Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies

Main Departmental Office

Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building, 225

P.O. Box 310920

Denton, TX 76203-0920

(940) 565-2266

Web site:


Eugene C. Hargrove, Chair

Graduate Faculty: Barnhart, Callicott, Gunter, Hargrove, James, Klaver, Yaffe.

The Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies is the leading graduate program nationally and internationally in environmental ethics and environmental philosophy. The department offers the following degree:

This degree is appropriate for students wishing to develop master's-level expertise in the field of environmental ethics before pursuing doctoral studies in philosophy or related fields. It also provides an excellent background for students planning careers in environmental law. A non-thesis option is available for students pursuing non-academic career opportunities in environmental affairs. Because this option can be completed in a year, it provides environmental professionals with the opportunity to develop expertise in the value aspects of environmental policy and decision making during one-year leaves of absence from their jobs. This option normally should be pursued in association with or as an enhancement of other graduate-level studies as a means of developing additional skills and expertise, rather than as the primary qualification for employment in environmental affairs.

Graduate courses in philosophy may also be taken as part of the Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies. This program permits students, in close consultation with a faculty adviser, to create their own degree plans, which involve study in three or more related areas. This degree can be completed in one year including summer.

Because of its high concentration of specialists in the field of environmental ethics, the department offers humanists, scientists and professionals unique opportunities for postdoctoral work and professional development either through independent study and research or organized course work.

Philosophy courses also may be taken as a minor on the master's degree in other disciplines and as a minor or supporting work on the doctorate. Philosophy department faculty participate in the Faculty of Environmental Ethics, a university wide group within the Center for Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies. See the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies section for more information about this faculty and its research and instructional activities.


Research in the department includes methods and philosophical implications of the social and natural sciences, phenomenology, literature; aesthetics, philosophy of religion and biblical studies, philosophy of mind and philosophical psychology, philosophy of education, metamathematics and philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of ecology, philosophy of law and political philosophy, and history of philosophy. The major thrust of the department is environmental ethics and environmental philosophy.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Graduate teaching assistantships and fellowships are available from the department. To be eligible, students must have the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in philosophy. Applications must be received by February 15 each year. Two letters of recommendation are required. All teaching assistants and teaching fellows are eligible to enroll on an in-state basis.

Because the graduate degree program in the department is recognized as a unique program by the Academic Common Market, students from 15 southern states may enroll on an in-state tuition basis.

A $500 fellowship is provided to one student each semester by the Richardson Environmental Action League, a nonprofit recycling organization in Richardson, Texas. To be eligible a student must have completed 15 semester credit hours.

Admission Requirements

Application for admission to the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies is made through the graduate school. At the same time, a letter of intent should be sent directly to the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies. This letter should briefly summarize the applicant's background, specific interests in the field of environmental ethics, and future career plans. One or more letters of recommendation are strongly encouraged.

Applicants normally should have the equivalent of an undergraduate major in philosophy at this institution. Deficiencies will be evaluated on an individual basis. All students seeking admission to the graduate philosophy program are required to take a standardized admission test (e.g., GRE, GMAT, LSAT, etc.). For standardized admission test and additional admission requirements, contact the academic program or the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies.

Degree Programs

Master of Arts

Two options exist for completing the Master of Arts with a major in philosophy and a concentration in environmental ethics: thesis and non-thesis.

For the thesis option, the student takes 24 semester credit hours of approved course work and a thesis carrying 6 hours of credit. The student will normally take a minimum of six courses in philosophy. Six semester credit hours in supporting fields may be elected by the student with the consent of the department. An oral examination is scheduled after the completion of the thesis.

The non-thesis option consists of 36 semester credit hours. The student will normally take a minimum of six courses in philosophy. A 9-semester-credit-hour minor in a supporting field is required. Nine additional semester hours may be elected by the student in philosophy or in one or more supporting fields. The examiners at the oral examination will include a faculty member representing the minor field and, at the option of the department, one or more representatives of other supporting fields.

Students pursuing either option are expected to complete PHIL 5450, 5451 and 5700.

Candidates must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language. The language will normally be French or German, unless another language is specifically required for the student's research for the thesis. See the Master's Degree Requirements section of this catalog for further details.

For information on the Master of Science with a major in interdisciplinary studies, see the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies section of this catalog.

The Center for Environmental Philosophy

Eugene C. Hargrove, Director

The Center for Environmental Philosophy encourages and supports workshops, conferences and other special projects, including postdoctoral research in the field of environmental ethics. Activities currently include the publication of Environmental Ethics: An Interdisciplinary Journal Dedicated to the Philosophical Aspects of Environmental Problems, which is now in its 23rd year of publication; Environmental Ethics Books, a reprint series of important books dealing with environmental ethics and philosophy; and annual workshops on college and university curricula development and on nature interpretation. National research conferences focusing on selected topics in environmental ethics are held on an irregular basis.

Courses of Instruction

All Courses of Instruction are located in one section at the back of this catalog.

Course and Subject Guide

The "Course and Subject Guide," found in the Courses of Instruction section of this book, serves as a table of contents and provides quick access to subject areas and prefixes.

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