Graduate Resources

Graduate Resources

Graduate Student Handbook

Degree Requirements

Successful completion of a program of study consisting of ≥30 units of approved graduate courses (500- and 600-levels), of which at least 24 units must be in Philosophy. Of these 24 units, a minimum of 9 units must be in graduate seminars; of these 9 units, 3 must come from the graduate proseminar. The remaining 6 units may be taken either in Philosophy or, with the approval of the Graduate Advisor, in another field of study closely related to the candidate’s educational objectives in her or his thesis. PHIL697: Directed Research and PHIL698: Directed Thesis may not count toward fulfillment of the 600 series minimum requirement. Undergraduate-level courses in Philosophy are not normally counted toward the MA degree requirements. However, under special circumstances and at the discretion of the Graduate Advisor, undergraduate level courses may be counted when such work is essential to the successful completion of the student’s proposed culminating activity. A culminating activity (thesis, non-thesis project, paper portfolio, comprehensive examination) is required of all students. An oral defense is required for the thesis option, recommended for the non-thesis project option, and otherwise not required.


PHIL610 is designed to initiate first-year graduate students into the MA program, and to orient students toward the expectations of the faculty and the program requirements. An emphasis is placed on equipping students with the skills in discursive reasoning, research, and composition needed to flourish at higher levels of professional academic competence. Among these skills learned are how to analyze texts through discussions and presentations, how to extract and reconstruct arguments, how to conduct philosophical research and properly cite sources, and the proper composition of papers and production of conference posters.

As the course is taught in a roundtable setting, students are expected to be prepared with relevant questions and insights for class discussion for every class meeting. In graduate level seminars the professor serves largely as a facilitator for a course that is run jointly by the professor and students. Typically, each class meeting will have two components: a discussion component and a skills component. Sometimes these two components will be integrated with one another.

Students must enroll in PHIL610 in the first semester in which the course is offered to them (normally each fall semester). Successful completion of PHIL610 is required to progress from conditionally classified to classified status.

Basic Qualifying Exam (BQE)

The BQE is a diagnostic test to ensure that students are equipped with the basic skills prerequisite for the successful study of advanced Philosophy and related pursuits. Passing the BQE invests both the Department and students’ thesis or exam committees with the confidence to continue supporting and working with that student. Additionally, the BQE provides the student with feedback as to their current knowledge and abilities.

The exam is comprised of an analytic portion and a text portion. The analytic portion assesses students’ abilities to extract, reconstruct, and evaluate arguments from short novel passages. Students must be able to demonstrate an understanding of basic logical concepts (validity, soundness, cogency, analogy, etc.), and are often asked to explain or analyze key inferences. The text portion assesses the student’s ability to read, interpret, and critically evaluate a more lengthy philosophical text.

Conditionally classified students who at entry to the program as a graduate student have been determined to have no deficiencies in prerequisite preparation must attempt the BQE by the end of their second (academic year) semester in the program and pass it by the end of their third (academic year) semester in order to achieve classified status. (Winter Term and Summer Session do not count as academic year semesters).

Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to Candidacy is the next step after acquiring classified status (and cannot take place until then) and confers catalog rights to graduate students. Advancement to Candidacy also signifies approval of a plan of study by the student’s department and college. The requirements for advancement, which must be achieved at least one semester before graduation can occur and can only occur in a semester in which the student is enrolled, are:

  1. Students must be in classified status and have maintained a minimum 3.00 GPA in Philosophy to advance to candidacy.
  2. The faculty of the department must approve the student’s prospectus for her or his culminating activity to advance to candidacy.
  3. Students must be advanced to candidacy to enroll in PHIL697, PHIL698, or GS700B.

Culminating Activities

New Matriculants

The university has inaugurated an online compendium, called Navigating Grad Studies at the Beach, which offers a centralized location for prospective, current, and international students to learn about campus services and tools, funding, academic resources, etc.

Department Policies and Information

Other University Resources and Policies