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Master of Arts in Philosophy

Graduate Director: Chad Carmichael, Ph.D.

Students pursuing the M.A. degree may pursue a general master’s-level education in philosophy, or concentrate in Bioethics. The curriculum for both programs reflects the unique faculty and resource profile at IUPUI.

The bioethics program was developed in collaboration with the Indiana University Center for Bioethics. Bioethics is a rapidly growing field that requires educated and trained theorists and practitioners. Since IUPUI is home to one of the nation’s largest health-profession complexes, it is well-placed to play a leading role in the academic training of such individuals.

Students who pursue a general philosophical education may, if they wish, take a number of elective courses focused on classical American philosophy and pragmatism. The department provides the most comprehensive program anywhere in the world for studying the work of Charles S. Peirce. IUPUI has become an important center for research in American thought, with the Institute for American Thought housing the Peirce Edition Project, the Santayana Edition, the Josiah Royce Papers, the Ray Bradbury Center, and the Frederick Douglass Papers. In addition it has extensive archives.

Click the tabs above for more information.

Requirements for Admission

Applicants to the M.A. are expected to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, or its equivalent, with a grade point average of at least 3.0 overall (on a scale of 4) and at least 3.0 in the student’s major. There is no specific major requirement, but applicants must show a record of coursework (or equivalent experience) demonstrating that they are sufficiently prepared to do graduate work in philosophy. Acceptable coursework includes an undergraduate degree in philosophy. For applicants interested in the Bioethics or International Research Ethics concentrations, professional training or experience that involved health care ethics could be accepted in lieu of coursework. Applicants must also show an appropriate level of achievement on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test.

Foreign applicants are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). They must also take the IUPUI English (ESL) examination prior to their first semester of coursework and may be required to take additional classes in English as a second language.

Students not seeking a degree, and students not qualified for full admission, may be admitted as Graduate Non-Degree students. In some cases, degree-seeking students who do not meet all admissions requirements will be admitted on condition that specified deficiencies be remedied within a certain time.

Application Due Dates

Deadlines for receipt of completed applications are as follows:

January 15th – For applicants who wish to be considered for a University Fellowship.
March 1st – For applicants seeking admission in the summer or fall semesters.
October 15th – For applicants seeking admission for the spring semester.

We are ordinarily able to consider applications for the fall semester well after March 1. If you would like to apply late, please contact the graduate director (crcarmic@iupui.edu).

Application Materials

  1. Graduate School Application form with Application Fee
  2. Three Letters of Recommendation
  3. Statement of Purpose
  4. GRE Scores*
  5. TOEFL Scores (non-native English speakers only)
  6. Official Transcripts (required from all institutions attended or currently attending)
  7. Writing Sample†

Transcripts and writing sample should be sent directly to:

Philosophy Department

ATTN Graduate Admissions

425 University Blvd., CA 331

Indianapolis, IN 46202

USA


* LSAT or MCAT scores may be accepted in lieu of GRE scores for students applying for the Bioethics concentration. No test scores are required for applicants who already hold an advanced degree.

† A writing sample may not be required for applicants to  the Bioethics concentration if they are, or have been, professionally employed in a relevant field. In such cases, a resume may be submitted in lieu of a writing sample.

University Fellowships

First-year graduate students may be nominated for IUPUI’s University Fellowships. These competitive ten-month awards currently provide a $12,000 stipend, health & dental insurance, a small travel allowance, and a waiver of most tuition fees. Students who are awarded a University Fellowship may be nominated for a second-year fellowship or will receive a graduate assistantship for their second year of studies. University Fellowship recipients must be registered for at least 6 cr. of graduate coursework pertinent to their degree track each semester of the award period.

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available for new or returning students each academic year. Please inform the Graduate Director if you would like to be considered for one of these assistantships. Each assistantship includes a $9,000 stipend, health & dental insurance, and a waiver of most tuition fees. Recipients must be registered for at least 6 cr. of graduate coursework pertinent to their degree track each semester of the award period.

Research assistantships involve 20 hours of work per week at either the Center for Bioethics or the Peirce Edition Project.

Teaching assistantships may also be available for advanced students

Brand Fellowship

This endowed fellowship may be awarded to a new or returning student in the Bioethics concentration. The fellowship award includes a $10,000 stipend, health & dental insurance, and partial tuition fee remission. The purpose of the fellowship is to support a research project that concretely applies philosophical/ethical principles to real-life situations in the health care or biomedical research context. The project should connect the student with faculty and resources in one or all of the following: the Myles Brand Chair in Cancer Research in the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, the IU Center for Bioethics, or the Dept. of Public Health in the IU School of Medicine. Additional information and application requirements can be found here. Applications are due by March 31st.

Additional Financial Aid

Financial assistance is available to graduate students via the Federal Direct student loan program, which is administered by the Department of Education. If a student is interested in federal assistance, they must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The IUPUI federal school code is 001813 and should be listed under "school choices." Aid applicants must also request a federal PIN number at www.pin.ed.gov. The PIN number will allow for electronic signature of the FAFSA, as well as the ability to make corrections to the data. PIN can also be used to review your federal student loan history online via the National Student Loan Database.

Loans

Loans are the primary source of financial aid for graduate students via the federal government. The Stafford Loan program is a federally administered student loan and interest rates for Stafford loans are fixed at 6.8%. Graduate students are eligible for a maximum of $20,500 per academic year via the unsubsidized Stafford loan program. Unsubsidized loans accrue interest from the time the loans disburse. You are not required to pay accruing interest while in school. However, accrued interest that is not paid will be capitalized at repayment, which occurs six months after graduation or falling below half-time status. Students should be cautioned that private student loans do not offer the type of protections, deferment, and income-based repayment options that exist with the federal loan program.

Please direct inquiries concerning federal loans to the IUPUI Office of Student Financial Services at finaid@iupui.edu or in-person (Suite 250 in the Campus Center); office hours are posted on the Financial Aid website.

Federal Work Study

Students may elect to work part-time during their studies. Federal aid applicants may indicate their interest in the federal work-study program via the FAFSA. If you would like to learn more about this option, please refer to the IUPUI Office of Student Employment’s website.

Total Hours Required

Students must complete a minimum of thirty (30) credit hours, of which at least eighteen (18) must be in philosophy.

Curriculum

General MA

Bioethics Concentration

Grade Requirements

No course with a grade lower than a B (3.0) will count toward this degree.

Residency Requirement

Students must attend and complete the courses at IUPUI, excepting those courses accepted for transfer. At least fifteen (15) credit hours must be taken at IUPUI.

Transfer Credits

Candidates may transfer up to eight (8) hours of graduate credit for courses taken at other accredited institutions, provided the grades received were B (3.0) or higher and the courses were completed within the time limit prescribed by the Graduate School. The transfer is not automatic and must be approved in writing by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the Graduate School. For time restrictions on transfer credits, see the section on time limits below. In addition to these eight (8) hours, graduate courses taken at other Indiana University campuses may be counted toward the M.A. if pre-approved in writing by the director.

Time Limits for Completion Degree

The normal course load each semester for full-time students is a minimum of eight (8) credit hours. Part-time students take only one or two courses per semester. The minimum full-time equivalency for students holding an assistantship or internship is six (6) credit hours per semester. International students must take at least eight (8) credit hours each fall and spring semester to meet visa requirements. Students who carry a full academic load can complete the program in two calendar years.

The requirements for the degree must be completed within five consecutive years. Transfer credits also fall within this five-year limit.

Any courses that have been completed more than five (5) years before the degree is completed must be revalidated if they are to count toward the M.A. Revalidation requires the administration of an oral exam.

Students in the combined/dual degrees programs (J.D./M.A., M.D./M.A., M.P.H./M.A.) must complete both degrees within six (6) consecutive years and both degrees must be awarded simultaneously.

Curriculum for General MA

Module 1 – Philosophy Core (15 cr.)

History (at least 6 cr.)

  • PHIL P515 Medieval Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P522 Topics in the History of Modern Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P536 Topics in Contemporary Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P558 Classical American Philosophy (3 cr.)

Topics (at least 6 cr.)

  • PHIL P514 Pragmatism (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P540 Ethical Theories (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P543 Social and Political Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P553 Philosophy of Science (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P560 Metaphysics (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P562 Theory of Knowledge (3 cr.)

Module 2 – General Electives (15 cr.)

  • PHIL P503 Semiotics of C.S. Peirce (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P507 American Philosophy and the Analytic Tradition (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P520 Philosophy of Language (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P525 Topics in the History of Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P542 Ethics and Values of Philanthropy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P545 Legal Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P552 Philosophy of Logic (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P561 Philosophy of Mind (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P572 Philosophy of Religion (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P600 Topics in Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P650 Topics in Semiotic Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P701 Peirce Seminar (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P730 Seminar in Contemporary Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P748 Seminar in American Philosophy (3 cr.)

Plus any PHIL course offered in the Bioethics concentration.

Course descriptions can be found here.

Curriculum for Bioethics Concentration

Module 1 – Philosophy Core (6 cr.)

1a Required Foundational Course (3 cr.)

