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.  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


Our pluralistic Graduate Program fosters a sophisticated understanding of and engagement with philosophical issues in a global context. The curriculum provides a solid grounding in central philosophical areas and methods, with specialized training in value theory (including ethical, social, political, and legal theory, aesthetics, and theories of race and gender) and comparative, inter- and cross-cultural, and non-Western philosophy. The program provides excellent preparation for further graduate study in Philosophy and a range of related field such as English, International Relations, Political Science, Sociology, and Religious Studies. The training offered by the program enables students to analyze the problems of our complex and interconnected globe, utilize diverse theoretical resources to understand them better, and evaluate and propose solutions to them from a philosophical perspective. Such training is also invaluable for future policy makers, professionals, and citizens in an increasingly interconnected global landscape. The program maintains connections with UNF’s Masters in International Affairs Program, the Florida Blue Center for Ethics, and the UNF Confucius Institute. It also utilizes faculty connections to facilitate study abroad opportunities for graduate students in a variety of international settings (e.g., China, Austria, Ireland, Germany).

Our Graduates and their Capstone Projects  


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). 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.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 the history of philosophy and logic. Students who have not taken a course in ethical theory will be asked to undertake independent study on the topic.


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 submitted directly to The Graduate School online or at the address indicated below and 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;

    •       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 the 


    •       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). 


GRE test score are not required, but will be considered.



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

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 funding must apply by March 1st  of the same year. Otherwise, the program requests that applications be submitted by April 15, although applications may be considered until August 1, the 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.


Details concerning program requirements, expectations, and deadlines can be found in the guidebook for Graduate Students.


Capstone Requirements

To complete the MA program, students must prepare and successfully defend a capstone project (a thesis, portofolio, or an internship report).  Before beginning capstone work, students must submit a formal proposal, to be prepared in consultation with an advisor of the student’s choice.  Thesis and internship proposal forms—which specify requirements in detail—may be obtained from the graduate coordinator, the department administrative assistants, and in the guidebook for graduate students. They are also available online at Thesis Application and Internship Application.  Graduate School policies and guidelines on thesis preparation are also available online.

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.  


Graduate Certificate in Applied Ethics

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


Enrichment Opportunities


Students benefit from close interaction with faculty members and are encouraged to pursue independent studies on topics of interests to broaden their intellectual horizons, prepare them for further graduate study, or develop depth of knowledge for a capstone project. Potential independent study topics include the following: bioethics, sexual ethics, political philosophy, legal philosophy, philosophy of race, Chinese philosophy, global ethics and politics, Buddhism, Comparative (East/West) ethics, among others. Recent independent studies include the following:


Existential Ethics

Gender, Violence, and Victimization

Freedom and Choice

Food Ethics

Symbolic Logic


Philosophy of Humor

Philosophy for Children


In addition to course work , graduate students may take advantage of various opportunities for academic enrichment, such as the following:

                ◦       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 


                ◦       regular lectures by distinguished scholars. Featured scholars have included Anthony Appiah (Princeton), Dale 

                        Jamieson (NYU), Martha Nussbaum (Chicago), Peter Singer (Princeton),  and Naomi Zack (Oregon).  : Jeremy 

                        Waldron (NYU), Vrinda Dalmiya (Hawaii), John Corvino (Wayne State)