Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

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

Postby theyoungintellectual » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:50 pm

Bildungsroman wrote: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.


To be honest, one of the reasons that I would be getting a MA is for "intellectual stimulation," but also for the sake of degree accrual, which I know is pretty pointless and wasteful.

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Jack Smirks
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby Jack Smirks » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:57 pm

theyoungintellectual wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote: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.


To be honest, one of the reasons that I would be getting a MA is for "intellectual stimulation," but also for the sake of degree accrual, which I know is pretty pointless and wasteful.

If you know it's pointless and wasteful then why do you still consider it a reason to pursue the MA?

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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 7:58 pm

just do MICHAEL SANDEL JUSTICE LECTURE ON YOUTUBE bro.

and save yourself time and money from asking fucking questions like WHAT IS THE LAW?

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

Postby admisionquestion » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:00 pm

I agree its not a good use of time.

However, it is not as useless as some people are making it sound. Most of these people are going to make a vanity purchase of equal expense at some point in their life (a fancy car, a fancy house, fancy clothes). I think if you consider the MA a vanity purchase it is not a particularly bad one... But that depends on the price (a jd/ma is not as expensive as a ma and then a jd).

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

Postby expelliarmus » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:41 pm

I personally enjoy Philosophy very much. In fact, I am now MAJORing in philosophy and physics, and I am also considering law school.
I wouldn't consider the MA Philosophy degree to be particularly helpful towards Law school admissions or post-graduate employment. That said, if you would just like to do it for pure enjoyment - hey, no one can stop you from enjoying life.

That said, one other thing is that some schools offer PhD-JD duel programs. You have to be admitted to the PhD and JD programs separately, but you will be able to do both degrees simultaneously. Consequently, it will take longer. But if it's what you enjoy and believe in, why not?

One school that offers this kind of program is Harvard, and it is within your GPA range!
So definitely apply.

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dr123
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby dr123 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:15 pm

admisionquestion wrote: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.


i dunno bout that

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homestyle28
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby homestyle28 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:18 pm

In Law School now with an MA in philosophy and actually went to tOSU...I am your future...except I'm white and bald...

Here's my take on it: if you have an interest, chances are you can find an MA program that will give you funding and a chance to TA - DO NOT PAY for your MA, that's dumb. If you can go to a program that will make you/let you TA it's intro to logic course as that amounts to free LSAT prep---that's actually my major takeaway an MA can be free, extensive LSAT prep before law school it's true that the degree by itself won't affect your admissions much, but there are some exceptions I'd bet with your GPA and URM status you'd get into some top notch programs - think Yale, Northern Illinois, Western Mich. those are programs worth attending and if the right adcom sees them they will give you a bump. Getting the MA will also likely make you a better law student, especially if you go to a rigorous analytical program...there are concepts that overlap. For example, my Torts prof loves policy issues and justice he even assigned some Aristotle; when a lot of people were intimidated I felt comfortable. In property, a lot of it is just one big logic problem, while not exclusive to philosophy, it doesn't hurt to have the background either. You'll also be a more interesting person for it than you'd be coming straight out of UG.

That's my 2 cents, feel free to pm

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby admisionquestion » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:25 pm

dr123 wrote:
admisionquestion wrote: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.


i dunno bout that


Law school predictor for 170 3.81 URM is as follows. Remember that AA gets a bigger boost than URM in general and that the insofar as each is bit of a black box especially for URMS the data begins to be "more independent." Seems very likely that if we roll a d100 for each he will hit either, under 19 under 21 or under 47 during one of the corresponding rolls. (obviously they are not fully independent so that is not really the question...but it should give you some sense).

Image


Also and this wasnt my original point. Given that hes competitive, the MA actually could help... Seeings how it is a pretty good soft and at that point its all about softs.

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

Postby theyoungintellectual » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:53 pm

homestyle28 wrote:In Law School now with an MA in philosophy and actually went to tOSU...I am your future...except I'm white and bald...

Here's my take on it: if you have an interest, chances are you can find an MA program that will give you funding and a chance to TA - DO NOT PAY for your MA, that's dumb. If you can go to a program that will make you/let you TA it's intro to logic course as that amounts to free LSAT prep---that's actually my major takeaway an MA can be free, extensive LSAT prep before law school it's true that the degree by itself won't affect your admissions much, but there are some exceptions I'd bet with your GPA and URM status you'd get into some top notch programs - think Yale, Northern Illinois, Western Mich. those are programs worth attending and if the right adcom sees them they will give you a bump. Getting the MA will also likely make you a better law student, especially if you go to a rigorous analytical program...there are concepts that overlap. For example, my Torts prof loves policy issues and justice he even assigned some Aristotle; when a lot of people were intimidated I felt comfortable. In property, a lot of it is just one big logic problem, while not exclusive to philosophy, it doesn't hurt to have the background either. You'll also be a more interesting person for it than you'd be coming straight out of UG.

