When it comes to the quickest Master’s in Philosophy online, you won’t find many. But what you can find, are online graduate degrees in Liberal Arts or Humanities that engage in the study of Philosophy. Unlike many graduate programs that hone in on a specific area of interest, affordable Master’s degrees in philosophy, liberal arts, or the humanities do the opposite: they give you a broader, deeper approach to graduate study. The purpose? To help you understand the world as we experience it, whether you are pursuing professional development, personal enrichment, or a little bit of both. Either way, you can take your critical thinking skills and more to whatever career you choose.

Methodology:

In order to rank the easiest online Master’s in philosophy programs, we scored the schools based on 3 criteria: their Student/Faculty ratio, the school’s graduate/in-state graduate tuition, and the duration of the program. We used the school’s website for information, as well as the National Center for Education Statistics. If any information didn’t fit within the parameters of the scoring, zero points were awarded for that category.

Student/Faculty ratio:

  • 13:1 or less- 3 points
  • 14:1 to 20:1- 2 points
  • 21:1 and above- 1 point

Average Graduate Tuition Rate:

  • Less than $8,000- 5 points
  • $8,000 to $18,000- 3 points
  • Greater than $18,000- 1 point

Minimum Time to Completion:

  • 12 months or less- 5 points
  • 13-18 months- 3 points
  • 19-24 months- 1 point

Now, let’s take a look at some of the quickest Master’s in Philosophy online out there.

16. Loyola University Chicago

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

If you’re looking for a unique and Christ-centered approach to the fastest Master’s in Philosophy online degree, then you might want to check out Loyola University of Chicago’s online Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality. Where traditional programs might ponder questions like, “why am I here?” this program will join that level of philosophical contemplation by addressing the answers through the wisdom of the Ignatian tradition. Coursework includes classes like Human Person and Psychological Development, Spiritual Paths in World Religions, and Christian Origins. While the 36-credit hour can be pursued fully online, a hybrid option is available for interested students living near Chicago. A concentration in Spiritual Direction is available. Full-time students can complete their graduate degree in just two years.

Chicago, Illinois

Online Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality

Student/Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1

Graduate Tuition: $18,594

Points: 4

Website

15. California Institute of Integral Studies

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

The fast online graduate philosophy degree offering at the California Institute of Integral Studies is an online MA in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. This program goes beyond knowledge and leads to students to use what they learn to incite intervention and change in society. While this 36-credit program can be completed fully online, students are encouraged to participate in several residencies and intensives throughout the duration of the program. For this reason, this program would be a great fit for students who live in or near the San Fransisco Bay area. A concentration in Integral Ecology is available. Coursework includes Modern Western Esotericism, Science, Ecology, and Contested Knowledge, and Love, Death, and Annihilation.

San Francisco, California

Online Master of Arts in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness

Student/Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1

Tuition: $21,708

Points: 5

Website

14. Rutgers University

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

Rutgers University Camden offers a fast online Master’s in Philosophy that is perfect for students looking to expand their knowledge base. Students will earn an online MALS and pursue a concentration in Philosophy and Religion. For the area of concentration, students can choose 4 of the following courses:

  • Gender, Sexuality, and Religion
  • Psychology of Religious Beliefs, Values, and Symbols
  • Gods and Monsters:   Understanding Power
  • Philosophy of Social Identities
  • Evil 
  • Contemporary Moral Issues

The remaining 15-credit hours that are required can be satisfied by other general electives. A capstone project related to the area of concentration is required. Courses are present asynchronously to accommodate busy students. Full-time students can complete the degree in 2 years, while part-time students can complete the program in about 3.

Camden, New Jersey

Online Master of Liberal Arts with a concentration in Philosophy and Religion

Student/Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1

Tuition: $17,736

Points: 6

Website

13. The University of Toledo

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

At the University of Toledo, interested students can earn the easiest online Master’s in Philosophy through the online MA in Liberal Studies program. Among the 33 required credits are classes that span subject matter like in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and visual and performing arts. Students will take core classes, then work with the department head to develop en elective curriculum that meets their goals and passions. Students will also get maximum online support through a Success Coach, eTutoring, IT Help Desk, eLibrary, and interactive faculty. All students will write a thesis or complete a final project. It is important to note that a 2.7 cumulative GPA is required for admission to the program.

