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Graduate Program

The Department of Philosophy offers a program of graduate studies leading to the Master of Arts degree. The purpose of the M.A. program in philosophy is to provide students with rigorous advanced training in philosophical reasoning on philosophical topics.

The program serves students who wish to go on to pursue Ph.D. work in philosophy or other areas of advanced study; who seek skill development for professional careers such as teaching, law, business, and public service; and who seek personal enrichment through disciplined reflection on important and profound philosophical questions.

The Master of Arts degree in Philosophy consists of 30 units of graduate coursework (500-799) selected with the approval of the graduate adviser. Students must complete a minimum of 24 units from courses in philosophy. The 24 units shall include Philosophy 521, 799A, and a minimum of 12 units in 600-level courses.

At the beginning of every fall semester, every new graduate student is expected to attend an orientation designed to familiarize students with the program and to help them to get to know the faculty and other students in the program.

DLO 1: Students are prepared for entry into a PhD program, teaching at the community college level, or entry into other professional programs (e.g., law school).

DLO 2: Students outline, stake, present counterarguments to and overcome them, and defend an original position (thesis) concerning some specialized area (e.g., history, metaphysics, science, aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, etc.)

DLO 3: Students present their research in a public forum.

DLO 4: Students write at the professional level;

DLO 5: Students correctly apply and use deductive logic symbolization and argumentation.

Step 1: Complete the online Cal State Apply Application. 

Deadline to apply is February 1, 2024.

Each applicant must submit the California State University common application electronically to at Cal State Apply  along with the $70 nonrefundable application fee. The Cal State Apply site will begin to accept applications on October 1, 2023. Once you have submitted the Cal State Apply application, you will be assigned a Red ID number, which will be e-mailed to you within 1-15 business days. We recommend submitting your Cal State Apply application as soon as possible to ensure you receive your Red ID on time. Your Red ID number will allow you to track the status of your application through the my.SDSU. 

Step 2: Submit Official Transcripts & Test Scores to the Graduate Admissions Office

Deadline to submit is March 1, 2024.

After you have submitted the Cal State Apply application and received your Red ID number, you will need to send official transcripts and test scores to the Graduate Admissions Office.  Sending transcripts before submitting the Cal State Apply application will result in processing delays.

You must provide the following:

  1. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.

    Transcripts should be sent to:

    Graduate Admissions
    San Diego State University
    5500 Campanile Drive
    San Diego, CA 92182-8225

    Electronic transcripts are acceptable. Please ensure that you indicate this preference when making your request. If you are required to provide an email address to send the secure online document to SDSU, please use [email protected].

  2. If applicable, TOEFL test scores sent directly from ETS. (Institution Code: 4682)

Step 3: Complete Philosophy Program Application

If you have questions regarding Steps 1 and 2, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at (619) 594-6336 or [email protected].  International applicants may contact the International Recruitment Office at (619) 594-1847 or [email protected].

Deadline to submit is March 1, 2024 for full admission consideration. Late program applications will be considered on a space-available basis until April 1. Submit via Interfolio after October 1, 2023.

The Philosophy program application requires the following items:

  1. A writing sample (a course paper is acceptable).

  2. A statement of your research interests and professional goals (include a description of any relevant teaching experience and/or other information about you that you want us to know).

  3. Two letters of recommendation – Applicant must provide names and email addresses for recommenders. Recommenders will be invited to complete the recommendation electronically.

If you have questions regarding Step 3, please contact Steven Barbone at [email protected].

 See the courses page for more information.

A variety of funding opportunities are available to philosophy graduate students.

Teaching Associate and Instructional Student Assistants

Each semester the department hires a small amount of graduate students for a variety of teaching assistant positions and readers (ISAs). These positions will be advertised at the beginning of each semester and selections will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more about these positions.

Graduate Philosophy Travel Grants

We offer research and travel grants of up to $400 to graduate students enrolled in the philosophy department. The graduate student must be enrolled at the university during the time of travel and grants are to be used in support of research and travel related to research. The intent is to increase the overall support provided by the University for excellent work in the field of philosophy. Grants can be used to augment resources already available at San Diego State University from other sources.

Students may apply at any time during the year. Students seeking support for summer research travel should submit an application by April 1. There will be another round of funding available in fall.

Download the travel grant application.

If you have questions, please contact Kimberly Kennelly at [email protected]

Out-of-state tuition waivers

Graduate Affairs has a limited number of tuition waivers available for high caliber international and domestic non-resident students. These waivers exempt students from paying the non-resident fee. Those receiving the waiver must pay the same fees (registration and student fees) as California residents. Incoming and current students will be selected for tuition waivers on a case-by-case basis.


You may be eligible for scholarships available through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at SDSU, including the Philosophy Scholarship, the Charles Wei-hsun Fu Endowed Scholarship in Chinese and Asian Philosophy, the Christopher Mortenson Memorial Scholarship, the Laurel Amtower Memorial Scholarship, the College of Arts & Letters Scholarship, the SDSU College of Arts and Letters Alumni Chapter Scholarship, and many others. Check the SDSU scholarships website  for opportunities.

Financial aid

Applicants seeking financial aid in the form of loans or need-based grants should contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

Jennifer Alvarado

alvaradoThe search for Truth has taken me on some long and winding roads. I started BA studies at SDSU in the Fall of 1994 as a political science major...the first philosophy class I took made me realize this was what I was searching for. Discovering truth, the self, beauty, justice, and faith in the meta-conversations of philosophy was exciting. Current interests include aesthetics, philosophy of the mind, metaphysics and non-western philosophy, as well as the history of philosophy. I returned to SDSU to complete the BA in philosophy in the spring of 2018 and realized I needed to continue this work. When I am not reading for academic purposes, I enjoy binge watching television, playing sudoku, reading and writing fiction/fantasy/science-fiction, attending comic conventions, interior design and various endeavors in the service of empowering girls and young women.


Matt Brown

brownI received my B.A. in English and Writing from Loyola University Maryland, where I was first exposed to the fundamental questions of life that philosophy tries to answer. After moving to San Diego, I decided to pursue a Master’s in Philosophy at SDSU to further my inquiry into human existence and logic. My philosophical interests include existentialism, political philosophy, and personal identity. In my free time, I enjoy writing poetry, studying German, and hiking.


Albert Dumaran

dumaranI'm interested in Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Disability, and Ethics. However, my interests continue to expand every semester!


Nate Huffine

huffineI received a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.A. in History from Chapman University. My interests include epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion.


QuinteroHector Quintero

I double majored at Arizona State University, earning BAs in philosophy and anthropology. My interests include the history of philosophy, pragmatism, and contemporary philosophy. Some of my favorite philosophers are Richard Rorty, John Dewey, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Outside of philosophy, I like to make music, play with my cats, and spend time with friends.


Dr. Steve Barbone
Office: AL-446
Email: [email protected] 

Important Links

Program ChecklistClass ScheduleSDSU CatalogPhilosophy Theses @ SDSU Library