Graduate Study in Philosophy

Immanuel KantGonzaga University offers a program of studies leading to the Master of Arts degree in Philosophy. 

With one of the largest and most pluralistic faculties in the Northwest, Gonzaga affords students the opportunity to engage in coursework and research on a wide range of topics.  A hallmark of the graduate experience at Gonzaga is close work with faculty members throughout the degree program.  In keeping with the Jesuit character of Gonzaga, students in the graduate program have opportunities to explore the significance of philosophy for fundamental questions of human meaning and value.  The University library maintains a strong collection of philosophy books and journal holdings and a high level of access to electronic information services, facilitating on-site thesis research on a variety of subjects.

Key program features include:

  • 30 credits total program requirements, including 8 graduate-level seminars or elective courses (24 credits) and 6 credit Thesis requirement
  • comprehensive written examination on a reading list of key texts in the history of philosophy with a follow-up oral examination
  • logic requirement that can be satisfied by coursework or a competence examination
  • normal degree completion in 2-4 years (see retention and completion rates for details)

Within a broad spectrum of available graduate course and research opportunities, the Gonzaga program has strengths in two areas of study: History of Western Philosophy and Social and Applied Ethics.

History of Western Philosophy

Students seeking intensive concentration in the history of Western philosophy may choose from graduate courses offered in every major period of the Western tradition, as well as historically significant philosophical movements.  The graduate faculty includes specialists in ancient Greek, medieval, modern, and contemporary philosophy, as well as specialists in all of the major movements of twentieth-century philosophy – analytic philosophy, phenomenology, existentialism, process philosophy, and neo-scholasticism.  Research in all of these areas is supported by one of the best history of philosophy library collections in the Northwest.

Social and Applied Ethics

The graduate philosophy program offers a range of opportunities for course work and research in the growing field of social and applied ethics.  The faculty has specialists in traditional fields of social and applied ethics, like business ethics, medical ethics, nursing ethics, philosophy of law and environmental ethics.  Additionally, the department has faculty specializations in new fields such as ethics of climate change, ethics of eating, and technology and values.  The department also regularly offers courses in allied disciplines such as social and international ethics, feminism, and political philosophy. The philosophy department has greatly increased library holdings in these areas over the past decade, and can afford students ample research opportunities.  Additionally, the program offers a one-semester medical internship for which graduate students may compete.

Our Graduates

The Philosophy Department M.A. program at Gonzaga has a strong placement record for its graduates who apply to doctoral programs and for its graduates attaining full-time teaching positions.  In recent history, graduate students applying to doctoral programs have been accepted at Fordham University, The New School, Arizona State University, Catholic University, University of South Florida, Purdue University, Loyola University of Chicago, Southern Illinois University, Vanderbilt University, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Marquette University, and the University of Memphis. 

It is becoming increasingly rare, due to expanding competition in the job market for teaching positions in philosophy, for students holding only an M.A. degree in philosophy to attain full-time teaching positions.  Nevertheless, M.A. graduates in philosophy from Gonzaga have had some noteworthy successes in attaining full-time teaching positions.  For example, graduates from Gonzaga have received tenure-track appointments at North Idaho College and Spokane Falls Community College as well as full-time positions at two U.S. Military Academies and a teaching position at the high school level.  In addition, graduates of Gonzaga's M.A. program in philosophy regularly find adjunct teaching positions at community colleges and at Gonzaga itself.  For details, see our Placement page.

Financial Assistance

The financial aid resources for Gonzaga's Philosophy M.A. program were restructured and expanded in Spring 2015.  Please see the Financial Aid page for more information about our key financial aid resources:

  • Fr. Richard E. Twohy, S.J., Scholarship / Assistantship
  • Peter M. Tripp Endowed Scholarship / Assistantship
  • Faith & Reason Institute Program Assistantship
  • Academic Year Assistantship
  • Thesis Scholarship
Contact Us

For general information on the Masters in Arts in Philosophy, contact or 509.313.6741.
For specific questions contact the Director of Graduate Studies,  Dr. David Calhoun (

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502 E. Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA 99258-6741
Phone: (509) 313-6741

Location: Campion Hall
N. 1208 Standard
Spokane, WA 99258 - AD Box 47