This program aims to train students in a way that enables them to engage in academic research with confidence and competence, in addition to knowing and using philosophical theories, concepts and research methods. The program also poses the fundamental theoretical and practical philosophical issues and questions.
In line with the DI's mission, this program will also be open to other disciplines in order to diversify the students' knowledge and different methodological approaches, enabling them to become independent thinkers. Such qualities will also give students the courage to pose questions, be intellectually creative and solve the cultural and intellectual dilemmas pertaining to the Arab world.
This program has one concentration only and gives the students the freedom to choose courses best suited with their interests and intellectual preferences and which will be of use to them when choosing a dissertation topic. Such choice will give students exposure to the different theoretical and practical aspects of the program.

Program​ Entry Requirements

The Philosophy program welcomes outstanding applicants who possess the skills and motivation required for graduate study.
A bachelor's degree in the field of the social sciences and humanities is desirable. Applications from students with a degree from any other academic background will be considered in light of the applicant's eligibility to study in the program. But preference will be given to students with a philosophy background. ​
Before applying please ensure you have visited and understood the Admissions requirements and procedures at the Institute level.​​


Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab
Head of Program and Associate Professor (see profile)​​

Raja Bahlul
Professor​​ (see profile)​

Hossein Dabbagh
Assistant Professor​ (see profile)

Fehmi Jadaane
Visiting Professor

Program Structure

  • Note: Course offerings may vary and are dependent on faculty availability, student demand and registration capacity.


    A. Program Requirements - 24 credits: 

    Students are required to study five core courses of 3 credits each and 3 elective courses of 3 credits each in addition to one Non-credit School Graduation Requirement - 0 credits:

    1 - Core Courses:

    PHIL 611 Logic and Method in Philosophy: It introduces students to the basic concepts and methods of critical thinking and formal logic. It explores the philosophical foundations of logic and reasoning, as well as the practical application of logic to arguments encountered in ordinary life. The skills students acquire in this course are vital both to further study in philosophy and to other areas of academic work. They are also a foundation for the kinds of thinking students will have to do in their future life and career.


    PHIL 612 Topics in Islamic Philosophy: This course deals with some of the works of major Islamic philosophers such as al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, and Ibn Rushd. It examines their sources and influences on medieval theology and philosophy, up until the modern era. It focuses on the humanistic trend in Arab-Islamic philosophy, especially in the writings of al-Kindi, al-Razi, Miskawayh and Ibn Hazm.


    PHIL 613 Topics in Contemporary Arab Philosophy: This course addresses some of the most prominent philosophical currents and debates that took place in the Arab world since the beginning of the twentieth century until the present day by critically reading key original texts. The main currents include neo-Thomism, Personalism, Positivism, and Existentialism. As to the contemporary debates, they revolve around issues of philosophical independence, tradition, modernity, religion, history, freedom, reason and critique. It examines influences from, and receptions of, Western and Islamic philosophy in contemporary Arab philosophy. Finally, it discusses the main challenges and promises of this philosophy.


    PHIL 614 Topics in Modern and Contemporary Philosophy: This course examines topics from the last 350 years of Western philosophy from the Renaissance to the 21st century including humanism, the rise of modern science, empiricism, rationalism, idealism, pragmatism, logical positivism, existentialism, and analytic philosophy. Students will address issues such as the nature of reality, knowledge, meaning, morality, and social justice, with an eye to contemporary philosophical discussions. The course features selected works by major philosophers such as Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, James, Sartre, Rawls, Foucault, Wittgenstein and Habermas.


    PHIL 615 Topics in Greek Philosophy: This course examines some of the main issues of Greek and Hellenistic philosophy, ranging from the natural philosophies to neo-Platonism. It looks at the influences of these Greek and Hellenistic philosophies in general, and Platonic, Aristotelian and Stoic philosophies, on medieval, Islamic and modern philosophy. It devotes special attention to Plato's anthropology of the state and its modern ramifications.


    2 - Program Electives:

    PHIL 621 Topics in Ethics: A study of ethics should help students apply their normative theories make real world ethical decisions and give them the resources and tools to justify their ethical claims to others. This course is understood as an introduction to the practice of engaging in ethical deliberation and thereby focuses on normative ethics. It also touches on two other branches of ethics: meta-ethics and applied ethics. Meta-ethics deals with questions about the nature of morality itself and asks questions such as: is morality dependent on a religious foundation? Is there an objective basis for our moral claims or are all moral claims subjective? Applied ethics makes use of the theories of goodness and rightness and applies them to contemporary moral problem.


    PHIL 622 Topics in Political Philosophy: The course aims at introducing students to the most important theories and conceptual developments in the field of philosophical-political thought. This is achieved by critically studying some of the important founding texts of Greek, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary political philosophy. The emphasis is more conceptual than chronological, the aim being to obtain an adequate grasp of important theories and concepts, which enable students to appreciate complexities of political thinking.

    PHIL 623 Topics in Aesthetics: Questions of art, beauty and taste are examined through the study of major philosophical texts from Antiquity to modern and contemporary times. Concepts, approaches and theories are critically discussed in the various fields of art. Aesthetic experiences and value judgments are analysed from different perspectives and schools of thought.


