Program Overview

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. While WCU's master's program is 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. West Chester University has offered the Master of Arts in Philosophy degree for more than 35 years. Taught by well-qualified professors who give personal attention, the M.A. provides a solid basis for doctoral studies, or for careers in industry, government, and college teaching.




The standard 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 epistemology, ethics and aesthetics.

Applied Ethics

The applied ethics track leading to the Master of Arts in Philosophy 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, Healthcare Ethics, or a combination of both.


Program Highlights

The Department of Philosophy has historically hosted some well-known speakers, including Richard Rorty, Alice Ambrose, W.V.O. Quine, Cornel West, David Chalmers, Diogenes Allen, Sydney Hook, Peter Bertocci, Ramakrishna Puligandla, Owen McLeod, and Joseph Margolis. Presently, the department hosts a variety of regular events; among them: Philosophy Forum provides a platform for faculty and invited speakers from the area to share their works-in-progress. Some recent topics have included: 

  • Pedagogical approaches to ethics
  • Resistance to state violence and the marginalization of black women
  • The promise and failures of #WakandaForever
  • Philosophizing Punk
  • Asian Philosophy and Religion
  • The Land Ethic and the Anthropocene
  • John Rawls’ political philosophy

The Graduate Student Philosophy Conference is put together by our graduate students each spring. Typically, it brings in about 40 participants and several speakers for a day-long event. Recent conference themes and keynote speaker topics have included:

  • Existential Philosophy and Literature
  • Bioethics
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Racial Innocence

A Few Other Recent Events

  • In Spring 2018, we hosted the 31st Annual PASSHE Interdisciplinary Association for Philosophy and Religious Studies in Spring 2018. The day-long conference brought in around 80 participants from schools throughout the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and several of our graduate students were able to present their work.
  • In Fall 2017, we hosted a Public Issues Forum sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium on the Ethics of Protest and Activism. At this event, graduate students were able to interact with interdisciplinary scholars and activists from around the country.
  • In Spring 2016, we hosted the 10th Annual Meeting of the International Hannah Arendt Circle during spring break. Graduate students had the opportunity to participate and help with organization. Such opportunities come along fairly regularly.

What can I do with this degree?

Recent graduates of our program have gone on to PhD programs at Temple University, Duquesne, the University of Georgia, the University of Memphis, the Catholic University of America and elsewhere. Some students have gone on to teach primary or secondary school, and a number of our recent graduates are teaching as adjunct professors at colleges and universities in the area, and beyond. Those who chose non-academic careers have frequently entered law, social work, government, journalism or theological institutions. A few have started their own businesses.

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