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.
Course Requirements for Specializing in South Asian Philosophy (Ph.D)
In addition to the general requirements for the Philosophy Ph.D., doctoral students specializing in South Asian philosophy must take at least 4 courses in South Asian Philosophy that fulfill the following requirements:
(1) South Asian Course Content Requirements: Students specializing in South Asian Philosophy must take at least one course that satisfies the South Asian Metaphysics and Epistemology (SAME) requirement and at least one course that satisfies the South Asian Value Theory (SAVT) requirement.
(2) South Asian Traditions Requirement: Students must take a least one course that focuses on South Asian Buddhist traditions and at least one course that focuses on South Asian Brahmanical traditions.
At this time, most graduate-level courses on topics in South Asian philosophy are taught under PHIL 426/526 (Seminar in Asian Philosophers). (Other, fixed-topic courses are planned.) Possible topics for this course, depending on student interest, are: Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, Indian Logic, Vedānta, Sāṃkhya, Buddhist Ethics, Buddhist Moral Psychology, Buddhist Approaches to Race and Gender, Śāntideva’s Bodhicaryāvatāra, Buddhist metaphysics, Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośa, Yogācāra, Buddhist epistemology, Madhyamaka.
(3) Language Tutorial Requirement: Ph.D. students are normally required to take at least one graduate seminar that is accompanied by a tutorial in which related texts are studied in the original language (Sanskrit or Tibetan), and to participate in the tutorial.
At the same time, the faculty recognize that, when it comes to learning classical Asian languages, different students have different interests, aptitudes, and needs. The faculty are prepared to adjust the expectations for language study on a case-by-case basis.
The M.A. Concentration in Asian Philosophy
Students wishing to focus on Asian Philosophy for the M.A. are welcome to apply to the UNM program. A formal M.A. Concentration in Asian Philosophy is currently being designed. Students are not required to study an Asian language for the M.A., though they are encouraged to do so.