An Overview

The MA Program in Philosophy

Director: Elizabeth A. Murray, Professor of Philosophy; Acting Director while Dr. Murray is on sabbatical: Eric Perl, Professor of Philosophy

Application Deadline: March 15th

The MA Program in Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University was instituted in Fall 2001. Our first group of students graduated in Spring 2003.

Graduates of our program have been admitted to Ph.D. and other graduate programs at the following universities:

Purdue University, Ohio State University, Marquette University, University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale, Duquesne University, Georgetown University, University of Oregon, Temple University, University of California at Santa Barbara, Fordham University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, State University of New York at Albany, De Paul University, Loyola University at Chicago, Claremont Graduate School, University of California at Irvine, Boston College, Emory University, New School for Social Research, State University of New York at Binghamton, University of Toronto, University of Washington,  University of Kentucky, University of Tennessee, University of the West (His Lai), Gregorian University, University of West Texas, Florida State University, Fuller Theological Seminary, Tulane University, University of Bristol, University of Dallas, University of Arkansas, St. Andrews (Scotland), University of South Florida, University College (Dublin), Trinity College (Dublin), Columbia University, UCLA, Penn State, McMaster University, SUNY Buffalo, Notre Dame Law, University of Washington Law, Syracuse Law, Michigan State University, University of Leuven; University of Memphis; Texas A&M; Villanova University; University of Virginia.

Take a look here at the scholarly achievements of our students.

Take a look here at the list of Visiting Speakers.

Take a look here at our Placement Record since the inception of our program in 2001.

Program Overview

The M.A. Program at Loyola Marymount University is marked by three emphases: (1) the history of Philosophy, including recent and contemporary continental philosophy; (2) ethical studies; and (3) philosophy informing and informed by the Catholic and Jesuit tradition. Our students are invited to acquire a solid grasp of the history of philosophy and to pursue specialized studies of a range philosophical issues and figures. The program is designed for students who seek the comprehensive background and training required for admission to and success in a Ph.D. program in Philosophy, as well as for those who wish to complement their studies in related disciplines with the Master of Arts in Philosophy. Special features of our M.A. Program are our commitment to imparting to students the skills associated with effective teaching as they broaden and deepen their philosophical understanding and our commitment to promoting our students' professional development in preparation for a career in the field of Philosophy.

Courses Recently Offered

  • Fall 2015: Plato, Kant, Kierkegaard, Religious Epistemology, Environmental Philosophy
  • Spring 2015: Marx, Philosophy of Friendship, Foucault, Hume, Aquinas, Augustine
  • Fall 2014: Hegel, Heidegger, Topic in Phenomenology, Plotinus and Proclus, The Problem of Evil
  • Spring 2014: Duns Scotus, Aristotle, Kant, Wittgenstein, Daoism & European Thought,
  • Fall 2013: Philosophy of Science, Plato, Kierkegaard, Chinese Classics, Virtue Epistemology
  • Spring 2013: Lonergan, Personalist Metaphysics, Husserl, Augustine, Contemporary French Philosophy
  • Fall 2012: Hermeneutics, Hegel, Reflective Consciousness, Plotinus, Arendt
  • Spring 2012: Aristotle, Platonism in the Middle Ages, Hume, Kant, Narrative & Ethics
  • Fall 2011: Plato, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Social & Political Philosophy, Epistemology of Disagreement
  • Spring 2011: Spinoza, Contemporary Free Will Debate, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Plotinus
  • Fall 2010: Hegel, Lonergan, Personalist Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Divine Foreknowledge
  • Spring 2009: Hegel, Aquinas, Contemporary Continental Philosophy of Religion, Husserl, Environmental Philosophy
  • Fall 2008: Classical Metaphysics, Topics in Philosophy and Religion (Free Will), Heidegger, Lonergan, Philosophy of Science

A complete list of courses offered on a rotating basis can be found in the Graduate Bulletin, accessible through the Graduate Admissions Office website.

Program Resources for Research and Professional Development

  • The Teacher Orientation and Practicum [The TOP Program]

Students are invited to enroll in this optional program which is designed to provide basic preparation to teach Philosophy to undergraduates [See a fuller description below].

  • The William H. Hannon Library, the Link+ Consortium, and UCLA Libraries

The substantial Philosophy holdings of LMU's own William H. Hannon Library are supplemented by the Link+ system, which delivers books within two days from any of fifteen other academic libraries, and by an interlibrary loan agreement with the UCLA libraries. Students have ready access to an enormous extended collection of research resources. Von der Ahe library also holds the Index Thomisticus and a large collection of classic philosophical texts on CD-ROM with search software. In addition to the library's online catalogue, LINUS, network access to online databases is also available, including the University of California's online library catalogue, MELVYL, Philosopher's Index, ATLA Religion Index, Humanities Abstracts, Proquest, EBSCOhost, and the Catholic Periodical Literature Index.

See the Philosophy Reference Guide.

A list of online databases may be viewed at

  • The Los Angeles Lonergan Center

The Los Angeles Lonergan Center, one of only four centers in North America, is located on campus and holds published and unpublished works by Bernard Lonergan, in addition to secondary sources, M.A. theses, and Ph.D. dissertations. A conference devoted to Lonergan studies is held each year in the spring. The Center is also responsible for editing Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies.

