Department of Philosophy website

Degrees Offered

Master of Arts, students are admitted under Plan B (non-thesis option) but Plan A (thesis option) is also offered; Doctor of Philosophy

Note: Students in the social and applied philosophy specialization are admitted under Plan B only.

Program Descriptions

The Philosophy Department's master's program in the history of philosophy and the doctoral program are based on the history of philosophy, ancient through contemporary, as the necessary experience for a mind critically able to face contemporary philosophical issues. The master's program in social and applied philosophy provides rigorous philosophical training for individuals who are interested in working in a variety of non-academic contexts or for pursuing further graduate studies.

Prerequisites for Admission

Applicants are expected to have 18 semester hours of undergraduate philosophy course work, six hours of which should be in survey courses (history of philosophy) for admission to the doctoral program or the master of arts program with a specialization in history of philosophy.

Application Deadline

Applicant files must be completed by Feb. 15 for admission consideration. Applications for admission received after this date will be considered as space permits.

Application Requirements

Applicants must submit, directly to the Graduate School:

  1. A completed application form and fee online.
  2. Official transcripts from all current and previous colleges/universities except Marquette.
  3. A statement of purpose outlining applicant’s achievements and intentions in philosophy.
  4. Letters of recommendation from at least three professors or professionals familiar with applicant’s academic work and/or academic background.
  5. GRE scores (General Test only).
  6. A sample of philosophical writing.
  7. (For international applicants only) a TOEFL score or other acceptable proof of English proficiency.

Dual Program of Study

M.A.-J.D. Degree

The Department of Philosophy, in conjunction with the Law School, offers a program of dual study leading to a master’s degree in philosophy and a juris doctor degree. Students seeking admission to the dual program must apply to both the Graduate School and the Law School and must meet the admission requirements for each. Students start this dual program as a law student. Upon completion of the law program, students will be officially admitted to the philosophy program for completion of the remainder of the dual program.

Dual program students complete 81 credit hours in the Law School, 21 credit hours in philosophy and nine credit hours in dual program courses.

To participate in the M.A.-J.D. program in social and applied philosophy or in history of philosophy, the law student must receive the prior written approval of the associate dean for academic affairs in the Law School and must comply with the regulations of the Graduate School. The student must have completed 27 credit hours at the Law School with a cumulative average of 3.000 before entering either master of arts program in philosophy. Students may seek admission to the dual program at any time, but must complete both programs in four years (six years for part-time students), in accord with Law School academic regulations.

In general, dual program students will pay tuition at the full-time (flat tuition) Law School rate while a full-time law student, regardless of whether or not they are taking additional graduate courses. Upon receiving the juris doctor degree, dual program students will pay Graduate School tuition at the per credit rate for graduate courses. Part-time law students will pay the per credit Law School rate for all courses.

Additional details about the M.A.-J.D. program are available on the Philosophy Department website, at the Philosophy Department office or from the Law School Admissions office.

Philosophy Master's Requirements

Specializations: History of Philosophy, Social and Applied Philosophy

History of Philosophy

(Plan A or Plan B master's)

Course work in either Plan A or B must include:

PHIL 6605Plato3
or PHIL 6610 Aristotle
PHIL 6620Augustine3
or PHIL 6640 St. Thomas Aquinas
PHIL 6650Descartes3
or PHIL 6655 Hume
or PHIL 6660 Kant
or PHIL 6662 Hegel
One course in the history of philosophy to be approved by the director of graduate studies3


A master’s student may choose to be in either Plan A (thesis option) or Plan B (course option). Students are assumed to be in Plan B unless a formal request is made to and approved by the Graduate School.

In Plan A, the student must complete 24 credit hours of graduate-level course work and six credit hours of thesis work, pass a comprehensive examination and submit an approved thesis. Also, the student must have reading knowledge of French or German, or another foreign language approved by the department. At least 18 credits of the course work requirement must be in philosophy and must include the four core courses as outlined above. The comprehensive examination requires a critical knowledge of the philosophical classics and of contemporary philosophical literature.

In Plan B, the student must complete 30 credit hours of graduate-level course work and pass a comprehensive examination. No essay or foreign language is required for the Plan B master’s program. At least 18 credits of the course work requirement must be in graduate-level philosophy courses, including one course in ethics and the four core courses as outlined above. Up to six credit hours of upper division undergraduate courses approved for graduate credit may be counted toward this degree. Courses must be individually approved by the director of the graduate program. Plan B master’s degrees are considered terminal degrees by the Department of Philosophy.

Social and Applied Philosophy

(Plan B master's only)

Course work must include:

PHIL 6310History and Theory of Ethics3
PHIL 6960Seminar in Applied/Professional Philosophy3
one of the following:3
Plato
Aristotle
Augustine
St. Thomas Aquinas
one of the following:3
Descartes
Post-Cartesian Rationalism
Hume
Kant
Hegel
PHIL 6965Practicum in Philosophy (may be taken for 6 credits OR 3 credits with an additional 3 credit philosophy elective)6
Two electives from the graduate philosophy course offerings6
Two graduate level cognate courses from outside philosophy6
Total Credit Hours30

The cognate courses are to be approved by the student's adviser and the coordinator of the master of arts social and applied philosophy specialization. No comprehensive exam or foreign language is required for the Plan B master's program. Plan B master's degrees are considered terminal degrees by the Philosophy Department.

Accelerated Bachelor's-Master's Degree Program

(PLAN B MASTER'S ONLY)

The accelerated degree program (ADP) in philosophy is designed to give Marquette University undergraduates a more efficient means to obtain a master's degree in philosophy. Interested Marquette students in their junior year (or equivalent) must meet the following criteria in order to apply for the ADP:

  • Students must have a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.000. 
  • Students must have taken at least 18 credits of course work in philosophy (6 courses).

Students accepted into the program may transfer up to 12 credits of approved 5000-level courses into their graduate program. Undergraduates participating in this program are granted early admission to the Graduate School and are allowed to take specific graduate-level courses during their senior year. 

The ADP in philosophy is not restricted to philosophy majors. For additional information about requirements, interested students should contact the Department of Philosophy.

Those who have completed a master of arts in philosophy have gone on to excellent philosophy doctoral programs or law schools, and gained employment in the non-profit and private sectors. Graduate courses in our program offer students the possibility to pursue topics of interest to them in more depth than they are able to do in undergraduate classes. These courses provide smaller class sizes, more opportunities for participation, and an emphasis on the refinement of student research skills.

Philosophy Doctoral Requirements

Specializations: Ancient Philosophy, British Empiricism/Analytical Philosophy, Christian Philosophy, Early Modern European Philosophy, Ethics, German Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, Phenomenology-Existentialism, Philosophy of Religion

A doctoral student in the philosophy program must complete a program of study defined on an approved Doctoral Program Planning Form. Normally, the student must complete 48 credit hours of graduate-level course work beyond the baccalaureate degree. At least 30 of these must be completed after admission to the doctoral program. In addition, students must complete 12 credit hours of dissertation work. The student also must complete the foreign language requirements, display an understanding of the fundamentals of predicate logic demonstrated either by course work or by a department exam, a qualifying paper with an oral defense, and submit and successfully defend a dissertation.

Course work must include seven courses: Five courses in history of philosophy and two in systematic philosophy as listed below:

PHIL 6605Plato3
or PHIL 6610 Aristotle
PHIL 6620Augustine3
or PHIL 6640 St. Thomas Aquinas
PHIL 6650Descartes3
or PHIL 6655 Hume
or PHIL 6660 Kant
or PHIL 6662 Hegel
Two courses in the history of philosophy to be approved by the director of graduate studies.6
One course in metaphysics or epistemology, or philosophy of science to be approved by the director of graduate studies.3
One course in ethics or social/political philosophy or aesthetics to be approved by the director of graduate studies.3
  • With written approval from the department chair, up to 12 credit hours of required course work may be taken in other fields.
  • Students must demonstrate competence in two foreign languages. This may be completed by passing an appropriate foreign language course, a departmental exam, or within departmental course work.
  • Students must demonstrate competence in symbolic logic, either through course work, acceptable undergraduate courses or a departmental exam.
  • Students must submit one qualifying paper. This paper will be assessed by a committee of three faculty. Generally, these will be a minimum of 5000 words.

Courses

PHIL 5000. Modern Logic. 3 cr. hrs.

Introduction to modern symbolic logic, with primary emphasis on translation into symbolic form and natural deduction. Propositional logic and predicate logic with identity are covered.

PHIL 5931. Topics in Philosophy. 1-3 cr. hrs.

Concentrated work in a restricted field. Specific subjects to be determined.

PHIL 5953. Undergraduate Seminar. 3 cr. hrs.

Designed to initiate a selected group of qualified undergraduates in the technique and discipline of scholarly research by concentrated work in a restricted field. Critical reading and analysis of sources. Specific subjects of seminars to be announced in the Schedule of Classes.

PHIL 6120. Problems in Logic. 3 cr. hrs.

An investigation into logical and meta-logical problems of perennial and contemporary relevance. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6310. History and Theory of Ethics. 3 cr. hrs.

A theoretical investigation into the moral dimensions of human life. Covers the principal traditions in Western moral philosophy as well as significant work in contemporary moral philosophy. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6320. Natural-Law Ethics. 3 cr. hrs.

