CSULA Department of Philosophy M.A. Degree Thesis Option

Students opting to write a thesis select a topic for an original thesis. Their 30 units of course work may include up to three units of PHIL 5990: Thesis. Only those students who have achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.7 in the first 24 units of 4000- or 5000-level course work and who have never attempted the comprehensive examinations are eligible for the thesis option. When completion of the student's 24th unit falls within a semester in which the student is enrolled in more than one philosophy course, the average of those courses will count towards the student's GPA determining thesis eligibility.

Once you have selected a topic for your thesis, you will need to prepare a thesis proposal and form a thesis committee. The thesis committee is usually made up of three members of the CSULA Philosophy Department faculty; however, one member may be from outside the department, provided that the proposed committee member has a doctorate and that their area of expertise is relevant to the thesis topic. If you are unsure whom to ask to be on your thesis committee, consult with the Director of Graduate Studies.

The main purpose of the thesis proposal is to give the faculty committee members an idea of the scope and nature of your project. Many students aim to do more than they can reasonably handle in a project of this size, and the faculty members will be able to judge this from the proposal. Also, they can give advice on reading materials, approach, and so forth. Additionally, the proposal signals your readiness to write the thesis, so it should indicate that you have already done preliminary research on your topic and that you are aware of the recent philosophical literature in the topic area. The thesis proposal should aim to do several things: 1) introduce the central question(s) of the thesis, 2) outline your own planned approach to these questions and your tentative views on the issues raised, and 3) give an outline of your thesis as you envision it now. A thorough proposal is typically 8-10 pages in length.

You must have an approved thesis committee before you are permitted to enroll in PHIL 5990. Thus, you should have completed the proposal (and given your committee members ample time to read and approve it) before the quarter in which you intend to register for PHIL 5990. If you need direction while working on the thesis proposal, you should ask a relevant faculty member to work with you during the planning phase; if you do so, you should enroll in 1 unit of PHIL 5980 Graduate Directed Study.

For additional important information, please read this: Important Information about the M.A. Program in Philosophy.