The most compelling reason to study philosophy is to engage your curiosity and enrich your life. Students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. and seek an academic career in a college or university also benefit from first graduating from a strong M.A. program. Community colleges generally recruit their philosophy faculty from those who have earned M.A. degrees.
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 best in the country.