Completing an online masters in philosophy program may be a beneficial option if you are interested in examining thought, emotion, morality, and the overall purpose of being.
The study of philosophy incorporates literature, history, social science, and politics, among other topics, to provide an interdisciplinary approach to graduate education.
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Earning your masters in philosophy degree online may allow you to benefit from a diverse and wide-ranging career path.
Online Masters in Philosophy Programs
Masters in philosophy programs offer the interdisciplinary study of topics such as metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, cognitive science, history of philosophy, politics, and healthcare.
In terms of career, earning an online masters degree in philosophy can help prepare you for positions across a number of different industries. The applicability of the degree is due in part to the interdisciplinary nature of the programming.
Some professionals who hold an online philosophy masters degree work as a:
- Postsecondary school administrator
- Fundraising specialist
- Self-employed professional
Topics studied as part of a masters in philosophy distance learning program can also help you prepare for career paths related to cognitive science, ethics, teaching, research, or policy development.
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As part of the graduate degree program, you have the opportunity to study a number of different topics related to the field of philosophy. Some courses may cover topics like:
- Rethinking democracy, socialism, and feminism
- Reference and experimental philosophy
- Social justice in public health and medicine
- Race, racism, and racial justice
- Law and language
- Topics in modal logic
- Aesthetics and nature
- Biology of mind
In order to graduate, some programs also require the completion of a final thesis project and oral defense. Specific graduation requirements vary from one school to the next, so it can also depend on the type of program you pursue.
Types of Master’s Degree in Philosophy Programs
If you’re interested in pursuing a master’s degree in philosophy, there are a number of different educational tracks that you may choose from. These include Master of Arts, Master of Humanities, Master of Liberal Arts, and Master of Liberal Studies.
These degree programs, like a master’s in philosophy, can allow you to delve into deeper meanings of various aspects of life and human existence.
Master of Arts
Master of Arts (MA) programs are designed to provide students with a blend of education from a variety of disciplines, including literature, philosophy, social science, history, art, and religion.
MA programs are considered to be interdisciplinary. By pursuing a Master of Arts degree program, you may have the opportunity to specialize in philosophy while still gaining knowledge in other important academic areas. As a result of the interdisciplinary nature of an MA program, your developed skill sets may be applicable to a number of career paths.
Your available job options can vary depending on your previous experience and the educational area you choose to specialize in during your graduate studies. Some professionals go on to pursue careers as data analysts, art therapy specialists, marketing specialists, event planners, project managers, and policy analysts.
Master of Humanities
A Master of Humanities (MH) degree is intended to provide students with an interdisciplinary education that’s rooted in the study of humanities, or humans. These educational programs often focus on understanding the history and reasoning behind human thought and behavior.
An MH degree has the study of philosophy embedded into its programming, as the philosophical study of human behavior, language, and thought is fundamental to the overall study of humanities. In many cases, you can also specialize your degree in philosophy as an academic concentration. Professionals with a Master of Humanities may go on to become teachers or instructors, researchers, writers, editors, and historians.
Master of Liberal Arts
Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) programs are designed to allow students flexibility in crafting their graduate studies. Liberal arts courses can come from a range of disciplines, such as art, philosophy, history, social sciences, or literature, among others.
In addition, you often have the opportunity to specialize a liberal arts degree toward the stream of philosophy. With a Master of Liberal Arts degree, there may be a breadth of career opportunities available to you. The specific roles that you may qualify for can vary greatly depending on the coursework and specialization that make up your degree program.
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Liberal arts careers include archivist, marketing specialist, data analyst, teacher, human resources manager, and journalist.
Master of Liberal Studies
A Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) degree program is intended to provide students with an interdisciplinary education that spans across art, social science, natural science, and humanities.
What distinguishes this degree option is the ability to blend arts education with courses from natural sciences, such as biology. In many cases, Master of Liberal Studies programs offer you the ability to choose philosophy as an academic concentration.
Some professionals with advanced degrees in liberal studies qualify for roles such as urban planner, policy analyst, journalist, and teacher.
Common Online Master’s in Philosophy Specializations
While pursuing your master’s in philosophy online, you may have the opportunity to choose a particular specialization to focus your studies on.
Common philosophy specializations include:
- General Studies. A master’s in philosophy that specializes in general studies allows you to develop expertise across a broad range of philosophical topics and study areas.
- History of Philosophy. Specializing in the history of philosophy can allow you to explore how the study of philosophy got to where it is now. You may look at theories and approaches that have been used throughout the years.
- Ethics. A masters in philosophy with a specialization in ethics can allow you to explore the subdiscipline of ethics as it relates to philosophical study, ethical dilemmas, and ethical decision-making.
- Applied Philosophy. Pursuing a specialization in applied philosophy can allow you to explore concepts and theories of philosophy through application to real-world issues and circumstances.
- Systematic Philosophy. Specializing in systematic philosophy can allow you to explore methods and theories used to reason a broad range of questions and issues related to human life and existence.
The specific specializations that are available to you can vary greatly from one school to the next.
