Through Duquesne’s M.A. program, you will earn an advanced degree in philosophy, preparing you for either doctoral studies or a career in a wide variety of allied fields. From the pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle to Kant, Nietzsche and Heidegger, you will be immersed in the works of the greatest minds in human history, exploring philosophy in depth, across cultures, continents and generations.

As a student in our M.A. program, your intellectual life will be nourished by a wide range of courses, our visiting speakers series, a graduate research colloquium, student- and faculty-run reading groups and strong graduate student organizations.


Program Information

Duquesne's M.A. program in philosophy prepares you for doctoral studies or diverse careers. Immerse yourself in the works of great thinkers, explore philosophy across cultures and generations.



Academic Department



2 years

Required Credit Hours


Master’s-level philosophy teaches you the ‘pragmatics’ of the field while you curate and deepen your interests within philosophy. There are many opportunities for leadership within the department, and the community is made up of kind and supportive friends.

—Gabriela M. Sánchez M.A. student

Program Features

Duquesne’s Department of Philosophy was among the first in the United States to concentrate on phenomenology and, more broadly, 19th- and 20th-century continental thought. In our M.A. program, you’ll work with dedicated faculty specializing in German idealism, the phenomenological traditions, social and political philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, structuralism, poststructuralism and their aftermaths.

We integrate this approach into a broader emphasis on the history of philosophy as a cluster of research areas in their own right and as necessary background for understanding contemporary thought. To this end, you’ll take courses with experts in each of the main periods of the history of philosophy, including ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary philosophy.

Get a sense of our recent seminars
You are intended to complete the Duquesne Philosophy M.A. program in two years of seminar-based coursework and writing. You are not required to write a thesis. Part-time M.A. students may follow an extended or alternative schedule.
As a student in our M.A. program, your intellectual life will be nourished by a wide range of courses, our visiting speakers series, a graduate research colloquium, student- and faculty-run reading groups and strong graduate student organizations.
We will encourage you to read philosophical works in their original languages when possible. Given the importance of developing high levels of competence in languages related to your research, we offer substantial support enabling you to pursue language study at Duquesne throughout the academic year and in summer language programs abroad.

As a new M.A. student entering the program in the fall and enrolling in 6 or more credits, you will be eligible to receive a 25% award on tuition.

Also, graduate assistantships outside the Philosophy Department are usually available and provide 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 and the Center for Women and Gender Studies, as well as through faculty-edited journals and individual faculty research grant initiatives. Students joining the program are alerted as opportunities become available.

Our M.A. program places 88% of students choosing to apply to doctoral or other advanced programs in fully funded positions. Including non-academic full-time careers, the philosophy M.A. program has a 95% placement rate. See recent M.A. placements

Application Requirements

Submit the online application through the graduate application portal. Once submitted, the system will generate an application checklist page and allow applicants to upload all supplementary documents.

The next deadline to submit an application for our M.A. program is March 1, 2024.

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.

Submit a two-page maximum curriculum vitae (no resumes please) clearly indicating the following: name and contact information; academic degrees with institution, major or discipline, and dates conferred or expected; any academic fellowships, awards, scholarships or honors; any academic publications; any academic conference presentations; language proficiencies (reading, speaking and writing indicated as fluent, advanced, intermediate or basic); and any additional academically relevant information.

Contact for more info

Dr. Kelly Arenson

Acting Director of Graduate Studies

Department of Philosophy