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Philosophy | MA Program

Philosophy Master's Program

The philosophy master’s degree program offers a rigorous education focused on close reading and engagement with primary texts, while providing remarkable opportunities to put that training to work, both in and outside the classroom. Graduate level classes focus on the application of philosophy to issues concerning biomedicine, environmental protection, human rights, media, business, and race relations. Master’s students pursue internships in these and a number of other fields.

The philosophy MA degree offers two tracks:

  • The philosophy and social policy track applies ethics and political philosophy to the complex social issues of today, combining philosophy with another related field to provide grounding for designing and evaluating social policy.
  • The history of philosophy track emphasizes the rich, multi-cultural heritage of the discipline, providing the opportunity to study Asian and Latin American philosophies as well as the traditional Western canon.

The strength of the master’s program stems from its flexibility and faculty mentorship. While some MA programs in philosophy are intended exclusively to prepare students for doctoral study, the goal of AU’s philosophy program is to ensure students are able to develop a program that is tailored to their goals. While many students will use their coursework at AU as preparation for doctoral study, other students will use it to prepare for other fields, such as law, or to clarify their career goals.

In addition to preparation for PhD programs or law school, the program’s emphasis on research, writing, and philosophical interpretation prepares its students for careers in a number of fields in government, non-governmental organizations (such as public policy institutes and ethics organizations), and education. Student internships have served as the capstone experience, and have often led to employment for those who are not seeking further graduate study. For those who do enter PhD programs, the internship provides not only an opportunity to test one’s theoretical intuitions and commitments, but to consider how the study of philosophy contributes to, and also benefits from, engagement outside the academy. Students have interned in remarkably varied settings, including governmental and nongovernmental organizations focusing on issues and problems both domestic and international.

Recent graduates are pursuing PhD’s at universities throughout the U.S., as well as working in organizations such as the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Institute of Peace.

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