This master’s program is offered for work leading to the Ph.D. Students may not apply directly for the master’s, and should instead see the admissions information for the Ph.D.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

We offer five years of support to all incoming graduate students, beginning their first fall semester, and continuing for at least nine additional semesters, provided the student makes satisfactory academic progress and carries out duties acceptably as graduate assistants. The support may vary from year to year between assistantships and lectureships.  


Please be advised that all students who are not US citizens must prove that they have the financial means to live and study in the United States, before they are granted a visa. For an explanation of this policy, see International Applicant Financial Information.


Citizens of the United States and permanent residents should contact Student Financial Services (phone: 608-262-3060) for more information on eligibility, how and when to apply, and types of aid.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 33 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 21 credits taken in PHILOS coursework
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 30 credits must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations None for the master's degree.
Language Requirements No language requirements. Students in the History of Philosophy area may find it important to take additional language courses in consultation with their advisor.

Required COURSES

At least 21 credits must be earned in philosophy courses numbered between 800 and 989. The remaining credits may be earned either by transferring credits from graduate-level work (with a maximum of 9 credits) or by taking courses at the 400–900 level.

No more than one course at the 400–600 level nor more than one course at the 700 level can count toward the credit-hour requirements for the M.A.

Required Courses
Typically, students take 10 seminars at the 800–900 level, the teaching seminar, and one 700-level seminar to satisfy this requirement. 1
PHILOS 902 Proseminar in Philosophy 23
PHILOS 904 Teaching Philosophy 31
History of Philosophy6
Advanced History of Philosophy
Advanced History of Philosophy
900-level Seminars
The number of courses a student takes on this list depends on how many credits are taken in history seminars, transferred credits, etc. Typically students take between seven and nine seminars at the 900 level, each at 3 credits. Three seminars must be in the major area; three seminars should be in other areas of philosophy.
PHILOS 903 Seminar: Epistemology3
PHILOS 911 Seminar-Logic3
PHILOS 916 Seminar-Philosophy of Language3
PHILOS 920 Seminar-Philosophy of Science:Causation, Explanation & Probability3
PHILOS 941 Seminar-Ethics3
PHILOS 951 Seminar-Philosophy of Mind3
PHILOS 955 Seminar Social and Political Philosophy3
PHILOS 960 Metaphysics Seminar3

Contact the program for information on any additional required courses.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 6 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 500 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.


Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor.

To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects students to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

The assistant to the chair serves as the advisor for the first year or so. Students then select an advisor and, as coursework and other requirements are completed, a committee of faculty is selected by the student to serve as advisors. 


12 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.



Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Expert ability to think critically about arguments.
  2. Expert ability to interpret complex texts accurately and analyze them logically.
  3. Ability to communicate very precisely and concisely in both writing and in speech.
  4. In-depth familiarity with the history of Western philosophy and the major debates within that tradition.
  5. Interpretative charity, and intellectual honesty, which includes appropriate attribution to others of their ideas, and recognition and frankness about the limitations of one's own ideas.

Faculty: Professors Bengson, Brighouse, Clatterbuck, Fletcher, Gibson, Gottlieb, Kelleher, Mackay, Masrour, Messina, Nadler, Paul, Schechtman, Shafer-Landau, Shapiro, Sidelle, Sober, Southgate, Steinberg, Streiffer, Titelbaum, Vranas, Whittle.