Philosophy Graduate Program

Students enter the masters program in philosophy at the University of Texas at El Paso for a variety of reasons. Some wish to enrich their understanding of the world in an advanced and intellectually challenging environment. Others find that it provides invaluable preparation for many pre-professional degree programs (such as law and medicine). Most, however, come to us with the goal of preparing for advanced study in a top flight graduate program in philosophy (or cognate discipline).

The program focuses on the core strengths of the department in Philosophy of Science and Ethics 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 primarily 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 Non-Thesis Philosophy 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.

The program includes course offerings in core areas of contemporary analytic and the continental traditions in philosophy. We have particular strengths in Latin American Philosophy, epistemology, phenomenology, philosophy of science, ethics, and philosophy of action.

Our students have gone on to great things following graduation. Some students have enrolled in Ph.D programs in the U.S. and abroad, while others have secured tenure-track faculty positions in the U.S. and abroad. For information about student placement after graduation, please click here

Admission requirements

To guarantee consideration, admission material must be received by 15 April deadline. The prospective candidate must submit all of the following material:
  1. Proof of receiving a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or equivalent education at a foreign institution;
  2. Submission of official Graduate Record Examination ("GRE") scores;
  3. A writing sample;
  4. A statement of purpose;
  5. Two confidential letters of recommendation; and
  6. (optional) A resumé or other supporting materials to give a full picture of the applicant's potential

Degree requirements

The student must satisfy the course distribution requirements. All graduate students must complete a total of 36 semester hours (12 courses). The student is required to take 12 semester hours (4 courses), leaving 18 semester hours (6 courses) for electives or thesis hours. If the student chooses to complete a thesis, then 12 semester hours (4 courses) of the non-compulsory course work will be thesis hours.

  1. Thesis Option

    • The thesis option requires the completion of a substantial work of writing in the scholarship of philosophy. The student submits a thesis proposal and the name of a thesis director, Philosophy department reader, and an outside reader to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval, and then follows the Graduate School guidelines for preparing and submitting a thesis.
    • Oral examination. 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. 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.
    • The University of Texas at El Paso has a set of guidelines all theses and dissertations must follow. The guide is available here. Graduate students completing the thesis for the Masters degree are encouraged to contact the office of academic evaluation in the Graduate School in order to ensure the thesis is formatted correctly.

  1. Non-Thesis 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 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.

  1. Required Courses (12 semester hours)
  • PHIL 5351. World Historical Philosophers
  • PHIL 5352. Basic Philosophical Issues
  • PHIL 5357. Proseminar I: Philosophical Research and Writing
  • PHIL 5358. Proseminar II: Science and Ethics
  • PHIL 5398. Thesis/Project I (THESIS OPTION ONLY)
  • PHIL 5399. Thesis/Project II (THESIS OPTION ONLY)

  1. Electives (18 semester hours)
  • Electives may include any graduate philosophy courses not being counted as part of the Required Courses. With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, one graduate level course from outside the Department of Philosophy may be counted towards the degree requirements. 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 result in the composition of an original M.A. thesis. 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.

  • PHIL 5301. Philosophy of Law and Society
  • PHIL 5302. Topics in Latin American Philosophy
  • PHIL 5303. Ethics and Engineering
  • PHIL 5353. Independent Study in Philosophy
  • PHIL 5354. Topics in Phlosophy of History
  • PHIL 5355. Topics in Philosophy of Education
  • PHIL 5356. Topics in Philosophy of Science
  • PHIL 5359. Philosophy and Psychology

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 Introduction to Logic (PHIL 1304) with a "B" or better can satisfy this requirement. This requirement can also be met by passing a department administered exam.

Director of Graduate Studies:

Amy Reed-Sandoval, PhD
Worrell Hall 302

Should you be interested in pursuing graduate studies in philosophy at the University of Texas at El Paso, email Dr. Reed-Sandoval to schedule a consultation meeting or to answer any questions you may have about the program.