MA Program Description

A Group of Students at Caesar Chavez Park Water Fountains

Advisor:  Dr. Carlos Alberto Sanchez

The M. A. in philosophy may be pursued through one of three plans. The plan with thesis is the most traditional and is particularly appropriate for students who wish to pursue a formal written project under close faculty supervision in preparation for a later dissertation at a Ph.D. granting institution. The second plan, called the Reading Intensive plan, is particularly appropriate for students who are pursuing the M. A. for personal enrichment. Students who wish to go on to a Ph.D. program may also use it, for example if they believe that focusing on writing a publishable paper would be more valuable than finishing a Master's Thesis. (It is becoming common for Ph.D. programs not to require an M.A. thesis, and for employers to expect some publications even before completing the Ph.D.) The third plan, with the Applied Philosophy Project, fits well with the concept of San Jose State as a metropolitan university. It connects philosophy in a systematic manner to professional life in Silicon Valley. Students who follow this plan frequently come from the community to reflect, in a sustained and rigorous way, on the ethical, social, and epistemological aspects of their work in the professional and business world. They, then, return to the community with an enriched perspective, a firm commitment to philosophy, and stronger ties to San Jose State.



Core Courses (12)

Phil 290*, 291, 292, and 293 or 157

Elective Courses (12)

100 or 200 level, within the Department**

Plan (select one below) (6)

Total Units: 30*****

Plan A -  Thesis

  • Phil 298 (directed reading in support of the thesis)
  • Phil 299 (thesis and oral defense)***

Plan B - Option 1: Applied Philosophy Project

  • Phil 200-level course (on advisement)
  • Phil 298 (directed reading in support of Applied Philosophy Project) ***

Plan B - Option 2: Reading Intensive

  • 200-level course (on advisement)
  • Phil 298 (directed reading) ***

Comprehensive Examination****

* Fulfills University graduate requirement in “written English.”

** One or more of 290, 291, 292 and 293 may be repeated as electives when the course content is different.

*** Fulfills University graduate requirement for “culminating experience.”

**** Taken after the bulk of the core and elective courses is completed. Given the third Friday of each semester, 1:00 to 4:00 PM. A reading list and sample questions are on file in the Department Office. Fulfills Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). 

***** On approval, when relevance to the candidate's degree can be demonstrated, up to 6 of the 30 units may be from prior post-baccalaureate course work or from course work taken outside the Department during the MA program, who wish to provide a basis for work in an area of applied philosophy.