Benefits of the MA
All people by nature have a desire to know. So perhaps the most compelling reason to study philosophy is to engage your curiosity and enrich your life. But earning an M.A. in philosophy also provides students with a range of skills and a breadth of knowledge that can be put to use in a number of professional fields:
- Students with strong preparation in philosophy do extremely well on LSATs, GMATs, and GREs.
- The critical and analytical skills developed in philosophical studies are a benefit in making business decisions, and a significant number of leading executives have a background in philosophy.
- The growing field of applied ethics has created an opportunity for philosophers to work with professionals in the areas of medicine, engineering, and environmental management.
- Teachers in secondary schools find that an understanding of philosophical issues in areas such as history, literature, and the sciences allows them to teach their subjects with more insight and to develop new pedagogical approaches.
- Community colleges generally recruit their philosophy faculty from those who have earned M.A. degrees.
- The leading guide to graduate study in philosophy -- The Philosophical Gourmet -- suggests that some students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. and seek an academic career in a college or university may also benefit from first graduating from a strong M.A. program:
Who should consider an M.A. program in philosophy? Three categories of students who ultimately want to get a Ph.D. and pursue an academic career might benefit from such programs: (i) students whose undergraduate major was not philosophy; (ii) students who majored in philosophy at universities with philosophy departments outside the mainstream of the profession; and (iii) students who majored in philosophy, have a solid grounding in the various areas of philosophy, but who studied philosophy at smaller colleges and universities, or at institutions with weak academic reputations students who fit into one of these categories may be more likely to have trouble getting into Ph.D. programs and may be good candidates to benefit from M.A. programs.
The Philosophical Gourmet goes on to list the following ways a strong M.A. program can serve students in these categories: "A good M.A. program will provide many benefits: it will allow a student to get a basic grounding in philosophy or expand the breadth of her existing knowledge; to develop increased familiarity with current debates in philosophy; to prepare and polish written work in philosophy that will be useful in the applications process for Ph.D. programs; and to get to know some established philosophers who can then provide meaningful letters of recommendation for Ph.D. programs." The Philosophical Gourmet ranks our terminal M.A. program among the top nine in the country. Go to: http://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/maprog.asp to see the details.