MA in Philosophy and Social Policy
GW’s MA in Public Policy with a concentration in Philosophy and Social Policy addresses questions of public policy from a humanistic perspective. Through small classes, students apply the normative, historical and logical tools of philosophical inquiry to today’s policy issues. And through case studies, they analyze the underlying concepts and implications of policies relating to welfare programs, access to health care, the environment, health and safety, human rights and equal opportunity.
While most policy programs train students to be quantitative analysts, our program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach. In addition to philosophy and policy material, MA students choose from a wide variety of courses in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration (TSPPPA) and interact closely with graduate students from all over the university. Many pursue internships in think tanks and government agencies, often leading to full-time positions upon graduation.
Join the Graduate Programs Virtual Open House: October 17–27
Registration is open for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences 2023 Open House! The online event includes program-specific information sessions and opportunities to engage with current graduate students, faculty and our admissions team.
The Philosophy Department is hosting an information session for prospective graduate students on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
- Part-time or full-time options available, and evening classes designed to accommodate working professionals.
- Customizable curriculum tailored to professional and academic ambitions.
- Undergraduate degree in philosophy not required
- Networking opportunities through social events and lectures both on campus and around Washington, D.C.
- Non-thesis option leading to the degree.
- Strong foundation for students pursuing a PhD in public policy and other social sciences or humanities.
A version of the Philosophy and Social Policy Program option has been offered continuously since the mid-1970s, when it was titled the Master of Arts in Special Studies. The program is administered by a committee within the Philosophy Department. While the committee cooperates closely with TSPPPA, curricular and admissions decisions are decided by the Philosophy Department.
The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.
Thesis and non-thesis options are available at the discretion of the faculty. Thesis option—36 credits, including 24 credits in required coursework, 6 credits in elective courses, and 6 credits in thesis; non-thesis option—36 credits, including 24 credits in required coursework and 12 credits in elective courses.
|Four graduate Philosophy (PHIL) seminars.|
|One course from each of the following areas of study, to be selected in consultation with the academic advisor:|
|Applied policy—example courses:|
|PPPA 6066||U.S. Environmental Policy|
|PPPA 6069||Science and U.S. Public Policy|
|PSC 8212||Urban Policy Problems|
|ECON 6217||Survey of Economics I|
|ECON 6237||Economics of the Environment and Natural Resources|
|ECON 6248||Health Economics|
|PPPA 6003||Economics for Public Decision Making|
|PPPA 6007||Microeconomics for Public Policy I|
|Policy analysis—example courses:|
|HIST 6011||Reading and Research in History and Public Policy|
|PPPA 6006||Policy Analysis|
|PPPA 6011||Politics and Policy Analysis|
|PSC 6103||Approaches to Public Policy Analysis|
|SOC 6248||Race and Urban Redevelopment|
|WGSS 6240||Gender and Public Policy|
|WGSS 6265||Gender, Welfare, and Poverty|
|Research methods—example course:|
|PPPA 6002||Research Methods and Applied Statistics|
|Required for the thesis option|
|PHIL 6999||Thesis Research (taken twice for a total of 6 credits)|
|6 credits in elective courses for thesis, 12 credits for non-thesis.|
|Electives may focus on a particular policy area (e.g., biomedical/healthcare, urban/welfare, or environmental policy) or may explore varied approaches and policy and policy issues.|