I have a question about getting an advanced degree in philosophy:
I hold an undergraduate and master’s degree in political science. Instead of getting a doctorate in political science I would like to switch gears and move into the realms of philosophy. In short, the more I investigated the philosophical underpinnings of my research in political science, the more I had a hunger to study philosophy as my first academic objective.
(Even my doctoral prospectus (which was originally outlined during my Masters program), I have been informed by various political and social science faculty members throughout the country, is one that fits more appropriately within the realms of philosophy.)
After completing the Masters (Virginia Tech), I began inquiring with various departments of philosophy (US) and found that it was going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be accepted into a graduate program in philosophy as a result of my lack of background in philosophy at the undergraduate and graduate levels. (Thus far, I have only had 2 formal courses in philosophy during my undergraduate and graduate years.)
More particularly, I was informed that unless I came into the application process with at least 12-14 semester credits in philosophy background, I would most probably be denied admission.
My question: it seems that the realm of philosophy is one in which you must “start from the beginning.” Switching from another major to philosophy is very difficult, if not impossible (or so I have been informed). It is something that is looked upon as almost “forbidden” — why is this?
I certainly realize that there must be an academic foundation laid for any particular discipline. But the antipathy that is being expressed — or at least seemingly — for anyone who hasn’t started out at the undergraduate level with a philosophical background is surprising.
(And as a result of my present circumstances, I do not live close to any major college or university at which I might be able to take a few more courses in philosophy in order to prepare for the graduate application. And try finding philosophy courses taught online — they are almost nonexistent.)
It truly seems that most departments of philosophy expect — nay, demand — an individual have an undergraduate background in philosophy. Therefore, it would seem that if I wanted to pursue any graduate program in philosophy I must start all over again, as it were, and go back to “an undergraduate beginning in philosophy.”
And if I may say so, there seems to be quite an amount of antipathy — within the departments of philosophy — for anyone who is seeking to switch majors (from some other realm to philosophy). It’s like you’re committing a capital crime. (I’m exaggerating of course, but I must say that there has not been a lot of affable disposition on the other end of the phone or e-mail contact when I have inquired about the graduate program, having come from a political science background.)
If anyone would like to comment on the experiences that I have encountered thus far, I would be thrilled to get anyone’s perspective.
Thanks in advance!
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