Philosophy (M.A.)

Diversify Your Thinking

The M.A. program will prepare you with an advanced degree in philosophy or a career in allied fields. We host an active and vibrant philosophical community, including an extensive visiting speakers series and graduate research colloquium, student and faculty organized reading groups, and a strong graduate student organization. Information on recent events, visiting speakers, and the Graduate Students in Philosophy organization may be found below.

We strongly encourage reading philosophical works in their original languages, when possible, and place a premium on our students developing a high level of competence in the languages related to their doctoral research. To that end, we offer substantial support for our graduate students to pursue language study at Duquesne and through intensive summer language programs abroad.

Here is a sampling of recent course topics for our graduate program:

pre-Socratics Plato Aristotle Confucius
Hellenistic & Roman philosophy Plotinus Augustine Pseudo-Dionysius
Aquinas Classical Islamic philosophy Descartes Hobbes
Spinoza Leibniz Kant Nietzsche
Husserl Heidegger Freud Adorno
Political Philosophy Critical Race Theory German Idealism Moral Philosophy

Program Requirements

The requirements for this program include one course in each of the following areas:

  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Contemporary Philosophy
  • Medieval Philosophy
  • Modern Philosophy
  • Additional courses will be electives at the graduate level






Required Credit Hours



About the M.A. in Philosophy

M.A. students are not required to write a Master’s Thesis. Those who choose to do so must secure the agreement of a faculty director and register for PHIL 700 Research Thesis during their final two semesters of the program. These 6 Research Thesis credits count toward the coursework credit requirement detailed above.
When relevant to a student’s research and with the approval of the Chair, three credits (1 course) taken through another department may be applied toward the coursework credits requirement.
Transfer credits are not accepted and advanced standing is not awarded for the M.A. program. Please note that this Philosophy graduate transfer credit policy is more limited than the general Graduate School policy.

Application Requirements

Students must submit a completed applicating including an updated resume or curriculum vitae.

Submit a one or two page CV clearly indicating the following: name and contact information; academic degrees (with the degree, institution, major or discipline, and dates conferred or expected); any academic fellowships, awards, scholarships, or honors; any academic publications; any formal academic presentations (at conferences, colloquia, etc.); any language proficiencies other than English (for each language, indicate proficiency in reading, speaking, and writing as fluent, advanced, intermediate, or basic); any additional academically-relevant information; and contact information for each person who will submit a letter of recommendation (include the name, position, institutional affiliation, and email address). NOTE: On the application checklist page of the graduate application portal, this item will be listed as 'Curriculum Vitae or Resume'; please do NOT submit a resume.

The next deadline to submit an application for our M.A. program is March 1, 2023.

Submit a transcript from each college or university you have attended. For the application process, transcripts from U.S. institutions may be submitted as legible scans (if you are accepted, you will be required to submit official transcripts before matriculating). If you hold prior degrees from an institution located outside the U.S., you are required to have an official course-by-course report from a transcript credential evaluation service sent directly to Duquesne University.

M.A. applicants are expected to hold or be in the final stages of completing a B.A. or equivalent degree in Philosophy or a related discipline. Applicants holding B.A.- or M.A.-level degrees in more distantly-related fields will be considered when they can demonstrate they have successfully pursued significant coursework in philosophy.

At least three confidential letters of recommendation must be submitted by those in a position to assess the applicant's past performance and future academic potential. Please use the graduate application portal to generate online requests for confidential letters of recommendation. Recommenders will receive instructions by email for uploading their letters directly to the Duquesne system.
Submit a statement of intent characterizing your philosophical interests and identifying areas of proposed research, describing your philosophical background and any relevant biography, and explaining specific interest in the Duquesne program. Use this document to give us a sense of who you are and where your intellectual passions lie.
Submit a sample of philosophical writing, maximum 5000 words.

Only applicable to international students.

Valid TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo language test scores are required for all applicants who do not hold U.S., Australian, Canadian, Irish, New Zealander, or U.K. citizenship; U.S. permanent resident status; or U.S. refugee/asylum status. If you are not covered by this list, you may still request a language test score waiver if you meet any of the following conditions: English is your native or primary language; you have completed four years of undergraduate-level coursework or two years of graduate-level coursework at an accredited U.S. university; you have completed four years of undergraduate-level coursework or two years of graduate-level coursework at an accredited non-U.S. university where English is the language of instruction. A prompt to request a waiver on any of these grounds is built into the online application system - please do not directly contact the Philosophy Department to request a waiver. If you are required to submit a language test score, applications cannot be reviewed (and application checklist page test score items will remain marked as ‘Awaiting materials') until official language score reports are received directly from testing agencies.

Student Funding

New M.A. students entering the program in the fall and enrolling in six or more credits are eligible to receive 25% award on tuition. 

Graduate Assistantships outside the Philosophy Department are also usually available, providing tuition assistance, a stipend, or an hourly wage. These are awarded by direct application to the assistantship, not as part of a Philosophy Department-based funding package. In recent years, our M.A. students have obtained positions in the University Writing Center, the Honors College, the Center for Interpretive and Qualitative Research, the Center for Women and Gender Studies, through faculty-edited journals, and through individual faculty research grant initiatives. Students joining the program will be alerted as opportunities become available.

Contact for more info

Dr. Lanei Rodemeyer

Director of Graduate Studies