The Department of Philosophy’s graduate program in social, political, ethical and legal philosophy (SPEL) offers students advanced coursework and individual research in classical, modern and contemporary social and political philosophy, as well as ethics and the philosophy of law. SPEL recognizes and respects both the Anglo-American (analytic) and Continental (European) traditions, as well as various non-Western traditions, feminist philosophy and critical race theory, and other emerging areas of philosophy. Students with a variety of philosophical interests are welcome to apply to the SPEL program.
Our program offers a terminal Master of Arts (MA) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) track, with specializations in social, political, ethical and/or legal philosophy. The MA is often pursued by students who are interested in postgraduate careers in law, business or public policy. The PhD prepares students for specializations in the most sought-after and fastest-growing areas in contemporary philosophy in colleges and universities. Our Department enjoys highly successful placement rates and aggressive professional development.
Recent doctoral graduate placements include: assistant professor at Southern Illinois University, assistant professor at Antioch College, assistant professor at Mardin Artuklu University in Turkey, assistant professor at Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano in Colombia and postdoctoral fellowship at Seton Hall University.
The Philosophy department is able to waive the application fee for a limited number of qualified PhD candidates. To be considered for the waiver, you should start your application. Once you upload all application documents, email Director of Graduate Studies Anja Karnein (email@example.com) with information in support of your waiver request two weeks before the application deadline. Note: You should not submit your application package until the application fee is either paid or waived.
You can learn more about the program by contacting the director. Recent news and notices may be found at an off-site unofficial blog.
- PHD in Philosophy
- MA in Philosophy
Internships, Research Opportunities and More
Binghamton's graduate program in philosophy goes beyond the historical subjects from throughout the world. Members of our distinguished faculty impart a solid foundation in concepts, while also highlighting their links to current debates. We call our program SPEL, standing for Social, Political, Ethical and Legal Philosophy. Through a combination of workshops, lectures, conferences, and reading groups we try to help students to consider larger systems and their operational goals, and how problems within them can be resolved. Courses of study are highly individualized, and allow students to develop their interests with the guidance of a faculty advisor
The University's Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development is an additional resource for students. The Center provides many useful services that aid professional development, including mock interviews, résumé critique, and career workshops.
After You Graduate
Graduates of our MA program have had excellent placement rates in doctoral programs, while many PhD graduates have obtained positions at prestigious colleges and universities. Experience gained as teaching assistants and graduate assistants during their study can provide valuable training that educational institutions actively seek in candidates. Other alumni have continued their education in law school and found work as attorneys or legal associates. The rest have entered the private sector in business and management capacities.
To be eligible for graduate study, you must:
- Provide a complete set of your undergraduate (and, if applicable, graduate) transcripts showing one of the following:
- You have earned a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent) from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
- You are within one academic year of earning a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
- You are eligible to apply as part of a memorandum of understanding between your current institution and Binghamton University
- Have earned, at minimum, one of the following:
- A 3.0 GPA over your entire undergraduate career
- A 3.0 GPA during your last 60 semester credits or 90 quarter credits of your undergraduate degree, with most courses graded regularly (not as "pass/fail")
- A 3.0 GPA in a graduate degree, with most courses graded regularly (not as "pass/fail")
- In consideration of the different grading scales used around the world, each academic department evaluates international transcripts to determine on a case-by-case basis whether they demonstrate one of the above requirements.
To apply, you must submit the following materials. For general guidelines for these materials, see the Admission Requirements website.
- Online graduate degree application with graduate degree application fee
- Transcripts from each college or university that you have attended
- Personal statement of 2 to 3 pages describing your reasons for pursuing graduate study, your career aspirations, your special interests within your field, and any unusual features of your background that might need explanation or be of interest to the graduate admissions committee
- Résumé or curriculum vitae
- Letters of recommendation (2 for MA applicants; 3 for PhD applicants)
- A writing sample of up to 20 pages. This should be the best piece of philosophical writing you have completed so far
- GRE scores are accepted, but not required
International students must also submit the following materials. For more information about these materials, see the International Students section of the Admission Requirements website.
- International Student Financial Statement (ISFS) form
- Supporting financial documentation (such as bank statements, scholarship or sponsor letters, etc.)
- Proof of English proficiency (such as official TOEFL/IELTS/PTE Academic/Duolingo* scores)
- *In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Graduate School at Binghamton University has temporarily approved the use of the Duolingo English Test as proof of English proficiency through the 2023 application cycle.
This information is subject to change. While we make every effort to update these program pages, we recommend that you contact the department with questions about program-specific requirements.
Total Enrollment: 37
International / Non-Citizen Enrollment: 20%
GRE Verbal: 81%
*Score(s) represent the AVERAGE for the most recently admitted class. Scoring lower will not result in automatic rejection of your application, and scoring higher does not guarantee acceptance.
|Philosophy (PHD)||January 15||October 15|
|Philosophy (MA)||January 15||October 15|
You may also be interested in our accelerated/4+1 degree programs which allow students to complete their bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in just 5 years!
For more information, visit the Philosophy - Social, Political, Ethical and Legal website.