Master of Arts in Philosophy

Our graduate program offers a Master of Arts in Philosophy. Students will study a broad range of general areas of philosophy, as well as topics within contemporary philosophy driven by our faculty's on-going research. In addition to taught courses, the M.A. includes a graduate-only seminar that allows students to engage with each other in a warm and supportive environment to hone their philosophical skills. Our department also hosts visiting speakers on a monthly basis throughout the semester, which allows students to interact with internationally renowned philosophers and keep abreast of the latest development within the field.

An examination of the intersection of morals, ethics and truth

The Ethics, Law, and Politics track provides students with the opportunity to explore central debates - both historical and contemporary - in social, political, ethical and legal philosophy. Students will work with faculty members who have research specializations in a number of areas within value theory, including liberal and democratic theory, feminism, Marxism, Critical Theory, among others.

Course Requirements

30-33 credit hours (see Course Catalog for latest updates of philosophy graduate requirements

Students who wish to pursue a Master's degree in philosophy at the University of Nevada, Reno may choose to take the general philosophy track or specialize in ethics, law, and politics. Both tracks are offered on either a thesis or non-thesis basis. Students work with their advisors to develop their program. A student who opts for a non-thesis plan must complete 33 graduate credits. A student who opts for the thesis plan must complete 30 credits of graduate course work including six credits of thesis course work.

List of graduate course offerings:

  • PHIL 603 - Early Modern Philosophy
  • PHIL 604 - 19th Century Philosophy
  • PHIL 606 - American Philosophy
  • PHIL 609 - Recent French Phil
  • PHIL 610 - Plato
  • PHIL 611 - Aristotle
  • PHIL 615 - Kant
  • PHIL 625 - Philosophy of Language
  • PHIL 634 - Philosophy of Cognitive Science
  • PHIL 635 - Philosophy of Mind
  • PHIL 638 - Problems in the History and Philosophy of Science
  • PHIL 640 - Theory of Knowledge
  • PHIL 641 - Metaphysics
  • PHIL 650 - Ethical Theory
  • PHIL 651 - Happiness
  • PHIL 652 - Aesthetics
  • PHIL 653 - Topics in Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL 654 - Global Ethics and Justice
  • PHIL 657 - Political Philosophy

Program at a glance

Admissions cycles: Fall, Spring
Application deadlines: Mar. 1, Nov. 1
Program Director: Benjamin Young
Program Handbook


Many of the students accepted into the MA program in philosophy have completed undergraduate philosophy majors or minors, though we also accept students with degrees in related areas and students with compelling interests or strong undergraduate backgrounds.

Normally, applicants should have an undergraduate grade-point average of B or better both overall and in philosophy courses. We occasionally admit students with lower averages if they can provide strong evidence that they are likely to do well in our program.

We do not require GRE scores for admission into the program. However, such scores will be taken into consideration by the admissions committee if they are available.

The Philosophy Department has a two-part application to the MA. program:

    1. Applicants for admission must meet the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School's admission requirements. Applications to Graduate School are only accepted online. Be sure to indicate M.A. in Philosophy. Your official transcripts must be sent to the Graduate School.
    2. In addition, please send the following directly to the Philosophy Department:
      1. Letter of Intent: a letter describing your interests and goals and explaining why you want to pursue your studies in our department. Be sure to indicate which program you are interested in General Philosophy or Philosophy specializing in Ethics, Law, and Politics.
      2. Writing Sample: sample of your recent writing in philosophy
      3. References: three letters of recommendation, preferably from philosophy instructors, may be submitted through the Graduate School or sent to the philosophy department.

If your record is unusual in some way and you feel as though you need additional supporting materials, we would like to consider them as well. Please send them directly to the philosophy department. If you have questions, please contact our Director of Graduate Studies, Benjamin Young.

Is funding available?

The Department of Philosophy has two full-time teaching assistant positions. Positions include salary and reduced tuition fees. The graduate program coordinator makes an announcement of available graduate assistant positions for the upcoming academic year in early April. Applicants are expected to be students in the philosophy graduate program. Preference will be given to applicants with an undergraduate major or minor in philosophy. Interested students must submit a letter of application explaining why they believe they would be qualified for the position. Students who are enrolled already in the M.A. program should include the names of three faculty members in the department of philosophy as references. The faculty will use the application letters of reference for applicants who have been accepted recently into the M.A. program. The deadline for the receipt of applications is typically in late April. Applicants should email their letter of application to the graduate program coordinator or to the administrative assistant. To be eligible for an assistantship, students must be admitted to the M.A. degree program in Philosophy and be in good academic standing. The student must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and must be continuously enrolled in at least six graduate level credits throughout the duration of the assistantship. For more information about graduate assistantships, please consult the Graduate School.

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact College of Liberal Arts

Phone (775) 784-6155
Advising: (775) 682-8745
Fax (775) 784-1478
Location Ansari Business Building