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Philosophy (M.A.)

Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

Residential/On Campus

Program Overview

The Department of Philosophy's M.A. program is one of the top terminal M.A. programs in philosophy in the United States. We offer core graduate training in philosophy in the broadly analytic tradition, with particular strengths in the history and philosophy of science and in ethics, social and political philosophy. Many of our students enter with the intention of enriching their philosophical background and then going on to Ph.D. studies elsewhere.


Why choose this program?

  • Virginia Tech's M.A. program provides a broad grounding in metaphysics and epistemology, theory of value, and the history of philosophy. Our program also has a traditional and ongoing strength in the history and philosophy of science.
  • In addition to the Philosophy M.A., we participate in Ph.D. programs in Science, Technology and Society (which offers a philosophy track), and in the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought.

M.A. in Philosophy Graduates Placement

Since 1995, over 120 students have graduated with an M.A. in Philosophy from Virginia Tech. Approximately 90% of the students who have applied to Ph.D. programs have been admitted with funding. We have placed students in a number of leading philosophy Ph.D. programs, including Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Indiana, Duke, Arizona, Brown, Notre Dame, Toronto, UC San Diego, University of California at Irvine, and Rutgers.

Students who do not wish to study Philosophy at a doctoral level have been successful in pursuing other careers, in other academic disciplines (Anthropology, Public Policy, and English, for instance), and outside the academy in the public and private sector (in computer-related fields, education, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), among others). We are proud of our placement record for both groups of students.

Acceptances are to Philosophy Ph.D. programs with funding unless noted. Beginning 2012 (and in some cases 2011), we record every program into which the applicant was admitted. Before that, we recorded only the program in which the applicant enrolled.

What You'll Study

The M.A. degree requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate level coursework. Up to 6 of these hours can be from 4000 level courses in cases where the areas in question are not covered at the 5000 or 6000 level. Students may complete the degree by selecting either a Thesis or a Non-thesis track. Students who wish to pursue either option must petition to do so after consultation with their advisors. If the student chooses the thesis option, this choice should take place by the end of the second semester of study, so that a plan of independent research can be set up for the summer and a draft of the thesis can be presented to the student’s advisor by early fall of the second year. Late petitions may be considered after the summer, at the faculty’s discretion, but generally not after the first month of the fall semester of the second year.

Graduate Philosophy Club

The Graduate Students have a Graduate Philosophy Club, which sponsors an annual national graduate conference. The conference features a keynote address by a prominent scholar and graduate presenters from Ph.D. programs across the country. 

Colloquia Series

The Department of Philosophy sponsors a regular colloquium series throughout the year, combining internal and external speakers, at least some of whom coordinate with one or more graduate seminars currently being offered.

  • Minimum GPA 3.0 (4 Scale)
  • GRE Required
  • TOEFL/ IELTS score Required  (If Applicable)

Learn more 

The Department of Philosophy has a limited number of graduate assistantships and fellowships available for students applying for full time study on the Blacksburg Campus. Entering students can apply for such funding as part of their admissions application. No separate application required.

Find out what loans are available as a graduate student and other opportunities.

Priority deadline: February 1 for consideration for funding

Final deadline: February 1

Kelly Trogdon, Director of Graduate Studies
223 Major Williams Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061


Kelly Trogdon, Director of Graduate Studies
223 Major Williams Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Philosophy Faculty 

Philosophy is a unique subject in that it teaches critical thinking and questioning skills applicable to any field. Whether you are interested in the sciences, arts, or liberal arts, philosophy can and will encourage you to appreciate and investigate your interests at a whole new level. Philosophy is essential for the true interdisciplinary student.

— Philosophy M.A. Student

I wanted to study philosophy in order to sharpen my ability to think well and then to use that skill in asking life's biggest questions. I am getting to do both at Virginia Tech.

— Philosophy M.A. Student