Who May Apply
A student need not have an undergraduate major in philosophy to be admitted to the MA Program. As long as an applicant's philosophical background is adequate preparation for graduate-level work in philosophy, not having a philosophy major is no bar to admission. (We do not have a strict definition of what counts as 'adequate preparation,' but something like 4 or 5 classes in philosophy would normally be a lower bound.)
We sometimes have applicants who have never taken philosophy classes before (or have taken just one or two classes), having majored in some other field, but who have read philosophy on their own and have an interest in pursuing graduate studies in philosophy. We do not admit students in this sort of case: some prior academic background in philosophy is necessary for admission. However, these students are urged to enroll as postbaccalaureate students at Georgia State, or at another university or college if coming to GSU is inconvenient, in order to take additional undergraduate classes. ("Post-bacc" status students are students who already have a bachelor's degree and may take additional undergraduate classes but are not enrolled in a degree program.) With those classes, the student will be able to a have a philosophy writing sample, letters of recommendation from philosophy faculty, and a track record in philosophy, in order to be able to make a stronger application for our M.A. program. Students who are interested in pursuing this route should contact the Director of Graduate Studies in order to arrange a suitable course of study to prepare for graduate-level work.
Our program has also had many international students. International students are eligible for the same types of stipends through the Department as are other students. International students who received their degree from a school where English is not the primary language of instruction must take the TOEFL or IELTS. The minimum scores are either a 100 in the TOEFL or 7 in the IELTS.
- Statement of Purpose - In no more than 800 words, please tell us (a) what your philosophical interests are and what intellectual questions you wish to understand better, (b) which experiences, skills, and philosophical and non-philosophical background will enable you successfully to carry out graduate work on your philosophical interests and (c) what, in light of these interests and experiences, your reasons are for applying to Georgia State University specifically. You may also include (d) any information that will help to contextualize the materials submitted with your application.
- Writing Sample - The writing sample is your opportunity to demonstrate that you can do strong philosophical work. A writing sample should be clearly written and well-organized, but should not be merely expository. Instead, it should be a persuasive or argumentative piece of writing that: (a) demonstrates a thorough understanding of the relevant positions and arguments; (b) advances a clear, easily identifiable thesis or point of view; (c) develops an argument for its thesis that identifies and responds to objections; and (d) engages successfully with the relevant scholarly literature on its topic. The writing sample should be a maximum of 6,000 words (not including the bibliography).
- Three Letters of Recommendation
- Transcripts (one from each institution attended)
- Official TOEFL/IELTS Scores (international applicants only). Minimum of 100 (TOEFL) or 7.0 (IELTS). Institutional code 5251 should be used for reporting TOEFL scores.