Master in Philosophy Careers & Salaries
As a result of the interdisciplinary nature of master in philosophy programs, you may be prepared to work in a variety of different industries throughout your career. Work settings may include healthcare centers, hospitals, research centers, art centers, religious institutions, schools, and nonprofit organizations, among others. A number of professionals become self-employed as well.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an online masters degree in philosophy can help you develop a wide range of knowledge and versatile skill sets that are applicable across different industries.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers||$141,490|
|Public Relations and Fundraising Managers||$118,430|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$104,280|
|Postsecondary Education Administrators||$97,500|
|Postsecondary Philosophy and Religion Teachers||$76,160|
|Writers and Authors||$67,120|
|News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists||$49,300|
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts positive job growth for a number of these positions over the next ten years. This includes postsecondary administrators (8% job growth), advertising, promotions, and marketing managers (10%), postsecondary teachers (12%), and public relations and fundraising managers (13%).
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Employment for top executives (8%), writers and authors (9%), and medical and health services managers (32%) is also predicted to experience growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
MA in Philosophy Online Curriculum & Courses
As part of an MA in Philosophy online program, you will complete a variety of courses related to important philosophical concepts. Here are some examples of courses you may come across:
- Zen Philosophy: This course involves an in-depth review of Zen philosophy, looking into the history of Buddhism and Daoism and associated writings.
- Biology of Mind: You’ll take a look at the relationship between philosophy and biology to develop a deeper understanding of mind, thought, society, and actions.
- Relational Moral Address: You’ll explore human responses to moral wrongdoings, including a look at the second-personal response and autonomy.
- Aesthetics and Nature: This course examines the relationship and dynamics between aesthetics and nature, including a look at what is appropriate in terms of appreciating the aesthetic of nature.
- Emotion: This course takes an in-depth look at emotion and fundamental theories related to it.
- Logic: This course covers symbolic logic, including a review of propositional and first-order logic, syntax, soundness, and completeness.
- Topics in Modal Logic: You’ll explore various topics that look into philosophical and technical modal logic.
- Law and Language: You’ll examine the complex dynamics of law, legal theory, and philosophy in relation to language and linguistics.
- Race, Racism, and Racial Justice: You’ll take an in-depth look at race and racism through a philosophical lens, including the history of racism and institutional injustice.
- Rethinking Democracy, Socialism, and Feminism: This course reviews the relationship of democratic and socialist theories in relation to feminism, including a look at how each concept differs and relates to the others.
In addition, some masters in philosophy programs also require the completion of a thesis in order to graduate.
Admission requirements for online master degree programs in philosophy can vary from one school to the next, but here are some common criteria:
- Bachelor degree from an accredited university
- Transcripts from postsecondary studies
- Minimum GPA from postsecondary studies
- GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require them)
- Letters of recommendation
Other admissions requirements can include submitting a letter of interest or intent, passing an English proficiency exam, or completing an admissions essay.
Regional accreditation is an important consideration when choosing an online masters in philosophy program. The accreditation status of your school can impact your ability to transfer credits into another program and to enroll in doctorate-level programming. In some cases, it can influence employer hiring decisions as well.
Regional accreditation is a status that is granted to schools when their offerings meet a predetermined set of quality standards. Being granted this status indicates that a school’s educational offerings and student services are of high quality.
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For more information on the accreditation status of the program you’re interested in attending, you can visit the US Department of Education’s website.
Philosophy Licensure and Certifications
Since masters degrees in philosophy are rather broad in nature, you may choose to pursue certification in order to specialize your expertise. Holding a certification can also help you become a competitive candidate in the job market.
Some certifications that you may choose to pursue could include:
- Religious Studies
- Political Thought
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Applied Ethics
- Philosophy of Biology
- History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine
Specific licensure is not necessarily required in order to obtain employment, but some professionals choose to obtain various licenses in areas that interest them.
Additionally, choosing to complete a PhD or doctorate program in philosophy can enable you to further your education and help you qualify for positions in research and postsecondary education. Earning a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) often requires the completion of a dissertation.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
There are a number of financial aid opportunities that may be available to you to help you cover the costs of earning your masters in philosophy. Financial aid is often available to qualifying students in the form of grants or loans from federal and state government bodies.
Scholarships are also made available by both private and public organizations. Scholarships are typically need-based, merit-based, or geared toward specific areas of study. You can see if your school offers stipends or reimbursements, and you can also see if your work offers any employer training programs or related aid opportunities.
For more information on financial aid opportunities, you can visit the US Department of Education’s website.
Philosophy Professional Organizations
Becoming a member of a philosophy professional organization can be a strategic way to meet other like-minded individuals and professionals. Some philosophy organizations include:
- American Association of Philosophy Teachers (AAPT)
- American Philosophy Association (APA)
- American Philosophy Society (APS)
Professional organizations can offer a number of benefits, including the ability to network with other professionals in the field. This may open the door to employment opportunities as well as training and education events.
Is Philosophy a Useless Degree?
The value that a philosophy degree can offer you will greatly depend on your personal interests and professional goals.
