You may have been told that there are only two graduate schools in the United States, and that one of them was founded in 1930. While the exact dates of the founding of the United States may differ slightly from source to source, it is generally accepted that the first graduate school was started at Harvard University. Harvard University was established in 1636 as the Harvard School of Law. In order to attend a top-tier graduate school, most universities require that you take an undergraduate philosophy course as an elective.
Whether you plan to earn your Master’s degree in philosophy or want to begin on a Master’s degree in some other area, there are several factors you will need to consider before beginning your college-level philosophy program. Below is a list of some of the most important considerations for entering the world of philosophy:
Is the program accredited? Many employers are hesitant to hire graduates with little experience in philosophy, but a reputable program will be viewed in a completely different light. You should ensure that your program is accredited by an accrediting agency, such as the Council for Higher Education, in order to avoid plagiarism or other issues later on in your career.
What kind of courses are offered? There are a variety of different philosophical courses that students can take during their college program, and you should make sure that you are learning the kind of philosophy that is best for you. If you choose to pursue a doctorate, you should select a curriculum that includes courses on historical figures, social and political theories, ethics, political theory, language, literature, philosophy of science, and philosophy of religion. You may also want to consider taking some general courses, such as philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of mind, and ethics.
Where can I get the syllabus? Your course descriptions should include information about topics covered and examples of assignments that will be graded on a particular paper. Make sure that you read these up thoroughly, to ensure that they are appropriate for your major.
Is the professor experienced? The professors that teach your course should be of professional caliber, and should have vast experience in your specific topic area of philosophy.
What kind of books are available? In addition to the syllabus, you should find out what type of books are available, in order to ensure that you know what kinds of books you will be using. If you are planning to write your own dissertation, you should find out which kinds of books are available that are recommended by expert philosophers.
Does my program gives me access to an advisor? The advisor you choose in your program is very important. You will want a qualified advisor who can answer all of your questions about philosophy. You may also want to consult with your advisor on specific issues that might arise during your studies.
What kind of career options do I have? Once you graduate, you will find that your field of study is highly specialized, which means that your options will change drastically depending on where you end up.