view of trees looking up

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, 2023.

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, 2021. 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, 2023.

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.

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

    Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the requirement that applicants for graduate study at SDSU submit scores for the GRE is suspended for the Fall 2023 admissions cycle.

The above listed materials should be sent to:

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

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, 2023 for full admission consideration. Late program applications will be considered on a space-available basis until April 1. Submit via Interfolio.

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.


Denisse Antonio

antonioI received my B.A. in philosophy at UC, Riverside, where I became fascinated with conversations about our existential lives. To talk about what makes us who we are, in a traditional context is already dense on its own, so trying to ask what constitutes the narrative identity of a marginalized group is further complicated. My primary interests lie in feminist decolonial thought, Mexican and Latinx Philosophy, and Feminist bioethics. 

When I am not doing philosophy, I am baking, watching anime, or listening to some self-healing audiobooks.


Brian Archibald

archibaldAs a UCSB philosophy undergraduate in the 80’s, I focused on the philosophy of language, epistemology, and mind, with a minor in linguistics. Upon graduation, my life took a non-academic direction as I pursued professional interests and talents in IT/IS in the business world. I had the great fortune to work with such organizations as National Geographic Television, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, and NASA Johnson Space Center. 

My return to the world of philosophy was inspired by my obsession with consciousness and the identity of the self. Throughout my professional career, I always had this philosophical “splinter in my mind” driving me to distraction. Unable to ignore this perpetual need, I began to write again and submitted an abstract to The Science of Consciousness Conference in 2018. It was accepted, and I had the pleasure of presenting my nascent ideas to conference attendees, including David Chalmers (who thankfully nodded and did not laugh). 

I was greatly inspired by that experience, and returned to SDSU to complete my Masters of Philosophy degree. I am enjoying teaching Critical Thinking and Composition and am completing my thesis in pursuit of answering the “hard problem” of consciousness, with I think some important contributions to personal identity theory, as well.

So, if you hear me trying to convince the skeptics that quarks are protoconscious, don’t run the other way. Stop and chat. I’d be glad to talk panprotopsychism and neutral monism with you any hour of the day!


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.


Isaac Castillo

castilloI received my BA in an interdisciplinary degree called Humanities and Communication at CSU Monterey Bay. As my appreciation for philosophy grew through the interdisciplinary lens of my coursework, I realized that other disciplines cannot ask the same kinds of questions that philosophy can, and I grew hungry for more focused discussion and study.

My current interests in philosophy are ethics, political philosophy, the history of philosophy, and epistemology. How we come to know anything today with the amount of data pollution is something that occupies my mind most of the time. The things we know translate themselves into how we conduct ourselves and how we govern our society.

I grew up in San Luis Obispo County, and I have always thought my life is strange for never having experienced seasons. Although seasons in San Diego are still ephemeral, I am enjoying finding new foods to try and places to eat.


Austin Cosler

coslerI am from Escondido, CA. After attending Palomar College for a while, I earned my B.A at Humboldt State University. My general philosophical interest concerns value theory. More specifically, I like the questions raised within aesthetics and environmental ethics. Additionally, I have a growing interest in American pragmatism. Outside of the classroom I enjoy playing music and writing songs.


Albert Dumaran

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


Nick Ford

fordI received my B.A. in Philosophy from UC San Diego after trying my hand at psychology, law, and sociology.  While my philosophic interests expand constantly, my primary focus includes philosophy of mind, political philosophy, and dialectics.  My research goals concern the hard problem of consciousness, the nature of intentionality, and the interaction of  minds, as viewed through a dialectical lens.  I have two children who keep me busy when I am not pursuing my academic ends.


Kyle Hargrave

hargraveIn 2007, I received a B.A. in Philosophy from Point Loma Nazarene University.  In 2012, I received a J.D. from California Western School of Law. My interests include, but are not limited to: Posthumanism, Agential Realism, & Panpsychism. Outside the academic world, I enjoy the ocean, the forest, and on cool days, the desert.


Tiffany Harrington

harringtonI earned my B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Cognitive Science from UC San Diego in 2016. My main interests are in the history of ancient philosophy, metaphysics and ethics. My first main interest is in the history of ancient philosophy, especially the ancient metaphysical theories of Plato and Aristotle regarding the divisions of the psyche. I also have interests in ancient theories of time and how this relates to the divisions of the psyche. Finally, I have interests in ethics/moral responsibility. In my free time, I enjoy going to the beach and spending time with family.


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.


Anjalie Tandon

tandonI received my B.A in Philosophy and Political Science at UC Santa Barbara where I developed an interest in moral philosophy, ethics, and meta-ethics. I am currently studying the prescriptive and applied ethics of certain Hindu philosophy systems as so far as they can guide how we conduct our daily lives. My other interests include environmental ethics, the ethics of technology, and the ethics of religion. Outside of academia, I work as a journalist with news media and I hope one day to fuse my journalistic and philosophical pursuits in a way that makes philosophy feel more applicable and accessible to the larger population. 


Tawny Whaley

whaleyI completed my undergraduate work at Miramar college and transferred to SDSU to complete my BA in Psychology and Philosophy. I am interested in personal identity. I wish to understand who and what we are fundamentally. In my search for understanding personal identity, I am looking for guidance in metaphysics, queer theory, feminist theory, and critical race theory. Discovering who we are is such a complex question and it is important to understand how our metaphysical identities can challenge or shape our social identities and/or vice versa. Other philosophic interests are philosophy of mind, psychology, gender, race, and obviously identity. My goal is to earn my MA and move forward to get my PhD. The ultimate goal is to be a professor of philosophy. I will continue throughout my life to attempt to give back to the philosophic community small and large, to repay it for all that it has done for me. Philosophy can inspire and change lives, if I can be even just the smallest part of that culture, I will be accomplished. My hobbies outside of deep philosophic contemplation are eating burritos, playing with my fur babies, watching The Good Place, playing Borderlands, and collecting all Claptrap memorabilia.


Jer Wright

wrightI grew up in Moore, Oklahoma, and earned my bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Psychology from Oklahoma State University. After escaping the south, my primary philosophical interests have turned toward those of human beings, with interest toward marginalized communities, particularly the LGBTQ+ community, as well as conceptualizations of death. In my spare time I enjoy doing puzzles and reading young adult fiction.


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

Important Links

Program ChecklistClass ScheduleSDSU CatalogPhilosophy Theses @ SDSU Library