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Masters Degrees (Political Philosophy)

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Master's specialisation in Social and Political Philosophy (Research). Social and political philosophy is part of a practical philosophy that aims to research fundamental questions regarding human society. Read more

Master's specialisation in Social and Political Philosophy (Research)

Social and political philosophy is part of a practical philosophy that aims to research fundamental questions regarding human society: What is a political order? How are new institutions formed? What are the differences between a community and a society? What is the ideal society like? What is justice? What is the relation between morality and politics?

In Nijmegen we focus on interpreting and critiquing classical texts that are part of the European political philosophy - from Plato to Habermas. Additionally, we engage in actual discussions on the crisis and conceptualisation of democracy. Also important are studies concerning spacial and metaphorical imaginations (city, garden, desert) in core political philosophical texts. Regarding these different fields, our research in Nijmegen takes a descriptive as well as a normative perspective.

Information for students of the Research Master

In Social and Political Philosophy you study ‘the political' as an essential but conflict-ridden aspect of the human condition, and politics as a way of coping with this. Spinoza, Hobbes, Kant, Schmitt, Arendt, Zizek and Foucault are central figures in this specialisation.

The point of departure for the research conducted within the department of Social and Political Philosophy is the idea that ‘the political' is a ubiquitous dimension of all social phenomena and relations: everything is political, but nothing is only political. There is no such thing as ‘pure politics', but at the same time everything societal is ‘political' in the sense of entailing an ineradicable aspect of contestability and of decision. The very existence of a politically ordered society, liberal democracies or a secular polities, rests upon a contestable decision. (Recent developments in both world and domestic politics demonstrate a tendency to ‘forgetfulness' with respect to such decisions). As a result, we conceive of social and political philosophy not only as a matter of reflection about existing politics or political systems, but also as an investigation of the nature of the social (designated by notions such as ‘society', ‘community', ‘civil society') and the political as such, and an awareness that the political is also present in philosophy itself. Today's world is marked by a clash not of civilisations (Huntington), but of conceptualisations - and philosophy necessarily plays a significant role in the latter.

Both our research and teaching revolve around this focal insight. In 2005/6, our research seminar analysed the ‘dividing line' between church/religion and state/politics and between public and private. In 2006/7, the topic was the "Neutralisation of the Political" in the many forms this neutralisation took in modern times, notably in the writing by Carl Schmitt, Max Weber, Chantal Mouffe and in the recently published debate between Robert Audi and Jonathan Wolterstorff.

The scholarly competence of this group lies in classical, medieval, early modern and modern social and political philosophy, with a particular emphasis on 19th and 20th century Anglo-Saxon and continental thought (notably including Russia/USSR). Key authors for us are, in alphabetical order, Arendt, Aristotle, Augustine, Bulgakov, Colas, Foucault, Frank, Gauchet, Hegel, Hobbes, Lefort, Leibniz, Luhmann, Machiavelli, Mamardashvili, Marx, Mouffe, Plato, Rawls, Schmitt, Solov'ëv, Soviet Marxism, Spinoza, Leo Strauss, Taylor, Walzer, Weber, and Zizek.

The work of the research group is directly linked to that of the research group on political theology Res Mixtae, to the Centre for Russian Humanities Studies, and to the Institute of Eastern Christian Studies.

See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/philosophy/social

Career prospects

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, namely the 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.

Job positions

This programme has been designed for people with the ambition to do research. Graduates tend to fall into three groups. 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.

Our approach to this field

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 poke delve into all aspects of science and society. In order to do this, they must possess two essential skills, namely the 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.

See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/philosophy/social



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Based in the Department of Politics & International Relations, Royal Holloway’s MA in Political Philosophy is well placed for training in key issues and thinkers in contemporary political thought, from both Anglo-American and Continental perspectives. Read more

Based in the Department of Politics & International Relations, Royal Holloway’s MA in Political Philosophy is well placed for training in key issues and thinkers in contemporary political thought, from both Anglo-American and Continental perspectives. Our political philosophers have research and teaching interests in applied analytical political theory (with issues including immigration, citizenship and the politics of recognition), post-Nietzschean theories of identity and post-identity politics, democratic theory and pragmatist philosophy.

At Royal Holloway we have a unique approach to the subject that looks beyond the narrow confines of the Anglo-American analytic or European tradition of philosophy to connect philosophy to other disciplines across the arts, humanities and social sciences. The result has been the creation of a truly interdisciplinary and collaborative programme that brings together academic staff from departments across the university – including scholars of drama and theatre, literature and political philosophy. Not only dedicated teachers of the subject, our philosophy staff are also experts and published authorities in their field.

