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Masters Program

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. 

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. 

Special Program in the Philosophy of Language

Admission 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.

How to Apply

Coterm

Current Stanford Undergraduates are eligible to apply as coterminal bachelor's and master's degree students. There is a separate application process for coterms.

More details about  coterm in Philosophy

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.

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.

 

Requirements

The most up to date version of requirements is always in exploredegrees.   current MA requirements

Unit Requirements

Each program requires a minimum of 45 units in philosophy. Students in a special program may be allowed or required to replace up to 9 units of philosophy by 9 units in the field of specialization. Although the requirements for the M.A. are designed so that a student with the equivalent of a strong undergraduate philosophy major at Stanford might complete them in one year, most students need longer. Students should also keep in mind that although 45 units is the minimum required by the University, quite often more units are necessary to complete department requirements. Up to 6 units of directed reading in philosophy may be allowed. There is no thesis requirement, but an optional master's thesis or project, upon faculty approval, may count as the equivalent of up to 8 units. A special program may require knowledge of a foreign language. At least 45 units in courses numbered 100 or above must be completed with a grade of 'B-' or better at Stanford. Students are reminded of the University requirements for advanced degrees, and particularly of the fact that for the M.A., students must complete three full quarters as measured by tuition payment.


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. The requirement has three parts:

Undergraduate Core

  1. Students must have when they enter, or complete early in their program, the following undergraduate courses (students entering from other institutions should establish equivalent requirements with a master's adviser upon arrival or earlier):

    1. Logic: one of the following: Phil 50, Phil 150, Phil 151, Phil 154
    2. Philosophy of science: This requirement may be satisfied by PHIL 60PHIL 61, or any intermediate philosophy of science course numbered between PHIL 160 - 169.
    3. Moral and political philosophy: This requirement may be satisfied by any intermediate course devoted to central topics in moral and political philosophy numbered between PHIL 170 - 172, or PHIL 174-176. 
    4. Contemporary theoretical philosophy: This requirement may be satisfied by any intermediate course numbered between PHIL 180 - 189.
    5. History of philosophy: two history of philosophy courses numbered 100 or above

Graduate Core

  1. Students must take at least one course numbered over 105 from three of the following five areas (courses used to satisfy the undergraduate core cannot also be counted toward satisfaction of the graduate core). Crosslisted and other courses taught outside the Department of Philosophy do not count towards satisfaction of the core.

    1. Logic and semantics
    2. Philosophy of science and history of science
    3. Ethics, value theory, and moral and political philosophy
    4. Metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language
    5. History of philosophy

200-Level Course Requirement

  1. Each master's candidate must take at least two courses numbered above 200; these cannot be graduate sections of undergraduate courses.

Specialization

  1. Students must take at least three courses numbered over 105 in one of the five areas.


Special Program in Symbolic Systems

The Special Program in Symbolic Systems is a one-year master's program and requires 45-units in philosophy. Students should have the equivalent of the Stanford undergraduate major in Symbolic Systems to pursue the Philosophy MA program in Symbolic Systems.  Students who have a strong major in one of the basic Symbolic Systems disciplines (philosophy, psychology, linguistics, computer science) may be admitted, but are required to do a substantial part of the undergraduate symbolic systems core in each of the other basic symbolic systems fields. The following philosophy courses are required:

  1. PHIL 80: Mind, Matter, and Meaning
  2. PHIL 151: Metalogic
  3. One of the following:
  • PHIL 181: Philosophy of Language
  • PHIL 184: Theory of Knowledge
  • PHIL 186: Philosophy of Mind
  • PHIL 187: Philosophy of Action

This work does not count towards the 45-unit requirement.

REQUIREMENTS

I. Four courses in philosophy at the graduate level (numbered 200 or above), including courses from three of the following five areas:

  1. Philosophy of language
  2. Logic
  3. Philosophy of mind
  4. Metaphysics and epistemology
  5. Philosophy of science

At most two of the four courses may be graduate sections of undergraduate courses numbered 100 or higher.

II. Three courses numbered 100 or higher from outside Philosophy, chosen in consultation with an adviser. These courses should be from two of the following four areas:

  1. Psychology
  2. Linguistics
  3. Computer Science
  4. Education

Remaining courses are chosen in consultation with and approved by an adviser.

Full details about the PHILOSOPHY MA SPECIAL PROGRAM IN SYMBOLIC SYSTEMS


Special Program in the Philosophy of Language

Admission 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.

Course Requirements

  1. Philosophy of language: two approved courses in the philosophy of language numbered 180 or higher.
  2. Syntactic theory and generative grammar: PHIl 384, LINGUIST 230A, 
  3. Logic: at least two approved courses numbered PHIL 151 Metalogic or higher.
  4. An approved graduate-level course in mathematical linguistics or automata theory.

The most up to date version of requirements is always in exploredegrees.   Check ma REQUIREMENTS