Philosophy Program

MAPh Exam Option: Detailed Program Description

Students currently enrolled in the MAPh must consult the DSPT Student Handbook pdf 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 pdf.

Systematic Philosophy 18 units

  • Logic
  • Philosophy of Nature
  • Philosophical Anthropology
  • Metaphysics
  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Philosophical Ethics

History of Philosophy 12 units

  • History of Ancient
  • History of Medieval
  • History of Modern
  • History of Contemporary

Electives 15 units

Students may take courses from other areas so long as they integrate with the overall emphasis of their program. In consultation with their advisor, students in the exam option may choose electives in a particular specialization which will be explored in their colloquium paper.

MA Colloquium 3 units

TOTAL 48 units

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 Capstone Research Paper. 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:

a) professor review - A student designates as the RPR a fifteen to twenty paper written as part of the normal class requirements for one of the courses that semester. The professor should be informed early in the semester that the paper will be used for this purpose. At the designated time, the paper and Research Paper Review Form pdf are submitted to the professor for review.

b) advisor review - The professor returns the graded paper and completed RPR Form to the student, who gives them to the faculty advisor.

c) department review - All items are summarized by the advisor at the Department discussion of the student. Any comments from the Faculty discussion about the RRP will be included in a written summary of the discussion presented to the student and kept in the portfolio. Students whose work is deemed unsatisfactory, must submit for review a different research paper (due at the end of the second semester).

MAPh, Exam Option Capstone.

For students pursuing the exam 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, Exam 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 pdf. 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.

Philosophy Colloquium. Using research work submitted by participants as study material, the Philosophy Colloquium is specifically designed for exam-option students to help them

  • discuss their research and engage in philosophical conversation;
  • integrate the philosophy program objectives with the mission and goals of the School;
  • listen attentively to input from peers and faculty who are not necessarily "experts" in the same field of specialization, and;
  • effectively incorporate those ideas which are relevant to their research paper in a manner which further clarifies the original objectives.

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 pdf 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 pdf 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.

Back to the MAPh Program Description.