Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

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theyoungintellectual
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Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby theyoungintellectual » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:08 pm

Hi TLS

I'm currently a student at The Ohio State University. I plan to complete a double major with a BA in Philosophy and Political Science. I definitely want to attend law school, but I have a great interest in Philosophy, particularly, Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy. My current GPA is a 3.81 and I have been studying for both my GRE and LSAT. I am an African American male, and I know that law schools give a boost to URMs. I know that a Master's in Philosophy is relatively useless when finding law jobs, but it's one of those "Academic Exploration" things that I want to pursue because I enjoy it.

The schools that I'm really interested in for the MA are Rochester, UVA, UChicago, Duke, NYU, Georgetown, Minnesota, Michigan, Syracuse, and Pitt. These schools offer terminal MA's but not financial aid or scholarships.

TLSers, what do you think of pursing a Master's in Philosophy before law school?
Last edited by theyoungintellectual on Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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sundance95
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby sundance95 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:10 pm

Why?

kaiser
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby kaiser » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:12 pm

If you are going to be applying to law school, why would you kill time and $$ on a degree that you won't need?

legalmindedfella
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby legalmindedfella » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:13 pm

This is probably not a good idea. But if you have reason to believe you can pick up the masters with no debt (scholarship, etc.), or if you are going to be able to attend law school on a full scholly (due to skills and/or being willing to compromise with a lower rank) then this starts to sound more feasible.

Keep in mind as well that your second and third years at law school will be much less packed with content, and at any school with a good law & philosophy component you might be able to take a significant # of cross-listed grad courses that you would find interesting.

Last, there's always the option of a JD/PHD, though that is a tremendous time commitment. If your interest in both subjects is strong enough this might be right for you.

Good luck

theyoungintellectual
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby theyoungintellectual » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:17 pm

sundance95 wrote:Why?

kaiser wrote:If you are going to be applying to law school, why would you kill time and $$ on a degree that you won't need?


I'm just really interested in studying Philosophy. I know that it sounds stupid, I find it fascinating. Would it be worthwhile to pursue JD/MA in Philosophy programs?

By the way, I have been practice testing between 163 and 168.

kaiser
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby kaiser » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:19 pm

theyoungintellectual wrote:
sundance95 wrote:Why?

kaiser wrote:If you are going to be applying to law school, why would you kill time and $$ on a degree that you won't need?


I'm just really interested in studying Philosophy. I know that it sounds stupid, I find it fascinating. Would it be worthwhile to pursue JD/MA in Philosophy programs?

By the way, I have been practice testing between 163 and 168.


So why not just take some electives during law school that involve political and legal philosophy? Why spend so much $$ on something useless? I'm not saying that a philosophy MA is useless per se, but if the goal is law school, then any usefulness is negated (aside from it being some kind of soft, though I doubt it would make any difference in admission).

theyoungintellectual
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby theyoungintellectual » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:23 pm

legalmindedfella wrote: if you are going to be able to attend law school on a full scholly (due to skills and/or being willing to compromise with a lower rank) then this starts to sound more feasible.

Keep in mind as well that your second and third years at law school will be much less packed with content, and at any school with a good law & philosophy component you might be able to take a significant # of cross-listed grad courses that you would find interesting.

Good luck


I wouldn't mind settling for a lower ranked school, as long as it is a T1, such as Tulane, Wake Forest, George Mason, etc. I always told myself that the only way that I would attend Law School is if it is completely paid for. I know that all schools do not have Philosophy Master's programs. Would it be possible to a JD at one school and an MA at another?

theyoungintellectual
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby theyoungintellectual » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:28 pm

kaiser wrote:
theyoungintellectual wrote:
sundance95 wrote:Why?

kaiser wrote:If you are going to be applying to law school, why would you kill time and $$ on a degree that you won't need?


I'm just really interested in studying Philosophy. I know that it sounds stupid, I find it fascinating. Would it be worthwhile to pursue JD/MA in Philosophy programs?

By the way, I have been practice testing between 163 and 168.


