Philosophical Foundations of Physics

Program Category: MA Programs
Chair: Michele Moody-Adams
Director of Graduate Studies: David Albert, Allan Blaer
Website: Master of Arts in the Philosophical Foundations of Physics
Degree Programs: Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing MA

The Departments of Physics and Philosophy jointly offer a master’s degree in the Philosophical Foundations of Physics. The program is designed to meet the needs of gifted students who are intrigued by, and want to participate in, the growing scholarly interest in the relationship between the philosophy of science and the foundations of physics. The program draws on the diverse strengths of Columbia University and the surrounding metropolitan area in physics, the foundations of physics, the philosophy of physics, and the philosophy of science. Among the first of its kind in the US, the program is suitable for students with undergraduate degrees in either physics or philosophy who aspire to do original research in the conceptual and philosophical foundations of modern physics. Students who successfully complete the program may apply to a PhD program in either physics or philosophy and, thereafter, to pursue a career in research; however, the program is also very useful to students whose future plans involve teaching or science journalism.

Special Admissions Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, a writing sample of no more than 20 pages on physics, philosophy, or the philosophy of science (a course paper, term paper, etc.), a personal statement, and three letters of evaluation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to our Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

*GSAS will accept up to four recommendations, regardless of the number required by your program of interest. However, to be eligible for admission at GSAS, at least TWO letters must be submitted by academic recommenders.


Candidates should have taken at least two undergraduate courses in philosophy and 24 points of physics.