A Philosophy Degree does not necessarily prepare a student for a particular career path. Instead, it lays the groundwork for students to pursue their studies in a doctoral philosophy program by providing a solid base in advanced philosophy concepts. Nevertheless, there are a variety of careers Master’s in Philosophy Online graduates could pursue, like teaching and research, theology, healthcare, and law, to name a few.
Most Master’s in Philosophy Programs emphasize communication skills, both oral and written, as a prerequisite. This is because Philosophers are communicators by nature and need to know how to effectively put forth their logic, rationale, and reasoning to various audiences. Other skills that these programs cover are Logical Analysis, Constructive Argumentation, Critical Thinking, Analytical Thinking, and Problem-Solving.
Masters in Philosophy Degree Types
Interestingly, there are very few online Master’s in Philosophy Degrees as a subject or major. However, other streams of learning and departments, such as Humanities and Liberal Arts, will cover similar ground and include philosophy in their curricula. Such programs will take a multi-disciplinary approach, blending subjects such as philosophy, theology, social sciences, law, politics, and more. Some of the other Master’s Degrees students could consider are:
- Master of Arts
- Master of Humanities
- Master of Liberal Arts
- Master of Liberal Studies
Although these degrees are not identical, it is important to remember that they all follow the same pattern of using the humanities to investigate a deeper meaning and value of life. And while most Master’s programs focus on a particular area of study, philosophy-based programs expand the student’s perspective on life by examining a variety of philosophy and other related topics. The advantage of this is that one can choose from a wide range of careers, rather than be restricted to a few.
Some of the alternatives to a Master’s in Philosophy are:
- Master of Humanities
- Master of Arts in Bioethics
- Master of Science in Bioethics
- Master’s in Liberal Studies: Philosophy and Religion
- Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality
- Master of Arts in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness
- Master of Science: Epistemology Ethics and Mind
- Master of Science: Business Ethics and Compliance
As for a pure Master’s in Philosophy, there are two major degrees to choose from – a Master of Arts or MA in Philosophy, or a Master of Science or MS in Philosophy. There is also a third type of degree some Universities offer – Master of Philosophy or MPhil.
A Master of Arts in Philosophy, or MA Philosophy, stems from larger areas of arts, humanities, and social sciences. MA programs are typically a mix of lectures, workshops, and seminars, from a non-technical approach. Although largely assessed through examinations, it is not uncommon for students to also be evaluated based on an independent research project dissertation.
A Master of Science in Philosophy, or MS in Philosophy, has a stronger research component and is more technical and technologically oriented than an MA program. MS programs generally blend both arts and science subjects that are better suited for Business, Research, and other sectors.
Master of Philosophy (MPhil), also sometimes referred to as ‘Master by Research’, is a postgraduate degree that can either be part of a Ph.D., or a precursor to a Ph.D., or a standalone qualification. Unlike an MA or MS, this degree is purely research-based in that it allows the pursuit of a student’s independent line of inquiry as an independent project, rather than courses and assessments pursued otherwise. The MPhil is less common in the United States because graduate Philosophy programs (in the US) require taught units and assessment, unlike some other countries such as the UK.
Specializations in Masters in Philosophy Programs
Although in most cases, a Master’s in Philosophy degree should be adequate for a wide range of careers, specializations add incredible value to the degree and make it possible for students to work in a niche field of Philosophy. Among a host of such specializations and concentrations are:
- General Studies
- History of Philosophy
- Christian Wisdom
- Social Applied Philosophy
- Systematic Philosophy
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Philosophy Online Programs
The coursework of each Master’s in Philosophy online program varies depending on the college and the program. These variations can be quite severe and confusing, and it is therefore always wise to choose a program that is tailored to meet individual needs, including career paths. Some courses tend to be covered at the surface level. In contrast, some others may dive deeper into a subject or topic, depending on whether the program is an MA in Philosophy, or a Master of Liberal Arts, or a Master of Humanities, and so on.
If the sole purpose of a Master’s in Philosophy is to take up doctoral studies at a later date, students should look for a program that focuses on and majors in Philosophy or one that has a strong Philosophy curriculum. In general, a Master’s in Philosophy or interdisciplinary degree that covers Philosophy would have basic coursework, coupled with electives, and in some cases, a thesis. Some colleges will require students to take up one or more Writing and Research Skills courses as a prerequisite. Some of the courses that are available across programs are:
- Value Theory and Symbols
- Moral Philosophy
- Philosophy of Mind, Language, Linguistics, and Metaphysics
- Philosophy of Science, Methodology, and Epistemology
- Science, Ecology, and Contested Knowledge
- Philosophy of Religion
- Formal Philosophy and Philosophical Logic
- Moral Philosophy
- Philosophy of Theology, and Personal Foundations for Spiritual Formation
- Gods and Monsters: Understanding Power
- Philosophy of Social Identities
- History of Modern and Contemporary Philosophy
- History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
- Human Person and Psychological Development
- Love, Death, and Annihilation Gender
- Science and Magic: The Varied Modes of Knowing and Believing
Apart from Philosophy-related electives, some colleges offer interdisciplinary electives that help develop formal skills for supporting thesis research. Interested students can choose from Model Theory, Cognitive Neuroscience, Machine Learning, Probability and Mathematical Statistics, and many more.
In addition to generally meeting the admission requirements for doctorate programs in Philosophy, students who graduate from online Philosophy courses will demonstrate, depending on the type of program chosen, an array of skills, such as the ability to:
- explore metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics;
- discern major issues in current philosophical debate;
- practically apply biblical wisdom in a variety of contexts; and
- engage with intellectual atheists and agnostics on a philosophical level.
Accreditation for Masters in Philosophy Online Programs
Accredited online philosophy degrees carry weight and count, especially when applying to doctoral programs. Therefore, students should never overlook accreditation and should always check with the college or read the program guide to see if the programs on offer are accredited by a recognized and genuine body. Furthermore, reading up on accreditation and its importance is always advisable.
Some of the accreditation bodies for a Master’s in Philosophy online program are:
Timeline for graduation from Masters in Philosophy Online Programs
The standard average to complete a Master’s in Philosophy online program is two years, with an upper limit of 6 years. Although there are programs that can last only one year, they are extremely rare and increasingly very hard to come by.
Masters in Philosophy Online Programs Admission Requirements
Master’s in Philosophy requirements, when it comes to admissions, are mostly the same that are applicable for other Master’s programs. The first and foremost requirement is a Bachelor’s Degree, preferably with Philosophy as a major, or other Liberal Arts or Humanities-related Undergraduate Degrees are also appropriate. Additionally (or), students may need to take up any prerequisite coursework as well, especially if the Bachelor’s Degree does not meet the criteria.
To get admitted to an online Master’s in Philosophy program, applicants might need some or all of these requirements:
- A Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy or Philosophy-related field.
- Required Prerequisite Coursework
- A minimum Grade-Point Average (GPA) of 3.3 and above (some have a lower requirement)
- Standardized Test Scores, if required, such as GRE or GMAT
- Letters of Recommendation
- Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose
- Entrance Essay or a Write-Up
Students should always check the specifics of the program at the college they are applying to and also any additional or particular admission requirements that may be asked for.