  • The Graduate Library

A Reading Room and Library is reserved for use by graduate students in the Department of Philosophy. It is equipped with two computers and a laser printer, with access to the web and library databases.

  • Distinguished Speakers Series, Colloquia, and Conferences

The Department's Speakers Series provides students the opportunity to hear, meet, and converse with distinguished philosophers from the U.S. and abroad on a regular basis. In recent years, LMU has also hosted conferences of the Society of Christian Philosophy, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the Foucault Circle, and the Sartre Society. In addition, our graduate students are invited to join Department of Philosophy colloquia in which members of the faculty present recent work and work-in-progress for general discussion. Our Graduate Philosophical Society (GPS) also sponsors regular colloquia. Additional opportunities for professional involvement are provided by the annual spring conference sponsored by the Los Angeles Lonergan Center.

  • Conference Travel Assistance

The Department provides financial assistance to graduate students to attend conferences at which they are presenting papers, participating in panels, or chairing sessions. As of Spring 2015, 151 paper presentations have been given by our students.

  • Teaching Fellowships

Students who elect to participate in the TOP Program are eligible to apply for Teaching Fellowships. Selected students have the opportunity to conduct their own course under the supervision and mentoring of department faculty. Currently, Teaching Fellows are paid $4000 for conducting their work.

Financial Assistance

The Department awards one Graduate Assistantship each year. Assistantships cover the cost of tuition and are awarded for a two-year period. In addition, Graduate Grants, ranging from one-third to one-half tuition, are awarded by the Department. Currently, every student enrolled in the program is receiving significant financial assistance. Contact the Director for further details and visit the Graduate Financial Aid Page. For personal consultation with the Graduate Financial Aid Counselor, call 310.338.6086 or toll-free 1.888.946.5681.

Admission Requirements

1. The General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants should consult the GRE website for information on recent and upcoming changes in the test format.

2. Demonstration of undergraduate competence in Philosophy, as evidenced by the completion of an undergraduate major or minor in Philosophy, or strong undergraduate preparation in a closely related field. The Department recognizes that students sometimes discover their interest in Philosophy late in their undergraduate programs and may not have acquired a major or minor in Philosophy by the time they graduate. The competency of students with non-traditional backgrounds will be determined in interviews with the Program Director.

3. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0. The average GPA of students entering our program is 3.5 or higher. The average number of Philosophy courses taken prior to entry is 13.

4. Two letters of recommendation testifying to the student's aptitude for graduate studies in Philosophy, from professors familiar with the student's undergraduate work. Letters from professors of Philosophy are preferred.

5. A personal statement of intent, of no more than four typed pages. Applicants are expected to indicate why they wish to pursue philosophical studies at the graduate level and what their career plans are.

6. A writing sample of approximately 10 typed pages, preferably of philosophical writing.

7. The deadline for the receipt of all materials is March 15th for fall semester entry and November 1st for spring semester entry. All  application materials  should be sent to  the Graduate Admissions Office at the address below or submitted on line through the Graduate Division Website.

For Application packets contact the Graduate Division at the address below or request an application packet through the link on the main page of this site.

The Graduate Division
Loyola Marymount University
One LMU Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045-8322
Phone: (310) 338-2721
FAX: (310) 338-6086

Online Graduate Bulletin

You may apply online:

Online application

Degree Requirements

The two-year program requires 30 credit hours of course work (10 courses), reading proficiency in French, German, Latin, or Greek, and successful completion of the oral examination. The examination is a one-hour discussion and defense, in discussion with three members of the faculty, of an essay selected by the student from those written during his or her M.A. studies.

Participation in the Teacher Orientation and Practicum [TOP], with certification of participation by the Department of Philosophy upon completion, is optional but strongly recommended. There is no tuition fee for participation in the TOP Program.

Students are advised to take six courses in their first year, and four in their second. A few summer courses are usually offered, one during each of the two summer sessions. Students may complete their credit requirement with their own choice of graduate courses. However, students are encouraged to meet with the Director to discuss their selections. A portion of the course requirement may be fulfilled by graduate course work in the Departments of English or Theological Studies, or in the Bioethics Institute, with the approval of the Program Director. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in Good Standing in the program and to maintain their grant support. Students are strongly advised to finish their coursework on time and to avoid taking 'incompletes'.

The Teacher Orientation and Practicum (TOP)

The aim of TOP is to introduce students to the practical and pedagogical tasks involved in teaching at the undergraduate level, and to provide basic instruction in the effective performance of those tasks. TOP is administered by the TOP Coordinator who is a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy. It includes both instructional sessions and practical applications. The instructional sessions provide guide-lines for the preparation of course descriptions and syllabi, assignments and examinations, and for the grading of assignments and examinations. In addition, they offer instruction in the ethics of the profession, and guidelines for the preparation and delivery of lectures and the conduct of classroom discussions. The practical applications include: interviews with faculty members about their approaches to teaching and their methods, their successes and their failures; preparation of sample course descriptions and syllabi; preparation and delivery of one guest lecture in a lower-division Philosophy course, student evaluations, and a final review of the student's performance. Ongoing assistance is provided by experienced, full-time members in the Department of Philosophy. Students who choose to participate in TOP do so during their second and third semesters of the M.A. Program, unless they enter the program at mid-year. Students who participate in TOP are eligible to apply for positions as Teaching Fellows in the Department of Philosophy. The TOP Coordinator is Dr. Mark Morelli.