    PHIL 625 Topics in Tradition and Modernity: This course is about twentieth century European debates on tradition and modernity. It deals more precisely with three sets of debates that address the issues of Enlightenment, revolution, modernity, tradition and critique: first, the Gadamer-Habermas debate on the possibilities and limitations of self-reflective reason and critique given the historical, cultural and linguistic embeddedness of human beings; second, the Foucault-Habermas debate on truth, power and critique and the tensions between the Kantian legacy of Enlightenment on the one hand and the emancipatory legacy of the Frankfurt critical theory on the other; and third, the Lyotard-Habermas debate on truth, production of knowledge and Enlightenment after the collapse of the grand narratives.


    PHIL 627 Topics in Epistemology and Metaphysics: This is an in-depth examination, from a modern point of view, of some of the most important and enduring problems of epistemology and metaphysics. The course also analyses inter-relations between concepts of knowledge and being. Subjects to be discussed include: philosophical schools such as Empiricism, Rationalism, Critical Philosophy, Logical Positivism, Materialism, and Idealism. Additionally, the course critically examines important concepts such as Reason, Perception, Skepticism, Induction, Justification, Explanation, Time and Space, Causality, Determinism, Free Will, Truth and Possibility.


    PHIL 629 Special Topics in Philosophy: This course is devoted at every time to a different special topic in philosophy, selected by one of the faculty members, taking into consideration the needs and interests of the students on the one hand and the teaching and research interests of the teacher on the other hand.


    PHIL 630 Topics in the Philosophy of Culture: This course is a critical reading of major texts in Western philosophies of culture, including those of Herder, Dilthey, Schweitzer, Spengler, Simmel, Cassirer and Toynbee. Those texts offered theories on the nature of cultures and civilizations, on their universal or specific characters, on the mechanisms of their rise and fall as well as on the methods of studying them and assessing them morally.  In addition, the course examines the reception of these works by Arabs in the twentieth and twenty first centuries, be it in the form of translations or analytical studies, such as those of Abdelrahman Badawi, Constantine Zurayk, Muhammad Chawqi Zein and Fouad Makhoukh. 


    3- Specialized English Language Course (non- credit Course): The School may offer a number of non-credit bearing courses which must be taken as a condition for graduation when required by the relevant program. Students must successfully pass the assignment for each course as a condition for graduation. These courses will also appear on the student's transcript but will not contribute to the student's GPA. Please see here for details.

    PHIL 001 Philosophical Text in English: This course offers a linguistic-conceptual analysis of important philosophical terms, concepts, and theoretical constructs to be found in philosophical writings in the English language. Texts will be chosen from different subfields of Philosophy—Epistemology, Metaphysics, Logic, and Aesthetics. An attempt will be made to cover the different historical periods—Greek, Medieval, Islamic, Modern and Contemporary. The goal is to develop and strengthen students' ability to handle English language materials in philosophy.


    B. School R equirements - 12 credits:  


    1- Cross - Disciplinary Course - 3 credits: 

    SOSH 601 Issues in the Study of the Humanities and Social Sciences: All SOSH students must successfully complete a core compulsory courses offered at the School level as a cross-disciplinary introduction to the study of the social sciences and humanities.  

    Please visit the "Interdisciplinarity at SOSH " page for more details about these courses and their descriptions.

    2 – Two Interdisciplinary Electives - 6 credits:

    Each program allows students to enroll in courses of special interest, and of a cross-disciplinary nature, which are offered jointly with one or more other programs. Courses offered as interdisciplinary courses may vary and are dependent on faculty availability, student demand and registration capacity. 

    All students will choose two courses of 3 credits each from the list of interdisciplinary courses.  Please visit the "Interdisciplinarity at SOSH" page for more details about these courses and their descriptions. 



    3 - Non-restricted Elective - 3 credits: 

    Students may choose one course of 3 credits from any program in any of the Schools/centers in the DI (including SPADE and CHS).  For this course, students may take LAL 621 Philosophy of Language course.


    C. Dissertation - 6 credits:

    This segment of the degree program aims to enable students, through research and the writing and presentation of a dissertation, to demonstrate their achievement of the objectives of their study over the two years of the program, in 12,000-18,000 words. 

    The dissertation examination consists of two parts; a marked assessment of the dissertation by two examiners and an oral defense in front of an examination panel comprised of the same two examiners. 


    Career Destinations

    Upon completion of this program, graduates will obtain a "Master of Social Sciences and Humanities: Philosophy". 

The Philosophical and methodological skills and knowledge students acquire will enable them to pursue:

  • Graduate studies at the PhD level.
  • A career in teaching
  • A career in journalism and media
  • Work in civil society organizations. 
  • Work in related international organizations. 
  • Work in cultural and political departments in the government.

    How to Apply

    You may apply to join the Philosophy Program through online. Please review the Admissions Dates to ensure the application and all required documents are submitted before the deadline. 

    Please visit the Apply page in order to start your application. 

    For any academic questions, please contact the School of Social Sciences and Humanities.