The History of Design and Material Culture MA focuses on both objects from everyday life and representations of them since the eighteenth century as a basis for research and analysis.
The course allies theory and practice in seminar-based discussions that embrace various methodological issues and perspectives, including Marxism, discourse theory, phenomenology, semiology, museology, gender, race, class, memory and oral testimony. Depending on the material you analyse in your essays and seminars, as well as the dissertation topic you choose, you can also emphasise your own intellectual and subject-specific interests.
Since its inception in the late 1990s, the MA has garnered a national and international reputation as one of the pioneering and most successful programmes of its kind. As a research-led course, it harnesses the academic expertise of staff with a recognised wealth of teaching and research excellence in subject areas such as fashion and dress history, the history and theory of advertising, photography and the mass-reproduced image, and heritage and museum studies.
Under guidance, you will be encouraged to explore the relationship between theory and practice and to develop your own skills as an independent researcher, thinker and writer.
The History of Design and Material Culture MA draws on the wide-ranging academic expertise of staff in the fields of the history of decorative arts and design, dress history, material culture, museology and social history.
It stimulates innovative and interdisciplinary study in the history of design and material culture in both their western and non-western contexts, considering the relationship between local, national and international patterns of production, circulation, consumption and use.
The course is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, study visits and tutorials. Considerable emphasis is placed on student involvement in the weekly seminar readings and discussions within the two thematic core modules, Exploring Objects and Mediating Objects.
Based at Pavilion Parade, a Regency building overlooking the famous Royal Pavilion, teaching takes place close to the seafront and city centre amenities.
The Exploring Objects module introduces you to a series of different research methods and historiographical approaches, as you interrogate and make sense of designed objects in terms of how they are designed, produced, circulated, consumed and used in everyday life. It covers the period from the late eighteenth century to the present time and typically involves discussion and debate on the following themes, theories and methods: Marxist and post-Marxist historiography; production and consumption; gender and taste; phenomenology; object-based analysis; the use of archives; and 'good writing/bad writing'. It also introduces you to the academic rigour of postgraduate dissertation research.
This module complements Exploring Objects by focusing on the mediation between 'this one' (the object itself) and 'that one' (the object as represented in word and image). On one level, it examines how objects are translated in various texts and contexts, from museum and private collections to photographs, advertisements, film and fiction. On another level, it examines how objects are transformed through the embodied processes of everyday rituals such as gift-giving and personal oral and collective memories. The module therefore deals with the idea of intertexualities and how the identities of things and people are phenomenologically bound up with each other. By extension, you examine objects in relation to ideas concerning sex, gender, class, generation, race and ethnicity.
The centrepiece of your MA studies, the dissertation is a piece of original writing between 18,000 and 20,000 words on a research topic of your own choosing. It allows you to pursue a specific research topic related to your own academic and intellectual interests in a given area of the history of design and material culture, for example fashion and dress, textiles, ceramics and glass, product design, interior design and architecture, graphic communications, advertising and photography, film, museums, collecting and curating, and design pedagogy. The dissertation is largely based on primary research, often using specialist archives and surviving historical material.
This course makes use of the University of Brighton Design Archives, which include the archives of the Design Council, Alison Settle, FHK Henrion and the South of England Film and Video Archive.
Close professional contact with national institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as with local collections and centres of historical interest (such as Brighton’s unique Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, with its internationally famous collection of decorative art from the 1890s onwards), present research opportunities for students registered on the course.
The course is closely linked to our arts and humanities research division through a joint research lecture series, and we have successfully encouraged high achievers to register for the MPhil/PhD programme.
The student environment also includes the thriving postgraduate Design History Society as well as opportunities for conference presentation, professional contact and career development in the field.
The course has an extremely healthy track record in helping students to take up careers in related areas of employment and further study. Many of our postgraduates have succeeded in finding work as lecturers, curators, journalists, designers and design consultants, while many others have pursued doctoral research, most often also securing prestigious funding from the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council).
This course is about researching the moral conflicts and ethical issues in contemporary Western culture and setting them against the backdrop of continental European philosophy.