This distinctive approach means that whichever area of philosophy you choose to study at postgraduate level, you will be able to place it in a wider context, with the support of experts across the disciplines. Our departmental specialisms include a wide range of philosophical topics such as ancient and Hellenistic philosophy, 19th and 20th-century European philosophy and contemporary analytic philosophy and American pragmatism.

We host a variety of additional activities throughout the , including a visiting speaker series organized with our active student-run Philosophy Society, a number of workshops and conferences, and a reading group that meets weekly in central London.

Course Structure

Core modules

  • Advanced Topics in Philosophy
  • Political Concepts
  • Contemporary Continental Political Theory
  • Philosophy Dissertation

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

  • The European Philosophical Trajectory - From Kant to the Present Twentieth Century French Thought
  • Philosophy of Psychology
  • Cultivation of the Self
  • Identity, Power and Radical Theory
  • Human Rights - From Theory to Practice

Teaching & assessment

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework and a dissertation.

Your future career

Philosophy degrees are well-regarded by employers because they give you the capacity to think through issues and problems in a logical and consistent way and to develop critical and transferable skills which can be applied in almost any area of employment.

So, by choosing to study this intellectually demanding discipline you will develop a broad range of highly prized transferable skills, both practical and theoretical, such as:

  •  the ability to communicate views and present arguments clearly and coherently
  • the ability to critically digest, analyse and summarise complex ideas
  • time management and the discipline to meet deadlines
  • organisation and research skills
  • problem-solving skills and capability

An MA in Philosophy is ideal for preparing graduates not only for doctoral research in philosophy or related fields in the humanities and social sciences, but also for a wide range of careers in education, the arts, politics and public policy. With up to 90% of our most recent graduates now working or in further study, according to the Complete University Guide 2015, it’s true to say our graduates are highly employable. In recent years, PhD graduates have taken up academic positions at Oxford, Bristol and Roehampton Universities. Outside of academia, our graduates have embarked on teaching careers in the UK and overseas, undertaken archaeological and museum work and pursued careers in journalism, finance, politics and the arts.



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Overview. Are you looking for a highly challenging two-year Research Master's programme in Philosophy? Come to Radboud University!. Read more

Overview

Are you looking for a highly challenging two-year Research Master's programme in Philosophy? Come to Radboud University!

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 the 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.

See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/philosophy

What makes this programme special?

- A combination of internationally acclaimed research and excellent teaching

- An offering 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, History of Philosophy, and Philosophy of Religion.

- 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.

Specialisations of the Master's in Philosophy

The Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies at Radboud University offers the entire range of philosophical disciplines. However, students enrolling in the Research Master's programme are expected to choose one of the following specialisations:

- Metaphysics and Epistemology

In Metaphysics and Epistemology you focus on the development of the hermeneutic tradition – key figures being Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, Gadamer, Ricoeur and Derrida.

- Philosophical Anthropology

In Philosophical Anthropology you study the philosophical significance of psychoanalytical hermeneutics as developed by Freud and followers (Lacan, Klein, et. al.). Research focuses in particular on the phenomenological tradition (Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Deleuze and Butler).

- Philosophical Ethics

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.

- Social and Political Philosophy

In Social and Political Philosophy you study ‘the political’ as an essential but conflict-ridden aspect of the human condition, and politics as a way of coping with this. Spinoza, Hobbes, Kant, Schmitt, Arendt, Zizek and Foucault are central figures in this specialisation.

- Philosophy of Language and Logic

Philosophy of Language and Logic involves the study of linguistic expressions such as words, sentences, texts and dialogues, where the emphasis is on the context in which these expressions are being interpreted.

- Philosophy of Mind

In Philosophy of Mind and Science you study problems such as mental causation, phenomenal consciousness and the nature of mental state attribution from the viewpoint of neurophenomenenology and the embodied embedded cognition paradigm.

- History of Philosophy

In History of Philosophy you explore the development of natural philosophy and metaphysics from the late Middle Ages to early modern and modern times, investigating, in particular the evolution of the sciences of psychology and physics from philosophy.

- Philosophy of Religion

In Philosophy of Religion you focus on the philosophical reflection on religion in Western thought and contemporary society, and also exploring the relation between philosophy and religion in Western and other cultural contexts.

Career prospects

Philosophy has a unique role within contemporary society. Unlike other academic disciplines, its subject matter is not limited to one set of questions, nor to one domain of investigation. Philosophers delve into all aspects of science and society. In order to do this, they must possess essential skills, including the 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.

Job positions

This programme has been designed for people with the ambition to do research. Graduates tend to fall into one of three groups:

1. 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.

2. A second group goes on to teach philosophy at secondary schools.

3. And a third group enter research-related professions outside of education.

Our graduates are also represented in journalism, science policy, and politics.

