MAPh Non-Thesis Option: Detailed Program Description
Students currently enrolled in the MAPh must consult the DSPT Student Handbook for program details.
Coursework. Students must take all of the following three-unit courses (In both options, no more than 18 units may come from the introductory (1000) level, and at least two courses should be at the advanced (4000) level.). Students should work closely with their advisor in planning their courses as outlined in the MAPh Course Requirements Checklist .
Written Samples for the Assessment Portfolio. The assessment portfolio requires each student to submit two research papers during the course of the academic program: 1) Research Readiness Paper (submitted at the end of the first semester); and 2) the MA thesis. These papers must be written according to the standards prescribed in the most recent edition of A Manual for the Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations, by Kate Turabian.
Research Readiness Paper Review (RRP). The RRP review helps students, advisors, and Department Faculty assess and refine student research skills. As such, the RPR is a prerequisite for submitting a thesis proposal and must be completed by the end of the first semester in the program. There are several parts to this review:
The RRP review helps students, advisors, and Department Faculty assess and refine student research skills. As such, the RPR is a prerequisite for submitting a thesis proposal and must be completed by the end of the first semester in the program. There are several parts to this review:
For students pursuing the non-thesis option, the Comprehensive Exam, the Capstone Research Paper, and the Philosophy Colloquium constitute the "capstone event" of the program.
Comprehensive Examination. Students must pass a written comprehensive examination which assesses their general knowledge and ability to integrate philosophical ideas, thus assuring the achievement of an adequate knowledge of systematic and historical philosophy. It is a three-hour, closed-book exam that takes place at the end of the student's final academic year in the program. A standard set of study questions is made available to students as a preparation tool. The exam is prepared by the Department Chair who selects one question from a topic in systematic philosophy and one from historical philosophy from among a set of questions submitted by Faculty. Those Faculty whose questions have been chosen also grade the two exam questions, submitting the final grade to the DSPT Registrar.
Categories for grading are: pass, fail with possibility of retaking the exam, or fail without possibility of retaking the exam. In the case of a disagreement between the professors grading the exam, the Advisor (or, if someone else is needed, a professor appointed by the Department Chair) becomes a third reader.
Capstone Research Paper. For students in the MAPh, Non-Thesis Option, the second research paper of the portfolio is the Capstone Research Paper. The paper must be 20-25 pages in length and should show "an ability to integrate historical and systematic knowledge in a chosen area of interest." Students engage a DSPT faculty member to serve as the reader for the paper. The paper may be an expanded version of a research paper from a DSPT course or a new research project. If the topic is from work done for a particular DSPT course, then that instructor would normally be the reader.
The student submits the completed paper to the reader along with the Capstone Research Paper Evaluation form . The paper must receive a grade of "B" or better to fulfill the Capstone Research Paper requirement. If the grade is lower than "B," the student may be required either to write a new paper or to improve the present paper so that it is of sufficient quality to receive a "B" grade. The paper is integrated into two Philosophy Colloquium presentations, as described below.
Students enroll in the Philosophy Colloquium during their final year of studies and are expected to participate actively in all colloquium sessions. They make two presentations related to their Capstone Research Paper and take turns acting as chair of the colloquium.
In the first presentation, students offer an outline of their paper and receive critique and constructive criticism on their proposed research topic and methodology. In order to schedule this presentation, students must show to the Colloquium Coordinator the completed Capstone Research Paper Evaluation form with the signature of the proposed reader. The student should distribute a handout to colloquium participants before the scheduled presentation. The student makes notes of the feedback received during the presentation, discusses this with the reader, and incorporates it judiciously into the final version of the paper.
In the second presentation, students present their completed paper which demonstrates that the received criticisms have been addressed. This second presentation may be scheduled only after the corrected paper (which must receive a grade of "B" or better) and the completed Capstone Research Paper Evaluation form have been submitted to the Colloquium Coordinator. The student distributes copies of the paper to colloquium participants in advance of the meeting in which it is to be discussed.