Course Catalog


Chairpersons: Co-Chairs Jay CiaffaErik Schmidt
Director of the Philosophy Graduate Program: Danielle Layne
Professors: M. AlfinoK. BesmerD. Bradley , P. Burke, D. CalhounB. Clayton, B. Henning, T. Jeannot, D. Kries, W. Pomerleau, E. Schmidt, M. Tkacz, R.M. Volbrecht (Emeritus) 
Associate Professors: , J. Ciaffa, T. Clancy, S.J., T. Di Maria,  C. LassiterD. Layne, Q. Liu, E. MaccaroneT. TrittenT. WeidelJ. Wagner
Assistant Professors: M. HowardM. Turnbull

Master of Arts in Philosophy

The Master of Arts program in Philosophy builds on the central place of philosophical study in Gonzaga's Jesuit, Catholic, humanistic identity. Through coursework, supervised study, examinations, and a thesis, the program stresses understanding of the main problems of philosophy as they emerge in the history of philosophy, knowledge of the major figures and movements of the history of philosophy, and attention to contemporary philosophy and social and applied ethics. The program's focus on fundamental questions of reality, knowledge, and the good promotes skills of reflection and self-examination, and prepares students for critical engagement with and across human cultures. These goals reflect the mission of the Philosophy Department and the mission and identity of Gonzaga University, particularly the goals of intellectual inquiry, development and discipline of the faculties of intelligence and moral judgment, and intelligent and morally informed leadership. The program provides students with resources to make use of philosophical concepts and skills in a variety of career contexts, including Ph.D. studies in philosophy and related disciplines, such as theology, law, and politics, and philosophy teaching at the introductory university or community college level.
The Master’s degree is offered on a full-time or part-time basis during the regular session. While many courses offered in the Gonzaga Master of Arts program are cross-listed with undergraduate courses, a Graduate Seminar restricted to graduate students only is offered each fall and spring semester. A limited set of graduate-level philosophy courses is also available during summer.


Each applicant must submit the following materials:

  1. A completed application for admission and a non-refundable application fee.
  2. One degree-bearing transcript from a regionally accredited university. Only the highest level of degree achieved is required (minimum: bachelor’s degree). Additional transcripts may be requested upon review.
  3. Two (2) letters of recommendation sent directly from the recommending individual (one from a philosophy professor).
  4. Personal statement of philosophical background and interest.
  5. A sample of philosophical writing (no more than 3500 words).

*Additional documents may be requested


International Applicants

  1. International Transcript Evaluation: All international students applying directly to a Gonzaga University graduate program must have each foreign transcript evaluated through an AACRAO approved, third-party evaluator (such as World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)). Canadian transcripts are exempt from this requirement.
  2. All international applicants who have not graduated from a United States or Canadian institution or whose native language is not English, must submit an official TOEFL iBT score of at least 88 or IELTS of 6.5 or better.Details can be found here:
  3. Submission of a financial declaration and supporting documentation by each international applicant.


B.A. with major (or acceptable background) in Philosophy from a regionally accredited college or university.


Completion of the Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from Gonzaga University requires:

1. 30-credit program hours, including eight seminars (24 credits) and a Thesis requirement (6 credits). At least four seminars (12 credits) must be graduate-specific (PHIL 577 or 579). Students may also take up to four cross-listed Philosophy Major Seminars (PHIL 586, 587, or 588) and up to two Directed Study courses (PHIL 690 or 691) to complete their course requirements.

2. Registration in the Graduate Seminar each semester in which the student is taking course work.

3. Successful completion of a comprehensive examination (including written and oral components) (PHIL 697).

4. Successful completion of a logic exam, testing skills up to and including the predicate calculus (PHIL 695).

5. The M.A. program has no foreign language requirement, but a thesis director may require a student to have competency in translating texts from a foreign language into English depending on the student’s thesis topic.


PHIL 577 Graduate Seminar
3.00 credits
A seminar will be scheduled for graduate students in philosophy each fall and spring semester. Topics will vary. Class size is limited to allow for greater student participation and writing.
PHIL 579 Graduate Seminar
3.00 credits
A seminar will be scheduled for graduate students in philosophy each semester. Topics will vary. Class size is limited to allow for greater student participation and writing.
PHIL 586 Seminar
1.00- 3.00 credits
Topics will vary.
PHIL 587 Seminar
3.00 credits
Topics will vary.
PHIL 588 Seminar
3.00 credits
Topics will vary.
RELI 579A - OK if taken since Fall 1996
PHIL 611 Continuing Research
.00- 1.00 credits
Required of all graduate students to maintain continuous enrollment in the program while completing their final project.
PHIL 690 Directed Study
1.00- 7.00 credits
Credits and material to be arranged. Must have form completed before registering.
PHIL 691 Directed Study
.00- 3.00 credits
PHIL 695 Logic Requirement
.00 credits
PHIL 697 Comprehensive Examination
.00 credits
Students must register via ZAGWEB for comprehensive exams.
PHIL 698 Research
1.00- 9.00 credits
PHIL 699 Thesis
6.00 credits
Students must register via ZAGWEB for Thesis credits.