The reputation of Radboud University – and of the Philosophy Faculty in particular – will serve you well whichever career path you choose.

NVAO: quality Research Master Philosophy above average

At the end of April the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders NVAO has renewed the accreditation of the Research Master Philosophy. The NVAO evaluates the Research Master Philosophy as 'good'. The verdict shows that the NVAO finds the Master's programme systematically above average quality.

Faculty scholarships for excellent international students

The Faculty offers scholarships for excellent students from abroad wishing to start the Research Master’s programme in Philosophy every year. Each scholarship amounts to €10,000 for the first year of the Research Master’s programme, and in case of good study results can be renewed for the second, final year.

See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/philosophy



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This Masters is especially designed for students who don't already have a Philosophy degree. Read more

This Masters is especially designed for students who don't already have a Philosophy degree. It will provide you with an in-depth knowledge of analytic philosophy, including such core areas as metaphysics, ethics, social and political philosophy, the history of philosophy, philosophy of the mind and philosophy of mathematics and language. The MLitt is also exceptional in providing a fast-track route into a PhD in Philosophy.

Why this programme

  • If you have a degree (or equivalent) in any other field, whether science, social science, arts or humanities, but an interest in philosophy, then the Philosophy MLitt will allow you to develop your philosophical interests in a variety of different courses as well as undertake a dissertation on a topic of your choice.
  • If you want to do a PhD in Philosophy but don't already have a Philosophy degree, then the MLitt will allow you to apply straightaway for the PhD.
  • We offer courses to bring you up to speed in a wide variety of philosophical topics, including ethics and politics, the history of philosophy including Russell, Wittgenstein and the Scottish Enlightenment, philosophy of mind - including consciousness, perception, the emotions, pain and pleasure - philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology – including virtue epistemology - and philosophy of mathematics.
  • You will work closely with an expert member of staff on a master’s dissertation on a topic of your choice.
  • MLitt students are encouraged to attend and participate in research seminars, workshops, conferences and reading groups hosted by the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience and the Forum for Quine and the History of Analytic Philosophy as well as by externally funded events in (among other areas) epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and political philosophy. Students will also present their work at the weekly postgraduate seminar where they will receive feedback from postgraduate students and staff. We also host an annual reading party in the Highlands at which students present papers and are coached on their writing and presentation skills.
  • Philosophy at Glasgow University has an illustrious history of original thinkers going against the grain of orthodoxy. Its past professors include such giants of empiricism as Adam Smith and Thomas Reid.

Programme structure

The Philosophy MLitt has three components:

1. Introduction to Analytic Philosophy (40 credits)

2. A choice of four of the following courses (20 credits each):

  • Aesthetics: philosophical questions about art and beauty 
  • Origins of analytic philosophy including Russell and Wittgenstein
  • Philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment including Hume and Reid
  • Philosophy of mind: consciousness, emotions, pain and pleasure
  • Moral philosophy: philosophical questions about value and well being
  • Political philosophy: philosophical questions about justice and the state
  • Epistemology: the nature and scope of human knowledge
  • Metaphysics including existence, natural laws and the nature of time
  • Philosophy of language including meaning, translation and truth
  • Philosophy of mathematics: the nature and existence of numbers and sets

3. A dissertation on a topic of your choice guided by individual support from an expert supervisor (60 credits).

Career prospects

Philosophy students at Glasgow receive rigorous and personalised training in problem solving skills, writing skills, presentation and research skills. 

All these skills are widely applicable and recognised to be exceptionally valuable in a wide range of careers, including journalism, teaching, the Civil Service, local government, business, publishing, law, and the arts. 

You will also be well equipped to carry onto a further degree in philosophy such as the PhD.



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The Arts MRes allows you to undertake a one year full-time or two year part-time research project in one or more of the School of the Arts’ key subject areas. Read more
The Arts MRes allows you to undertake a one year full-time or two year part-time research project in one or more of the School of the Arts’ key subject areas: Architecture, Communications and Media, English, Music and Philosophy. You will receive training in research skills and supervision from one or more academic specialists in their subject area(s).

The programme provides excellent preparation for you if you’re intending to undertake a PhD in the Arts and Humanities, but is also a good choice if you wish to pursue a research project for purposes of professional development or personal interest. You will become part of a community of active researchers and will be encouraged to pursue your own research interests in collaboration with an academic supervisor.

Key Facts

Internationally renowned
The department has a strong international reputation for its work in Philosophy of Language, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind, History of Philosophy, Environmental Philosophy, Indian Philosophy, Moral and Political Philosophy, Continental Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Art.

