The philosophical branch of metaphysics examines humans and their environment through an alternative, holistic framework. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in humanities and philosophy often contain courses in or related to metaphysics.
Online bachelor's degree programs in philosophy generally use interactive teaching and learning platforms, such as Blackboard, to deliver course materials. Because the development of logical thought patterns is the driving force behind many online philosophy programs, participation in group discussion forums or real-time chats is often mandatory. Online graduate students can typically fulfill the thesis requirement virtually, through message boards or e-mail, without having to report to campus.
Non-Degree Distance Learning Options
For additional education in areas relevant to metaphysics, students can peruse the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OpenCourseWare site (ocw.mit.edu). OpenCourseWare is a free online archive that provides access to nearly all of the courses taught at MIT, including syllabi, lecture notes and assigned readings. These are actual courses that were taught at MIT, videotaped and put online. Students can access the course content at any time; they will not, however, receive credit.
Topics found in the general metaphysics class include human existence and non-existence, tangible and intangible identity, and behavioral causation. Online students view a series of 25 lectures and read classical and contemporary authors.
Metaphysics: Free Will
After an introductory session, each of the 23 lectures in this course pertains to a specific, such as law breaking, modal metaphysics, Frankfurt's higher order and addiction. Four main texts are used, along with selected readings from other books.
Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy
Online bachelor's degree programs in philosophy discuss the various theories and schools of thought that attempt to answer intangible questions about human existence, universality and thought. Participants study the writings of ancient and modern philosophers on human belief systems and social institutions.
Philosophy courses also examine theories found in other disciplines, such as biology, epistemology and sociology. Students learn how to apply these and other philosophical theories to various social institutions and constructs, such as politics, gender, family and religion. Most online undergraduate philosophy programs require courses in:
- Critical thinking
- Human rationality and logic
- Ancient philosophy
- Modern philosophy
- Metaphysical and epistemological theory
- Moral and ethical thought
- Human behavior
- Philosophy in gender, politics and science
Master's Degree in Humanities
These multidisciplinary programs seek to provide students with a background in a number of social sciences, including art, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, law, history and sociology. Students learn to analyze belief systems in all relevant disciplines and apply them to theories of human behavior.
Because the humanities encompass so many different areas, some online programs allow students to select a specific field on which to focus their studies. Those who focus on philosophy can expect to find courses in historical and modern philosophy, religion and metaphysics. As in most graduate-level programs, completion of a thesis is mandatory. Common course topics are as follows:
- Key philosophical theories
- Art, literature and music
- Biblical philosophy
- Human perspective
- Individuals and society
- Cultural evolution
- Countercultures and subcultures
A bachelor's degree in philosophy and a master's degree in humanities are among the program options available to students interested in pursuing courses in metaphysics. These programs offer online classes on topics such as human perspective and existence in a format that allows for virtual coursework as well as group discussion.