That's my 2 cents, feel free to pm


I viewed your profile, and I must say, I'd love for you to be my future, besides the whole, white, and bald thing..

Also, how difficult would it be to achieve a 170 or greater on the LSAT? I have been studying and my last practice test was a 168. Graduating, I will have a substantial amount of debt and I would not like to attend law school if I do have to pay and go further into debt. I would gladly choose Vandy, Northwestern, Cornell, or Georgetown over YHS if I received a scholarship.

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

Postby sach1282 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:24 pm

I was recently admitted to Duke's joint degree program. As far as I know, OCI is unaffected. You go through law school on a completely normal course, the only difference is that you take two classes during the first summer after your acceptance. The extra two classes, combined with cross-listed courses, is what allows completion in three years.

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

Postby jamesireland » Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:06 pm

Only briefly read everything else in this thread, so not exactly sure what's been said and what hasn't, but thought I'd share my thoughts:

1) Definitely don't do it unless you can get a TA/RA position with full tuition.
2) Don't go somewhere with a PhD program, i.e. most of the places you listed. Check the philosophical gourmet's section on MA programs for reasons why and program suggestions.
3) Curiosity is not enough. You need to genuinely enjoy the work.
4) If you decide to apply, spend a significant amount of time on your writing sample - this is without question the single most important piece of your application.
5) Programs are only two years, so you'll either end realizing that you hate professional philosophy and will never have "what if" type thoughts, or realize that you love it and decide to go to a PhD program instead of law school.

ETA: 6) If you have specific interests, make sure you check out who on the faculty does work that aligns with those interests, but also look into affiliated departments and consortiums as additional sources. MA programs tend to be smaller and so their range of course offerings not as extensive as larger courses.

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

Postby jump_man » Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:49 pm

I am another philosophy MA student at a top-ranked program (according to Leiter's Gourmet Report). I graduated from college in the spring of 2010, and I am currently applying to law schools right now. Attending my philosophy MA program was one of the best decisions of my life, but please allow me to add my two-cents into the conversation:

1. My MA program has taught me invaluable critical thinking and analytic skills that I would not have been able to learn anywhere else. I have learned to be a much more clear and coherent writer, I am sure these skills will serve me well in law school.

2. I received full funding for my studies, and I definitely don't think it's a good idea for anyone to borrow money to pay for a master's degree. In fact, my program pays me to teach undergraduate classes, so I will end up making a profit by the time I graduate. Additionally, I only spend about 20 hours a week teaching/studying at this program, so I am able to work part-time at another job (my hope is to have a few thousand dollars saved away by the time I start law school, which will definitely be a HUGE help) - and law schools love to see applicants that have some kind of work experience.

3. The time spent in my MA program has allowed me to become a more mature and focused individual: I know many people benefit from taking time off before law school, and these two years have been critical for me in terms of my personal growth. This time off also allowed me to spend eight months studying for the LSAT (my score went up 16 points during this time).

4. The work I have done for my MA thesis has allowed me to explore an area of public policy and applied ethics that I would one day like to pursue professionally through my career in the law. If ethics and political philosophy are your passion (as they are for me), you will definitely enjoy the opportunity to engage in hands-on research in these fields.

I hope my perspective is helpful and insightful; if you have any specific questions about applying to MA programs feel free to PM me. I definitely recommend reading Leiter's summary of MA programs (it is a few years old, but the information is still very relevant).

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

Postby Bildungsroman » Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:55 pm

jamesireland wrote:2) Don't go somewhere with a PhD program, i.e. most of the places you listed. Check the philosophical gourmet's section on MA programs for reasons why and program suggestions.

This is excellent advice. I've talked with tenured professors about graduate programs and they've all told me the same thing: getting an MA from a program that offers a PhD makes you look like a failure.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby JamMasterJ » Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:56 pm

theyoungintellectual wrote: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.

TLSers, what do you think of pursing a Master's in Philosophy before law school?

If you're looking for Biglaw, the bolded may actually hurt you

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

Postby jump_man » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:07 am

Bildungsroman wrote:
jamesireland wrote:2) Don't go somewhere with a PhD program, i.e. most of the places you listed. Check the philosophical gourmet's section on MA programs for reasons why and program suggestions.

