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Getting an Online Master's Degree in Philosophy

written by: Sonal Panse•edited by: Sylvia Cochran•updated: 6/12/2009

A brief look at how to get an online master's degree in philosophy.

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    If you are interested in a comprehensive search for knowledge -- encompassing both ancient and modern theories about society, politics and science -- getting an online master's degree in philosophy might be just the thing for you.

    A master's degree is what you can get after a bachelor's degree and what you must have to be eligible for a doctoral program. An online master's degree offers independent, flexible study that is convenient for would-be philosophers, especially if they have fulltime jobs, family commitments or are unable to attend a brick and mortar school for various other reasons.

    A master's in philosophy distance learning program is typically the same as a traditional M.Phil. program. It usually requires two years of study, and students must pass written and oral qualifying examinations. In some cases, students may also be required to submit a research thesis on the subject of their study. In some schools, the thesis submission is reserved for the doctoral level.

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    Going for a Master's in Philosophy Distance Learning Program

    The first step towards earning an online master's degree in philosophy is to get yourself into the right school. Search for schools offering master's in philosophy distance learning programs, and make sure they have the proper regional or national accreditation. Check school websites and note the courses offered.

    Different schools have different course requirements for a master's degree in philosophy, but usually there is little difference between online and regular courses, except in the method of delivery. Master's degree students usually study topics related to logic, ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, value theory and history. They may also read on religion, law and languages.

    Find out about technical and software requirements, and availability of scholarships and grants. If you can, contact former students and inquire about their learning and work experiences.

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    Studying for a Master's in Philosophy Distance Learning Program

    A course of study in philosophy requires a great deal of research, reading and original thinking. It is important that online students realize the level of commitment required to complete this course, and that they do set aside sufficient time for study. Establish a regular work routine, and make sure all required work and assignments are completed on time. Stay in regular touch with the instructor and participate in online discussions and studies.

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    Career Prospects for Students With an Online Master's Degree in Philosophy

    If you have a philosophy degree from a reputable school, your chances in the employment market are quite good. Philosophy promotes logical and analytical thinking abilities; this, together with a well-rounded knowledge of ethics, is just what is required in many professional fields nowadays.

    A master's degree in philosophy may not lead to a full-time career as a philosopher in this modern age, but the degree has been found to come handy for preparing students for different career disciplines as well as graduate work in different fields.

    Students with a master's degree in philosophy have good employment prospects in education and academia. They may go on to study law, medicine, business, computer technology or journalism. They may work in advertising, software development, business, management, publishing, healthcare, religious organizations, social services, museums, research institutes and hospitals.

    Check the U.S. Bureau of Labor site about career prospects for philosophy majors in the education sector. Plan your career and educational advancement and read about how to go about getting a doctorate in theology.