Also required for the M.A. degree are four semesters (or the demonstrated equivalent) of at least one philosophically significant foreign language, typically: classical Greek, Latin, French, German, Arabic, classical Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit, or Pali. (NB: If a student finishes all philosophy course work requirements for the M.A. in three semesters--as opposed to the usual four--the student in question will only be required to complete three semesters' worth of language courses.)
Those intending to go on to pursue a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Hawaii must include among the 10 courses required for the M.A. (a) at least one course (which can be either a Western-focus or a comparative, but not an Asian-focus, course) in the field represented by metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of science (or MELPOS); (b) at least one course (which can be either a Western-focus or a comparative, but not an Asian-focus, course), in the field represented by political, ethical or social theory, and aesthetics (or PESTAE); and (c) at least three text-intensive, Western-focus courses in the history of philosophy. For a course to satisfy this last designation, it must be dedicated to a close and thorough (that is, complete or almost complete, and with due attention paid to historical context) reading of a restricted number of key texts by one to three (related) authors writing prior to 1940.
Students for whom a more flexible program of study would be more appropriate should work with the Graduate Chair and a faculty adviser to select a program of course work around an area of concentration. The Department has particular strength and depth in Asian Philosophy, Ethics, and Philosophy of Law, but given the diversity of faculty expertise students could develop many other foci, such as environmental or feminist philosophy, while including the contribution of one or more of the Asian or Islamic traditions to their area of interest. When appropriate, students may, after approval of the Graduate Chair, count up to three courses (9 credits) from other departments toward their M.A. in Philosophy. If, however, a students opts to write an M.A. thesis, a maximum of two courses (6 credits) from other departments may be counted toward the M.A. in Philosophy.
The 30 hours of course work required for the M.A. can include no more that 12 credit hours of upper-division undergraduate courses (300- and 400- level) regardless of department. At least 21 credit hours must be for Philosophy courses, of which at least 9 credit hours must be at the graduate level (600- and 700- level).
Should a student taking this more flexible approach to the M.A. decide that they would like to continue to the Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, their course work will need to satisfy all the appropriate distribution requirements. Thus they may need to take additional course work, over and above the normal 30 credit hours, in order to satisfy the distribution requirements for the M.A.