Due to the fact that philosophy is largely considered to be an interdisciplinary educational area, this type of degree can help prepare you for a number of career paths across different industries. Some professionals who have earned an advanced philosophy degree work as community college instructors, editors, research associates, political analysts, and historians.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 9% job growth for management positions and 14% job growth for media and communication occupations over the next ten years. Your salary and the number of employment opportunities available to you can vary depending on a number of factors, such as your work experience, industry of choice, and geographic location.
What Can You Do with a Masters in Philosophy?
When considering what you can do with a philosophy degree, you may want to know that a master’s in philosophy can help you qualify for a variety of roles, depending on your prior work experience and academic specialization, among other factors.
Potential career paths include advertising and promotions manager, marketing manager, public relations and fundraising manager, top executive, and medical and health services managers. Other positions include postsecondary administrator, teacher, writer, author, editor, news analyst, reporter, and journalist. These types of positions can exist in private, public, or nonprofit organizations.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters Degree in Philosophy Online?
The length of time required to earn your masters degree in philosophy will vary depending on the type of program that you pursue.
Generally, a 36 credit hour program with no thesis requirement can be completed in 1 year with full-time enrollment, including summer classes. Needing to complete a thesis in order to graduate will likely extend the amount of time required to earn your degree. Attending on a part-time basis can also lengthen your overall study time.
What Is an MPhil?
A Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is a graduate degree program that is based in research. It’s often completed in preparation for a PhD program. In some cases, a Master of Philosophy program can be completed in combination with a PhD program.
MPhil programs generally forgo traditional course-based education in order to enable students to become immersed in their research projects. The lack of coursework and sole focus on research is what makes MPhil programs different from traditional MA or MS in Philosophy programming.
What’s the Difference Between an MA vs. MS in Philosophy?
Both Master of Art in Philosophy and Master of Science in Philosophy degrees are designed to provide students with an advanced level of expertise in the field of philosophy. There are key distinctions between the two degree options, though.
- Master of Arts: An MA is more of a non-technical study approach, consisting of a blend of arts, humanities, and social sciences.
- Master of Science: An MS is more of a technical study approach, consisting of a blend of arts and sciences, with more emphasis on research than the MA counterpart.
The option that’s right for you will depend on your interests and overall career goals.
What’s the Difference Between Ethics vs. Philosophy?
When choosing a degree program that’s right for you, it’s beneficial to know the key differences between ethics and philosophy.
- Philosophy: Philosophy is a broad area of study that looks at the existence of knowledge. It explores reasoning, value, and right versus wrong.
- Ethics: Ethics is a subdiscipline of philosophy, focusing specifically on morality and distinguishing between right and wrong.
Some philosophy masters programs let you specialize in the study of ethics.
What’s the Difference Between Theology vs. Philosophy Graduate Programs?
While there are areas of overlap between theology and philosophy, there are also some key differences.
- Theology: Theology is based or rooted in religious beliefs and ideologies.
- Philosophy: Philosophy allows for the open-ended study of human thought, knowledge, and ethical decision making.
Choosing between a masters degree program in theology versus philosophy will depend on your personal interests and professional goals.
Is a Masters in Philosophy Worth It?
Yes, a masters in philosophy is worth it for many students. Earning a master’s in philosophy can allow you the opportunity to explore a number of promising career paths.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts positive job growth for several positions in the field over the next decade, including editors (5% job growth), news analysts (6%), postsecondary administrators (8%), top executives (8%), and writers and authors (9%).
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Other positions that are expected to grow include advertising, promotions, and marketing managers (10%), postsecondary teachers (12%), public relations and fundraising managers (13%), and medical and health services managers (32%).
Universities Offering Online Masters in Philosophy Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Biola University offers a Master of Arts in Philosophy. The program focuses on Christian philosophers. Students must complete 49 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 and submit official transcripts, GRE scores, and two essays.
Biola University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
California Institute of Integral Studies offers a Master of Arts in Philosophy. Students must complete 36 credit hours to graduate. Students may also choose to take a track in Integral Ecology. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit official transcripts, an academic writing sample, and an autobiographical statement.
CIIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Holy Apostles College and Seminary offers a Master of Arts in Theology. The program offers 21 different courses for students to choose from. Those interested in the program must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit an online application with official transcripts, 2 letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
Holy Apostles College and Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc.
Rutgers University offers a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies with the option to add a concentration in Philosophy. Those interested in the program must submit official transcripts, 2 letters of recommendation, an academic writing sample, and a personal statement. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Rutgers is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Mary offers a dual degree program for those interested in receiving both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Philosophy. Those interested in the program must submit official transcripts from a bachelor’s degree program. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a GPA of 2.75 or higher.
The University of Mary is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Philosophy Masters Online
If you’re interested in exploring fundamental questions about life, existence, human knowledge, and moral actions, then pursuing your philosophy master’s online may be the right path for you.
Several academic program options exist in the field of philosophy, which can help ensure that you get the education that is best for you. With a graduate degree, you may be well suited for a number of positions across various industries, thanks in part to the broad, interdisciplinary nature of philosophy degrees.
If you’re ready to advance your training and expertise, exploring a variety of online philosophy masters degrees from accredited universities can help you find the program that best fits your interests and goals.