There is no philosophical discipline that is more deeply rooted in the current and controversial socio-cultural debates than practical philosophy and more specifically than philosophical ethics. The rejuvenation of the philosophical tradition, when it comes to contemporary issues, is never more necessary or more exciting than in this field of philosophy. The hermeneutical perspective – which is so characteristics of philosophical ethics at Radboud University – combines the precise interpretation of influential texts with a focus on culture philosophical approaches, phenomenological analysis and ethical applications. A unique addition in the ethical discussion is the attention for ethical issues, especially in literary sources.
Key authors for this specialisation are, in chronological order, Aristoteles, Thomas van Aquino, Kant, Hegel, Schleiermacher, Heidegger, Gadamer, Levinas, Ricoeur, Habermas, Taylor and Toulmin.
In Philosophical Ethics, you investigate the moral implications of human actions from the point of view of virtue ethics (Aristotle, MacIntyre), phenomenology (Heidegger, Levinas) and hermeneutics (Gadamer, Ricoeur). This section also runs an international Nietzsche research project.
The department of ethics participates both in the research programme 'The project of a hermeneutic philosophy' as well as in the research programme ‘Ethos, Polis, Religion' (research programme in practical philosophy).
This section of the faculty investigates the moral implications of human actions from the point of view of virtue ethics (Aristotle, MacIntyre), phenomenology (Heidegger, Levinas) and hermeneutics (Gadamer, Ricoeur). For its ethical research it cooperates closely with the Centre for Ethics of Radboud University (in Dutch). The section also runs an international Nietzsche research project.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/philosophy/ethics
1. A completed Bachelor's degree in Philosophy or in a related discipline (in the latter case, students must have acquired at least 60 EC in Philosophical disciplines).
The applicant must have a degree with merit or distinction or equivalent. Meaning: a student’s weighted grade-point average in philosophy in the 2nd and 3rd year of their Bachelor's programme must be the equivalent of 7.5 or more (on the Dutch scale of 10).
On the page "Conversions of international grades" you will find an indication of what the equivalent of a Dutch 7.5 or 8 might be in the country where you obtained your Bachelor’s degree.
2. A proficiency in English
In order to take part in this programme, you need to have fluency in both written and spoken English. Non-native speakers of English* without a Dutch Master's degree must either have obtained a higher diploma from an English-teaching institution or be in possession of one of the following certificates:
- A TOEFL score of >577 (paper based) or >90 (internet based)
- An IELTS score of >6.5
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with a mark of C or higher
3. Highly motivated
An applicant must be able to demonstrate to the Examination Board that they have serious research interests and skills. Applicant must write a motivation letter and send a writing sample which can help evaluate their research and writing skills.
Philosophy has a unique role within contemporary society. Unlike other academic disciplines, its subject matter is not limited to one set of questions, or one domain of investigation. Philosophers delve into all aspects of science and society. In order to do this, they must possess essential skills, including he ability to analyse complex issues logically and conceptually and the ability to document their conclusions in clear and persuasive language. Such skills are not innate. They require intensive training. The Research Master's programme in Philosophy constitutes the first professional step towards the acquisition of these skills.
This programme has been designed for people with the ambition to do research. A majority of the students continue their research within academia by applying for a doctoral programme in the Netherlands or abroad. We take particular pride in the fact that more than 75 percent of our graduates manage to obtain a PhD position within two years of graduating. A second group goes on to teach philosophy at secondary schools. And a third group enter research-related professions outside of education. Our graduates are also represented in journalism, science policy, and politics.
Philosophy has a unique role within contemporary society. Unlike other academic disciplines, its subject matter is not limited to one set of questions, or one domain of investigation. Philosophers delve into all aspects of science and society. In order to do this, they must possess the ability to analyse complex issues logically and conceptually and the ability to document their conclusions in clear and persuasive language. The Research Master's programme in Philosophy constitutes the first professional step towards the acquisition of these skills.
What makes this programme special?
The English-taught Research Master's programme in Philosophy is a two-year course that is meant for students of proven ability who wish to prepare for an academic career in philosophy. We offer the following to provide you with the best possible academic background:
- A combination of internationally acclaimed research and excellent teaching
- A big offer of research seminars in the history of philosophy, continental philosophy and analytic philosophy
- A broad range of specialisations in Philosophical Anthropology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of language and Logic, Philosophical Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy and the History of Philosophy
- An emphasis on the training of research skills
- A personal supervisor who guides you throughout the programme
- An excellent preparation for post-graduate life by means of the specialised character of the Research Master's thesis, which is composed of a publishable article and of a PhD research proposal
- A high chance of obtaining a PhD position in the Netherlands or abroad
- An international climate.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/philosophy/ethics
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).
