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Degrees Offered

Master of Arts (M.A.)

The philosophy department no longer offers a terminal M.A. degree. However, admitted Ph.D. students will earn an M.A. degree after completion of thirty-three hours of graduate study in philosophy, passing one written examination either in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy or in Modern and Contemporary Philosophy, and an oral exam. At least 18 of these hours must be at the 5000 level. In the past, the department has helped students to carry on their graduate study toward a Ph.D. Qualified students have gone on from work in this department to major Ph.D. programs in the United States. In addition, many of our students have also gone on to successful further study in theological school and in law school. Students who enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A. in Philosophy or a closely related discipline will find their 51 elective hours reduced to take appropriate account of their previous graduate work. The Graduate Director will determine the exact number of hours that will tranfer.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Doctoral study in philosophy at Baylor University is a professional apprenticeship that ends with the highest degree granted in the field of philosophy. Doctoral graduates of the Baylor University philosophy department will be mentored to do basic research in philosophy using all customary scholarly sources, to publish their research in philosophy journals or other public forums, to teach effectively, and to engage in critical conversation about central traditions in Western philosophy with peers and students in a wide range of contexts.

Central emphases of the Department's program of graduate study are historical studies in particular periods and figures in Western philosophy as well as in issues of contemporary philosophy that have significant roots in those historical periods and figures. Faculty members also specialize in moral philosophy, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, and epistemology. For information about individual members of the department's faculty, their interests and publications, see the department's faculty page

An account of a typical program of study leading to the Ph.D. degree, for typical students who have no previous graduate work in philosophy, is available here

Year One

Fall Spring
9 hours of course work 9 hours of course work
Summer: Philosophy 5330: Readings in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
Exam on Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
Accumulated Hours of study: 21

Year Two

Fall Spring
9 hours of course work 9 hours of course work
Summer: Philosophy 5331: Readings on Modern and Contemporary Philosophy
Exam on Modern and Contemporary Philosophy
Accumulated Hours of study: 42 Hours


Year Three

Fall Spring
6 hours of course work 6 hours of coursework
Accumulated Hours of study: 54

Included in the courses students take during these first three years are Philosophy 5320 (Special Topics: Symbolic Logic) and Philosophy 5350 (Workshop in Teaching Philosophy).

Years Fours and Five

Prospectus research and dissertation hours

18 hours of guided readings courses and dissertation hours. (Accumulated Hours of study: 72)

This description is intended to cover typical students who come into the graduate program with only an undergraduate major in philosophy. For other students, this program of study will be modified to take account of additional experience and study. The department intends to provide financial support for admitted students for five years.

The entire graduate faculty of the department deliberates annually about the strengths and weaknesses of each graduate student. In a few cases, the department may advise termination at the end of the student's MA study in the department.

Additional Requirements include successful completion of:

  1. Philosophy
    1. A written examination in classical texts of ancient philosophy and medieval philosophy.
    2. A written examination in classical texts of modern and twentieth century philosophy.
    3. A written dissertation prospectus (15-30 pages) and a bibliography.
      4. An oral dissertation prospectus defense.
    4. A dissertation (150-300 pages).
      6. An oral examination over the dissertation.
  2. Teaching
    1. Six to twelve hours of assisting in introductory courses.
    2. PHI 5350 Workshop in Teaching Philosophy.
    3. Six to twelve hours of teaching as an instructor of record.
  3. Foreign Language Preparation
    1. Competence in one foreign language relevant to the student's area of research is required for the Ph.D. in Philosophy. Students may satisfy this requirement by one of the methods listed in (See page 35 of the Graduate Catalogue on satisfying the Foreign Language Requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy or this site for more information.)

Catalog Listing of Courses