M.A. Program

The M.A. program is designed to give the student a solid foundation in philosophy beyond the undergraduate level, whether the student's goal is further graduate work in philosophy, graduate work in other disciplines, employment in some field related to philosophy, or simply the satisfaction of intellectual curiosity.

The Department offers three different paths through, or plans for completion of, the M.A. degree.  Students entering the M.A. Program before fall 2022 were accepted into the program as Plan II students. 

Students entering the M.A. program in fall 2022 and later will be accepted into the program as Plan III students.

Plan III and Plan II have the same requirements, except that Plan II also requires writing and defending a substantial research paper.  (See below for more details.)  M.A. students who anticipate applying to Ph.D. programs are encouraged to consider changing to Plan II.  This requires a petition, submitted to the Graduate Director, that identifies a faculty member who will supervise the project, plus a brief description of the project (100-200 words).  The petition is due by the end of the student’s second semester in the program.

In special circumstances, a student may petition the Faculty to take the Plan I option. The student should explain in this petition, to be submitted to the Graduate Director, why they think that Plan I would be appropriate in their case. In addition, as part of the petition, the student must submit, after consultation with an advisor, a proposed thesis committee and a brief description or abstract of the thesis. The deadline for petitioning into Plan I is the end of the student’s second semester in the program.

Students entering the M.A. program before fall 2022 may also petition to take the Plan III option. To do so, the student may write directly to the Graduate Director with the request. In most cases, such petitions will be accepted.

 

 

M.A. Plan I

Students must petition, by the end of their second semester in the program, to take the Plan I option. See above.

A1. Time Limit

All coursework toward the M.A. degree (including coursework transferred from another institution) must be completed by the end of the student's third year (sixth semester) in residence, and all requirements for the M.A. degree must be completed by the end of a student's fourth year (eighth semester) in residence.

Any M.A. students who are informed by the Philosophy Department faculty that they are making unsatisfactory progress in the program will have two semesters to restore their unsatisfactory progress towards the M.A. degree.  The Philosophy department faculty will specify the requirements that must be met to restore satisfactory progress towards the M.A. degree.

B1. Graduate Credit Hour Requirements (Plan I)

An M.A. student under Plan I must complete a minimum of 24 graduate hours of coursework credit: at least 6 hours must be at the 500-level, no more than 6 hours can be independent-study credit (498/551/651), and no more than 3 hours can be workshop credit. If a minor is declared, at least 14 graduate hours of coursework credit must be in the major and 7 such hours must be in the minor. Thesis (599) hours do not count as coursework credit, and hence they cannot be used toward fulfilling these requirements. Further coursework requirements for Plan I M.A. students can be found in The Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog.

C1. Philosophy Credit Hour Requirements (Plan I)

An M.A. student under Plan I must complete a minimum of 18 graduate credit hours of coursework in philosophy: at least 9 hours must be at the 500-level, and no more than 3 hours can be independent-study credit (498/551/651). Graduate credit hours in philosophy are hours in graduate courses offered by or cross-listed with the philosophy department, or courses approved by GAC as carrying graduate credit in philosophy. Thesis (599) hours do not count as coursework credit, and hence they cannot be used toward fulfilling these requirements.

D1. Distribution Requirements (Plan I)

Plan I students must take a minimum of 4 courses designated as H(A), H(M), H, VT, M, or E (see key to left).

  • At least one of these must be designated as H(A) or H(M) at the 500-level
  • At least one of these must be designated as VT, M, or E

E1. Program of Studies and Other Graduation Requirements

Each student must file a Program of Studies no later than the middle of the semester before he or she intends to graduate.  The Program of Studies, its specific deadlines, and further details on graduation requirements can be found here. Moreover, students need to submit their M.A. theses to their M.A. committee members at least two weeks prior to the scheduled thesis defense.

F1. M.A. Thesis (Plan I)

  1. Before beginning work on the M.A. thesis, a Plan I student must select, in consultation with the Graduate Director and subject to approval by the department Chair, a thesis committee consisting of three members, a majority of whom must be from the Philosophy Department
  2. A copy of the final draft of the student's M.A. thesis, which must not exceed 25,000 words of main text, shall be distributed to each member of the thesis committee at least three weeks before the scheduled date of the thesis defense. Failure to distribute the final draft to the committee at least three weeks before the thesis defense date will result in a cancellation of the scheduled defense, and in most cases the rescheduled defense will be deferred until the following semester. Please note that the Department does not hold summer exams or defenses. This date shall be fixed in consultation with the Graduate Director.
  3. Every M.A. Candidate under Plan I is required to pass successfully a master's exam, which is an oral defense of the student's thesis before his or her thesis committee. An M.A. candidate may take a master's exam at most twice.

back to top

M.A. Plan II

A2. Time Limit

All coursework toward the M.A. degree (including coursework transferred from another institution) must be completed by the end of the student's third year (sixth semester) in residence, and all requirements for the M.A. degree must be completed by the end of a student's fourth year (eighth semester) in residence.

