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Philosophy

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Arts (M.A.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

The Master of Arts degree in Philosophy develops the critical thinking, close reading, persuasive writing and oral communication skills needed for success in a doctoral program or teaching career. Students that graduate from this degree track often go on to obtain their PhD in Philosophy or a related field, such as political theory, biomedical ethics and gender studies. Others draw upon the broad base of philosophical knowledge to instruct at a secondary or two-year college level. Unlike other Philosophy MA degrees, this program includes a high degree of analytical philosophy curriculum in addition to the more traditional study of historical texts and scholarship.

Students pursuing this two-year terminal Master’s in Philosophy can expect to gain a distinct and in-depth education across a variety of courses. Classes such as “Economic Justice,” “Moral Status,” and “Feminist Ethics and Policy” teach the practical applications of philosophy and schools of thought on contemporary issues, while “Advanced Logic” and “Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence” develop knowledge in the areas of logic and science. Additionally, students study contemporary continental theories and the classics, such as Plato and Socrates.

Located in the heart of Washington DC, GW has access to a wealth of museums, cultural institutes and other notable resources to enhance the graduate studies experience. Learn more at philosophy.columbian.gwu.edu.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall - April 1 (February 1 for assistantship/fellowship consideration.  Applications received past April 1 may be reviewed, space permitting)

Spring – October 1 (Applications received past October 1 may be reviewed, space permitting

Prerequisite Requirements:

A undergraduate major in Philosophy is recommended but not required. 

Standardized test scores:

GRE general test (institutional code 5246). Waived for applicants who hold a J.D., M.D., or Ph.D.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 

Minimum scores for the M.A. program are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.0; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based;  or
  • PTE Academic: 68

Recommendations required: 

Two (2) recommendations.

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.

Statement of purpose:

A 1-3 page statement about your interests in philosophy and personal objectives.

Writing Sample:

An additional writing sample of 10-15 pages is required.  It is strongly recommended that writing samples not exceed 15 pages.

International applicants only:

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 107
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions:
askccas@gwu.edu ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday