The Graduate Diploma in Philosophy is a one-year conversion course (two years part-time), designed for those who already have a degree and wish to pursue an interest in philosophy. No formal training in philosophy is required. The programme provides an ideal learning environment if you are interested in progressing to an MA in Philosophy, or simply want the opportunity to learn about philosophy.
The Diploma has two main components:
You can choose from a wide range of modules, which in the past have included:
Students in the Graduate Diploma programme receive an average of eight timetabled contact hours per week over the course of the programme. The contact hours come in the form of lectures, tutorials and seminars, depending on the four modules chosen by the student. In addition, students are offered six hours of one-to-one dissertation supervision with an expert in their chosen research area.
Philosophical development involves not only familiarizing oneself with a body of knowledge but also acquiring skills in critical reasoning and argumentation. Thus, in addition to introducing students to key works in philosophy, the programme offers many opportunities for dialogical interaction. Lecture sessions include time for questions, tutorials consist mainly of structured, critical dialogue in a supportive environment, and seminars provide opportunities for extended discussion. Dissertation supervision meetings give guidance on suitable reading, critical discussion of relevant sources, detailed advice on how to write a 12,000 word piece of research, and intensive critical engagement with the student’s philosophical position and argument.
Timetabled contact is only a part of the learning process; its aim is to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to navigate the relevant literature themselves and to pursue independent learning. Lectures and accompanying documents contextualise material and introduce students to topics, positions and debates. At least four hours of additional study per week are recommended for each lecture or seminar, which includes reading and the completion of assignments. Having completed the reading, students engage in discussion in seminars or return to lecture topics in small group tutorials. These help students to refine their understanding of material and to develop the reasoning skills needed to formulate, present, defend and criticise philosophical positions.
Graduate Diploma students also can benefit from a range of other activities in the department, including the department’s postgraduate philosophy society (EIDOS), weekly research seminars and reading groups, and occasional conferences, workshops and Royal Institute of Philosophy lectures. The programme director remains in contact with students throughout the year and is always available to discuss any issues that might arise, whether personal or academic.
This programme provides you with the opportunity to study Philosophy at an advanced level, with world leading researchers and teachers. Through interactive seminars, written and oral coursework, research skills classes, and—in the dissertation—the production of a piece of independent philosophical research, you will develop and refine the skills which will provide a foundation for PhD research in Philosophy, or for the research, communication and analysis needed in a non-academic career.
The breadth and depth of research expertise in the Philosophy department means that we can offer you an unusually broad range of options for Masters-level study. The department has strengths across all core areas of analytic philosophy and continental philosophy. But, we have particular strengths in Philosophy of Mind and Psychology, Epistemology, Aesthetics, Moral and Political Philosophy, Post-Kantian Continental Philosophy, and 20th Century Continental Philosophy. The influential Leiter report lists us in the top groupings in each of those six areas. In each area, we are one of the top 3 UK departments for that specialism. The strength of research in the Philosophy department was acknowledged in the 2014 REF, in which the department was ranked 4th in the UK overall and 1st in the UK for the quality of published research in Philosophy.
To develop your research skills, you’ll take a core Research Methods module.
To promote breadth of knowledge, you’ll also be expected to take at least one module from three different areas of Philosophy:
The MA in Philosophy provides a combination of taught core and option modules which aim to make you familiar with what is at the centre of contemporary debates. Additionally, in the first term, you will attend dissertation preparation seminars to enable you to write your dissertation proposal. Further support is given during the second and third terms and you will write your dissertation under the guidance of a supervisor. During your third term you and your peers will hold an in-house conference.
This MA will give you up-to-date knowledge of contemporary philosophy across a broad range of subjects and provides essential training for students considering going on to do a PhD.
The MA Seminar is designed to provide students with detailed knowledge of the core areas of Philosophy. The Seminar consists of four modules:
-Topics in Theoretical Philosophy
-Topics in Practical Philosophy
Plus two Option Modules - The option modules likely to be offered in 2018/19 include:
-Contemporary Issues in Bioethics
-Contemporary Ethical Theory
-German Idealism: Moral, Legal and Political Philosophy
-MA Project Essay*
-Metaphysics of Mind
-Philosophy and Cognitive Diversity
-Philosophy of Film
-Philosophy of Psychology
-Philosophy of Art from Hume to Tolstoy
-Wittgenstein and Philosophy
The Postgraduate Research Skills Seminar is taught over two terms and is designed to provide students with a grounding in the skills necessary to contribute to contemporary philosophical debates. They attend at least one research seminar or colloquium every two weeks and maintain a reflective journal of their research experiences throughout the Autumn and Spring Terms. Tutorials are held every two weeks during which students discuss their responses to research events as recorded in their journals and provide mentoring and peer support.
This module will start immediately and continue over the three terms. It is designed to facilitate applicants for AHRC PhD funding who need to have a thesis proposal worked up by the end of the calendar year. This will be particularly beneficial to those who will be pursuing a PhD in Philosophy.
This module is designed to enable students with specialised interests to pursue independently a topic of their own choosing. Students taking this module propose an independent study topic. The proposal will then be considered by the Board of Studies and, if accepted, the student will be assigned a suitable member of staff who will supervise the project. The Project Essay is compulsory for part-time students but can also be taken by full-time students as one of their two option modules.
This module is designed to provide students with the opportunity to practise disseminating their work, which is a distinctive and challenging feature of Philosophy as a discipline.
Students will organise and present a paper at a one-day ‘conference’, which will be attended by at least two members of staff.
As an application of the core knowledge, skills and experience gained in the previous stages of the course, the Dissertation enables students to produce a sustained piece of critical writing on a topic of their choosing. A member of staff with expertise in the relevant area will provide supervision.
This one-year programme (two years part-time) provides an ideal academic environment for those who would like to study the subject at a higher level in preparation for a PhD or as a basis for future employment. Significant numbers of former students go on to further study. The programme includes research training and allows you to write a substantial dissertation on a topic you wish to pursue at PhD level. Our staff members have expertise in a very wide range of areas, so there is considerable flexibility over choice of dissertation topic. Modules are taught via group seminars and one-to-one tutorials.
Candidates shall also study and be assessed in modules to the value of 90 credits from Lists B, C and D. The module titles below are those offered in previous academic years. Not all the modules will necessarily be available every year.
Candidates taking modules from List C must take both modules:
Candidates taking modules from List D must take both modules:
The Taught MA in Philosophy provides the opportunity for in-depth engagement with areas of philosophy in which the Durham department has internationally recognised expertise. In the process, students develop critical abilities and independent research skills that prepare them for further postgraduate study in Philosophy and for a wide range of careers where such skills are highly prized.
Students choose three optional ‘topic’ modules from a list of approximately seventeen. They are also required to take the ‘Philosophical Perspectives’ module and to complete a double-module dissertation. Topic modules are usually taught via seven two-hour seminars and up to four one-to-one tutorials. Seminars incorporate staff-led discussion of topics, student presentations and small group discussions, in the context of a friendly, supportive environment. Seminars serve to (i) familiarise students with topics, positions and debates, (ii) help them to navigate the relevant literature, (iii) refine their oral and written presentation skills and (iv) further develop their ability to independently formulate, criticise and defend philosophical positions. Students are expected to do approximately four hours of reading for each seminar. Students decide upon an essay topic, having received guidance from the module leader. At this point, they begin a more focused programme of reading and independent study, and also benefit from one-to-one supervisions with an expert in the relevant field. These supervisions provide more focused teaching, tailored to a student’s chosen essay topic. Supervisions further enable students to develop and refine their own philosophical positions, convey them clearly and support them with well constructed arguments.
The core modules of the programme are the ‘Philosophical Perspectives’ module and the double-module Dissertation. The former consists of seminars of 2 hours duration. These introduce students to different philosophical methodologies and to contrasting conceptions of what philosophy is. Critical refection upon the nature of philosophy, cultured through seminar discussions and subsequent reading, equips them with the ‘meta-philosophical’ skills required to write a ‘Philosophical Perspectives’ essay. Other seminars include training in library use, referencing, writing abstracts, structuring an MA-level essay and other research-related matters. They also include focused advice and discussion concerning dissertation proposals, which students are required to submit as part of this module.
Having completed the three topic modules and the ‘Philosophical Perspectives’ module, students start work on their Dissertations. They are offered six one-to-one tutorials of up to an hour each, with a supervisor who will be an expert in their chosen field. There is also a Dissertation Workshop during the summer, where students present work from their Dissertation and receive feedback from members of staff and from their peers. The supervisions and the workshop both help them to further refine skills acquired during the academic year (such as presenting and defending an argument in a clear, structured fashion) and to complete a substantial piece of high quality independent research. Through the workshop, they also engage with the work of other students in ways that are mutually informative.