  • PHIL P540 Contemporary Ethical Theories (3 cr.)

1b Core Electives (3 cr. required)

  • PHIL P514 Pragmatism (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P515 Medieval Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P522 Topics in the History of Modern Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P536 Topics in the History of Contemporary Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P543 Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P553 Philosophy of Science (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P558 Classical American Philosophy (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P560 Metaphysics (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P562 Theory of Knowledge (3 cr.)

Module 2 – Concentration-specific Courses (18 cr. required)

1. Required foundational course (3 cr.)

  • PHIL P547 Foundations of Bioethics (3 cr.)

2. Concentration-specific electives (15 cr. required)

2a. Areas of central importance (5 cr. required)

2b. Specialized electives (9 cr. required)

  • ANTH E445 Medical Anthropology (3 cr.)
  • COMM C510 Health Provider-Consumer Communication (3 cr.)
  • HIST H546 History of Medicine (3 cr.)
  • LAW DN761 Law and Public Health (2 cr.)
  • LAW DN845 Financing and Regulating Health Care (3 cr.)
  • NURS N534 Ethical and Legal Perspectives in Advanced Nursing Practice (2 cr.)
  • PHIL P549 Bioethics and Pragmatism (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P555 Ethical and Policy Issues in International Research (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P600 Topics in Philosophy (3 cr.) [When content is concentration-specific]
  • PHIL P696 Topics in Biomedical Ethics (3 cr.)
  • PHIL P730 Seminar in Contemporary Philosophy (3 cr.) [When content is concentration-specific]
  • SOC R515 Sociology of Health and Illness (3 cr.)
  • SOC S560 Topics: Death and Dying (3 cr.)

Module 3 – General Electives (6 cr. required)

Any graduate-level philosophy course offered by the Philosophy Department that falls within the General M.A. Curriculum or the Bioethics Concentration Curriculum

 

Thesis or Research Project

Students may petition to write a thesis (P803, 6 cr.) under certain circumstances. They must secure permission from their graduate director and three faculty members who are willing to constitute a thesis committee. The thesis can only replace General Electives coursework.

For the Bioethics concentration a thesis equivalent research project may take the place of a thesis.

Depending on a range of factors—non-academic time commitments, the amount of relevant research completed as part of previous coursework, and so forth—the thesis should take from six months to a year to complete. Students will work under the supervision of a Thesis Committee; the committee chair will serve as the Thesis Advisor. The thesis advisor and at least one other member of the thesis committee must be member of the Philosophy Department’s graduate faculty.

While our program offers a great deal of flexibility, there are two important constraints on the choice of a thesis topic:

1. The student must choose a topic that a member of the Philosophy Department’s graduate faculty is qualified to direct. No graduate program can offer its students unlimited choice of courses and thesis topics; part of the commitment ones makes when entering a program is to recognize the parameters of what it can offer. The thesis advisor should be the faculty member best qualified to direct each student’s thesis. After consulting with the student, the thesis advisor will form a committee consisting of at least two other faculty members, which may include a member from other departments or schools at IUPUI.

2. The student must choose a topic that grows out of and reflects the rest of their work in the MA program. The thesis is an opportunity for the student to demonstrate the skills and knowledge acquired in the course of their graduate studies by engaging in an extended research project.

With the assistance of the thesis committee, the student will first narrow their general area of interest to a specific thesis topic; in this stage, the student may be advised to do preliminary research on two or more possible topics before making a final decision.

Once the student has chosen a specific topic and has done sufficient research to determine that it will allow them to make an original contribution to the scholarly and/or professional dialogue in the field, a thesis proposal will be submitted. The proposal consists of a cover form, to be signed by the student and all the members of the thesis committee, a narrative description of the thesis project, a timetable for completion, and an annotated bibliography. (A more detailed description of the thesis proposal and the proposal cover sheet are included in this guide.) Only after the committee has approved the proposal, the student will be authorized to register for thesis hours (P803).

Please see the most recent "Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations," published by the IUPUI Graduate Office. Students save themselves a lot of time by knowing in advance what are the specific formatting requirements for the thesis.

No precise guidelines can be given for the length of a thesis other than that it should include a clear development of the issue that is being discussed, a thorough survey of the relevant literature, and a clear account of how the conclusions are reached. Though the great majority of the theses written at IUPUI fall between 80 and 130 pages, there is nonetheless a great variety in thesis length. For instance, over the 2003-04 period thesis length at IUPUI varied from 37 to 621 pages. Be aware, though, that brevity is not a sure sign of brilliance, nor length a proven indicator of thoroughness.

