Philosophy, MA

The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies offers a philosophy master's program that spans philosophical matters from ancient Greece to modern-day ethics. General areas of classical research include political philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, history of philosophy and philosophy of law. Students also explore contemporary ideals of subjects such as bioethics, feminism and gender and sports to create a well-rounded thinker and graduate of philosophy.

The program has an excellent placement record and graduates of the program will be equipped with skills such as critical thinking, argument construction and analytic writing. Alumni of the program have gone on to teach philosophy at community colleges, enter doctoral programs and work in areas such as medicine, law, government and publishing. 

2 years to degree
12 faculty
9+ colloquia events

Degree Overview

The 30-hour program seeks to maintain a balance between course offerings in the traditional areas of philosophy and opportunities for the study of current philosophical developments. In addition to coursework, students must complete and defend a culminating experience, which may be the thesis or the non-thesis option (portfolio). There is no foreign language requirement.

Students enrolled full-time in the Philosophy MA program are able to complete their program and receive their degree within two years.

How to apply

Prospective students are encouraged to correspond with faculty who share their interests and to visit campus if interested. Talented students with strong interests in graduate study in philosophy are encouraged to apply whether or not they have an undergraduate degree in philosophy.

A full application requires:

Application deadlines are February 15 and May 1.

For more information on the application process and requirements, please click here

The philosophy graduate programs at ASU have unusual breadth. On any given day, you will see students working on modal logic problems in the lounge, shuttling off to Mayo Clinic for a bio-ethics internship, writing a paper on marriage equality or attending a colloquium talk on concepts of infinity in Modern Philosophy. Many of our students have degrees in areas outside of philosophy adding to the interdisciplinary nature of our program. Add to this, the enormous resources of one of the country's largest and most innovative universities, ASU is an exciting place to do philosophy!

N. Ángel Pinillos, Director of Graduate Studies in Philosophy 


Credit hours used toward the degree include approved graduate-level courses (3 credit hours each) in each of the following four major areas. Students must earn a "B" (3.00) or higher in each course:

  • Epistemology
  • History
  • Metaphysics
  • Value theory

Students must complete a culminating event at the conclusion of the MA program: a thesis or portfolio. Students selecting the thesis option must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours consisting of 24 hours of coursework and 6 credit hours of PHI 599 Thesis. The non-thesis option (portfolio) requires 27 hours of coursework and 3 credit hours of PHI 592 Research.

Thesis Option Course Requirements

Requirements and ElectivesHours
Required Core Courses12
Total Hours Required30

 Portfolio Option Course Requirements

Requirements and ElectivesHours
Required Core Courses12
Total Hours Required30


Courses and electives

Below is a list of courses that may be offered in the program in each core area of study. The list is not exhaustive and the categories may change depending on the faculty member who teaches the course in a given semester. Students should check with the instructor or Director of Graduate Studies each semester to determine which areas are satisfied by the courses offered.


PHI 560: Topics in Epistemology (3 credits)
PHI 562: Perception (3 credits)
PHI 565: Probabilism (3 credits)


PHI 581: Studies in Ancient Greek Philosophy (3 credits)
PHI 582: Studies in Modern Philosophy (3 credits)
PHI 586: 20th and 21st Century Philosophers (3 credits)
PHI 587: Topics in the History of Philosophy (3 credits)


PHI 570: Topics in Metaphysics (3 credits)
PHI 571: Studies in  Philosophy of Mind (3 credits)
PHI 572: Studies in  Philosophy of Language (3 credits)
PHI 576: Realism (3 credits)

Value Theory

PHI 540: Topics in Value Theory (3 credits)
PHI 541: Normative Ethics (3 credits)
PHI 544: Studies in Meta-Ethics (3 credits)
PHI 545: Studies in Philosophy of Law (3 credits)
PHI 546: Studies in Political Philosophy (3 credits)

Courses not taken as core courses from above list can be taken as electives. 

Thesis Option
PHI 599: Thesis (6 credits)

Portfolio Option
PHI 592: Research (3 credits)