This is excellent advice. I've talked with tenured professors about graduate programs and they've all told me the same thing: getting an MA from a program that offers a PhD makes you look like a failure.


This is absolutely correct. It is also a bad idea to leave a PhD program after two years (simply for the sake for getting the MA) - law schools might see you as a "quitter" and an attrition risk.

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

Postby jump_man » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:10 am

JamMasterJ wrote:
theyoungintellectual wrote: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.

TLSers, what do you think of pursing a Master's in Philosophy before law school?

If you're looking for Biglaw, the bolded may actually hurt you


Just out of curiosity, how does this hurt Biglaw chances? Do Biglaw firms perceive these kinds of people as unfocused?

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

Postby kaiser » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:13 am

jump_man wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:
theyoungintellectual wrote: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.

TLSers, what do you think of pursing a Master's in Philosophy before law school?

If you're looking for Biglaw, the bolded may actually hurt you


Just out of curiosity, how does this hurt Biglaw chances? Do Biglaw firms perceive these kinds of people as unfocused?


I've heard from some hiring people that they like to see a slate of well-rounded practical courses so that you can at least speak the most basic lingo in certain core areas. Something like "Kant & the Law" is absolutely useless, whereas something like corporations or tax will give you at least a very base level of familiarity with the concepts and terminology. So the "academic exploration" thing should ideally be tempered off a bit by the time you get to law school. Though that doesn't mean you can't add in any legal philosophy classes. You just don't want them to be the entirety of your 2L and 3L experience.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby jump_man » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:25 am

kaiser wrote:
jump_man wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:
theyoungintellectual wrote: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.

TLSers, what do you think of pursing a Master's in Philosophy before law school?

If you're looking for Biglaw, the bolded may actually hurt you


Just out of curiosity, how does this hurt Biglaw chances? Do Biglaw firms perceive these kinds of people as unfocused?


I've heard from some hiring people that they like to see a slate of well-rounded practical courses so that you can at least speak the most basic lingo in certain core areas. Something like "Kant & the Law" is absolutely useless, whereas something like corporations or tax will give you at least a very base level of familiarity with the concepts and terminology.


This makes sense. However, I've heard from some friends in law school that reading Kant in college was excellent preparation for the complex legal writing they later read in law school :)

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

Postby kaiser » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:27 am

Oh, I don't doubt that reading philosophy in undergrad would help you with the sometimes dense and complex reading you do in law school. But thats not what I was talking about. I was talking about how the study of legal philosophy in law school has no translation into the practice of law, and how, when you are applying to jobs, it is good to have a transcript that shows a base level familiarity with the actual core areas of practice you will come across.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby RMstratosphere » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:43 am

Odd Future Wolf Gang wrote:just do MICHAEL SANDEL JUSTICE LECTURE ON YOUTUBE bro.

and save yourself time and money from asking fucking questions like WHAT IS THE LAW?

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

Postby theyoungintellectual » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:46 am

The schools that I listed offer terminal MA programs in Philosophy. These school do not offer scholarships for their MA programs. Since posting this, I've realized that it is not worth paying $50,000+ for an unfunded program, especially in the current economic climate and the costs of law school. In law, I really want to work in Public Interest and putting myself into debt for academic exploration/intellectual stimulation is pointless if I can study Philosophy outside of the academic setting.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby RMstratosphere » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:48 am

jump_man wrote:I am another philosophy MA student at a top-ranked program (according to Leiter's Gourmet Report). I graduated from college in the spring of 2010, and I am currently applying to law schools right now. Attending my philosophy MA program was one of the best decisions of my life, but please allow me to add my two-cents into the conversation:

1. My MA program has taught me invaluable critical thinking and analytic skills that I would not have been able to learn anywhere else. I have learned to be a much more clear and coherent writer, I am sure these skills will serve me well in law school.

2. I received full funding for my studies, and I definitely don't think it's a good idea for anyone to borrow money to pay for a master's degree. In fact, my program pays me to teach undergraduate classes, so I will end up making a profit by the time I graduate. Additionally, I only spend about 20 hours a week teaching/studying at this program, so I am able to work part-time at another job (my hope is to have a few thousand dollars saved away by the time I start law school, which will definitely be a HUGE help) - and law schools love to see applicants that have some kind of work experience.