In addition to this core teaching, students benefit from a range of activities, including a student-led ‘work-in-progress group’ and regular meetings of EIDOS, the department’s postgraduate philosophy society. They are welcomed as full participants in the department’s research culture, and are thus strongly encouraged to attend a range of other events, including weekly Research Seminars, and occasional Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures, conferences, workshops and reading groups. The Programme Directors remains in regular contact with the students throughout the year and are always available to discuss any issues that might arise (personal or academic).
This programme introduces the main fields, topics and research methods in ancient philosophy. It is appropriate for applicants who have previously studied philosophy and classics, or have backgrounds in history, political theory, science and literature. The programme is appropriate for applicants who have previously studied philosophy and classics, as well as those with backgrounds in history, political theory, science and literature.
The degree provides a necessary preparation for further postgraduate research towards a doctoral degree or an academic background to a professional career outside academia.
You will be exposed to the main doctrines and texts of ancient philosophy – including Pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle, Hellenistic philosophy and Late Antiquity – mastering analytical skills pertaining to philosophical arguments and to historical (textual) sources.
You will develop the ability to reconstruct, analyse and critically assess philosophical arguments and doctrines based on a careful study of the texts.
You study two semesters of taught courses followed by a dissertation.
Option courses may include:
Other option courses can be chosen from outside Philosophy and Classics with permission from the Programme Director.
You are encouraged to take at least one course outside the ‘ancient’ curriculum, such as:
You will enhance your knowledge and understanding of the main broad areas of ancient philosophy (Pre-Socratics, High Classics (Plato and Aristotle), Hellenistic philosophy, Late Antiquity) and medieval philosophy, specific types of philosophical thought (idealism, corporealism, naturalism, rationalism, skepticism) in their historical context.
An important goal of the programme is to develop the ability to reconstruct, analyse and critically assess philosophical arguments and doctrines on the basis of a careful study of the text.
For those planning to go on to a PhD in Ancient Philosophy, there will be an opportunity to enhance your knowledge of classical languages by studying the course texts in the original language. Up to 40 credits in ancient Greek, Latin or Arabic can be taken at introductory, intermediate or advanced level.
This programme aims to improve your analytical skills and give you a solid background in core areas of humanities useful for careers in professional fields such as law, education or public policy.
Normative issues - questions of right and wrong, of just and injust, of good and bad - often arise in, indeed often motivate, the study of social, legal and political institutions and policy. How should those institutions be arranged? By what moral criteria should we assess policy options? How should we act as individuals, citizens, politicians or judges? The MA in Political and Legal Theory is a fully and genuinely interdisciplinary course designed for students wanting to study political, legal and moral philosophy to an advanced level and to consider how normative analysis might be applied to address matters of public concern. It enables students to acquire knowledge and understanding of the central normative conceptions, the debates they have generated, and their implications of different approaches for public policy, institutional design and the law.
If you want to study political, legal and moral philosophy to an advanced level and to consider how normative analysis might be applied to address matters of public concern, then this programme is for you. It will enable you to acquire knowledge and understanding of central normative conceptions, the debates they have generated, and their implications for different approaches to public policy, institutional design and the law.
Our MA in Political and Legal Theory is a fully interdisciplinary course. Unlike other programmes of this kind that offer a range of modules taught within various contributing departments, the core module for Political and Legal Theory will be taught in our department in collaboration with the School of Law and the Department of Philosophy. This interdisciplinary approach is supported by the close cooperation fostered by the Centre for Ethics, Law and Public Affairs, which is situated in our department
and which includes members from Law, Philosophy and Sociology.
This programme also provides an advanced education in normative issues that will prepare you for doctoral study that includes normative inquiry, giving you a wide range of experience that will be attractive to employers.
Students on the MA in Political and Legal Theory are taught in small group seminars and have the opportunity to mix with PhD students and staff in the Political Theory research cluster as well as attend weekly meetings of the Centre for Ethics, Law and Public Affairs (CELPA). The MA in PLT also provides an advanced education in normative issues that will prepare students for doctoral study that includes normative inquiry and give them a wide range of experience that will be attractive to employers.