Masters Program

2 thinkers

Three programs lead to the M. A. in Philosophy.


  • The General Program providing a grounding in all branches of the subject. 

  • The Special Program in Symbolic Systems and the Special Program in the Philosophy of Language provide special training in their respective branches.

General Program

The General Program requires a minimum of 45 units in Philosophy courses numbered above 99. These courses must be taken for a letter grade, and the student must receive at least a 'B-' in the course. Courses taken to satisfy the undergraduate core or affiliated courses may not be counted in the 45 units. 

General Program Requirements

Courses Fulfilling Distribution Requirements

Below are yearly lists of courses which the faculty have approved to fulfill distribution requirements in these areas: value theory (including ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, social philosophy, philosophy of law); language; mind and action; metaphysics and epistemology (including metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science); logic; ancient philosophy; modern philosophy.


Special Program in the Philosophy of Language

Admission to the special program in the Philosophy of Language is limited to students with substantial preparation in philosophy or linguistics. Those whose primary preparation has been in linguistics may be required to satisfy all or part of the undergraduate core requirements as described in the "General Program" subsection above. Those whose preparation is primarily in philosophy may be required to take additional courses in linguistics.

Special Program in the Philosophy of Language Requirements

Special Program in Symbolic Systems

For the Philosophy Masters of Arts special program in Symbolic Systems, students should have the equivalent of the Stanford undergraduate major in Symbolic Systems. Students who have a strong major in one of the basic SSP disciplines (philosophy, psychology, linguistics, computer science) may be admitted, but are required to do a substantial part of the undergraduate SSP core in each of the other basic SSP fields. 

Philosophy MA Special Program in Symbolic Systems Requirements


The Program in Symbolic Systems also offers their own Masters of Science in Symbolic Systems; we recommend prospective students compare the two programs to find which is the best fit.

Symbolic Systems MS Program Requirements 

Masters Funding

No funding is available from the department for Masters students. Please check the Financial Aid website for information about loans and outside sources to fund your MA. There is also a list of external funding databases on the Vice Provost's page.

The Knight Hennessy program does offer funding for its admitted students, and that funding can be applied toward a Stanford graduate degree program. Applicants apply to both KH and to a department.