Classical and/or contemporary theories of natural law. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6330. Problems in Ethics. 3 cr. hrs.

Considers various metaethical and normative problems, such as: values; the justification and nature of ethical norms; moral responsibility; moral failure; the relation of morality to religion, law, and aesthetics. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6340. Aesthetics. 3 cr. hrs.

Considers one or more of the following problems in aesthetic theory: expression, representation, art and knowledge, aesthetics and society, method. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6410. Philosophy of Process. 3 cr. hrs.

An introduction to the metaphysical thought process of philosophers such as Bergson and Whitehead. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6420. Philosophy of Language. 3 cr. hrs.

Studies topics such as the structure and function of language, philosophy and linguistics, and language and mind. Considers philosophers such as Austin, Morris and Chomsky. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6430. Philosophy of Knowledge. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of major epistemological problems and theories of knowledge. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6440. Philosophy of Science. 3 cr. hrs.

A survey of basic problems and methods in contemporary philosophy of science. Emphasizes problems arising from current space-time theory, quantum mechanics, and the use of variant models and methodologies in the exact sciences. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6450. Philosophy of Mind. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of what mind is and its relation to the body; various concepts related to the mental and to human action. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6460. Philosophy of Freedom. 3 cr. hrs.

A systematic investigation of problems involved in the assertion of human freedom. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6470. Problems in Metaphysics. 3 cr. hrs.

Studies doctrines on the nature of ultimate reality; associated topics such as substance, relation, process or change, causality, universals, particulars, space, time, eternity, freedom, necessity; and the meaning of metaphysics as a philosophical discipline. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6480. Recent Christian Metaphysics. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of recent Christian metaphysical thought through one or more major figures, such as Marechal, Lonergan, Gilson, Tillich, or through thematic problems. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6510. Philosophy of Religion. 3 cr. hrs.

Inquiry into the religious dimensions of human existence and into divine reality. Topics include: religion as a cultural institution, religious experience, the existence and nature of God, the problem of evil, faith and reason, religious language, and the rationality of religious belief. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6530. Philosophy of History. 3 cr. hrs.

Study of both critical and speculative philosophy of history. Problems such as the nature of the historian's inquiry, types of historical understanding, theories of historical explanation, the possibility of pattern and purpose or value in history. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6605. Plato. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of Plato's thought, especially his ethics, epistemology, psychology and metaphysics. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6610. Aristotle. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of Aristotle's thought, especially his metaphysics, epistemology and psychology. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6620. Augustine. 3 cr. hrs.

The early philosophical dialogues and The Confessions, The City of God, and The Trinity, considered in their significance as sources of Christian thought. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6630. Plotinus and Early Christian Neo-Platonists. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of the origin and character of neoplatonic thought, especially its metaphysics, epistemology and psychology, and its appropriation by Christian thinkers. Concentration on writers such as Plotinus, Proclus, Boethius and Pseudo-Dionysius. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6635. Medieval Islamic Thought. 3 cr. hrs.

Islamic philosophical thought of the medieval period. Possible figures covered: al-Kindi, al-Farabi Ibn Sina (Avicenna), al-Ghazali, Ibn Rushd (Averroes) including Greek philosophical and Islamic theological foundations, as well as the influence of Islamic philosophy on Christian and Jewish thought in the Middle Ages. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6640. St. Thomas Aquinas. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of St. Thomas Aquinas' philosophy, especially his metaphysics, epistemology, and psychology. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6650. Descartes. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of some principal works of Descartes. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6652. Post-Cartesian Rationalism. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of major works of the post-Cartesian rationalists: Spinoza and Leibniz. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6654. Locke/Berkeley. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of the major works of Locke and Berkeley, including Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, and Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6655. Hume. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of some of Hume's major works, including either A Treatise of Human Nature or Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals and/or Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6660. Kant. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of some principal works of Kant including the Critique of Pure Reason. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6662. Hegel. 3 cr. hrs.

Hegel's system as found in the Phenomenology of Spirit or the Logic. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6664. Husserl. 3 cr. hrs.

A textual study of some principal works. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6670. Classical American Philosophy. 3 cr. hrs.

A textual study of the principal works of American philosophers, such as Peirce, James, Dewey. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6680. Early Analytic Philosophy. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of the early development of the Vienna Circle and of the principal works of Moore, Russell and Austin. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6685. Contemporary Analytic Philosophy. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of major post-positivist developments in the analytic tradition including the thought of figures such as Quine and Sellars. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6690. German Phenomenology-Existentialism. 3 cr. hrs.