3. The time spent in my MA program has allowed me to become a more mature and focused individual: I know many people benefit from taking time off before law school, and these two years have been critical for me in terms of my personal growth. This time off also allowed me to spend eight months studying for the LSAT (my score went up 16 points during this time).

4. The work I have done for my MA thesis has allowed me to explore an area of public policy and applied ethics that I would one day like to pursue professionally through my career in the law. If ethics and political philosophy are your passion (as they are for me), you will definitely enjoy the opportunity to engage in hands-on research in these fields.

I hope my perspective is helpful and insightful; if you have any specific questions about applying to MA programs feel free to PM me. I definitely recommend reading Leiter's summary of MA programs (it is a few years old, but the information is still very relevant).


1. You didn't learn how to think like a lawyer or write like a lawyer. Thinking like a philosopher and writing like one will earn you the contempt of your classmates.

2. You lost two years of opportunity to work in the legal market.

3. Scoring well on the LSAT matters, but you're going to mature whether you're in law school or not.

4. You could have done the exact same thing by cross registering during 2L and 3L for philosophy courses. It's not like you got a PhD.

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

Postby jump_man » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:25 am

RMstratosphere wrote:
jump_man wrote:I am another philosophy MA student at a top-ranked program (according to Leiter's Gourmet Report). I graduated from college in the spring of 2010, and I am currently applying to law schools right now. Attending my philosophy MA program was one of the best decisions of my life, but please allow me to add my two-cents into the conversation:

1. My MA program has taught me invaluable critical thinking and analytic skills that I would not have been able to learn anywhere else. I have learned to be a much more clear and coherent writer, I am sure these skills will serve me well in law school.

2. I received full funding for my studies, and I definitely don't think it's a good idea for anyone to borrow money to pay for a master's degree. In fact, my program pays me to teach undergraduate classes, so I will end up making a profit by the time I graduate. Additionally, I only spend about 20 hours a week teaching/studying at this program, so I am able to work part-time at another job (my hope is to have a few thousand dollars saved away by the time I start law school, which will definitely be a HUGE help) - and law schools love to see applicants that have some kind of work experience.

3. The time spent in my MA program has allowed me to become a more mature and focused individual: I know many people benefit from taking time off before law school, and these two years have been critical for me in terms of my personal growth. This time off also allowed me to spend eight months studying for the LSAT (my score went up 16 points during this time).

4. The work I have done for my MA thesis has allowed me to explore an area of public policy and applied ethics that I would one day like to pursue professionally through my career in the law. If ethics and political philosophy are your passion (as they are for me), you will definitely enjoy the opportunity to engage in hands-on research in these fields.

I hope my perspective is helpful and insightful; if you have any specific questions about applying to MA programs feel free to PM me. I definitely recommend reading Leiter's summary of MA programs (it is a few years old, but the information is still very relevant).


1. You didn't learn how to think like a lawyer or write like a lawyer. Thinking like a philosopher and writing like one will earn you the contempt of your classmates.

2. You lost two years of opportunity to work in the legal market.

3. Scoring well on the LSAT matters, but you're going to mature whether you're in law school or not.

4. You could have done the exact same thing by cross registering during 2L and 3L for philosophy courses. It's not like you got a PhD.


Haters gonna hate 8)

My point was that participating in an MA program has been a fantastic experience for me. Obviously it's not a good decision for everyone. Chill out bro!

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

Postby SarahKerrigan » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:47 am

Odd Future Wolf Gang wrote:just do MICHAEL SANDEL JUSTICE LECTURE ON YOUTUBE bro.

and save yourself time and money from asking fucking questions like WHAT IS THE LAW?

"Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man."

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

Postby jamesireland » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:22 am

theyoungintellectual wrote:The schools that I listed offer terminal MA programs in Philosophy. These school do not offer scholarships for their MA programs. Since posting this, I've realized that it is not worth paying $50,000+ for an unfunded program, especially in the current economic climate and the costs of law school. In law, I really want to work in Public Interest and putting myself into debt for academic exploration/intellectual stimulation is pointless if I can study Philosophy outside of the academic setting.


While it is to the slightest degree better to go somewhere with a terminal MA as opposed to going somewhere without one and leaving after two years, both are far and away worse than going somewhere with only a terminal MA.

That said you don't have to go into debt, rather you should actually be getting paid to go through the program. Also, while you can read works on your own, you'd be missing out on working closely with faculty, attending lectures, and being part of a community of students. In my experience most of the learning in a philosophy MA program happens outside the scope of your coursework. But note that what you are learning is how to be a professional scholar, which is quite different from what it is like to learn philosophy in undergrad.




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