MA in Philosophy

The department offers the M.A. in Philosophy, requiring both coursework and the submission of a written thesis. Applicants for the M.A. degree should (preferably) have a good honors degree in Philosophy from NUS or a recognized foreign university, though the department may also admit students with a good Bachelor’s degree with relevant research or working experience on a case-by-case basis, subject to approval by the Board of Graduate Studies (BGS). The maximum period of candidature is 36 months.


The programme involves reading 4 coursework modules (4 MCs each), with a maximum of 2 Independent Study Modules. At least 75% of the total MC requirements must be at level 5000 or 6000. Up to 25% of the total MC requirements may be at level 4000, subject to the approval of the department. The coursework requirement includes a compulsory Graduate Research Seminar that will be assessed on a "satisfactory" / "unsatisfactory" basis. Gaining a satisfactory pass in the Graduate Research Seminar is a condition for continuing in the graduate programme, and all graduate students are required to enroll in the module in the first year of their studies. Credits for relevant coursework taken in another NUS programme or elsewhere may be transferred subject to department approval.

The first part of the Graduate Research Seminar (conducted in the first semester of the academic year) would be conducted like a regular graduate module, emphasis would be placed on developing the students' writing abilities and verbal philosophical skills. There will also be weekly writing assignments for the purpose of developing time management skills in the students. The topic of the GRS, which will vary from year to year, will be tailored to the interests of the students. The second part of the GRS (conducted in the second semester of the academic year) will be for Graduate Student Presentations.

Independent Study Modules are, by default, to be taken in conjunction with an undergraduate honors module offered in the same semester under the supervision of the instructor of that module. The graduate student taking the ISM will be required to fulfill the classroom requirements of the honors module and any additional requirements congruent with this being a graduate level module (to be clearly specified in the ISM contract in agreement with the supervisor). All ISMs will be approved on a case-by-case basis.


Graduate students are strongly encouraged to consult their supervisor at least once per semester and produce regular written work. The supervisor and graduate student should agree, as early as possible, on a timeline for completing the necessary coursework, producing required written work, and preparing for other requirements. It is also recommended that students should keep a log of their research activities and supervisions; this should include a record of goals and timelines, completed coursework, presentations at seminars, meetings with supervisors, and attendance at conferences and workshops.

Continuation and Graduation Requirements

For continuation of M.A. candidature, the student's CAP should not fall below 2.50 (C) for 2 consecutive semesters or 3.00 (C+) for 3 consecutive semesters. Termination of candidature would result if a student fails to maintain the minimum CAP as stipulated.

The following criteria must be met for graduation for a M.A. candidate:

  1. Minimum CAP of 3.00 (C+)
  2. Not fail more than 2 modules
  3. Where applicable, obtain satisfactory grades (at least grade C) in the graduate English modules conducted by the CELC at intermediate level
  4. Pass the Master's thesis

The M.A. Thesis and Examination

The maximum length for the Master's thesis is 30,000 words. A Master's thesis will be examined by two examiners (one of whom may be an external examiner). After all of the examiners' reports are received, the candidate will be asked to collect his or her thesis and to consult the supervisor(s) on the amendments, if any. Depending on the outcome of the examination, the revised thesis may be sent for further examination.

After examination/re-examination, if no amendments or only minor ones are required, the final approved thesis must be uploaded electronically. One printed copy of the final approved thesis should be submitted to the supervisor. The candidate will be considered for award of degree by the Board of Graduate Studies if all minor/major amendments are incorporated in the thesis to the satisfaction of the supervisor(s), and after the uploaded electronic thesis has been verified by the Department's graduate administrator.

Upgrading to the Ph.D Programme

Candidates may upgrade from a Master's to the Ph.D programme upon completing specified requirements subject to department’s approval. In general, candidates who wish to upgrade must meet all requirements necessary for students admitted directly into the Ph.D programme or into the general graduate programme to be qualified as a Ph.D. candidate.