Master of Arts in Philosophy Program Information
Program of Study
Almost 2,500 years ago, Plato grounded Western philosophy in the study of the good, the true, and the beautiful. While ethics, epistemology, and aesthetics have remained fundamental to the field for millennia, philosophy today encompasses subjects that the ancient Greeks would have never anticipated.
Thus, while the department's programs are firmly grounded in philosophy's past, offering courses in the traditional disciplines, there is an equally strong commitment to studies vital to the present day, including biomedical and business ethics, 20th century continental philosophy, and numerous topics of contemporary concern.
The Department of Philosophy has offered the master's degree for more than 35 years. Taught by well-qualified professors who give personal attention, it provides a solid basis for doctoral studies, or for careers in industry, government, and college teaching.
The M.A. in philosophy or philosophy: applied ethics requires a minimum of 30 credits. All candidates are required to take PHI 525 Epistemology, PHI 599 Philosophical Concepts and Systems, and PHI 640 Seminar (focused on an important philosopher). Beyond these requirements, the student has the choice of either the traditional or applied ethics track and, with department approval, either the thesis or nonthesis program.
The traditional track leading to the master of arts in philosophy allows students to deepen their knowledge of the history of philosophy, major philosophers, and major philosophical disciplines such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics. The applied ethics track leading to the master of arts in philosophy - applied ethics offers training in the theoretical justification and practical application of moral reasoning. Students pursuing this degree may choose to concentrate their courses in business ethics, health care ethics, or a combination of both.
The recently redesigned graduate certificates in health care ethics and in business ethics offer an introduction to applied ethics without requiring previous exposure to coursework in philosophy. Two required courses, PHI502 History of Western Ethics, restricted to those with minimal preparation in philosophy and offering an intense but elementary overview of the history of moral philosophy, and either PHI570 Bioethics or PHI580 Business Ethics, are accompanied by carefully chosen "focused electives," to be chosen under advisement depending on one's interests and goals.
Certificate in Business Ethics
This 15-credit certificate is designed for business professionals who wish to increase their knowledge about business ethics. The certificate, which can be completed in three semesters, consists of two required philosophy courses (PHI 502 History of Western Ethics, PHI 580 Business Ethics) and three elective courses (such as WOS 530 Women in Leadership and MGT 511 Managing and Leading Organizations) selected with advisement.
Certificate in Healthcare Ethics
This 15-credit certificate is designed for health care professionals who wish to increase their knowledge about health care ethics. The certificate, which can be completed in three semesters, consists of two required philosophy courses (PHI 502 History of Western Ethics, PHI 570 Bioethics) and three elective courses (such as HEA 512 HIV/AIDS and NSG 521 Palliative Care) selected with advisement.
The Francis Harvey Green Library provides an excellent environment for study and research. It is furnished with a variety of seating areas, including individual study carrels, faculty and graduate lounges, group studies, seminar rooms, and general reading areas. The library has a growing collection of more than one-half million volumes and subscriptions to 2,200 journals.
Applicants should submit the materials listed below to the Graduate School and Extended Education. Note: Those seeking admission to the certificate programs are exempt from the "12 semester hours of undergraduate philosophy" listed below.
- Completed graduate application, including goals statement (apply online)
- Official academic transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, reflecting a bachelor's degree and a minimum of 12 semester hours of undergraduate philosophy, including courses in history of ancient philosophy, history of modern philosophy, ethics and logic.
- Two letters of recommendation
- Writing sample or GRE score
Graduate Course Information
For More Information
Email or call the Graduate School at 610-436-2943. The office can be found in McKelvie hall at
102 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester PA, 19383.
Alternatively, you can contact Dr. Steven James by email, the Graduate Coordinator of the Philosophy Department, or by visiting the office
231 Anderson Hall, West Chester University, West Chester PA, 19383.