M.A. Degree Requirements

Please Note: The Philosophy Department at the University of Washington does not have a terminal M.A. program. All of our graduate students are seeking a Ph.D.

Graduate School Requirements

This is a partial  summary of the Graduate School requirements. For detailed information on all Graduate School requirements, see the UW General Catalog.

  • At least 36 credits must be completed.
  • At least 18 credits  must in courses numbered 500 and above.
  • 18 credits must be numerically graded in department-approved 400-level courses accepted as part of the major and in 500-level courses.
  • No more than six graduate level quarter credits can be transferred from other academic institutions to count toward the 36 credit total.
  • Must complete all degree requirements within six years.
  • Registration maintained as full- or part-time graduate student at the UW for the quarter in which the degree is conferred.

This is a non-thesis program. There is no language requirement for the M.A. degree. The following requirements supplement the general requirements set forth by the UW Graduate School. All students, whether or not they have earned an M.A. at another institution, must complete the M.A. requirements before entering the Ph.D. program.

Logic Requirement

As a condition for the M.A. degree, the Department requires that each student receive either a grade of 3.0 or better in one of the graduate level logic courses or a passing score on the departmental logic examination. We offer the departmental logic exam once annually upon request. Part-time students must satisfy this requirement by the time they submit their qualifying paper.

Eleven  Course Requirement

Students must complete eleven graduate courses in philosophy, with a grade of 3.0 or better in each course. At least four of these eleven courses must be seminars.

Qualifying Paper

At the end of their second year, in lieu of a Master’s thesis, students will submit one qualifying paper. (Part-time students will submit their paper for evaluation upon completion of eleven courses in philosophy. A change of status from full-time to part-time student requires departmental approval.)


The graduate faculty of the Department evaluates the students’ progress on the basis of course work in philosophy and the paper submitted. The graduate faculty then decides whether the students are:

  • awarded an M.A. and admitted to the Ph.D. program;
  • awarded an M.A. and invited to submit a qualifying paper a second time;
  • awarded a terminal M.A.;
  • dropped from the program without a degree.

Students resubmitting a paper must do so by the end of summer quarter of that same year.

Satisfactory Progress

Students not yet admitted to the Ph.D. program must have at least 2 courses (10 credits) per quarter with a grade of 3.0 or better in order to be in good standing.

Please be aware that an excessive number of incompletes may jeopardize a student’s good standing. If a student does not make satisfactory progress in a given quarter, the director of graduate studies will recommend to the dean of the Graduate School that the student be placed on probation. If the student is not making satisfactory progress at the end of the next quarter, the director of graduate studies makes a second recommendation of probation. If the student is not making satisfactory progress at the end of the quarter after that, the director makes a recommendation that he/she be dropped from the program. Ideally, for each course taken, the instructor places a written evaluation in the students’ files. Students are encouraged to read these evaluations each quarter to get a better idea about their progress in the program.

Distribution Requirement

Our graduate courses are divided into three areas.* Students must take at least three courses in each of the three areas.


  • Greek Philosophy
    430, 431, 433, 520
  • Modern Philosophy
    422, 436, 437, 438, 522
  • Recent Philosophy
    426, 526


  • Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics
    470, 471, 472, 473, 474, 570
  • Philosophy of Science
    459, 460, 466, 481, 482, 483, 560, 564, 566, 574
  • Philosophy of Mind
    463, 464, 563
  • Philosophy of Language
    453, 479
  • Epistemology
    450, 490, 550
  • Metaphysics
    456, 556, 587


  • Ethics 
    412, 413, 415, 416, 417, 418, 440, 441, 442, 538, 540
  • Philosophy of Art 
    445, 446, 545
  • Philosophy of Film
  • Philosophy of History
    465, 565
  • Social and Political Philosophy
    406, 407, 408, 409, 410, 411, 414, 510, 514
  • Philosophy of Religion

*PHIL 595 - Philosophy for Children can be used to fulfill general philosophy graduate course requirement, but does not fall within a distribution area and does not fulfill a seminar requirement.

Courses numbered below 400 cannot be used to satisfy graduate degree requirements. 

Note: This is a permanent course list and includes a few classes that we offer very infrequently. Please see the Courses page for current and future course offerings.

Other Courses

Students may use three courses outside philosophy in determining whether they are making satisfactory progress. The courses must be approved by the director of graduate studies as part of a program of specialization. Courses in areas other than philosophy do not normally satisfy the twelve-course requirement.