Graduate Programs

Master of Arts (MA) in Practical Philosophy & Applied Ethics

The Philosophy Department admits graduate students for the MA in Practical Philosophy & Applied Ethics each Fall semester. Students for the Graduate Certificate in Applied Ethics are admitted both Fall and Spring. MA students who need additional background in philosophy may be admitted for the Spring semester (see below for details).


The department offers various forms of aid and support, including Graduate Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Research Assistantships, and University Scholarships.  It is closely associated with the Florida Blue Center for Ethics, which offers competitively based scholarships for qualified candidates .  Other forms of aid are available through the University.

For information concerning application, requirements, and details of the Masters Program and the Graduate Certificate, contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator, Dr. Erinn Gilson.


Program of Study


Program Mission and Goals

The Graduate Program seeks to foster application of ethical and philosophical knowledge to concerns in social, political, economic, and cultural life. Its primary objective is to offer practically oriented but philosophically grounded expertise in ethics and normative theory generally. The program leads to two distinct ends: an MA and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Ethics.

The MA provides training in the cultural understanding, ethical decision-making, and analytic reasoning needed to address the dilemmas that increasingly confront present and future professionals, policy makers, and citizens generally. It also provides an excellent foundation for further graduate studies in philosophy.  The program is designed to ensure that its graduates possess a command of the basic subfields of philosophy as well as a specialized knowledge of their applications in medicine, business, education, law or other areas of public life. Accordingly, the curriculum includes foundational core courses in philosophy and specialized courses in practical philosophy and applied ethics.

Program Options

Three options are available for students to meet the MA requirements.

  1. The thesis option—recommended for students wishing to pursue a teaching career, further graduate study, or specific training in the articulation of applied philosophy—requires 24 credit hours of core and specialized courses plus nine hours of thesis writing and supervision, together with a thesis defense.
  2. The internship option offers hands-on opportunities to explore ethical issues as they emerge in professional and public life, and also requires 24 credit hours of coursework, nine hours of applied internship work, as well as a written report and defense.
  3. The portfolio option, for students seeking general training in practical philosophy and applied ethics, requires 30 hours of course work, plus three hours portfolio presentation and defense. 

The Graduate Certificate in Applied Ethics is designed for professionals and policy makers who wish to develop an expertise in ethics that is directly relevant to their working environments. It provides a valuable credential for those who, for example, serve on ethics committees and compliance boards or seek advanced ethics training to meet licensure requirements.


Admission Requirements for the MA in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics

In order to be eligible for admission to a Graduate Program at UNF, students must have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university (or an international equivalent).


In addition, eligible applicants must have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher for the last two years (60 semester hours) of undergraduate course work, GRE test score are not required, but will be considered.


Applicants need not have any prior degree in philosophy.  Students without a BA in philosophy may be asked, depending on their background in philosophy, to take up to three (9 credit hours) courses in general philosophy, including but not limited to theoretical philosophy, history of philosophy, and logic.


Students transferring from other graduate programs may, with departmental approval, be awarded up to nine credit hours towards satisfaction of the degree requirements.

Application Requirements

The items here listed should be sent directly to The Graduate School at the address indicated below. Unless otherwise noted, all items must be received by the deadline for the intended term.  To be considered for funding, application materials must be received by March 1st.

Applicants must submit: 

  • a completed application form by the stated deadline;
  • a non-refundable $30 application fee (check or money order).  (Non-degree, e.g., certificate only, students are not required to pay the application fee.);
  • a letter of application, including a statement of career goals, areas of interest and the applicant’s reason for pursuing an MA in Practical and Applied Ethics;
  • official undergraduate transcript(s), indicating earned baccalaureate or equivalent degree;
  • relevant transcript(s) of previous graduate training;
  • three letters of reference that speak to the applicant’s ability to undertake graduate work;
  • a writing sample (10-20 pages). 

Application forms must be submitted online.  For more information about the application process, refer to the Graduate School's Application Requirements.   Supporting documents should be sent directly to:   

The Graduate School
University of North Florida
1 UNF Drive
Jacksonville FL 32224

 Academic Common Market

Applicants who reside in a state outside Florida that recognizes the Academic Common Market (ACM) may be eligible for in-state tuition benefits pending approval from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).  To determine eligibility and to initiate an application with your state ACM representative:  Additional information may be obtained at Graduate School ACM webpage: 


 International Student Admission Requirements

In addition to the items listed here, international students may be asked to provide a course-by-course transcript evaluation from a member of National Association of Credential Evaluation Service (NACES.)  (A list of current members can be found at the NACES website.) Students from countries where English is not the official/native language must demonstrate proficiency in English. An applicant may demonstrate proficiency by taking and receiving an acceptable score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  TOEFL scores should accompany application submissions.  Additional information regarding international student requirements may be obtained from the Graduate School or the UNF International Center

Application Deadline for the MA in Practical Philosophy & Applied Ethics

For the Fall term: Applicants who wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship should apply by March 1 of the same year. Otherwise, applications should be submitted by April 15, although applications may be considered until August 1, university's deadline for graduate applications.



Program Requirements

Requirements for the MA Degree

Consult the UNf Catalog for the official program of study for the MA.

Thesis/Internship Report Requirements

To complete the MA program, students must prepare and successfully defend either a thesis or an internship report.  Topics for theses or internships typically emerge from course work students complete during their first year in the program.  In identifying a topic, students should work with a faculty member who might serve as a thesis or internship advisor.  The graduate coordinator will assist students in selecting an advisor.  Whether the student selects the thesis or the internship option, he/she must submit a formal proposal, to be prepared in consultation with the thesis advisor.  Since students can register for thesis/internship course work only after the proposal has been departmentally approved, proposals must be submitted at least two weeks before the end of the semester preceding the one in which the relevant research and writing are to occur.  In preparing a proposal students should work with the advisor and program coordinator to select a committee of readers: three members for the thesis and two for the internship.  Thesis and internship proposal forms—which specify requirements in detail—may be obtained from the coordinator or the department secretaries.  They are also available online at Thesis Application and Internship Application.  Also available is a statement on Department timetables for thesis/internship preparation, defense scheduling, and final copy submission: Thesis timeline and Internship timeline.  Graduate School policies and guidelines on thesis preparation are also available online.


Graduates of the Program and Thesis/Internship Titles 


Graduate Certificate in Applied Ethics

Consult the following for Official Certificate requirements:  Graduate Certificate in Applied Ethics .


Enrichment Opportunities

In addition to regular course work (including independent studies with particular faculty members), various special learning opportunities exist for graduate students, both individually and as a group.  These include participation in:

    • the Global Business Ethics Summer Abroad course
    • the annual Northeast Florida Student Philosophy Conference, sponsored by the department;
    • the Florida Philosophy Association (FPA) annual conference, which includes a graduate student paper prize competition.
    • the annual Symposium on Public Philosophy sponsored by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida Center for Ethics, Public Policy, and the Professions.
    • the annual Faculty-Graduate Student Special Colloquium, which features a distinguished scholar who is also  on campus to present a university-wide public lecture.  Featured scholars have included Anthony Appiah (Princeton), Dale Jamieson (NYU), Martha Nussbaum (Chicago), Peter Singer (Princeton), and Naomi Zack (Oregon).