As a cultivated form of invention, design shapes, modifies and alters the world around us for better or worse, and the need for modern design to be more sustainable and ethically responsible has never been more important.
Many multinational companies, research centres, governments and individuals acknowledge that a change in attitude to the way we design products, spaces, communications and communities is a positive step and long overdue. Indeed, over the last 10 years, commercial understanding of sustainable design has transformed, shifting from being about risk and compliance to a dynamic leadership issue.
Our Sustainable Design MA helps you to rethink the parameters of good design in an unsustainable age. Working alongside experts in ecology, psychology, design and business, you will gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to focus your practice and become a more effective agent of change.
Making sure that what you learn with us is relevant, up to date and what employers are looking for is our priority, so courses are reviewed and enhanced on an ongoing basis. When you have applied to us, you’ll be told about any new developments through our applicant portal.
Sustainable Design: Present(s)
Semester one, 20 credits
You start with a foundation in sustainable design principles, theories and methodologies. Themes include cradle to cradle, low-carbon building and production, design for recycling, biodegradability, biomimicry, alternative energy, ecological thinking, permaculture, and disassembly.
Semester one, 20 credits
This module gives you an overview of design research methods and how they are used in professional practice. It enables you to construct the kind of research questions, hypotheses and methodologies that underpin innovative design, as you develop a more autonomous position in the process of critical inquiry.
Semesters one and two, 60 credits
The Studio module spans two projects – ‘Behaviours’ and ’Matters’. The Behaviours project takes place in semester one and provides you with a theoretical context for the studio-based investigation, analysis and generation of essential design criteria that shape patterns of consumption.
In semester two, you undertake the Matters project, a studio-based experience that places emphasis on materiality and the nature of physical experience as mediated through the design, production and physical manifestation of things.
Sustainable Design: Future(s)
Semester two, 20 credits
This module takes the form of a series of seminars, workshops and discussion groups where specialist practitioners, writers, researchers, manufacturers and theorists present their work on sustainability. It covers themes including consumer motivation, behaviour, phenomenology, deep ecology, temporality, consciousness, emotional durability, materiality, defuturing and experience-authoring.
Semester three, 60 credits
The Master project represents the culmination of your work throughout the course. It allows you to apply all of the experiences and skills that you have accumulated, as you choose an area of sustainable design that you want to pursue in detail.
You work is structured by an individually defined 'statement of intent' that provides the framework through which you will be assessed. This process enables you to explore distinctive areas of expertise with a unique approach to the ubiquitous issues of sustainability and design.
The final body of master work must be developed through practices relevant to you and your statement of intent. These might include the development and production of design proposals, a written thesis, a documentary, an ad campaign, an article for a leading publication, a touring exhibition or a combination of the above.
From 2016, students will work in the new Masters Centre, which provides studio, seminar and tutorial space for all postgraduate students in the School of Architecture and Design.
Students on MA Sustainable Design will have dedicated studio space with access to workshop and digital model making facilities. More specialised materials and making requirements can be supported on an individual basis with colleagues in engineering, crafts and arts.
After graduation, many students secure influential positions within major global businesses, charities and NGOs. Previous students include:
A number of our students establish independent design agencies, social innovation labs and research centres. Many decide to continue their research in the form of a PhD, and have a particularly strong record of achieving fully funded studentships, both here at Brighton and internationally.
On this MA, you’ll gain an advanced general grounding in philosophy, forming a good basis for further research.
This course includes innovative modules in both the analytic and continental traditions of philosophy, reflecting the wide range of interests within the Department of Philosophy. In assessments, you may concentrate on just one of these traditions, or both.
Choose to study this course full time or part time, to fit around your work and family life. Modules for the full-time course are listed below.
For details about the part-time course, contact Philosophy Postgraduate Convener Dr Gordon Finlayson at [email protected]
Taught modules are assessed by term papers of 5,000 words. At the end of the year, you also submit a dissertation of up to 15,000 words.
Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.
Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work
Our graduates have gone on to careers in:
90% of students from the School of History, Art History and Philosophy were in work or further study six months after graduating. Our Philosophy students have gone on to jobs including:
(EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015 for postgraduates)