Master of Arts Degree

Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree: (Min. 33 hours)

1. 27 total hours of coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better.  These hours must include:

  1. Satisfaction of the course distribution requirement, which is as follows: one course each in ancient Greek philosophy, modern philosophy, value theory, and metaphysics/epistemology. Only courses in which the student earns a grade of "B" or better will count towards fulfilling the course distribution requirement. A student may petition the graduate committee to take an exam in one or more of the above areas which, if passed, would satisfy the distribution requirement for the area(s) in question.
  2. Symbolic Logic I or II with a grade of "C" or better, or equivalent, or exam in symbolic logic.
  3. Nine hours of course work in graduate seminars.

2. An acceptable thesis and a successful oral examination before the thesis committee. With the approval of the graduate committee, the oral exam may be taken a second time.

Guidelines/Timetable for M.A. Theses:

An M.A. thesis should be a well-written and tightly-organized essay on a carefully-defined topic; it is generally recommended that a thesis be between 50-70 pages in length. Below is a timetable that includes both guidelines and deadlines pertaining to the writing of the thesis. M.A. students planning to apply to Ph.D. programs (including ours) should pay special attention:

  1. Consider taking two courses in the fall semester and one course in the spring semester during your second year (this assumes you have completed 18 hours of course work in his or her first year).
  2. Select the general topic of your thesis and your director by the beginning of the fall semester of your second year.
  3. Have at least 20 pages of your M.A. thesis written by December 1st; often, these pages will be the basis of the writing sample you will submit for Ph.D. program applications.
  4. Have a full first draft of your thesis done by April 1st.
  5. In order to complete your thesis, the April draft will need to undergo substantial revision and tightening. Students are required to maintain close contact with their advisors during this revision process. Permission to defend will only be granted when the advisor deems the student to have achieved a defensible draft.
  6. Students are strongly encouraged to finish their theses by the end of the fourth semester. Faculty are often hard to reach or out of town during the summer, making the scheduling of defenses difficult during that time.
  7. Defend your thesis by the end of the first week of classes the following fall. For those admitted to our Ph.D. program and receiving an assistantship, this is a requirement---failure to defend by this time will mean forfeiture of the 2nd and 3rd years of the offered assistantship.

Admission to the Master of Arts Program

Admission to the M.A. program is subject to the approval of the Graduate School of the University of Arkansas and the graduate committee of the Department of Philosophy. The department encourages both philosophy majors and students with majors in other fields to apply. Though the normal expectation for admission to the M.A. program is at least 18 undergraduate hours in philosophy, including logic, exceptions are sometimes made. Students with significantly fewer hours in philosophy may be admitted "with deficiencies" (i.e., admitted but required to take more than the usual number of courses to satisfy the M.A. requirements). It is possible, but rare, for students with deficiencies to receive assistantships.The Graduate School has additional requirements, posted here.

Application Materials

Application is a two-part process. Submit application form, fee, transcripts, at least three confidential letters of recommendation, and GRE scores to the Graduate School. Send a sample of written work and statement of purpose directly to the Philosophy Department, at the address below. Applicants seeking a teaching assistantship should submit an assistantship application form to the Philosophy Department as well. The Graduate School has additional requirements for International students.

Send application materials to:

Graduate Admissions
Department of Philosophy
MAIN 318
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701