Mar 31, 2020  
2013-2014 Academic Catalog 
2013-2014 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Philosophy (M.A.) starting Fall 2013

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We will accept applications for this program for Fall 2013.

Mission and Goals:

The mission statement of the M.A. program in Philosophy (reflecting those of the Department and the University) is as follows:

Engaging in graduate study in philosophy is to engage in a process of coming to understand one’s self and one’s place in the world. The M.A. in Philosophy is devoted to this endeavor through its content and form. It engages students in asking questions about the possibility of knowledge, the nature of morality, beauty and aesthetic experience, the meaning of religious experience, the justification and limits of power, and the purpose and meaning of philosophical inquiry itself. And it holds that to be successful in this enquiry clear and careful thinking, the ability to question deeply held assumptions and attitudes, and a commitment to sound reasoning and careful appraisal of evidence is needed.

The goal of the M.A. in Philosophy is therefore to offer the highest quality liberal arts education to our future graduate students. Our Philosophy postgraduates will finish this M.A. program with an in-depth knowledge of the processional discipline as well as the detailed understanding of the history of ideas more generally. This entails rigorous training in rational and critical thought, the close reading and interpretation of some of the history of philosophy’s most challenging texts, exemplary intellectual responsibility, and the ability to clearly and effectively present the results of independently conducted research within the form of a M.A. thesis.

In the words of the executive director of the American Philosophical Association, “The skills that philosophy teaches you are wonderfully transferable.” Our program aims at teaching students advanced philosophical skills, which they will be able to usefully apply either within the context of a future professional career of as preparation for entering a Ph.D. program at another institution. Students often register for graduate study in Philosophy because of their love of the discipline, rather than for any utilitarian purpose.

Nonetheless, a background in Philosophy can be professionally beneficial, insofar as employers and professional schools have become increasingly aware over the last couple of decades that philosophers tend to have the best training in thinking and writing, and are open and flexible.


The M.A. in Philosophy will be aimed at any undergraduate with a background in the study of philosophy. A minimum of twenty-four graduate hours will be required.

Eight courses must be taken, at least six of which must be taken within the Department of Philosophy at the 500 level. Students will be required to follow the Philosophy Graduate Core, a series of advanced 500 level seminars that are open only to Masters students. Two such 500 level seminars will be taught each semester. The Department will also offer a series of electives: a select number of undergraduate courses that can also be taken at the 500 level.

A maximum of two courses will be able to be taken within other departments at AUC, at either the 400 or 500 level but only with Chair’s approval. Students who are not native speakers of Arabic and who wish to write a thesis within the sphere of Islamic Philosophy will be strongly encouraged to elect for credit at least one of the courses (at an appropriate level) offered by the Arabic Language Institute. Although AUC does not currently offer formal instruction in modern European language, students intending to write a thesis within the sphere of Continental Philosophy will be required to have a basic reading knowledge of either French or German. Any student who wishes to write a thesis in the sphere of Continental Philosophy but who lacks such knowledge is strongly encouraged to privately arrange some tuition outside of AUC.

Before commencing work upon the thesis students will be required to write and defend a thesis proposal before three departmental members. The thesis itself should take the form of a research paper of approximately 15,000 words in length. There will also be a final defense of the finished thesis.

The Philosophy Graduate Program Director will organize a series of (non-credit) seminars at the beginning of every academic year, which all graduate students will be expected to attend in order to ensure that they possess the research and academic writing skills requisite for tackling the thesis (

  ). This training will be further reinforcedby the course requirements for the Department’s Philosophy Graduate Core courses, in which the students will be required to find and engage with relevant secondary literature and write in a highly professional manner for any of the papers upon which they will be examined.

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