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Graduate Program Information


Graduate Advisor: Prof. Charles Wallis

Program Description

The CSU Long Beach Philosophy Department offers a program of study leading to the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in philosophy. Our graduate program offers rigorous philosophical training in a supportive environment. The Department’s M.A. program is ideal for those who are uncertain if they want to pursue doctoral studies, as well as those who seek only a terminal M.A. The program is also well-suited for students who were not undergraduate philosophy majors and therefore need additional preparation or credentials before pursuing work at the doctoral level.

With an enrollment of over 35,000 students, CSU Long Beach is one of the largest campuses in the CSU system. It is routinely ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top public master’s universities in the West. CSU Long Beach was also recently ranked among the top three best value public colleges in the nation by the Princeton Review.


The Department of Philosophy at CSU Long Beach has awarded 127 MA degrees since 1988. Although some data is incomplete, to the best of our knowledge …

  • 58 of the 127 graduates chose to apply to doctoral programs.
  • 53 (or 91%) of these 58 were admitted to a doctoral program.
  • 45 of these 53 were admitted to a PhD program in Philosophy, and seven were admitted to doctoral programs in other disciplines (e.g., Law, Education, Film Studies).
  • 30 of the 45 admitted to a PhD program in Philosophy (67%) were admitted to one (or more) of the top-fifty PhD programs in the United States (as ranked by The Philosophical Gourmet Report).
  • Of the 69 graduates that chose not to apply to PhD programs, at least 21 (or more than 30%) went on to teach Philosophy as Full- or Part-time Adjunct Professors or Lecturers at various universities and community colleges around the United States and Canada.

More detailed placement data is available here. Note: Any former students who do not see their placement data here should contact Prof. Charles Wallis so that it might be included.

Entrance Requirements

To be admitted, applicants must, in addition to satisfying the University requirements, have an academic background that provides evidence of philosophical promise. Such evidence may include strong GRE scores, a significantly high GPA over the last two years, advanced or honors coursework, or demonstration of research abilities or scholarly commitment. Applicants need not have majored or even minored in Philosophy, and in fact we encourage students from all backgrounds to apply. However, admission is competitive, and each applicant shall be evaluated on the merits of her or his own application. In some cases, the Department may recommend or require additional coursework in Philosophy prior to advancement to candidacy.

Application Procedure

Applicants must apply in two places: the university and the philosophy department. Applicants who have already been admitted to the University but are changing their objective to the M.A. in Philosophy should file a change of objective form available in the Philosophy Department.

Applications for admission must be completed by the following deadlines:



See also the deadlines listed on the CSULB Graduate Advising webpage.

First, apply to the university. For the application, click here.

These are the admission requirements of the university:

  1. Completion of a four-year college course of study and holding an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.
  2. Good standing at the last college or university you attended.
  3. A GPA of at least 2.5 in the last 60 semester- or 90 quarter-units attempted, excluding lower-division and extension coursework taken after the degree.
  4. Satisfying the professional, personal, scholastic and other standards for graduate study – including qualifying examinations – prescribed by your program of study.

Note: the University encourages applying students to consult the CSU Mentor Page for Online Applications.

Second, apply directly to the Philosophy Department. Submit to us:

  1. A copy of your university application.
  2. Two letters of recommendation.
  3. A statement of purpose.
  4. A writing sample.

The statement of purpose should be no more than 2 double-spaced pages. Tell us why you want to study philosophy in graduate school, and what in particular you want to study.

The writing sample should be between 5 and 15 pages. Preferably, it should be in philosophy. However, the department wants to see the work that best represents your writing and research skills.

The Department does not require the GRE for admission, but applicants may submit their scores at their discretion.

Send these materials to Dr. Charles Wallis at the address below:

Dr. Charles Wallis, Graduate Advisor
Philosophy Department
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840-2408

Funding Opportunities

Graduate Assistantships in Philosophy (GAships)
In Spring 1997, the Department began a new “teacher-in-training” program for graduate student assistants to lead discussion groups and assist with grading in lower-division GE courses. The Department typically employs 3-6 Graduate Assistants each semester. Students should ordinarily expect appointment in their second year of graduate studies. For AY2009-10, GAs were paid approximately $2,745-$3,140 per semester for 10 hours/week. A call for applications for GAships is made each semester. Please check the Department’s website for the announcement and application deadline; questions or concerns can be emailed to the Department Chairperson or the Graduate Advisor.

Additionally, other Departments in the College of Liberal Arts and in other Colleges occasionally hire Philosophy MA students to assist with grading and writing tutorials. The Department can assist graduate students in obtaining those appointments, and the Graduate Advisor can provide more information about these and other campus employment possibilities. Further information can be found here. Graduate students may work up to a total of 20 hrs/week in all campus employment combined.

Graduate Student Tutorialships
The Department occasionally receives funds for support success initiatives. When funding is available, the department hires graduate students to provide tutoring support across all sections of General Education courses such as PHIL170: Critical Reasoning. Rather than being assigned to a particular section, graduate student tutors run open advising and/or office hours (10 hrs/week) to help students with coursework and test preparation, improving their skills in critical thinking and mastery of basic logical concepts. Tutors are a support resource only, and they are not responsible for grading. Pay for graduate student tutorialships is equivalent to that of a regular GAship.

Supplemental Instructorships at the Learning Assistance Center (SIships)
The Learning Assistance Center (LAC) occasionally hires graduate students in Philosophy to serve as Supplemental Instructors. SIs help a segment of the CSULB undergraduate population (“Beach Learning Community”) to fill in gaps in their foundational knowledge and skills, so that they can better handle college-level coursework. SIships involve many of the same duties as GAships in Philosophy, and SIs frequently serve alongside GAs in the very same GE courses. The job is to facilitate learning objectives and to work collaboratively with the instructor to maximize student success among the Beach Learning Community. Interested students should consult the appropriate staff member at the LAC for futher details or an interview. Further information can be found here.

Student Assistantships (SAships) and Federal Work/Study
Some students apply for Work/Study programs as part of their Federal financial aid (a FAFSA must be on file); the Department sometimes has funds available to hire these students as SAs for both the regular academic year and summer sessions. SAs are responsible for assistance within the Philosophy Department Main Office, and may not work more than 20 hours per week. Application forms can be obtained fromt the Department Coordinator in the Main Office.

Resident Assistantships (RAships)
The Office of Housing and Residential Life (OHRL) has employment opportunities for graduate students who are looking for RAships or for finanical assistance for living expenses. See here for further information.

Scholarships and Awards
Besides employment, there are several opportunities for graduate students to apply for scholarships and grants (in addition to those offered interally by the Department). For instance, the University offers the Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral scholarship to qualified applicants. See <> to check for eligibility. The University also competitively awards small summer stipends for collaborative projects between students and faculty mentors. Projects may include editing a volume or collection, research support, bibliometric study, experimentation, etc. Previously, students receive about $2,000.00 if awarded the stipend. Graduate students are also eligible to compete in Liberal Arts Scholars Award program, sponsored by the alumni and friends of the College of Liberal Arts. The scholarship is $3,000, and is awarded to outstanding CLA seniors or graduate students planning to do research with a faculty member for the following academic year at CSULB. Students must maintain a 3.5 GPA overall and a 3.75 GPA in the major, and must be nominated by a College of Liberal Arts faculty member. Continuing graduate students are also encouraged to apply for the competitive Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF). The Center for Scholarship Information at CSULB has a variety of sources of award information for students who are interested in applying for awards. For further particulars, see here.

Note: For additional information, please consult the University’s financial aid page.