Logic Graduate Programs

This article covers four of the primary graduate degree possibilities for those who want to make logic the center of their studies. Opportunities in philosophy, applied mathematics, computation and the methodology of science are discussed.

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As an academic discipline, logic draws on both philosophy and math to express human reasoning in a manner similar to a mathematical equation. The discipline moves beyond philosophy to serve as a foundational element of technical fields such as computer programming and the design of electronics. A graduate program in logic can prepare students for anything from a job as a professor of philosophy to a career in software engineering. The following degrees are all graduate options for those who want to make formal logic the center of their studies.

Philosophy

A philosophy degree will cover more than just logic, but students can often concentrate their electives in philosophical logic classes. These programs are available at both the master's and doctoral level. In addition to their logic classes, philosophy students will usually be required to take a broad array of courses that can include the history of philosophy, the philosophy of other fields such as science and linguistics, courses focusing on famous philosophers (such as Plato and Kant), metaphysics and ethics. Career options for graduate degree holders in this area include teaching philosophy, doing academic research as a doctor of philosophy, various administrative positions, and even careers in computer science.

Applied Mathematics

An applied mathematics graduate degree is a choice that plays well to the interests of students focusing on logic coursework. Applied mathematics is basically specialization in the way math is used to solve problems in a particular field. Universities usually offer a general applied mathematics degree, and the student will choose an area of specialty or a core of elective classes in their desired field. Some schools offer both a Master of Science and a Master of Arts in Applied Mathematics; in these cases, the Master of Science may be a terminal degree while the Master of Arts is preparatory for a PhD in the field. In addition to possibilities in academic research and teaching, students with an applied mathematics degree can find opportunities in computer science and electronic engineering.

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Logic and the Methodology of Science

The University of Berkeley offers a PhD in Logic and the Methodology of Science that focuses on the use of logic and mathematics to study the sciences. The program's coursework stresses central concepts of logic like computability and provability. The program is an interdisciplinary offering that draws on coursework from the departments of mathematics, philosophy and computer science. The foundations of mathematics and a philosophy elective (philosophic logic is one of the options) are also a part of this degree program.

Logic and Computation

As the name might indicate, a graduate degree in logic and computation is a good choice for those planning to enter a computer science field. It's actually a broad interdisciplinary field that has many applications, however. Fields as diverse as law, the cognitive sciences and the social sciences all have a place for computational logic. Both master's and doctoral courses in this subject are available and focus on things like philosophical analysis, value theory and formal logic. Students will be well prepared for a job in computer science or as a software engineer, but many other possibilities are available in business analytics and other fields.

General Admissions Requirements

Some of the graduate degrees that are more technical in nature, such as the Master of Applied Science, may require prior mathematics coursework and/or some level of knowledge of a commonly used programming language (such as Java or C++). Philosophy departments may not require any particular undergraduate degree, but may require students to have some prior coursework in philosophy. Some schools may also ask for letters of recommendation from previous professors, a writing sample or a statement of purpose.

While graduate degrees in logic initially appear to point in the direction of either philosophy or mathematics as a career, the degrees listed here make clear that there is a much greater range of possibility. Logic and Computation and Applied Mathematics do tend to lean more toward technical jobs, but even a more general degree in philosophy is flexible enough to get a foot in the door in the full range of fields available to students of logic.

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