Carnegie Mellon University

Course Requirements

The program's course requirements are designed to provide students with a shared introduction to basic tools of philosophical analysis, a shared background of philosophical issues, significant interdisciplinary competence, and an introduction to research topics in the department.

By default students are presumed to be in the course-based degree option (they will not write a thesis). If a student would like to write a thesis, they must seek approval from one member of the department (the supervisor) and one additional faculty member (the second reader). This permission must be secured prior to the first day of classes of the fourth semester, but students are strongly advised to secure it earlier.

In the requirements below we refer to the "philosophical areas."

For the purpose of our requirements philosophical areas are:

  • Area 1: Philosophy of Science, Methodology, and Epistemology
  • Area 2: Value Theory
  • Area 3: History of Philosophy
  • Area 4: Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Language, Lingusitics, and Metaphysics
  • Area 5: Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

Seminar requirements

  • 80-600 Philosophy Core Seminar: Survey of crucial research in philosophy, logic, and related areas
  • 80-602 Philosophy Core Seminar II: Continued survey of crucial research in philosophy, logic, and related areas
  • Professional development seminar: Students must enroll in the professional development seminar in the spring semester of both years
  • One course from each of the five philosophical areas

Philosophy electives

Course-based option

  • Two graduate level courses in philosophy

Thesis option

  • Two courses of thesis research

Interdisciplinary elective

An interdisciplinary elective, e.g. in logic, computer science, statistics, game theory, linguistics, economics, or psychology, to develop formal skills that will support thesis research. These courses need to be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Suitable courses include:

  • 10-701 Machine Learning
  • 15-211 Fundamental Data Structures and Algorithms
  • 21-601 Model Theory I
  • 36-625 Probability and Mathematical Statistics I
  • 85-719 Introduction to Parallel Distributed Processing
  • 85-765 Cognitive Neuroscience

Additional courses

  • Two additional graduate level courses

NOTE: A maximum of two directed readings may be used to fulfill the requirements for the course-based masters degree without special permission from the Director of Graduate Studies. Students in the course-based option are encouraged, however, to consider taking at least one directed reading to further delve into an area of a previous course.