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Master of Arts, Major in Applied Philosophy and Ethics

Thesis Option

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Thesis Track Information

If a student elects to follow the thesis option for the degree, a committee to direct the written thesis will be established. The thesis must demonstrate the student’s capability for research and independent thought. Preparation of the thesis must be in conformity with the Graduate College Guide to Preparing and Submitting a Thesis or Dissertation. The thesis handbook may be accessed at

Thesis Proposal

The student must submit an official Master's Thesis Proposal form to their thesis committee. The required thesis proposal form may be obtained from The Graduate College. After signing the form and obtaining committee members’ signatures, graduate advisor’s signature (if required by the program), and the department chair’s signature, the student must submit the thesis proposal form with one copy of the proposal attached to the dean of The Graduate College for approval before proceeding with research on the thesis. If the thesis research involves human subjects, the student must obtain exemption or approval from the Texas State Institutional Review Board prior to submitting the proposal form to The Graduate College. If the thesis research involves vertebrate animals, the proposal form must include the Texas State IACUC approval code. It is recommended the thesis proposal form be submitted to the dean of The Graduate College by the end of the student’s enrollment in 5399A.

Thesis Committee

The thesis committee must be composed of a minimum of three approved graduate faculty members.

Thesis Enrollment and Credit

The completion of a minimum of six hours of thesis enrollment is required. Enrollment for the thesis will be in course number 5399A for a student’s initial thesis enrollment and a thesis B course for each subsequent thesis enrollment in the field in which the subject matter of the thesis falls, e.g., ENG 5399A, ENG 5199B, ENG 5299B, ENG 5399B, ENG 5599B, and ENG 5999B. Preliminary discussions regarding the selection of a topic and assignment to a research supervisor will not require enrollment for the thesis course.

A student will be required to enroll in and pay the fee for at least one hour of the thesis course during any term in which the student will receive thesis supervision or guidance and/or in which the student is using university resources. Failure to register for the thesis course during a term in which supervision is received may result in postponement of graduation. After initial enrollment in 5399A, the student will continue to enroll in a thesis B course as long as it takes to complete the thesis. In the rare case when a student has not previously enrolled in thesis and plans to work on and complete the thesis in one term, the student will enroll in both 5399A and 5399B. The only grades assigned for thesis courses are PR (progress), CR (credit), W (withdrew), and F (failing). If acceptable progress is not being made in a thesis course, the instructor may issue a grade of F. If the student is making acceptable progress, a grade of PR is assigned until the thesis is completed. The minimum number of hours of thesis credit (“CR”) will be awarded only after the thesis is filed in the Alkek Library and the librarian has electronically returned the thesis card to the office of The Graduate College.

A student who has selected the thesis option must be registered for the thesis course during the term or Summer I (during summer the thesis course runs ten weeks for both sessions) in which the degree will be conferred.

Fee Reduction

A master’s degree candidate for graduation may be eligible for a one-time fee reduction under V.T.C.A. Education Code, Section 54.054. Please refer to the section titled Fee Reduction in the Additional Fees and Expenses chapter of this catalog for more information.

Thesis Deadlines and Approval Process

Thesis deadlines are posted at the following web page: The completed thesis must be submitted to the chair of the thesis committee no later than 41 days before the date of the commencement at which the degree is to be conferred.

The following must be submitted to the office of The Graduate College no later than 24 days, not counting weekends or holidays, before the date of commencement at which the degree is to be conferred (see The Graduate College webpage for specific deadlines):

  1. The Thesis/Dissertation Committee Approval form bearing original signatures of the student and all committee members.
  2. One (1) copy of the thesis in final form, approved by all committee members, on standard paper (Hard-copy Submission Option) or PDF of the thesis in final form, approved by all committee members, uploaded in the on-line Vireo submission system (Vireo On-line Submission Option).