So why not just take some electives during law school that involve political and legal philosophy? Why spend so much $$ on something useless? I'm not saying that a philosophy MA is useless per se, but if the goal is law school, then any usefulness is negated (aside from it being some kind of soft, though I doubt it would make any difference in admission).


I completely understand. That plan sounds a lot better. I think that I will investigate JD/MA programs, but know not to waste extra time and money if I do not need to. I will definitely focus on more solid JD options.

Renzo
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby Renzo » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:38 pm

A philosophy MA is 100% useless beyond any personal enjoyment you would derive from it. So figure out what it will cost you in tuition, then add that to what you will be forgoing in wages for working during the time it will take you to complete it, and decide if the amount of enjoyment you will get from it is worth that dollar figure.

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FlanAl
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby FlanAl » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:38 pm

you could do a pretty solid one year master's in the uk for philosophy. if you do a good honors thesis and keep that gpa you could probably into a solid school over there. Although there has been debate on this site about how much prestige but having oxbridge on your cv never hurt anyone. you'll save money because school is cheaper over there (outside of instate tuition in the US) and because you'll only be paying for a year.

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FlanAl
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby FlanAl » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:40 pm

ALSO going to UVA, Duke or UChi could give you the opportunity to make connections within the law school that will help during the application period. i know some people who definitely benefitted form this.

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kulshan
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby kulshan » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:53 pm

I'm getting a PhD in philosophy. Let me just say this: do not get any graduate degree in philosophy that requires you to take out loans. There are plenty of places you can get an MA with tuition/stipend (the best programs are probably Western Michigan, Texas A&M, Colorado State, Northern Illinois, etc depending on your philosophical interests). If you go to any of these places, they should offer you a Teach Assistantship to cover your tuition and give you something to live on (~12K/year). Don't settle for less. It is unlikely that any of those places you list will offer this (the school where I am getting my PhD, for example, does not guarantee MA students any funding, but sometimes gives them extra TAships). Unless you're independently wealthy, DO NOT DO IT. An MA can be an excellent opportunity to study something you enjoy and would set you up to enter a good PhD program or go into law, but don't put yourself into extra debt to do it. OSU is a pretty good school, so I assume you have done well in your phil classes there and would be able to succeed in graduate courses.

Why not apply to some joint PhD/JD programs?

theyoungintellectual
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby theyoungintellectual » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:07 pm

kulshan wrote:I'm getting a PhD in philosophy. Let me just say this: do not get any graduate degree in philosophy that requires you to take out loans. There are plenty of places you can get an MA with tuition/stipend (the best programs are probably Western Michigan, Texas A&M, Colorado State, Northern Illinois, etc depending on your philosophical interests). If you go to any of these places, they should offer you a Teach Assistantship to cover your tuition and give you something to live on (~12K/year). Don't settle for less. It is unlikely that any of those places you list will offer this (the school where I am getting my PhD, for example, does not guarantee MA students any funding, but sometimes gives them extra TAships). Unless you're independently wealthy, DO NOT DO IT. An MA can be an excellent opportunity to study something you enjoy and would set you up to enter a good PhD program or go into law, but don't put yourself into extra debt to do it. OSU is a pretty good school, so I assume you have done well in your phil classes there and would be able to succeed in graduate courses.

Why not apply to some joint PhD/JD programs?


I'm not necessarily sure that I would want to teach. I am paying for school on my own, and I feel that I would succeed in graduate courses. I hate that Ohio State does not offer an MA in Philosophy. I know that Carnegie Mellon and Tufts offer tuition remission for their MA students, and at the University of Chicago, the school does not offer an MA in Philosophy but an MA in the Humanities with focus in Philosophy and this program grants aid.


FlanAl wrote:you could do a pretty solid one year master's in the uk for philosophy. if you do a good honors thesis and keep that gpa you could probably into a solid school over there. Although there has been debate on this site about how much prestige but having oxbridge on your cv never hurt anyone. you'll save money because school is cheaper over there (outside of instate tuition in the US) and because you'll only be paying for a year.


FlanAl wrote:ALSO going to UVA, Duke or UChi could give you the opportunity to make connections within the law school that will help during the application period. i know some people who definitely benefitted form this.