Reading and discussion of the works of such thinkers as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Jaspers and Scheler. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6695. French Phenomenology-Existentialism. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of problems, such as meaning vs. absurdity, theism vs. atheism, and intersubjectivity vs. solipsism, in such thinkers as Sartre, Marcel, Camus and Merleau-Ponty. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6710. Political Philosophy. 3 cr. hrs.

Consideration of the genesis and justification of the state; questions concerning the best form of government; problems especially germane to democracy, such as the nature and justification of equality and liberty, and of the balance of power and the majority rule. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6750. Philosophy of Law. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of the various philosophical approaches to the basic problems and values in law. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6953. Text/Seminar on Ancient Philosophy. 3 cr. hrs.

Either the study of a specific period within Ancient Philosophy, such as Pre-Socratic thought or Roman moral philosophy; or the intensive reading of a major work such as Plato's Sophist or Theaetetus or Aristotle's Metaphysics or Nicomachean Ethics; or the investigation of a theme running through Ancient Philosophy such as problems with the veracity of perception, the ontological status of ideas, or Aristotle and the Peripatetics. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6954. Text/Seminar on Early or High Medieval Philosophy. 3 cr. hrs.

Either the study of individual thinkers, such as St. Anselm, St. Bonaventure, St. Albert the Great; or on specific texts, such as St. Thomas' Treatise On Spiritual Substances; or on problems, such as the nature of man according to St. Bonaventure or doctrines on Divine Illumination in the 13th century. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6955. Text/Seminar on Later Medieval or Renaissance Philosophy. 3 cr. hrs.

Either the study of individual thinkers, such as William of Ockham, Duns Scotus, Nicholas of Cusa, Giordano Bruno, Niccolo Machiavelli; or on themes running through these periods, such as the nature of man, or theories of knowledge, or the Platonism of the 15th and 16th centuries. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6957. Text/Seminar on Nineteenth-Century Philosophy. 3 cr. hrs.

Either the study of major philosophers, such as Marx, Fichte, or Peirce; or on major texts, such as Hegel's Logic, or Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript; or on philosophical problems, such as the individual and the social order, or pragmatic views of knowledge and truth. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6958. Text/Seminar on Twentieth-Century Philosophy. 3 cr. hrs.

Either the study of philosophical movements, such as existentialism, phenomenology, analysis, or pragmatism; or of specific philosophers, such as Sartre or Russell; or of major philosophical works, such as Philosophical Investigations, or Being and Time. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6959. Seminar in Philosophy. 1-3 cr. hrs.

Subjects and credits according to arrangement. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6960. Seminar in Applied/Professional Philosophy. 3 cr. hrs.

Study of ethical issues which cut across professions and disciplines. Consideration given to issues such as human rights, allocation of social resources, confidentiality, informed ethics, truth telling, etc. Prereq: PHIL 6310 and cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6965. Practicum in Philosophy. 3-6 cr. hrs.

Internship designed to develop a student's ability to use philosophical thinking and concepts in dealing with problems which arise in the context of a specific job, vocation, or institutional setting. Students arrange placement on an individual basis. S/U grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6970. Seminar on Teaching Philosophy. 1 cr. hr.

An introduction to the theory and practice of teaching philosophy. Prereq: Graduate stndg.

PHIL 6995. Independent Study in Philosophy. 1-3 cr. hrs.

Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 6998. Professional Project in Philosophy. 1-12 cr. hrs.

PHIL 6999. Master's Thesis. 1-6 cr. hrs.

S/U grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 8995. Independent Study in Philosophy. 1-3 cr. hrs.

A course whose mode of instruction offers a student the opportunity to study or do in-depth research on a topic or subject matter not usually offered in the established curriculum, with a current Marquette faculty of his/her choice and independent of the classroom setting. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.; cons. of graduate prog. dir.

PHIL 8999. Doctoral Dissertation. 1-12 cr. hrs.

S/U grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9970. Graduate Standing Continuation: Less than Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9974. Graduate Fellowship: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9975. Graduate Assistant Teaching: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9976. Graduate Assistant Research: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9979. Field Placement Continuation: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9984. Master's Comprehensive Examination Preparation: Less than Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9985. Master's Comprehensive Examination Preparation: Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9986. Master's Comprehensive Examination Preparation: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9987. Doctoral Comprehensive Examination Preparation: Less than Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9988. Doctoral Comprehensive Examination Preparation: Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9989. Doctoral Comprehensive Examination Preparation: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9993. Professional Project Continuation: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9994. Master's Thesis Continuation: Less than Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9995. Master's Thesis Continuation: Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9996. Master's Thesis Continuation: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9997. Doctoral Dissertation Continuation: Less than Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9998. Doctoral Dissertation Continuation: Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

PHIL 9999. Doctoral Dissertation Continuation: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.