After the dean of The Graduate College approves the thesis, the process is as follows:

  1. For the Hard-copy Submission Option:
    1. Pick up the thesis. The office of The Graduate College will electronically send the thesis card to the Alkek Library.
    2. Take one copy of the thesis, printed on archival quality paper, to the circulation desk in the Alkek Library. Alkek will bind additional copies submitted that the student wants bound for personal use. Personal copies are not required to be printed on archival quality paper. The student will pay the binding fee for personal copies.
    3. Submit the thesis to the Alkek Library by the date posted on The Graduate College website.
  2. For the Vireo On-line Submission Option:
    1. No copies are required to be submitted to the Alkek Library. However, Alkek will bind copies submitted that the student wants bound for personal use. Personal copies are not required to be printed on archival quality paper. The student will take the personal copies to the Alkek Library and pay the binding fee for personal copies.


Non-Thesis Track Information

Students on the non-thesis track must turn in a portfolio of their work and take an oral exit examination.  Typically this is done during your final semester of coursework.

Exit Examination

To prepare for the exit examination, identify the three papers you have written while in the MAAPE program that you believe best demonstrate your critical reasoning abilities as well as your detailed knowledge of one or more areas of applied philosophy or ethics. Review these papers with care: at least initially the faculty participating in the exit interview will focus on these works and related philosophical issues, though faculty are also free to ask any questions relevant to your course of study in the program.

Make sure to put copies of the three papers in your portfolio and explicitly indicate that they are the ones you have chosen for the exit interview.

Portfolio. In addition to the three papers you have identified for the exit interview, your portfolio should contain all of your written work (papers, essays, examinations) that you have done for the MAAPE degree as well as a listing of your course grades. You should include a short overview essay describing your progress in the program and discussing how your work addresses at least some of the six outcomes we have set up for our program.

The six outcomes we hope that students in the MAAPE program achieve are:

Advanced knowledge of major theories and theoretical debates in Applied Philosophy and Ethics (MT)

Advanced knowledge of relevant literature in the student’s area of concentration (KC)

Advanced knowledge of relevant literature in the student’s chosen cognate field (CF)

Ability to apply relevant philosophical analysis to “real world” situations (RW)

Ability to engage in productive, theoretically‐informed dialogue (D)

Ability to choose methodologies and texts relevant to the student’s areas of concentration (RT)

Mark relevant portions of the works you include in the portfolio to highlight ways in which your work exemplifies the outcomes.

Remember to identify explicitly the three papers for the exit examination; place them in a separate area of the portfolio.

Certficiate in Professional Ethics

Students in the MAAPE program may earn the six-hour Certificate in Professional Ethics by taking Phil 5322 (Professional Ethics).  Either Phil 5301 (Applied Philosophy) or Phil 5302 (Dialogue) can be used to fulfill the remaining three credit hour requirement.

To be enrolled in the Certificate Program, you need to submit an application (and a $10 fee) through the Graduate College.  After completing the required course work (with a 3.00 average in the two courses), you will also need to submit an Application of Completion. Links to the application forms may be found at:

Tips for MAAPE Students

Greetings!  Applied Philosophy is one of the emerging fields in the discipline, and the Department of Philosophy at Texas State University-San Marcos is pleased to offer a master’s degree in Applied Philosophy and Ethics.

Graduate Advisor:  

 Audrey McKinney 



Chair of the Philosophy Department:

Craig Hanks



Coursework requirements:

All students are required to take Phil 5301 (Applied Philosophy) and Phil 5302 (Dialogue).  Phil 5301 and Phil 5302 can be repeated (one time) for credit. 

Six credit hours of coursework (“free electives”) must be chosen from cognate fields other than philosophy (e.g., Anthropology, English, History, Political Science, Sociology, Women’s Studies) and require approval by the Graduate Advisor.  The two courses will be drawn from a single discipline or will collectively comprise a coherent area of applied study.

Students will choose either the thesis or non-thesis option.  The thesis option is especially recommended for students planning on pursuing doctoral studies in philosophy.    

Thesis option.  Students on the thesis track are required to complete 30 hours of coursework and to take Phil 5399A (Thesis) and Phil 5399B (Thesis).  (Phil 5399B may be repeated, but only six hours of thesis coursework can be counted toward the degree.) 

Non-thesis option.  Students choosing not to write a thesis are required to complete 33 credit hours, compile a portfolio of their coursework, and successfully participate in an exit examination.

Tips for MAAPE students document