I was considering Oxbridge, LSE, UCL, Trinity College, Dublin, Toronto, and McGill, and one reason is because their international student tuition is so less expensive. '

I thought the same as you about Stanford, UVA, NYU, Duke and Chicago, but the costs are ridiculous ($55,000 with cost of living included, and that it why I created this post.)

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paratactical
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby paratactical » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:10 pm

OP-Harvard has a lot of great philosophy MA lectures on video that you can rent from public libraries. I would recommend looking into this and other series like it rather than paying for an MA. Combine this with electives and I think you have a much better plan.

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hdivschool
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby hdivschool » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:37 pm

I got a masters in a similar subject before deciding to attend law school. It was a ton of fun, both because I liked my classmates and the courses were fascinating. I'm glad I did it. I'm a better writer, smarter, and more mature because of it. The atmosphere was considerably more intellectually stimulating than that of my 1L year to date (this, of course, may change once I get to pick my courses again).

I agree with the above posters about debt/loans. I had funding/TAships/jobs that covered nearly all of the cost of attendance, and I might feel differently about the experience if I were saddled with 50k in debt.

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T14
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby T14 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:49 pm

I did an MA in philosophy before law school. I had to defer for a year due to some other considerations, but I decided to use that year to get an MA. Basically, I'd just echo was has already been said: don't pay for it unless money is no object. I ended up actually making a decent amount of money during my MA because I got grants/scholarships etc. and also worked for a while teaching the LSAT. If you can do something like that it can be a pretty fun experience. But in terms of career prospects it is probably close to 100% useless.

admisionquestion
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby admisionquestion » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:50 pm

The "why" comments make me cringe; you explained why clearly.

Here are three things you should know:
1. If you hit 170 you will get into at least one of Harvard/Yale/Stanford for law and the MA will not really help.
2. There is not much reason to pursue an MA in Phil. It will not set you up for teaching positions or anything practical. You can easily read and even write Phil w/out investing in the MA. I feel like for Phil its either no advanced degree or a Ph.D.
3.You can pursue a JD/PHD joint degree from any of the top schools.

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Odd Future Wolf Gang
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby Odd Future Wolf Gang » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:07 pm

.
Last edited by Odd Future Wolf Gang on Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

admisionquestion
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby admisionquestion » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:18 pm

Off topic:

The study of ethics is not the same as the study of political theory.
Political theory IS a branch of ethics.

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sach1282
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby sach1282 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:25 pm

OP: Duke offers a joint JD/M.Phil program where you can get both degrees in three years.

theyoungintellectual
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby theyoungintellectual » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:32 pm

I apologize for my "why" comment. It did sound a bit unpleasant.

Thank you everyone for giving me suggestions and advice.

As for JD/PhD Programs, I have thought about teaching, and it would be of interest, but I'm just not sure yet. I know that I want to go into law and I understand now why an MA would be a waste, especially if it is not fully funded. And the thought of attending a PhD program for the first two years, and then settling for the Master's, that laughable, but a great idea. :o

And the JD/MA at Duke, I wasn't aware that it's completable in 3 years. Thanks for telling me :o

admisionquestion
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby admisionquestion » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:42 pm

sach1282 wrote:OP: Duke offers a joint JD/M.Phil program where you can get both degrees in three years.


Does anyone know of anyone who has done a program with this track; how it affected oci etc.

theyoungintellectual
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby theyoungintellectual » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:53 pm

admisionquestion wrote:
sach1282 wrote:OP: Duke offers a joint JD/M.Phil program where you can get both degrees in three years.


Does anyone know of anyone who has done a program with this track; how it affected oci etc.


You've definitely convinced me why not to waste my not to waste my time or money. :o

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby Bildungsroman » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:01 pm

If you really want to study philosophy then you might as well get it out of the way now. Just don't get it for the sake of degree accrual, since nobody respects an MA, and don't be more insufferable in law school because of it.

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Odd Future Wolf Gang
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby Odd Future Wolf Gang » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:11 pm

Philosophy grad students are the worst. Just saying. Probably even worse than law students.




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