General Policies & Requirements

The graduate program in philosophy at UNM is a two-track program: one track leads to the M.A. degree and the other to the Ph.D. degree. The two programs are independent of each other in admission and conception. Successful completion of the M.A. program is neither required for admission to the Ph.D. program nor entitles the applicant to admission to the Ph.D. program. Thus, those who wish to pursue the Ph.D. degree in philosophy at UNM should apply directly to the Ph.D. program. Ph.D. applicants who are not accepted to the Ph.D. program and do not yet have an M.A. degree in Philosophy will automatically be considered for the M.A. program. This document describes the department's policies and requirements for both programs; it should be read in conjunction with the relevant sections of the UNM Catalog.

For UNM graduate regulations and information, please review the online catalog available here. For UNM graduate regulations and information, please contact:

The Office of Graduate Studies
MSC 03 2180
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Phone: (505) 277-2711
Fax: (505) 277-7405

A.   Background Core in Philosophy

Beginning with students entering the program in spring, 2021, all graduate students are expected to have satisfied, by the time they file their Program of Studies or Advancement to Candidacy (but preferably earlier), a background core requirement in philosophy consisting of or equivalent to four UNM Philosophy courses, as follows: (i) 1120 (Logic) or 356 (Symbolic Logic); (ii) 2220 (Greek Philosophy); (iii) 2210 (Modern Philosophy); and (iv) one of: 352 (Theory of Knowledge), 354 (Metaphysics), or 358 (Ethical Theory). Equivalent courses taken at other institutions may substitute for these courses. As per UNM policy, it is expected that a student earn at least a B (3.0) in any course taken to meet undergraduate deficiencies or prerequisites. Therefore, a course will satisfy the background core requirement only if a grade of B or higher is earned. 

Students admitted into the program who have not yet satisfied the background core requirement should: (1) complete two of the four required background core courses prior to enrolling in graduate-level Philosophy courses; and (2) complete the background core courses that are pre-requisites for the graduate-level courses in which they enroll (e.g., a student should have completed the modern philosophy background core before enrolling in Phil 510: Kant). Graduate students completing undergraduate courses to satisfy the background core requirement should participate as normal and complete all normal undergraduate course requirements.

Students who have not met these background core requirements will be allowed to enroll in a graduate-level course only with prior permission from both the Graduate Director and the instructor for the course.


B.   Graduate Advising

  1. Every graduate student is required to meet with the Graduate Director as soon as possible upon arrival at UNM to begin his or her graduate studies in philosophy.
  2. The Graduate Director will assign each graduate student a faculty mentor who will serve as the student’s advisor until he/she forms an MA Exam or Thesis Committee or a Dissertation Committee. Students, however, are also encouraged to consult with other members of the department regarding their course of study.
  3. After forming an Exam, Thesis, or Dissertation Committee, the student should have an informal meeting with his or her committee once every semester (excluding summer).

C.   Distribution Requirement Designations (DRDs)

  1. Each semester, the Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC), with the approval of the department, will designate appropriate courses as:
    • H(A) (history of ancient philosophy),
    • H(M) (history of modern philosophy),
    • H (history of philosophy),
    • VT (value theory),
    • M (metaphysics),
    • E (epistemology).
    These labels are referred to as Distribution Requirement Designations (DRDs); they indicate the distribution requirements that may be fulfilled by taking those courses (see II.D1, II.D2, and III.E).
  2. The content of designated courses is arranged as follows:
    • Courses designated as H(A) are devoted mostly to the work of the Pre-Socratics or the work of Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle. Courses covering other major philosophers of antiquity may also be designated as H(A) subject to approval by the department.
    • Courses designated as H(M) are devoted mostly to the work of one or more of the following philosophers: Hobbes, Rousseau, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Courses covering other major philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries may also be designated as H(M) subject to approval by the department.
    • Courses designated as H are devoted mostly to works completed before 1950 by major figures of Western philosophy.
    • A course receiving M, E, or Et designation will focus on issues in ethics, metaphysics, or epistemology, rather than on historical movements or contexts, and will include substantial attention to contemporary discussions of these problems.
  3. A course cannot satisfy both a DRD and a background core requirement.
  4. No course shall bear more than one DRD.
  5. Courses taken at another institution may fulfill a distribution requirement only if they have been accepted for transfer as graduate credit.

D.   Proseminar Requirement

All entering graduate students are required to take the Graduate Proseminar in Philosophy within their first year in residence. The Proseminar will serve the students as an introduction to graduate study in philosophy at UNM. This includes introduction to the faculty and to their research programs, an opportunity to discuss various issues related to the profession, and an opportunity for scholarly interaction with fellow graduate students.  While graduate students do not formally register for the Proseminar, attendance is required. The Proseminar typically meets 4 to 5 times over the course of the academic year. The schedule is set by the Graduate Director.

E.   Grade Requirement

Any course that fulfills a distribution requirement must be passed with a grade of B or better. Also, students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 for all graduate-level courses taken while in graduate status.