Penn’s Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts: Expand your master’s research, develop new methods, and define your expertise
“For the kind of program I was looking for—a self-directed post-graduate experience—Penn had it all. It was a perfect fit,” shares Professor Jeffrey LaMonica (Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts ’17), the coordinator of the Global Studies program and History Program faculty member at Delaware County Community College in Media, Pennsylvania. With nearly 20 years of experience teaching history at the college level, he joined Penn’s Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts (MPhil) program to ensure that his courses stay relevant. He adds, “The MPhil was a fantastic refresher for me. It was a great way for me to get reinvigorated and caught up with research and practices in and out of my field.”
The MPhil program allowed Jeffrey to take graduate and post-graduate classes across the University. He took one evening course per semester and searched for topics in the course catalog that excited him and pushed his knowledge of global studies. His personally selected MPhil curriculum included classes in cultural psychology, the relationship between the U.S. and China, conflict resolution, and ideology.
Jeffrey’s most eye-opening course was on Hindu epics, and that was where he met his thesis advisor, Dr. Deven Patel. Through a series of in-person meetings, often over dinner, as well as regular e-mail communications, they devised the idea and implementation for Jeffrey’s final project. The reader, Aspiration and Dissonance: Readings in History, Religion and Global Affairs, is a compilation of research from Jeffrey’s Penn classes and includes contributions from his peers at Delaware County Community College.
During his final semester, Jeffrey worked solely on the thesis and found that his career enhanced his research. “The type of work I do made it convenient to be a student at Penn. I used my available office hours and some evenings and weekends to get it all done.”
Aspiration and Dissonance was published by Kendall Hunt and added to Delaware County Community College’s Global Studies curriculum soon after Jeffrey completed the MPhil program. He adds, “I use it in the courses I teach, including World Civilizations and American History. It’s a versatile text, and many professors here apply it to a variety of subjects.”
Looking back on his time at Penn, Jeffrey recalls, “I’ve taken a lot of graduate courses, and I truly had the best classroom experiences at Penn. The faculty are fantastic, and I had a great rapport with them. My professors were very approachable and unpretentious,” he continues, “There’s a feeling on campus that’s special and hard to describe, but it’s certainly palpable.”
The Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts at the University of Pennsylvania is an advanced interdisciplinary graduate degree designed for individuals with a passion for academic pursuits. Available on a full- or part-time basis, you elect the courses most relevant to your interests, around your schedule. The Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts can serve as an important step in future PhD studies, or as a way to deepen engagement with the topics that challenge and excite you.
Contact our program director, Dr. Christopher Pastore, to schedule an appointment to review your current research and explore your options for pursuing a Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts at Penn.
Penn’s Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts website