About This Masters Degree
The New School for Social Research has always attracted renowned scholars from around the world, who foster an open atmosphere for exploration and inquiry through their teaching and research. The eminent philosophers who have helped create and sustain an intellectually vibrant philosophy department include Hannah Arendt, Hans Jonas, Aron Gurwitsch, and Reiner Schürmann.
The focus of study in the Department of Philosophy is the history of Western philosophical thought and the European philosophical tradition, particularly contemporary Continental philosophy. The graduate curriculum consists of two components. The first is the study of major figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Spinoza, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Freud, Gadamer, De Beauvoir, Adorno, Benjamin, Wittgenstein, Foucault, Derrida, Kristeva, and Irigaray. The second explores the movements, schools, branches, and ideas associated with those figures. Philosophy at The New School is thus the study of phenomenology, hermeneutics, and pragmatism; political and social thought; ethics, critical theory, and aesthetics; epistemology, metaphysics, and ontology; logic and language; rationality, methodology, and naturalism within the social sciences; nature, culture, beauty, and goodness; unconscious and conscious processes; and contingency, necessity, human freedom, tragedy, and truth.
MA in Philosophy
Course Requirements, Credits, and Grades
The master's candidate must successfully complete 30 credits. Of these, 24 credits must be earned in Philosophy-credit courses, and at least 18 of those 24 credits must be taken from the core program. Up to six credits, which are not otherwise designated as Philosophy-credit courses, may be earned from other departments. A minimum of six credits must be earned in Philosophy-credit seminars. A grade average of no less than 3.0 is required.
A maximum of three credits taken at another university may be granted toward the credit requirement for the master's degree. 27 credits must be completed at The New School for Social Research. Forms for requesting transfer of credit are available in the University Records Office.
Each student must demonstrate competence in one of the following four languages: Greek, Latin, French, or German. Competence will be evaluated in one foreign language examination in which the student will be given three hours to translate a philosophical text. The student is permitted to bring a dictionary and a grammar book to the language examination.
A total of six courses (18 credits) must satisfy the distribution requirements listed below.
These six courses must be chosen as follows
- One course in quantificational logic. Students may be exempted from taking the logic requirement provided they pass an examination in logic
- One course in ancient philosophy
- Courses in four of the following five areas:
----Medieval and Renaissance philosophy
----Early modern philosophy
----Kant and German idealism
----Twentieth-century Continental philosophy
----Thematic, historically oriented courses in ethics, political philosophy, history of logic or science, and aesthetics
Students must consult with the Philosophy department's student advisor for approval of distribution requirements.
MA Thesis and Examinations
In addition to meeting the requirements described above (including the foreign language examination), the candidate for the continuing MA must satisfy either of the following options:
- The candidate may write a thesis of 50 to 75 pages that covers at least two of the eight topic areas designated for the MA examination. There will be an oral defense of the thesis. The candidate must also take an oral examination in two more of the required eight topic areas designated
- The candidate may choose to take a written examination on two of the eight topic areas designated for the MA examination, and an oral examination on a further two of the eight topic areas
In order to be admitted to the PhD program, a student must receive a high pass on at least three of the MA examination areas, with no failing score in any area. For a terminal master's degree, either of the following options is sufficient in lieu of the options stated above:
- writing and defending a master's thesis
- receiving a score of low pass on each of the four areas covered on the MA written and oral examinations
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited American college or university, or the equivalent degree from a foreign college or university.