Master of Arts in Philosophy

Program Distinctives

The Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA) is designed to guide Junior Members (students) who wish to explore and equip themselves for a vocation in integrally Christian scholarshipwhether they wish to pursue that calling in the university environment as a professor or researcher, or whether they are called to a career in which training in disciplined Christian thought and writing is a valuable component. The MA is designed to foster in Junior Members a beginning competence in which they acquire a deeper awareness of core issues in their chosen field and develop their own scholarly voice.

Program Components & Timeline

The MA program is a two-year degree. Program requirements consist of the following components:

Three Foundations Courses

A specific set of courses completed near the beginning of a Junior Member's program of study in order to provide an overarching, biblically-directed philosophical and spiritual frame for the scholarly questions and concerns pursued by the community of scholars at ICS.

Six Elective Courses

Chosen in consultation with a Senior Member Mentor, these courses are spread throughout the Junior Member’s two years of study (normally three per academic year) and provide a Junior Member with the opportunity to build disciplinary and interdisciplinary competence in their field of study.

One Interdisciplinary Seminar

A required course in which Junior Members contribute their growing field competence to a communal exploration of key issues in contemporary culture and society.

Foreign Language Requirement

Prior to their thesis examination, Junior Members must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language relevant to their field, to their thesis, or subsequent life ambitions. Normally, this requirement is met by taking an approved language course which would count toward a Junior Member's electives.

Thesis Reading, Proposal, and Defense

Junior Members will work closely with their Mentor to develop a reading list in their intended thesis area, draft a thesis proposal, and subsequently to write and formally defend their proposed thesis. The thesis is a major paper of 17,000–25,000 words. It demonstrates that the Junior Member can work competently in their chosen area. An oral examination takes place upon the completion of the thesis. This examination is conducted by the thesis committee and includes an exploration of a Junior Member's surrounding and supporting knowledge.

A Junior Member begins their MA program with three Foundations Courses and concludes with an oral defense of their written thesis. In between, Junior Members complete chosen elective courses (to total ten courses throughout their program), develop a guided reading in their thesis area, demonstrate reading knowledge of a chosen foreign language, and develop a reading list in the area of their intended thesis. A Junior Member should expect to begin thesis research and writing in the Winter Term of their second year of study.

A detailed timeline and fuller explanation of program requirements can be found in the MA section of the ICS Junior Member Handbook.

Course Options

In the MA program, and with the mentorship of an ICS Senior Member, Junior Members may select courses that fall within one of the following seven interdisciplinary fields of study:

Courses that fulfill MA program requirements can come from several sources. Foundations Courses and the Interdisciplinary Seminar will almost always be supplied by ICS itself. Elective courses will also normally come from available ICS course offerings, but elective courses may also be drawn from Toronto School of Theology offerings if they are relevant to a Junior Member's field of study. 

At present, a Junior Member can fit two TST courses into their MA program of study. In addition, a Junior Member can transfer graduate credits equivalent to two semester-long courses into the MA program with the approval of their Mentor, the Registrar, and the Academic Dean.