University of Texas at El Paso Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog

M.A. in Philosophy

The program focuses on the core strengths of the department while providing students the opportunity to become competent as generalists in the history of philosophy and as teachers of introductory logic. In doing so, the program prepares students for entry into Ph.D. programs in Philosophy and related disciplines. It also meets the ongoing demand for qualified philosophy teachers from area community colleges as well as training students to teach in Mexican universities and secondary schools. With the flexibility of the Portfolio Project option, students are able to meet a variety of local and regional needs as well, serving the needs of local secondary school systems, pre-law preparation, and community administration and activism.

Admission Requirements 

  1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution or proof of equivalent education at a foreign institution.
  2. Applicants are interview by the faculty over zoom.
  3. A writing sample.
  4. A statement of purpose.
  5. Two letters of recommendation.
  6. Optional: a resume or other supporting materials to give a full picture of the applicant’s potential.
  7. Applicants from countries where English is not the first language are required to demonstrate English proficiency. Please consult the graduate school website for required scores.

The materials submitted for admission to the MA Program will be judged holistically to assess the potential of the applicant.  The successful applicant would typically have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher that demonstrates focus on philosophy or philosophy related fields, a verbal reasoning score that corresponds to a competitive percent rank, a writing sample that reflects a student's ability to address issues and raise questions philosophically, analyze and construct sound arguments, and/or evaluate complex ethical issues.  The personal statement should include discussion of the student's preparation in philosophy, indicate a high level of maturity and commitment to study philosophy, elucidate the student's interest in UTEP's M.A. program in particular, and specify the student's goals in philosophy.  The letters of recommendation should be from supporting faculty who can serve as judges of the applicant's competence, philosophical talent, and suitability for the program.

Degree Requirements

  1. Thesis Option: Thirty (30) semester hours consisting of 24 semester hours of coursework plus a six-hour thesis and an oral examination.
  2. Portfolio Project Option: 36 semester hours of coursework plus an oral examination based on two seminar papers in the areas of ethics and philosophy of science.
  3. Evidence of competency in introductory-level logic. 


Electives can include any graduate philosophy courses not being counted as part of the Required Courses. With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, for the Thesis Option, one graduate-level course from outside of the Department of Philosophy can be counted towards the degree requirements. For the Portfolio Project Option, two appropriate courses outside of the department can be counted. With the guidance of their faculty advisor and the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, students will choose from an array of prescribed electives in order to fashion their particular course of study that will either result in the composition of an original MA thesis or a plan of study that will significantly strengthen their preparation in graduate-level work in philosophy. PHIL 5353 Independent Study may be taken only in rare cases with approval from the department chair. The choice of courses will be relative to how each student structures their degree plan and could entail taking some of the prescribed electives more than once depending on the instructor and content of the course.

Logic Requirement

The logic requirement should be fulfilled by providing evidence of competency in introductory logic and include mastery of propositional and predicate logic and some standard metalogical notions such as consistency or completeness.  A student can petition for a waiver if logic has been studied elsewhere.  Passing PHIL 1304 Logic) with a "B" or better can satisfy this requirement.  This requirement can also be met by passing a department administered exam.

Oral Examinations

  1. Thesis Option: At the end of the first year of study, students intending to write a thesis must submit a proposal (of no less than 1000 words) to the Director of Graduate Studies that includes the names of the members of their thesis committee, minimally, the graduate committee Chairperson, a second reader from the Department of Philosophy, and an outside reader.  The proposal will be evaluated by the graduate committee Chairperson and the Director of Graduate Studies.  Before the beginning of the third semester, the thesis committee will meet with the student who will defend her or his thesis proposal. If accepted, the student will deliver the completed thesis to the committee at least two weeks before the end of the fourth semester, which will be followed by an oral defense. In all cases, a majority vote of the committee will determine acceptance or rejection. In order to pursue the Thesis Option, a student's thesis proposal must be approved by the thesis committee before the beginning of the third semester. 
  2. Portfolio Project Option: At the beginning of the fourth semester, the student will submit two substantial papers that have been written for two different professors in two different classes while in the program.  These papers should give evidence not only of the depth but also of the breadth of the student's understanding of the two core areas of ethics and philosophy of science in philosophy.  A three-person committee, chosen by the Graduate Director in Philosophy, will conduct the final oral exam in accord with the appropriate deadlines of the Graduate School.

Degree Plan

Required Credits: 30-36

MA in Philosophy (All courses require a grade of C or better)
Required Courses:
PHIL 5305Philosophical Rsrch & Writing3
PHIL 5351World Historical Philosophers3
PHIL 5352Basic Philosophical Issues3
Thesis/Project Option:
Select one sequence below:6-12
Thesis Option:
Thesis I
and Thesis II
Portfolio Project Option
Select twelve hours from the following:
Philosophy of Law & Society
Ethics and Engineering
Independent Study
Topics in Philosophy/History
Topics in Philosophy of Scienc
Other Electives:
Select fifteen hours from the following:15
Philosophy of Law & Society
Ethics and Engineering
Science and Ethics
Independent Study
Topics in Philosophy/History
Topics in Philosophy of Scienc
Total Hours30-36