- A program of study consisting of ≥30 units of approved courses, of which at least 24 units must be in Philosophy. The remaining 6 units may be taken either in Philosophy or in another field of study related to the candidate’s educational objectives and selected in conference with the Graduate Advisor. The program of study must include a minimum of 9 units from the 600-level; and 3 of those 9 units must come from PHIL610: Proseminar. Students must enroll in PHIL610 in the first semester in which the course is offered. PHIL697: Directed Research and PHIL698: Directed Thesis may not count toward fulfillment of the 600 series minimum requirement. Undergraduate-level courses in Philosophy do not count toward the MA degree requirements. However, under special circumstances and at the discretion of the Graduate Advisor, undergraduate level courses from outside the major may count toward the MA in Philosophy when such work is essential to the successful completion of the student’s proposed MA thesis or comprehensive examination preparation.
- A thesis and oral defense thereof, or a set of three comprehensive examinations.
Basic Qualifying Exam (BQE)
The BQE is a diagnostic test to ensure that students are equipped with the basic skills prerequisite for the successful study of advanced Philosophy and related pursuits. Passing the BQE invests both the Department and students’ thesis or exam committees with the confidence to continue supporting and working with that student. Additionally, the BQE provides the student with feedback as to their current knowledge and abilities.
The exam is comprised of an analytic portion and a text portion. The analytic portion assesses students’ abilities to extract, reconstruct, and evaluate arguments from short novel passages. Students must be able to demonstrate an understanding of basic logical concepts (validity, soundness, cogency, analogy, etc.), and are often asked to explain or analyze key inferences. The text portion assesses the student’s ability to read, interpret, and critically evaluate a more lengthy philosophical text.
Conditionally classified students who at entry to the program as a graduate student have been determined to have no deficiencies in prerequisite preparation must attempt the BQE by the end of their second (academic year) semester in the program and pass it by the end of their third (academic year) semester in order to achieve classified status. Conditionally classified student who must rectify a deficiency must attempt the BQE by the end of their third (academic year) semester in the program and pass it by the end of their fourth (academic year) semester in order to achieve classified status. (Winter Term and Summer Session do not count as academic year semesters).
Advancement to Candidacy
Advancement to Candidacy is the next step after acquiring classified status (and cannot take place until then) and confers catalog rights to graduate students. Advancement to Candidacy also signifies approval of a plan of study by the student’s department and college. The requirements for advancement, which must be achieved at least one semester before graduation can occur and can only occur in a semester in which the student is enrolled, are:
- Students must be in classified status to advance to candidacy.
- Students must have maintained a minimum 3.00 GPA in Philosophy.
- The Department faculty must approve the student’s prospectus for her or his culminating project (thesis, comprehensive examinations, portfolio).
Graduate Student Handbook
Department Policies and Information
- Revalidating graduate coursework after seven years
- Program of study flowchart
- Information on the Basic Qualifying Exam (BQE)
Thesis and Comprehensive Exams
- Prospectus signature page
- Prospectus template for the comprehensive exam and portfolio options
- Proposal submission checklist & information on graduation
- Information on Thesis Proposals (with Examples)
- Information on Comprehensive Exam Proposals (with Examples)
The university has a inaugurated a online compendium, called Navigating Grad Studies at the Beach, which offers a centralized location for prospective, current, and international students to learn about campus services and tools, funding, academic resources, etc.
- University policy on educational Leave
- University policy on undergraduates taking graduate courses
- University policy on unit loads
- CSULB Learning Assistance Center
- Employment at the Learning Assistance Center (LAC)
- Off-campus housing
- University GA & TA Positions
- CSULB Learning Assistance Center
- Employment at the Learning Assistance Center
- Financial Aid
- Student Life and Development Travel Application Flow Chart
- Proposal Submission Checklist & Information on Graduation
- Library resources
- University Library Thesis & Dissertation Office (with deadlines)
- University style and format guidelines for theses