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Academic References for MA Phil at Cal State LA


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It seems like a few people here have been or are currently in the Cal State LA MA program, so I thought this would be a good place to ask.

The Philosophy department does not require letters of rec. However, the Cal State LA application (CSU Mentor) does have a space for three academic references.

I have two strong references from a previous degree, but I am fishing around for a third. Likely, it will have to be more generic and not as strong.

I get the feeling that the Department itself does not seem to care too much about references. I was wondering if those who have applied have any idea how seriously these academic references are used by the university and/or department.


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I inquired about this a couple of years ago when I was flirting with getting back into the academy and David Pitt specifically told me they're not interested in rec letters. You might as well contact them yourself though just to make sure nothing's changed - I'm sure they get that question all the time.

But beware: CSULA is really hurting financially and I've heard they're transitioning many phil courses to online(!) only or cancelling them outright. Maybe rumors - I'm sure someone who attends can give better info on that.

What is it about CSULA that's attractive to you? There might be better options.

Edited by magog
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Thanks for your reply.

Two main reasons I'm looking at CSULA:

1. Location. Can't move right now.

2. I wasn't a Phil major or minor. CSULA seems to be a good way to make up for my lack of coursework. I haven't been able to find another MA program that will accept me with my lack of coursework.

Are you aware of any other local (to me) programs that might be better options?

Much appreciated.

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Cal State Long Beach and Loyola Marymount have decent MA programs in philosophy, with Loyola Marymount being particularly stong in continental philosophy. I know a PhD student from UC Irvine who received his MA from Long Beach and a professor at UC Irvine who spoke very highly of the program. I was recently accepted there with $10k of funding for the MA but will be turning it down for another school. Hope that helps.

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