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Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies

Master of Arts in philosophical studies.

The Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies (MAPS) provides an opportunity for advanced study of philosophy, emphasizing both the history of philosophy and major topical areas, with attention to how these inform and are informed by the Catholic intellectual tradition.

College of Liberal Arts

The Master of Arts in philosophical studies program is part of the College of Liberal Arts, which is about making connections freely—exploring human achievement, examining the past critically and discovering ways to build upon it, and understanding yourself and our diverse world in order to transform it.

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Coursework & Format

The MAPS program is designed to be compatible with the philosophical education included in the two-year pre-theology program of the Mount's Seminary, but the program is not limited to seminary students. Any prospective student who meets the eligibility requirements may apply. The Mount's philosophy faculty share a common vision of the compatibility of faith and reason and the integrity of philosophy as a truth-seeking discipline distinct from theology.


The Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies (M.A.P.S.) is a graduate academic degree program, administered by the Mount St. Mary’s University College of Liberal Arts, and open to qualified pre-theology seminarians. Its purposes are to provide students with advanced mastery of philosophy and its history, and to build their research and writing skills.


The M.A.P.S. degree program objectives are:

  • Grasp at a master’s level the history of philosophy and major subject areas in philosophy
  • Understand the relationship between faith and reason in the Catholic intellectual tradition
  • Demonstrate the skill required for philosophical research and sustained written argument

Program Details

To receive the MAPS degree, candidates must show proficiency in philosophical logic, complete 31 credits of MAPS course work with a GPA of at least 3.0, and pass both a Preliminary Paper and a Qualifying Paper.

Courses include: 

  • Moral Philosophy
  • Natural Theology
  • Philosophical Anthropology 
  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Medieval Philosophy
  • Modern Philosophy
  • Contemporary Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Knowledge 
  • Metaphysics
  • Research Thesis

Candidates must complete all degree requirements within three years of completing course work, or within five years of matriculation, whichever comes first. The director may grant extensions in extraordinary circumstances.

Relation to Seminary Mission and the Program for Priestly Formation (PPF)

The seminary's mission includes a strong emphasis on intellectual formation. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' "Program for Priestly Formation" (2006) commends a liberal-arts education as an important part of the intellectual formation of priests. It especially recommends philosophy as a primary discipline, because philosophy serves to synthesize and organize liberal learning, to prepare students for theological training, and to prepare pastors to engage the philosophical assumptions of modern culture. While seminary students can fulfill the minimum curricular recommendations of the PPF without completing a master's degree, the MAPS can serve those seminary students who desire further philosophical training, in the spirit of the PPF's vision of intellectual formation, beyond these minimum requirements.

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Admissions & Application

Admission to the program is rolling, which means we accept applications at any time of the year. Classes begin in January, and August, with application deadlines for non-seminarians of August 1 for fall start, and December 1 for spring start. There is no application fee. 

  • Admissions acceptance: Rolling
  • Classes begin: January and August
  • Non-Seminarian Deadlines: August 1(fall) ; December 1 (spring)
  • No application fee

MAPS Program Admission Requirements

Applicants to the MAPS program must:

  • Possess a bachelor's degree or the equivalent from an accredited college or university.
  • Give evidence of academic ability, normally an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Seminary students, in addition to the above criteria, must have the written permission of the seminary academic dean.

Christopher Anadale, Ph.D. Bradley Hall, Room 305 301-447-5307

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