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Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies


The Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies (MAPS) is an opportunity for advanced study of philosophy. It places emphasis on both the history and major topical areas of philosophical inquiry, with attention to how these inform and are informed by the Catholic intellectual tradition.

The MAPS program is designed to be compatible with the philosophical education included in the pre-theology program of the Mount's seminary, but the program is not intended only for seminary students. Any student who meets the eligibility requirements may apply.

The Mount's philosophy faculty are committed to developing students' appreciation of the Catholic intellectual tradition, and they share a common vision of the compatibility of faith and reason and the integrity of philosophy as a truth-seeking discipline distinct from theology.

The MAPS degree requires evidence of competence in logic and one foreign language, and successful completion of 32 credit hours comprising 30 credit hours in course work and one credit each for a comprehensive exam and a qualifying paper.

Program Objectives

Students who complete the MAPS program should:

  • Have a substantial grasp of the history and major areas of philosophical inquiry

  • Understand the relationship of philosophy to theology and appreciate the role of philosophy in the Catholic intellectual tradition

  • Be competent in a major philosophical language other than English

  • Be competent in philosophical logic

  • Be able to interpret, analyze, criticize, and synthesize advanced philosophical texts

  • Display skill in philosophical research and sustained written and oral argument

MAPS Admission Requirements

To be eligible to seek the MAPS degree, students must complete an application indicating that they

  • Possess a Bachelor's degree or the equivalent from an accredited college.

  • Give evidence of academic ability. This requirement is normally met by an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Seminary students, in addition to the above criteria, must have the permission of the seminary academic dean, who will confirm the approval of the student's formation advisor and the permission of his diocese.

The application for candidacy for the MAPS degree is available from the Philosophy Department, 303 Bradley.

Degree Completion Requirements

To fulfill the requirements for completion of the MAPS degree, students must

  • Demonstrate proficiency in a second language. Candidates must demonstrate reading proficiency in a foreign language in which there is a substantial body of philosophical literature. This requirement may be met by coursework or by examination.

  • Demonstrate proficiency in logic (with a C or higher in PHIL 201 or 202, or a passing grade on a departmental logic exam).

  • Complete 30 credits in MAPS coursework with a GPA of at least 3.0, not including the credits for the oral examination and qualifying paper. It is expected that courses will be distributed across historical periods and themes.

  • Pass both an Oral Examination and a Qualifying Paper.

Candidates must complete all degree requirements within three years of completing MAPS coursework, or within five years of matriculation, whichever comes first. Extensions may be granted at the sole discretion of the Program Director.

Relation to Seminary Mission and the Program for Priestly Formation (PPF)

The seminary's mission includes a strong emphasis on intellectual formation. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' "Program for Priestly Formation" (2006) commends a liberal-arts education as an important part of the intellectual formation of priests. It especially recommends philosophy as a primary discipline, because philosophy serves to synthesize and organize liberal learning, to prepare students for theological training (PPF, ¶146, 151, 152), and to prepare pastors to engage the philosophical assumptions of modern culture (¶153). While seminary students can fulfill the minimum curricular recommendations of the PPF without completing a master's degree, the MAPS can serve those seminary students who desire further philosophical training, in the spirit of the PPF's vision of intellectual formation, beyond these minimum requirements.

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