Graduate Program Requirements


Degree Requirements

To earn a M.A. in Philosophy, students must complete at least eleven courses:  four Philosophy seminars; four additional courses (at the graduate level or at the upper-division undergraduate level, at least one of which must be at the graduate level) in Philosophy and/or a related field with approval of graduate coordinator; a seminar in philosophical writing (PHIL 715), a comprehensive exam (PHIL 896); and a master’s thesis (PHIL 898).

Note:  A maximum of three undergraduate classes can count toward the M.A. degree

Filling Out the ATC

Each student must prepare, in consultation with the graduate coordinator, an Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) form. The ATC form, which can be obtained online from the Graduate Studies website, should be filled out and filed after the student has completed at least 18 units (including units in progress).

The ATC lists the specific courses to be fulfilled by the graduate student before the degree is awarded; it includes all philosophy classes (and approved non-departmental classes) taken for the degree, along with the classes still to be completed in the final semester. This form is to be downloaded, printed, and completed by the student. The student should submit one original ATC, an unofficial transcript, and department letter of admission to the graduate coordinator or graduate coordinator assistant. If the ATC is subsequently modified, the student must submit an ATC Substitution Form (PDF).

In addition to the minimum thirty-three units of coursework for the Master's degree, the ATC also contains certification that the student has met the University's Level One written English proficiency requirement and indicates how the Level Two requirement will be met. In the Department of Philosophy, the Level One requirement is satisfied by successfully passing Philosophy 896 and the Level Two by successfully passing the subsequent Master's Thesis course.

If the ATC lists transfer classes (up to six units of transfer credit are permissible), then a Transfer Unit Evaluation Form (PDF) must be submitted along with the ATC.

Note: PHIL 301, 303, 320, 321, and 450 will not typically be approved to be counted towards the MA degree, and so should not be listed on the ATC.

Submitting the Proposal for Culminating Experience

In addition to completing the ATC, the student should also prepare and submit the Proposal for Culminating Experience in order to set up a formal committee for the Thesis. Students must possess a minimum grade point average of 3.0 when they enroll in the Culminating Experience and, by departmental regulations, they may have no remaining incompletes at that time.

Academic Standards

Graduate students in Philosophy are required to demonstrate having made further progress toward the degree in each semester they remain in the program. Failure to make progress in any semester may result the student's declassification and/or disqualification from the program. (See SF State Bulletin on Graduate Policy for policy on declassification and disqualification.) A student who fails to make progress in any semester should file an explanation, to be used in departmental review of the case, with the graduate coordinator before the end of the enrollment period for the following semester.

Academic standards for Graduate Classified, Graduate Conditionally Classified, and Post-Baccalaureate Students are as follows:

  • Good Standing:  Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better in any term.
  • Probation:  Will be subject to probation when cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 (B) in any term.
  • Will be subject to declassification from the graduate degree and/or advanced credential program and from further enrollment in the university if, during the semester of probation, there is a failure to achieve the minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B).