THE PH.D. PROGRAM IN PHILOSOPHY
The Texas A&M Ph.D. program is unique in requiring that the student earn, in addition to the Ph.D., either a supporting master’s (or higher level) degree in a field other than philosophy, or take an approved set of courses in Early Modern Studies.
Nearly every area of philosophy overlaps with at least one other discipline, and research that crosses disciplinary boundaries is becoming increasingly important. By obtaining a degree in a supporting field or completing an interdisciplinary course of studies on the Early Modern period, Ph.D. recipients enhance their research capabilities, develop the quality and content of their teaching, and enhance their employability.
Supporting degrees may come from a host of fields. Students pursuing a Ph.D. in political philosophy may, for example, wish to earn an MA or MS in political science. Those interested in environmental ethics might consider a supporting degree in wildlife or ecology. To date, we have also had students adopt business, biology, computer science, engineering, English, Hispanic studies, history, psychology, and theology as supporting master’s degrees.
Because Ph.D. students working in Early Modern philosophy are expected to have conducted in-depth study of 17th and 18th century topics and figures in a variety of disciplines, they have the option of pursuing a cross-disciplinary course of study on 17th and 18th century topics instead of getting a separate degree. In addition to taking 24 graduate credit hours of approved courses in other departments (such as History, English, and Political Science), students must complete a publishable-quality piece of original work on the Early Modern period that incorporates aspects of their interdisciplinary studies.
Applicants who already hold a degree at the master’s level or higher and wish to count it as their supporting degree should explain, in their statement of purpose, how the degree supports their research and teaching interests in philosophy.
Other applicants are expected to secure admission to a master’s program in an approved field by the end of their second year of study, or to form an interdisciplinary committee that will supervise their Early Modern studies by the end of their third year of study.
All supporting degrees, or Early Modern Studies plans, must be approved by the Department’s Graduate Program Advisory Council.
The Texas A&M master’s program in philosophy serves three purposes:
- First, it helps students prepare for study in a PhD program in philosophy. Our MA program has a strong record placing graduates in high-quality philosophy PhD programs around the country.
- Second, it enables professionals and advanced students from other disciplines to complement their training with systematic study of the philosophical concepts most relevant to their specialty.
- Finally, it enables students, including those who may have come to the study of philosophy late in their careers or who are returning to academic pursuits after pursuing other interests, to continue to enjoy the personal enrichment of pursuing philosophical questions.
General admissions for the terminal MA program are no longer being accepted. Exceptions may be considered in special cases, but no funding is available for terminal masters students (and there is no waiver for tuition or fees, which will be paid in full by the student). Exceptional cases may include students who have funding from external sources such as grants, fellowships, or the military. Any student applying as such an exception should be aware that they may be the only student in the terminal master’s program and that their application will be judged purely on its academic merits.
Two options for obtaining the MA are available: A non-thesis internship option and a thesis option. Students interested in applying their philosophical skills to other environments, such as education, medicine, law, the military or business, may arrange a professional internship in addition to taking 30 semester hours of course work (9 of which may be in other disciplines). Individuals who choose to write a master’s thesis must take at least 24 semester hours (6 of which may be in other disciplines) in addition to their thesis research. Depending on their background, applicants may be required to take particular undergraduate courses in order to enhance their program of study.