Graduate Admissions

Graduate Admissions

Application Deadlines

The Department of Philosophy has both spring and fall admissions cycles. Generally, the Graduate Committee reviews applications and makes decisions on a rolling basis.

Currently, the Department is accepting application for SP20 matriculation. Review of applications for priority consideration begins August 1st. The final deadline to apply is November 1st 2019. (Deadlines are also listed on the CSULB Graduate Advising webpage.)


Application Procedure

The application process has two parts. First, apply to the University. To do so, submit the following:

  1. Cal State Apply application
  2. All official transcripts to Enrollment Services

Second, apply to the Department. To do so, submit the following:

  1. A copy of your Cal State Apply application
  2. A statement of purpose
  3. A writing sample
  4. A minimum of two letters of recommendation

These latter four items should be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator at the address below:

Prof. Cory Wright
Department of Philosophy (MHB·917)
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90840–2408

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The Department does not require the GRE for admission. Applicants may submit their scores at their discretion, however, and stronger scores might help students secure admission and funding. (The ETS institution code for Cal State Long Beach is 4389, and the sub-code for Philosophy is 2804.)

Statements and Writing Samples

Statements of purpose are approximately one to two pages (500–1000 words). We are keen to hear why you want to study Philosophy at the graduate level, what you want to study in particular, and with whom. Writing samples vary in length, but are typically between 10–15 pages. Preferably, your writing sample should relate to philosophical issues and arguments; ultimately, though, the department wants to see the work that best represents your writing and research skills.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation can be sent by e-mail. However, they should be signed, should be on university or official letterhead, and should be e-mailed directly from the letter writer using his or her university account. Letters of recommendation are held in strict confidence per university regulations.


Admission and Entrance Requirements

Applicants must, in addition to satisfying the University requirements, have an academic background that provides evidence of philosophical promise in order to be admitted. 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; high quality students from various backgrounds are encouraged to apply. However, admission is competitive, and each applicant is 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.


Many applicants have a prior program of study that includes more than 15 units of upper-division Philosophy courses. Applicants whose records and transcripts to date do not demonstrate this level of upper-division coursework, but who are admitted because their records evince a high level of academic performance, may have some deficiencies in their background and rudimentary understanding of Philosophy. Typically, these are one of two sorts: (1) unit deficiencies, or (2) area deficiencies. Applicants have unit deficiencies if the number of units in Philosophy is insufficient to succeed in the program. Applicants have area deficiencies if they have not yet demonstrated proficiency in a diverse range of core areas, such as coursework covering the history of philosophy, as well as in epistemology and metaphysics, value theory, and symbolic logic. (A grade of ‘B’ earned in a semester or quarter course is sufficient for such demonstration.)

If an applicant’s unit or area deficiencies are problematic, the Graduate Committee may require applicants to rectify them in their beginning semester(s). Courses taken to rectify a deficiency do not count toward the minimum unit requirement for the MA degree. Students who anticipate being admitted with deficiencies should contact the Graduate Advisor early in the admissions process and upon beginning the MA program in order to facilitate assessment and to plan a program of study.

Conditionally Classified and Classified Status

All admitted students enter the program with conditionally classified status, and must enroll in the Department’s proseminar in the first semester in which it is offered. Students achieve classified status upon satisfying two conditions: passing the proseminar, and passing the basic qualifying exam.