Master of Arts Requirements


Students may pursue the Master of Arts in philosophy at Western Michigan University by completing the general requirements below and the requirements for one of the following options:

General requirements

Students should take careful note of the following requirements. Forms that require completion are in boldface.

  • Complete 24 credit hours of 5000 or 6000 level in the Department of Philosophy and complete 30 graduate credit hours overall.
  • With the authorization of the director of graduate studies, students may count up to six credit hours of courses from other departments. To request that a course from another department apply to the Master of Arts in philosophy program, complete the permission to apply a course from another department form, attach the materials requested on the form and leave it in the mailbox of the DGS. The department's office associate will contact you with the DGS's decision.
  • Satisfy the depth and breadth concentration requirements (see "concentrations" below).
  • At least half of the total credit hours applying to your degree must come from courses at the 6000 level or above.
  • Two independent study courses are offered. These courses do not satisfy any concentration area requirement.
    • Course 5980 receives a letter grade. No more than four credit hours may count toward your program.
    • Course 7100 is credit/no credit. No more than four credit hours may count toward your program.

    To take an independent study course, complete a Graduate Student Independent Study Permission form, have it signed by both the director of graduate studies and the faculty member with whom you wish to complete the independent study, and return the signed form to the department office. You will not be permitted to register for an independent study course without this form.

  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 at all times.
  • You must achieve a grade of B or higher in all courses.
  • A Graduate Program Review is conducted at the end of every year. You must meet with the director of graduate studies by March 1. It is your responsibility to ensure that this meeting has taken place. Failure to comply by meeting annually may result in dismissal from the program. At this meeting the director will conduct a review of your program of study and determine both whether it:
    • Meets program requirements.
    • Constitutes a viable and coherent program of study. The director has the right to deem your proposed program of study to be unacceptable even if it meets all program requirements.
    Bring to this meeting:
    • A completed Permanent Program Form. List all of the courses that you have taken, are taking, and will take in order to complete the requirements for completion of the Master of Arts in Philosophy program.

      If you have completed such a form at a previous graduate program review, take a copy of that form to the meeting. Changes to an already completed form will be submitted using a Program Change form.
    • A completed Concentration Requirements Satisfaction Form, with instructor signatures indicating approval of cross-listed courses for concentration.
    • A current copy of your transcript. A copy of your "unofficial" transcript available through GoWMU is acceptable.
  • An Application for Graduation Audit form must be completed about six months prior to expected graduation. Deadlines are published by the Office of the Registrar.


Graduate courses in philosophy are offered in three concentration areas to fulfill the depth and breadth requirements for the thesis and non-thesis options. Students must declare a concentration by the end of their first semester but may, with departmental approval, change this at a later date. Students fulfilling their depth requirement in:

  • Metaphysics and philosophy of mind
  • Epistemology and philosophy of science 
  • Theoretical and practical ethics 

Proviso: For courses listed under more than one concentration, the faculty member and student will come to an agreement concerning which concentration a given course will fall under. Students may count a given offering of a course under only one concentration.

  • PHIL 5980, 7000, and 7100 do not count for credit under any concentration. 

Course catalog