Any M.A. students who are informed by the Philosophy Department faculty that they are making unsatisfactory progress in the program will have two semesters to restore their unsatisfactory progress towards the M.A. degree.  The Philosophy department faculty will specify the requirements that must be met to restore satisfactory progress towards the M.A. degree.

B2. Graduate Credit Hour Requirements (Plan II)

An M.A. student under Plan II must complete a minimum of 30 graduate hours of coursework credit: at least 12 hours must be at the 500-level, no more than 6 hours can be independent-study credit (498/551/651), and no more than 3 hours can be workshop credit. If a minor is declared, at least 18 graduate hours of coursework credit must be in the major and 12 such hours must be in the minor. Further coursework requirements for Plan II M.A. students can be found in The Graduate Program section of the UNM Catalog.

C2. Philosophy Credit Hour Requirements (Plan II)

An M.A. student under Plan II must complete a minimum of 24 graduate credit hours of coursework in philosophy: at least 15 hours must be at the 500-level, and no more than 3 hours can be independent-study credit (498/551/651). Graduate credit hours in philosophy are hours in graduate courses offered by or cross-listed with the philosophy department or courses approved by GAC as carrying graduate credit in philosophy.

D2. Distribution Requirements (Plan II)

Plan II students must take a minimum of four courses designated as H(A), H(M), H, VT, M, or E (see key to left).

  • At least two of these must be designated as H(A), H(M), or H, with no more than one designated as H; and
  • At least two of these must be designated as VT, M, or E.

E2. Program of Studies and Other Graduation Requirements

Each student must file a Program of Studies no later than the middle of the semester before he or she intends to graduate.  The Program of Studies, its specific deadlines, and further details on graduation requirements can be found here.

F2. M.A. Paper (Plan II)

  1. A Plan II student must select, in consultation with the Graduate Director and subject to approval by the department Chair, a master's exam committee consisting of three members, a majority of whom must be from the philosophy department.
  2. A copy of the final draft of the student's M.A. paper, which must not exceed 12,500 words of main text, shall be distributed to each member of the student's master's exam committee at least three weeks before the scheduled date of the exam. Failure to distribute the final draft to the committee at least three weeks before the oral exam date will result in a cancellation of the scheduled exam, and in most cases the rescheduled exam will be deferred until the following semester. Please note that the Department does not hold summer exams or defenses. This date shall be fixed in consultation with the Graduate Director.
  3. Every M.A. candidate under Plan II is required to pass successfully a master's exam, which is an oral exam focused on the student's M.A. paper. An M.A. candidate may take a master's exam at most twice.

back to top

M.A. Plan III

Requirements for the M.A. Plan III are identical to those for M.A. Plan II (see above), except that there is no M.A. paper or oral exam.

4 + 1 M.A. Plan

During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Department of Philosophy began offering a 4 + 1 M.A. degree program. This program, also referred to as a Shared-Credit Undergraduate/Graduate Program, is designed to provide undergraduate Philosophy majors at the University of New Mexico with the possibility of earning both a B.A. and a M.A. in Philosophy in a five-year timeframe. Normally, receiving a M.A. requires an additional two-plus years after a four-year B.A. program.

Undergraduate majors in philosophy, during their third/junior or fourth/senior years of study, can apply to the Department of Philosophy for admission to the 4 + 1 M.A. Philosophy program. Applicants to the 4 + 1 M.A. Philosophy program will be considered for acceptance along with applicants to the regular M.A. Philosophy program. The application requirements, including the application fee, are the same for 4 + 1 M.A. applicants as for regular M.A. applicants. However, applicants to the 4 + 1 M.A. program should list two UNM Department of Philosophy faculty as references instead of furnishing three letters of recommendation.

For students accepted into the 4 + 1 M.A. Philosophy program, either 400/500- or *400-level Philosophy courses taken by these students as part of completing their Philosophy B.A. will then also count towards their required coursework for a M.A. degree in Philosophy.

Students in their fifth (i.e., final) year of the 4 + 1 M.A. Philosophy program will enroll at the 500-level in all of their philosophy courses. During this fifth year, they will both complete their required M.A. coursework as well as fulfill the other requirements holding for all M.A. students in the graduate program (for these, see immediately above).  Other than this, the M.A. degree requirements for students accepted into the 4 + 1 M.A. Philosophy program will be the same as those for M.A. students admitted into our standard M.A. Philosophy program.

Distribution Requirement Designations (DRD's)

  • H(A) - history of ancient philosophy
  • H(M) - history of modern philosophy
  • H - history of philosophy
  • M - metaphysics
  • E - epistemology
  • VT - value theory