Philosophy College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

Graduate Program

The UH Philosophy M.A. program has consistently been rated among the top M.A. programs in the country in the Philosophical Gourmet Report. Our program is designed to prepare students to enter and flourish in the best Ph.D. programs in the country, and our graduates have gone on to such places as Cornell, UCLA, Princeton, and Harvard.

Graduate Seminars

Among their other courses, students typically take two graduate seminars in each of the four semesters in which they are in residence. Since we take turns teaching these seminars, and our interests are diverse, a student in residence for a two-year period will be exposed to a wide range of important philosophical work. For example, a student in the program from Fall 2007 through Spring 2009 would have chosen from among the following seminars:

  • Plato
  • Political Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Modality and Metaphysics
  • Bacon and Descartes
  • Sidgwickian Ethics
  • Free Will and Moral Responsibility
  • The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence
  • Aesthetics
  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Meta-Ontology


Seminars are designed to expose students to the standards expected in leading Ph.D. programs. Students are asked to investigate the latest literature on seminar topics and to develop oral and written presentations that demonstrate an ability to analyze and contribute to the state of play in philosophy.

Ph.D. Preparation

The department is especially concerned to mentor students in the fine art of philosophical writing. Students may choose between two tracks for developing their writing skills. One track requires a master's thesis. The other requires additional course work and reworking of what each student takes to be his or her best seminar paper under the close guidance of a faculty member. Most of our M.A. students also work as Teaching Assistants in introductory courses, and so have experience in grading, meeting with students, and tutoring.

We believe that students who do well in our program will be eminently qualified for Ph.D. programs. They will know what to expect, their ability and motivation to do graduate level work will have been tested, and they will have acquired a graduate level background that will provide a useful head start for Ph.D. work.