The M.A. Degree is a two-year program requiring thirty-two hours of graduate coursework. (UNM is on a semester calendar. A course usually carries three hours of credit. A normal course load for a graduate student intending to finish the M.A. requirements in two years is nine hours per semester.) Twelve of those hours (four courses at the graduate seminar level) must satisfy distribution requirements in the history of philosophy, metaphysics, ethics, and the theory of knowledge. At the end of his or her period of study each M.A. student must pass an oral M.A. exam, focused on a paper of 30-40 pages.
The Ph.D. Degree is a four-to-six year program requiring forty-eight hours of graduate coursework, of which fifteen must satisfy distribution requirements in the areas mentioned above. Ph.D. students must pass a comprehensive exam in the fifth semester, a language exam (reading competence in one language is required for the Ph.D.; a course in metalogic may be substituted for the language requirement by students working in appropriate areas), a dissertation prospectus exam, and an oral dissertation defense based on the dissertation.
In addition to these requirements, all graduate students, whether M.A. or Ph.D., must meet a "background core" requirement consisting of six courses in basic areas (namely, metaphysics, theory of knowledge, ethical theory, Greek philosophy, modern philosophy and symbolic logic; courses taken to satisfy the graduate distribution requirements will not count toward satisfying the background core requirement). Most students entering the program with a B.A. in philosophy will already have satisfied this requirement.
Usually, thirty-three of the forty-eight hours of coursework required for the Ph.D. and twenty hours of the courses required for the M.A. may be taken in subjects of the student's choosing. For the Ph.D. in particular, we encourage students to focus early on a particular area of interest while continuing to acquire a broad education in philosophy which will qualify them to become teachers.