MA Degree Requirements

The MA in philosophy’s minimum degree requirement is 30 credits, including the writing of a thesis and its defense or a proficiency exam in a philosophical area chosen by both the student and the student’s committee. 21 of these credits must be in philosophy. All 30 credits must be earned with a grade of B or better, and at least 12 of the 21 philosophy credits must be in philosophy graduate seminars (Philos 700-900).

If the incoming student has little or no background in ancient philosophy, or in modern philosophy, the student will be required to take Great Thinkers of the Ancient Period (Philos 430) or Great Thinkers of the Modern Period (Philos 432) in order to satisfy the history requirements.

If the incoming student has little or only a limited background in Logic, the student will be required to satisfy the logic requirement. This is usually done by taking Philos 511 or Philos 712. Note: a single introduction to logic course during the student’s undergraduate career is usually not enough to satisfy the logic requirement.

There is no foreign language requirement for the completion of the Master of Arts degree in philosophy, though the department both allows and encourages all of its students to develop proficiency in a foreign or classical language.

The usual course distribution is the following: Semester I, 3 courses; Semester II, 3 courses; Semester III, 2 courses plus writing workshop; Semester IV, 2 courses plus thesis credit for the student who chooses the thesis option or three independent study credits to prepare for the MA exams for the student who chooses that option.

Credits and Courses

History Requirement

Students taking Option A or B will be required to demonstrate competence in history of philosophy by passing the following two courses with a grade of B or better.

PHILOS 430Great Thinkers of the Ancient Period3
PHILOS 432Great Thinkers of the Modern Period3

The Graduate Studies Committee may certify competence if the student has as an undergraduate taken PHILOS 430 and PHILOS 432 at UWM within the past five years or has taken their equivalent as determined by the Committee. The determination may include an equivalency exam.

Students selecting the language and linguistics concentration need only meet the requirement for PHILOS 432.

Logic Requirement

The student is required to demonstrate competence in logic by passing with a grade of B or better:

PHILOS 511Symbolic Logic3
PHILOS 712Fundamentals of Formal Logic3

The Graduate Committee may certify competence if within the last five years the student has taken PHILOS 511 or PHILOS 712 or has taken an equivalent course as determined by the Committee. The determination may include an equivalency exam.

Degree Alternatives

The Department of Philosophy offers three alternatives by which the Master of Arts degree in philosophy may be obtained: Option A, the non-thesis option; Option B, the thesis option; and a language and linguistics concentration with a thesis. There is no foreign language requirement for the completion of the Master of Arts degree in philosophy, though students are encouraged to develop proficiency in a foreign or classical language.

Option A: Non-Thesis Option (30 Credits Plus Exam)

Minimum degree requirement is 30 credits in coursework, 21 of which must normally be in philosophy, 9 of which may be in related fields. All 30 credits must be earned with grades of B or better; and at least 12 must be in graduate seminars.

Courses in philosophy21
At least 12 credits in graduate seminars 1
Related fields9
Total Credits30

A student proposing a program of study involving more than 9 credits of independent study, or fewer than 21 credits in philosophy courses, must gain specific approval of the student’s advisory committee.

Every student choosing the non-thesis option takes a written exam of no longer than four hours on a philosophical area chosen by the student in consultation with the advisory committee. At least one full semester before the student is to take this exam, a specific list of primary and secondary sources to be covered on the exam is drawn up by the committee together with the student. The committee provides the student with sample questions.

Option B: Thesis Option (30 Credits Plus Defense)

Minimum degree requirement is 30 credits in coursework, 21 of which must normally be in philosophy, 9 of which may be in related fields. All 30 credits must be earned with grades of B or better; and at least 12 must be in graduate seminars.

Courses in philosophy21
At least 12 credits in graduate seminars 1
Related fields9
Total Credits30

The thesis is to be written on a philosophical subject chosen in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. The student and the committee are to meet sufficiently often so that the committee may adequately supervise the writing of the thesis. Upon completion of the thesis the student is required to defend the thesis orally.

Language and Linguistics Concentration with Thesis (30 credits Plus Defense)

Minimum degree requirement is 30 credits, including the writing of a thesis, plus its defense. All 30 credits must be earned with a grade of B or better. Of the 30 credits at least 18 credits must be in philosophy with the remainder in linguistics.

PHILOS 516Language and Meaning 13
Other credits in Philosophy15
LINGUIS 466Semantics 13
LINGUIS 564Advanced Syntax 13
Graduate Seminars 26
Total Credits30

A student proposing a program of study involving more than 9 credits of independent study must gain specific approval of the student’s advisory committee.

Graduate Grievance Procedures

Federal law and UWM policy require programs and departments to have procedures for graduate students to appeal academic decisions such as grades or scholastic standing. These procedures ensure the protection of students’ rights. These pages serve as a reference on procedures for graduate student academic appeals.