The M.A. program is intended to serve a number of purposes: to provide students with a solid foundation in all the core areas of philosophy, together with a thorough grounding in the history of philosophy, in preparation for more advanced and specialized work at the doctoral level; to provide philosophical training for those who intend to go on to work in interdisciplinary areas bordering with philosophy, such as cognitive science or applied ethics and public policy; to provide an opportunity for those who wish to explore more advanced study of philosophy for personal enrichment and satisfaction; or to provide the education needed for teaching philosophy at the secondary-school level or at a community college. We offer to M.A. students not only an outstanding education in philosophy, but also all the benefits of being in a large, active, and collegial department, with numerous colloquia, conferences, workshops, and reading groups in many areas of philosophy.

M.A. students enroll in the same classes as Ph.D. students, and are treated as full members of the graduate program.

M.A. students do not receive guaranteed department funding, but in recent years most of our M.A. students have received Teaching Assistantships in at least some of their semesters in the program. (TA-ships come with both a stipend and a tuition waiver.) M.A. students are also encouraged to apply through the university for financial aid and university scholarships (see Funding page for more information). Moreover, all domestic graduate students qualify for in-state tuition after just one year of residency in Colorado. Applicants admitted to the M.A. program who are not residents of Colorado or of any of the Western states might consider petitioning to defer their enrollment for one year, during which time they can establish residency in Colorado, in order to avoid paying out-of-state tuition.

The Philosophy Department at the University of Colorado Boulder is a member of the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) which means that students from the Western states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) can enroll in our M.A. program at in-state Colorado tuition rates. Students need not demonstrate financial need. To be considered for the WRGP tuition rate, students simply apply directly to our program and identify themselves as WICHE WRGP applicants. WRGP students must fulfill all of our usual requirements for admission, meet all admission deadlines, and be selected for admission.

Students considering both our Ph.D. and our M.A. program should apply to the Ph.D. program. Applicants not accepted to the Ph.D. will automatically be considered for the M.A. program. Those interested only in the terminal M.A. program should apply just to that program. Students applying to the M.A. program can expect to hear about admission some time in late March to early April.

Overview of M.A. Requirements

  1. Course Work: Students must take a minimum of 30 hours of approved graduate study, including the appropriate number of thesis hours (typically eight courses, plus thesis hours).
  2. Distribution Requirements: 9 hours must be devoted to satisfying distribution requirements: one course in history, one course in values, one course in metaphysics/epistemology.
  3. Logic: Students must demonstrate proficiency in propositional and first-order logic.
  4. Thesis and Oral Defense: After securing a Thesis Advisor, each student (with the exception of those taking the Non-Thesis option) must write and successfully defend a master's thesis before their Thesis Committee.

Official M.A. Program Requirements