philosophy students discussing a topic

What does it cost?

The Department offers a funding package to every graduate student it admits to the M.A. program.

Check out our cost calculator or visit student financial services for information on estimated costs.

How long will it take?

Most students finish in two years, although some take three.

Where will I take classes?

Application Deadlines View Admissions Requirements

Except under unusual circumstances, we admit new students only in the Fall semester.


Philosophy, M.A.

Georgia State has one of the most highly regarded terminal M.A. programs in philosophy in the country, with strong placement into prestigious Ph.D. programs and a lauded teacher-training program.

In addition, the department has developed three areas of research strength:

  • Social, legal and political philosophy
  • Neurophilosophy and empirically informed philosophy of mind
  • History of philosophy
Program Details

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.

Applicant Requirements

  • 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.

Most students pursue the thesis option, which requires 27 hours of coursework and six hours of thesis research, culminating in a thesis defense.

The non-thesis option requires 33 hours of coursework.

In addition to the total number of credit hours, students must fulfill some requirements such as a course in symbolic logic, a course in the history of philosophy, a course in value theory, and a course in metaphysics and epistemology. In the neurophilosophy track, students must take six credit hours of courses in other disciplines related to the empirical study of the mind, such as psychology or neuroscience.

The department offers a funding package to every graduate student it admits to the M.A. program. Every funding package includes a full waiver of tuition. We believe that offering funding to all graduate students in the M.A. program greatly improves the academic performance of our students and the social life of the department.

Every year, the department offers fellowships in each of its three areas of strength: Neurophilosophy, Legal and political philosophy, and the History of philosophy, as well as a bioethics fellowship for which the student interns for the WellStar Health System, and the Andrew Altman Social Justice Fellowship, which supports the mission of the Department to increase diversity in its MA program. Each of these comes with an annual stipend of $15,000. All other students receive an assistantship, which typically includes a stipend of at least $10,000 per year.

Students will have the experience of completing a demanding course of graduate study at a high level, and those completing a thesis will engage in extended independent research that will prepare them well for work in a Ph.D. program in philosophy or related fields.

Students also have the experience of going through our in-depth teacher training program and being responsible for teaching their own classes, which prepares them well for secondary education (at private schools or at public schools, if they spend the additional year gaining an M.A.T. from Georgia State) or for teaching at the college level.



Many of our students go on to Ph.D. programs in philosophy, including Stanford, Brown, and Duke. Other students, especially those in the neurophilosophy track, enter graduate programs in psychology or cognitive science. Other graduates have gone on to highly-ranked law schools, such as NYU, Georgetown,  and Michigan.

The concentration in the History of Philosophy is designed to prepare students to continue their education in history and pedagogy by transitioning into and obtaining the Masters in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree in Social Studies Education at Georgia State University in one year, and to become certified to teach Social Studies for grades 6-12.

Our students have also pursued a variety of careers in business. For more details, go to:


Tim O'Keefe, Director of Graduate Studies
[email protected]

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 3994
Atlanta, GA 30302-3994

College of Arts & Sciences Lockup25 Park Pl NE #2500
Atlanta, GA 30303

The information shared provides an overview of Georgia State’s offerings. For details on admissions requirements, tuition, courses and more, refer to the university catalogs.