Upon completion of the thesis, the student and thesis committee will set a date for an oral defense. The Graduate School’s deadline for completion of degree requirements and submission of the thesis is the 10th of the month in which a student intends to graduate. Therefore, the Philosophy Department requires that the defense takes place before the 10th of the preceding month, and that the thesis be submitted to the committee members at least four weeks before the defense date. The thesis, then, should be completed at least two months prior to the 10th of the month in which the student intends to graduate: e.g., if a student intends to graduate in May, the defense should be scheduled for April 10th at the latest, and the thesis submitted to the committee by early March.

As one works on their thesis, one should be aware of the Graduate School’s deadlines for completion of degree requirements. One should also note that an "Application for Advanced Degree" must be submitted to the IUPUI Graduate Office at least 60 days prior to the 10th of the month in which one intends to graduate. The graduate director will submit a "Recommendation for Advanced Degree" 30 days prior to the 10th of the month in which the student intends to graduate. The IUPUI Graduate Office has additional deadlines for notifying them if one intends to participate in the May commencement ceremonies.

Thesis Proposal Guidelines

An MA thesis in Philosophy makes an original contribution to the field. The thesis proposal should therefore include the following:

1. A narrative description of the project including:

  • a brief statement of the topic of the thesis
  • a statement of the project’s originality
  • a narrative outlining the project’s methodology and/or the major issues involved.

The narrative should include a survey of the relevant professional literature, identifying the major trends in the development and current state of professional thought on the proposal’s main issues with direct references to entries in the annotated bibliography (see below). Because the contextual description provides the support of one’s claim of originality, this context is necessary no matter what the project.

2. A contextual survey of the relevant literature, both in narrative form and in an expanded annotated bibliography. The bibliography entries should be written in complete sentences. They should not only summarize the writer’s main points of view but also explain the relevance of the source to the thesis. There is no "sufficient number" of sources for the annotated bibliography. One should make certain not to miss landmark books and articles by using the bibliographic reference tools appropriate to the field. If the number of sources is too overwhelming, this is an indication that the topic may need to be narrowed.

3. A timeline for completing the stages of the project, with proper attention to when theses must be filed for particular graduation dates.

Research Project in Bioethics

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of these concentrations, and particularly for students in the combined-degrees programs (J.D./M.A., M.D./M.A., or M.P.H./M.A.), a research project may be a more appropriate capstone for the M.A. than a traditional thesis. Students in the Bioethics concentration may petition either to write a thesis, to conduct a research project, or to complete their M.A. through coursework alone.

The following guidelines apply to the completion of research projects:

1. Though distinct in format, the research project must be equivalent to a thesis. As with a thesis, the research project must make an original contribution to the field, include a clear development of the issue that is being discussed, a thorough survey of the relevant literature, and a clear account of how the conclusions are reached.

2. Research projects are subject to all the same restrictions, guidelines, and deadlines given above for theses.

3. If the research project involves animal or human subjects, students must receive approval or exemption from one of IUPUI’s Institutional Review Boards prior to beginning that portion of the project. A copy of the application for IRB approval or exemption must be submitted with the project proposal.

Research Project Proposal Guidelines

The MA research project makes an original contribution to the field. The project proposal should therefore include the following:

1. A narrative description of the project including:

  • a brief statement of the topic of the project
  • a statement of the project’s originality
  • a narrative outlining the project’s methodology and the major issues involved
  • an explanation of why the thesis format is not well-suited for the proposed research.

The narrative should include a survey of the relevant professional literature, identifying the major trends in the development and current state of professional thought on the proposal’s main issues with direct references to entries in the annotated bibliography (see below). Because the contextual description provides the support of one’s claim of originality, this context is necessary no matter what the project.

2. A contextual survey of the relevant literature, both in narrative form and in an expanded annotated bibliography. The bibliography entries should be written in complete sentences. They should not only summarize the writer’s main points of view but also explain the relevance of the source to the project. There is no "sufficient number" of sources for the annotated bibliography. One should make certain not to miss landmark books and articles by using the bibliographic reference tools appropriate to the field. If the number of sources is too overwhelming, this is an indication that the topic may need to be narrowed.

3. If there are multiple researchers on the project, the student’s degree of contribution must be explained in the proposal and shown to be equivalent to a thesis. If the research project is conducted in collaboration with one or more IU faculty members, at least one but no more than two of them should serve on the student’s committee.

4. If the project involves research with animal or human subjects, the proposal should note whether IRB approval or exemption has been secured or is pending. An application for IRB approval or exemption must be filed prior to the proposal’s submission and a copy included with the proposal.

5. A timeline for completing the stages of the project, with proper attention to when project must be filed for particular graduation dates.