Toledo, Ohio

Online Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

Student/Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1

Tuition: $14,047

Points: 6

Website

12. Tiffin University

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

Tiffin University offers an accelerated online Masters in Philosophy that results in a Master of Humanities degrees. This program takes a critical look at the philosophical, cultural, and mythological elements that affect human life, both past and present. Among the 30 required credits are courses like

  • Studies in History
  • Studies in Philosophy
  • Studies in Human, Political, and Social Sciences 
  • Aesthetics 
  • Literary Theory 

The fully online degree will take students two years or less to complete and does have any residency requirements. With three start dates per year, classes are offered in 15-week sessions.

Tiffin, Ohio

Online Master of Humanities

Student/Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1

Tuition: $12,600

Points: 6

Website

11. Kent University

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

Kent University offers an accelerated Master’s in Philosophy online degree alternative that is perfect for professionals interested in customizing their degree. In fact, 27 of the 33 required credits are electives, allowing students to tailor their studies to match their interests and career goals. Twelve of the elective credits must be from the College of Arts and Sciences. While the program is offered on-campus, it’s also offered entirely online and does not require any residencies. Sample courses include Liberal Studies Essay and Methods and Approaches to Multidisciplinary Studies. Students can choose 6-credit hours of an internship/practicum, as well as 6-credit hours in research.

Kent, Ohio

Online Master of Liberal Studies

Student/Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1

Tuition: $11,766

Points: 6

Website

10. Biola University

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

Through the Talbot School of Theology, Biola University offers a fast online MA in Philosophy for interested students. Note this is a program that will explore philosophical thought through the Christian worldview. Graduates will be ready for a variety of careers or be prepared to pursue a PhD in Philosophy. The 49-credit curriculum features a core of biblical and theological foundation courses, the Spiritual Formation Core, an area of academic specialization, and additional elective courses. Sample classes include Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Theology, and Personal Foundations for Spiritual Formation. Program length ranges from 2-4 years, depending on student’s full-time or part-time status.

La Mirada, California

Online Master of Arts in Philosophy

Student/Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1

Tuition: $11,394

Points: 6

Website

9. SUNY Empire State College

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

SUNY Empire State College gives you the opportunity to create the kind of accelerated online philosophy Master’s program that will work with your personal interests. Completed as an MA in Liberal Studies degree, you will create your own graduate program and final project with the help of your advisor. And because of the multidisciplinary nature of these types of degrees, SUNY ESC offers introductory seminar courses that will help students “understand and adopt the perspectives of multiple disciplines.” Please note that this program requires a residency component, where students will travel to campus 2-3 weekends during the entirety of the program. As far as the curriculum goes, students will take core classes, and then choose electives for the rest of the credits. Sample courses include Models of Critical Inquiry, Literature Review, and Perspectives of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Saratoga Springs, New York

Online Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

Student/Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1

Graduate Tuition: $11,310

Points: 6

Website

8. Salve Regina University

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

The accelerated philosophy Master’s degree program at Salve Regina University offers an online MA in Humanities. The degree will utilize humanities-related subjects like arts, ethics, history, language and literature, philosophy, religion to help us understand ourselves, as well as the world around us, better. After taking core courses, students will choose interdisciplinary electives to customize their degree. Next, students can pursue areas of concentration like humanitarian assistance, public humanities or religion, peace, and justice. For a real-world component, an internship or fieldwork experience is required, culminating with a problem-solving written thesis.

