BA/MA in Philosophy

At the beginning of the junior year, undergraduates may apply for admission to a program of study that leads to the completion of the requirements for both the BA and the MA at the end of the academic year following the senior year. Details of the program, including our Regulae and Application for Admission, can be found at the department website.

The purpose of the BA/MA program is to provide exceptional undergraduate students with an opportunity to pursue the study of philosophy in greater depth than is possible within the BA major program and to earn a master’s degree at Boston University before entering a PhD program at another university. The program provides a continuing relationship with a faculty advisor and an opportunity to build up a systematic background in philosophy. While the department is prepared, in exceptional cases, to consider applications for admission to the PhD program from a BA/MA candidate, normally the candidate, having completed his or her BA/MA, continues studies for the PhD at another institution.

Requirements

All required courses are 4 credits unless otherwise indicated.

Freshmen and Sophomore Years: To be eligible for the BA/MA program, a student must have completed by the end of the sophomore year, at least two of the following with a grade of B or better in each course. Any of these courses not completed by the end of the sophomore year must be taken in the junior year:

  • CAS PH 300 History of Ancient Philosophy
  • CAS PH 310 History of Modern Philosophy
  • CAS PH 350 History of Ethics
  • CAS PH 360 Symbolic Logic

Junior and Senior Years: During the junior and senior years, the BA/MA candidate must complete all requirements for a BA degree with a major in philosophy or a joint philosophy major. Please see individual majors’ requirements in the Philosophy BA degree programs portion of this Bulletin.

The MA year: During the MA year, the BA/MA candidate must complete:

  • Six graduate-level philosophy courses, numbered GRS PH 600–899
  • Two GRS PH 900-level directed studies on a topic selected in consultation with his or her advisor. The two directed studies courses are intended to provide occasion for the student to write the MA thesis.

The BA/MA student will have satisfied logic and language requirements in the course of majoring at Boston University.

Master’s Thesis

The master’s thesis consists of an investigation or study of a specific problem, theme, or area of philosophy, and is composed under the direction of a current member of the Department of Philosophy. Aimed at helping prepare the student to make contributions to philosophical discussion and debate, the thesis should take the form of a scholarly publication or monograph, not over 19,000 words, with adequate documentation and bibliography as appropriate (those are included in the word limit). The thesis must be examined by two faculty members and defended at an oral examination before the same two professors. One of the professors will be the thesis director.

Time-limit and Residence

All of the requirements of the BA/MA must be at the same time as those for the BA degree.