophy Track offers students a unique opportunity to study philosophical issues at the intersection of philosophy and neuroscience, psychology, and cognitive science. The Neurophilosophy Track is designed to take full advantage of the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University. The Neuroscience Institute aims to take the neurosciences at Georgia State to a position of international prominence by promoting interdisciplinary collaboration between faculty and students from partnering departments. Successful completion of the Neurophilosophy Track, the first Masters program of its kind in the US, will provide students with a broad interdisciplinary background and prepare them to apply for graduate work in either philosophy or the relevant sciences.

    The philosophy department has four Brains & Behavior fellowships that are awarded to the most qualified students applying to the MA program with an interest in the Neurophilosophy Track. The Brains & Behavior fellows receive a stipend of $15,000 plus tuition and do not serve as graduate assistants or instructors. Applicants who wish to receive this fellowship should indicate their interest in their personal statement, and they should include a brief description of why they feel well-qualified to receive the fellowship.

    In addition to meeting the requirements noted above for the Traditional Track, students on the Neurophilosophy track

    1. must pass either Phil 6330, Philosophy of Mind, Phil 6340, Philosophy & Cognitive Science, Phil 8330, Seminar in Philosophy of Mind, or Phil 8340, Seminar in Philosophy & Cognitive Science. This requirement is exempt from the usual 'no double-counting' rule for distribution requirements; e.g. Phil 8330 can count both toward this requirement and the seminar requirement.
    2. must pass 6 hours at the graduate level in another related department, such as biology, neuroscience, psychology, etc. These hours will count towards the 27 hours required for the M.A. in philosophy. These courses must be approved, in advance, by the Philosophy Neurophilosophy Faculty and the Philosophy Director of Graduate Studies.
    3. must write a thesis on a topic related to neurophilosophy (interdisciplinary philosophy of mind or cognitive science).
    4. are required to take a minimum of three seminars, rather than four. 

    Neurophilosophy Track, Non-Thesis Option

    The non-thesis option requires thirty-three hours of graduate coursework: twenty-seven hours in philosophy (six more than the thesis option), plus 6 hours in another related department. 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. Students taking the non-thesis option are not eligible to graduate with distinction and should expect to receive no letters of recommendation to philosophy Ph.D. programs.

    J.D./M.A. Track

    The J.D./M.A. track, offered in conjunction with the College of Law at Georgia State University, allows students to receive the M.A. in philosophy and the J.D. in four years instead of the usual five.

    The J.D./M.A. track is a demanding course of study. Each student in the track is assigned an advisor from the College of Law faculty and an advisor from the faculty of the Department of Philosophy. Students must work closely with their advisors to make sure that they correctly progress towards the degrees. Below are the requirements for the M.A. degree on the J.D./M.A. track. For the J.D. requirements, see the College of Law web site.

    1. Nine hours of qualifying courses in law. In consultation with the student and law J.D./M.A. advisor, the philosophy J.D./M.A. advisor will select those law courses most appropriate to the M.A. program and to the student's interests.
    2. Eighteen hours of graduate course work in philosophy with the following distribution requirements:
      1. Two courses which meets the seminar requirement.
      2. Either Phil 6700, Ethics or Phil 6800, Social and Political Philosophy (Formerly Phil 6760.).
      3. In addition to the courses taken to fulfill requirements 2.B., at least one of the following courses:
        1. Phil 6700, Ethics
        2. Phil 6710, Biomedical Ethics
        3. Phil 6820, Philosophy of Law (If the student has already taken Law 7295, Jurisprudence, credit for Phil 6820, Philosophy of Law, will be given only if the J.D. advisor and the M.A. advisor determine that Phil 6820, Philosophy of Law, would not substantially duplicate Law 7295, Jurisprudence.)
        4. Phil 6800, Social and Political Philosophy
        5. Phil 6822, Topics in Philosophy of Law
        6. Phil 6850, African-American Ethical and Legal Issues
        7. Phil 6870, Philosophical Perspectives on Women
        8. Phil 8700, Seminar in Ethics
        9. Phil 8710, Seminar in Bioethcis
        10. Phil 8802, Seminar in Classical & Early Modern Political Thought
        11. Phil 8804, Seminar in Modern Political Thought
        12. Phil 8810, Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy
        13. Phil 8820, Seminar in Philosophy of Law
        14. Phil 8870, Seminar in Feminist Philosophy
      4. Epistemology Requirement--at least one of the following courses:
        1. Phil 6100, Theory of Knowledge
        2. Phil 6130, Philosophy of Science
        3. Phil 8100, Seminar in Epistemology
        4. Phil 8520, Seminar in Logic
      5. Metaphysics Requirement--at least one of the following courses:
        1. Phil 6300, Metaphysics
        2. Phil 6330, Philosophy of Mind
        3. Phil 6530, Philosophy of Language
        4. Phil 8300, Seminar in Metaphysics
        5. Phil 8330, Seminar in Philosophy of Mind
        6. Phil 8530, Seminar in Philosophy of Language
      6. The following courses do not count towards the 15-hour requirement:
        1. Phil 8900, Internship
        2. Phil 8960, Research in Philosophy
        3. Phil 8970, Teaching Philosophy
        4. Phil 8980, Teaching Philosophy Practicum
        5. Six hours of thesis research, Phil 8999 (To register for this course you need to write and have approved a thesis prospectus and to fill out this form).
    1. Either Phil 6820, Philosophy of Law or Law 7295, Jurisprudence. Phil 6820, Philosophy of Law, counts towards requirement 2.C. and Law 7295, Jurisprudence, counts towards requirement 1. (If one of these two courses has been taken, credit for the second will be given only if the J.D. advisor and the M.A. advisor determine that the second would not substantially duplicate the first.)
    2. A thesis which meets the departmental standards.
    3. An oral thesis defense.

      Other Notes Concerning the J.D./M.A. Track

      Students must independently meet the admission requirements of the Department of Philosophy and the College of Law. Admission to the College of Law creates no presumption favoring admission to the Department of Philosophy. Admission to the Department of Philosophy creates no presumption favoring admission to the College of Law.

      Students on the J.D./M.A. track may, if they wish, count one seminar course towards both the seminar requirement and one other requirement. For example, Phil 8150 might fulfill both the seminar requirement and the Metaphysics Requirment.

      The Department of Philosophy will only grant credit for those law courses in which the student earns a grade of 80 or better.

      Law students may not take any philosophy courses while completing the first-year law curriculum.

      The J.D. degree must be completed within six years of the initial semester of enrollment in the J.D. program.

      Students enrolled in the J.D./M.A. program may subsequently elect not to pursue both degrees and may remain in either the J.D. or M.A. program; but any hours earned in a degree program from which a student withdraws will not be credited toward a degree granted by the program in which the student remains.

      J.D./M.A. FAQs

      For more information about the J.D./M.A. track, please contact Dr. Andrew I. Cohen (aicohen(at)gsu.edu), Philosophy J.D./M.A. advisor or Dr. William Edmundson (wedmundson(at)gsu.edu), Law J.D./M.A. advisor.

      The M.A. with Distinction

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

      1. A graduate Georgia State philosophy GPA of 3.85 or better.
      2. A thesis and thesis defense that, upon vote of the thesis committee, are judged to merit distinction.
      3. The Director of Graduate Studies judging that the student's record at Georgia State is one of distinction.