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Inside the Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies With Courtney Twigg

Twigg feature

The Mount is well known for the quality and rigor of its core philosophy courses. Many undergraduate students add philosophy as a major or minor because they know that critical thinking and persuasive writing are essential for any profession. The university's master of arts in philosophical studies (MAPS) program may receive less attention. Courtney Twigg, C’17, is currently in her second semester in the MAPS program and shared with us an inside view.

“The Mount has existed for over 200 years and its pedagogy is deeply rooted in philosophical thought. Mount professors are thoroughly well-versed in their areas of specialization,” said Twigg. “But I think the core of this program’s strength is the empathy professors demonstrate. They care about you, your questions and your ideas.” The MAPS program covers a breadth of inquiry from ancient to modern philosophy, ethics, logic, and metaphysics, to name a few. The program's courses take the dialectic approach to learning; professors facilitate dialogue in class and accompany students as they discover truth, sharpen their reasoning skills, and formulate and defend their philosophical views.

In the fall of 2019, Twigg will apply to Ph.D. programs. The MAPS program has given her the confidence to pursue her doctoral work. “Never in my life have I been so confident in my voice, so assured of my vocation, and so prepared to pursue it,” Twigg reflected. The MAPS qualifying paper helps students prepare for the demands of doctoral dissertation research and writing. Twigg is interested in feminist theory, ethics and political philosophy. “I intend to write my qualifying paper on the philosophy of violence, specifically violence against women. It’s a subject I’m passionate about, both intellectually and ethically, and I hope to extend that research into my doctoral studies,” said Twigg. Christopher Anadale, professor of philosophy and director of the MAPS program, is excited to see Twigg thrive in the MAPS program.  "She’s a great student who combines sharp intellect with a unique perspective,” Anadale said.

Twigg hopes that more women will be interested in applying to the program. She has a great appreciation for the philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, a 20th century French existentialist philosopher, writer and political activist. Twigg commented, “There is a gender imbalance in the field of philosophy, and as a woman in the MAPS program, I am definitely a minority. Yet I have never once felt unaccepted or underappreciated by any of my peers or professors.”

While the MAPS program also serves as a compatible program for seminary students preparing for theological studies at Mount St. Mary's Seminary, the program is not limited to seminarians. Any prospective student who meets the eligibility requirements may apply. “The philosophy faculty is proud of the 50+ MAPS graduates we sent into the world over the past decade,” said Anadale. “Their philosophy formation helps them serve the Church and the public in all walks of life.”

For more information, visit the MAPS information page: msmary.edu/academics/graduate-programs/master-of-arts-in-philosophical-studies.html.