Newport, Rhode Island

Online Master of Arts in Humanities

Student/Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1

Tuition: $10,890

Points: 7

Website

7. Faulkner University

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

Faulkner University’s fast online Master’s degree in Philosophy is perfect for the faith-based student who wants to explore life’s essential questions through a Christian point of view. The curriculum will include:

  • 1 foundational course in the history and philosophy in human learning
  • 5 core courses in philosophy and religion
  • 4 independent, customizable electives in your personal area of interest

Sample courses include Introduction to Human Letters and Learning, Scholarly Inquiry and Writing in the Humanities, and Great Ideas, Authors, and Writings: Philosophical Inquiries. A thesis is required. The program is designed to usher graduates into a PhD program in philosophy, but those desiring the workforce can pursue careers in missionary work, teaching positions, travel-related jobs, and more.

Montgomery, Alabama

Online Master of the Arts in Humanities

Student/Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1

Tuition: $10,080

Points: 7

Website

6. University of Illinois at Springfield

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

The University of Illinois at Springfield offers an accelerated online Master’s in Philosophy degree in the form of their Liberal and Integrative Studies Program. The program was designed to make sure that students who wouldn’t typically have access to an online graduate philosophy degree can still pursue a Master’s level philosophy-centric program. Students interested in this program will choose the Individual Option, which enables students to customize their curriculum to meet their interests and goals. Full-time, students can complete this degree in just two years. Among the 33 required credits are classes in subjects like humanities, social sciences, arts, and physical and natural sciences.

Springfield, Illinois

Online Liberal and Integrative Studies Program

Student/Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1

Tuition: $8,270

Points: 7

Website

5. California State University at Northridge

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

If you’re a thinker and want to become a better problem-solver, then you’ll love California State University at Northridge’s accelerated online Master’s in philosophy program. In the 20-mont long program, you’ll earn an online MA in Humanities with the opportunity to study philosophical questions that will ultimately lead to a better, more fulfilling life. The curriculum will draw from multidisciplinary subjects like including history, philosophy, ethics, law, and religion. This fully online program can be completed in just 20 months with no residency requirements. Sample courses include Nation and Empire, Law and Government, Science and Magic: the Varied Modes of Knowing and Believing, and Gateway to the Humanities. Students can expect to complete assignments on their own time, but while adhering to a structured schedule. In addition, students will get peer support through the program’s cohort model.

Northridge, California

Online Master of Arts in Humanities

Student/Faculty Ratio: 26 to 1

Tuition: $7,176

Points: 7

Website

4. American Public University

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

If you’re interested in humanity and what has made us all who we are, then you’ll love American Public University’s take on a fast online Master’s in Philosophy. You’ll graduate with a Master of Arts in Humanities and will take curriculum that explores how philosophers, literature, cultures, and works of art have shaped the past and present world. Full-time students can complete this 36-credit hour program within two years. The curriculum is broken down into 3 parts: 12-credit hours of required major classes, 21-credit hours of required core, and a 3-credit hour humanities capstone portfolio. Sample courses include Evolution of Life and Intelligence, History of Religion, and Society, Class and Wealth.

Charles Town, West Virginia

Online Master of Arts in Humanities

Student/Faculty Ratio: 21 to 1

Tuition: $6,615

Points: 7

Website

3. Johns Hopkins University

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

From the nationally recognized and reputable John Hopkins University, students can pursue their affordable accelerated online Master’s in philosophy through a customizable online MLA degree. Through this broad, yet deep perspective, students will learn more about the world and themselves. The 10-course program will be completed in a fall, spring, and summer sessions, and does not require a residency on-campus during the program. Full-time students can complete the program in one calendar year, or part-time students can complete it in just 2 years. Coursework could include Markup Languages for Humanities Research, Forbidden Knowledge: the “Metaphysical Rebel” in Myth and Literature, and The Self in Question: Readings in Literature and Psychology.

Washington, D.C.

