MA in Philosophy

Become a Mason Graduate Student

All applicants for graduate study at George Mason University must meet the admission standards specified in the Admission chapter of the University Catalog.

You are responsible for submitting all required application materials by the posted deadline. Review your program's Admissions Requirements and Deadlines before you begin your application. You can also visit our Grad Admissions page for helpful hints on how best to prepare your transcripts and other Admissions materials.

Step 1: Complete and submit the online Graduate Admissions application. George Mason University requires all graduate applicants to upload all possible required supplementary materials, such as unofficial transcripts, goals statement and writing sample, at the same time you submit your application. Online applications require a non-refundable $75 application processing fee.

Step 2: Within a few days of submitting your online application, you will receive an email with your Mason G number (G#). This is a tracking number provided to all applicants that allows us to match your supporting documentation to your completed application.

Step 3: Check your application status and requirements checklist in your application portal. Initial processing takes 3 to 5 business days from the date of submission. You can use your application log-in and password to access your information throughout the application process. Graduate Admissions may send updates or notify you of issues with your application through your admissions portal, so it is best to log in periodically to monitor your application status.

Step 4: For newly admitted students, refer to the CHSS New Graduate Student webpage for tips on confirming enrollment, submitting official transcripts, registering for class and more.

The fall graduate degree seeking application opens September 15.

The spring graduate degree seeking application opens April 15.

Program Specific Requirements

College Transcripts Goals Statement GRE Portfolio Recommendation Letters Resume Writing Sample

 Additional Information

Effective Spring 2024 Enrollment Term

Applicants to the PHIL MA with Traditional and Contemporary Philosophy (TCP) focus must have completed certain undergraduate preparation coursework with grades of B or higher in each course. These courses are:

  • 1 one-semester course in ancient Western (Greek, Roman) philosophy (GMU equivalent: PHIL 301); plus one 1-semester course in modern Western philosophy (GMU equivalent: PHIL 303).  
  • 1 one-semester course in logic/critical thinking (GMU equivalent: PHIL 173 or PHIL 376) is preferred. 

For the TCP focus, a BA or minor in philosophy is preferred, but not required, as long as the prerequisites have been met. An applicant to the TCP focus with a baccalaureate degree in Philosophy, and/or some graduate coursework in Philosophy, but who has not met all admission requirements may, at the discretion of the department, be offered admission if sufficient evidence is presented to suggest the applicant has the ability to pursue graduate work in the program.

Applicants to the PHIL MA with concentration in Ethics and Public Affairs (ETPA) must have an academic background that provides evidence of philosophical promise in order to be admitted. Such evidence may include strong GRE scores, a significantly high GPA over the last two years of study, advanced or honors coursework, short additional writing samples, or demonstrations of research ability or scholarly commitment. Professional achievements may also contribute to the body of evidence.  Applicants need not have majored in Philosophy; while some background in the history of philosophy will be an advantage, high quality students from various backgrounds are encouraged to apply. However, admission is competitive, and each applicant is evaluated on the merits of their own application. For applicants to the ETPA concentration, at least one reference letter must speak specifically to the applicant’s critical reasoning and writing skills.  

For all applicants to the PHIL MA program, the submitted writing sample should be 1500-5000 words in length. It must show evidence of the applicant's ability at analysis, reasoning, and argument. If possible, it should engage with philosophical texts. A paper that shows ability to conduct research and to engage critically and constructively with primary and secondary sources is preferred. 

Application Deadlines

Fall Deadline: March 01

Spring Deadline: November 01

All applicants are strongly advised to submit applications and all supporting documents by the program's posted deadline date.

Additional Requirements for