Online Master of Liberal Arts

Student/Faculty Ratio: 7 to 1

Tuition: $29,840

Points: 9

Website

2. Holy Apostles College

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

Another faith-based fast online philosophy program is Holy Apostles College and Seminary’s online MA in Philosophy. This fully online degree offers five areas of concentration: Christian Wisdom, General Studies, Ethics, History of Philosophy, and Systematic Philosophy. The degree will be a good fit for students in ministry, teaching philosophy, religion or theology–or who plan to continue to a doctoral program in philosophy. Students can choose their culminating final project: thesis or a comprehensive exam. The degree can be completed in just two years, or students have up to 6 years to complete the program. Sample courses include Philosophical Anthropology, Ethics, and Philosophy of Nature and Metaphysics.

Cromwell, Connecticut

Online Master of Arts in Philosophy

Student/Faculty Ratio: 5 to 1

Tuition: $4,320

Points: 9

Website

1. Arizona State University

THE TOP 16 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PHILOSOPHY MASTERS DEGREE

Offered through the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Arizona State University offers an alternate accelerated online Master’s in Philosophy degree that results in an online MLA. Students will explore the humanities field while answering some of life’s most pressing questions. With multiple start dates per year, students will take 10 classes, 3 of which make up the core requirement and 6 which fulfill the elective requirement. Classes only last 7.5 weeks, so students will move quickly through the program. All work will culminate into a final applied project. Sample courses include Writing About Social Issues, Film and Media Studies, and Ethics, Science, and Culture.

Tempe, Arizona

Online Master of Liberal Arts

Student/Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1

Tuition: $11,720

Points: 10

Website

What is a Master’s in Philosophy?

Philosophy is one of those fields where people might not see its value right off the bat, which could lead you to think that it’s not a valuable pursuit. However, that isn’t true!

Philosophy is an integral part of all human life. The word “philosophy,” which means the love of wisdom, is a sub-field of humanities and provides the framework for students to answer critical questions about our very own existence. In the coursework, students will address important questions like, “what is truth?” or “why do we believe what we believe?”

The kicker with this graduate field is that there aren’t many jobs in the actual field of philosophy unless you plan to become a modern-day Aristotle or a post-secondary teacher. So if you plan to pursue this field, keep this in mind: you won’t necessarily have to get a job as a philosopher. You will use your deep thinking brain and passion for understanding life in any job you pursue. Think about options like helping businesses write mission statements, creating political platforms, and more. At any rate, graduates of the philosophy field can use their marketable skills in fields like politics, law, journalism, education, and more.

If you already have a Bachelor’s degree in this field, then you know about the kinds of coursework that make up philosophy degrees: logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and more. Each of these sub-disciplines will focus on a different aspect of philosophy and gives students a unique way to view the world through multiple perspectives.

What degrees are available in a philosophy program?

You might think that online Master’s degrees in Philosophy would be easy to find, but that actually isn’t true. In fact, there are only a handful of online Master’s degrees with Philosophy as the focus or major. But with that said, several other departments like Humanities and Liberal Arts will address similar topics and include philosophy as a part of the curriculum. The main difference? These types of programs will also include a multi-disciplinary approach, merging subjects like philosophy, religion, social sciences, law, politics, and more.

A few of the degrees you could earn are:

  • Master of Humanities
  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Master of Liberal Studies
  • Master of Arts

While these degrees are not the same, it is important to note that they all carry a similar theme of using the humanities field to explore a deeper value of life. Another point to consider: Most graduate-level programs seek to target your education by studying a specific field in-depth. What makes these philosophy-related programs stand out is that they do the opposite: they broaden the student’s view of life by looking at a wide range of related subject matters. And unlike a lot of other Master’s degree programs, students can choose from a wide range of careers and won’t be locked down to one specific path.

Prerequisites needed for a master’s degree in philosophy?

To apply for a graduate-level philosophy program, students will need to have a Bachelor’s degree first. While a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy is preferred, students can also have other liberal arts or humanities-related undergraduate degrees. If you don’t have a related degree, you might be required to take some prerequisite coursework. For example, some Master of Arts programs require a prior foreign language component—or they might offer an exemption examination. Make sure to check the details of your desired program before you apply.

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