Research Excellence Framework 2014
63% of our research outputs were rated world-leading or internationally excellent, and 37% were rated as internationally recognised.

Why Philosophy?

We offer a distinctive combination of unusual philosophical diversity in a close-knit atmosphere with excellent staff-student relations.

Our staff publish and lecture in a wide range of philosophical areas, including: Logic and Philosophy of Language; Metaphysics; Ancient Philosophy; Philosophy of Mind; Moral and Political Philosophy; Aesthetics; Buddhism and Indian Philosophy; Environmental Philosophy; Continental Philosophy; History of Philosophy and Literary Theory. We supervise research projects in all of these areas within our friendly, down to earth and vibrant postgraduate research community.

Experience the full breadth of our academics' expertise

Our staff publish and lecture in a wide range of philosophical areas, including: Logic and Philosophy of Language; Metaphysics; Ancient Philosophy; Philosophy of Mind; Moral and Political Philosophy; Aesthetics; Buddhism and Indian Philosophy; Environmental Philosophy; Continental Philosophy; History of Philosophy and Literary Theory. We supervise research projects in all of these areas within our friendly, down to earth and vibrant postgraduate research community.

Career prospects

Our programmes aim to equip students with the general and widely applicable analytical, argumentative and problem solving skills and abilities valued by employers. Some of our postgraduate students have gone on to a career in academic Philosophy, but a variety of careers are open to those obtaining postgraduate Philosophy degrees, including business, management, the law, the media, the arts, computing, the Civil Service and teaching.

The MRes Arts may enhance the career prospects of those working or wishing to work in fields associated with the study of Arts subjects or other areas of academic work and study, including teachers, librarians, and professional writers. While managerial positions often require the ability to conduct research or project-work and to demonstrate sustained and complex organisational skills in ways encompassed by this programme, its emphasis on oral and written communication skills as well as on IT-based presentation skills will be useful for many types of employment. Some students may want to take this course for its own sake and for the sake of personal development and the revitalization of subject awareness. Equally, the MRes is designed to prepare students too for further research at MPhil or PhD level, and to enable them to enter postgraduate study, thus offering a first step towards a career in academic teaching and research.

The advanced study of one or more Arts subject on this programme equips students with powers of fine discrimination and judgement that will set them apart in workplaces of many kinds. The skills it fosters are those which enable graduates to deal logically with the complex demands of a whole range of careers. These skills include:

- the ability to process large amounts of information
- the ability to organise disparate material into a coherent argument
- the capacity to compare many different views and come to a decision about the merits of each
- the independence to define a complex project and bring it to completion with minimal input.
- imaginative and creative responsiveness to problems
- powers of expression (both written and oral) which allow for the lucid delineation of nuanced ideas.

Such skills are essential for those considering careers in, for example, journalism, publishing, management, and the law. Graduates have gone on to work in a wide variety of professions. Our alumni include lecturers, communication specialists, broadcasters, writers, teachers, librarians, public relations managers and publishers.

MRes Arts students will have access to the University's Careers and Employability Service and to careers events at both School and University level. Supervisors and other academic staff will be able to provide guidance and support to students intending to progress to doctoral study and academic careers.

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At the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, we conduct research and offer MPhil supervision in all major fields of politics, including. Read more
At the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, we conduct research and offer MPhil supervision in all major fields of politics, including: international and global politics, governance and political organisations, and political theory.

We can offer you excellent supervision for your Politics MPhil, in a vibrant and supportive research environment.

We have a Politics Postgraduate Society, which organises:
-The 'New Voices' seminar series, with both internal and external presenters
-Round table discussions on topical issues
-Professional development workshops led by politics staff

You are encouraged to attend conferences to present papers, partial funding for this is available from the School.

Our main research themes are:

The politics of difference

We examine the issues thrown up by the social and political differences of humanity from a variety of perspectives including: analytical and continental political philosophy; comparative politics and international politics; post-colonialism. Our work includes research on:
-Multiculturalism and issues of identity
-Inequality and social justice
-Disability
-Competing discourses of national identity
-Ethnic-nationalism
-Political violence
-Socio-political exclusion and discrimination
-Global norms and cultural difference
-Free speech - toleration and recognition

Popular culture and political communication

Our research addresses various key issues including:
-Representation
-Aesthetics
-Identity
-Cultural political economy
-Memory
-Control

We also assess the processes and depiction of political struggles, such as:
-Armed conflict
-Everyday life
-Political organising and identity formation
-Elections

Political participation and elections

We examine the differing forms of political participation that link society to the political systems of the world. We look at both the formal electoral process and non-electoral politics (social movements, protest groups etc). Our research on the emergence of virtual political participation means that some of our work intersects with popular culture and political communication. We investigate:
-Citizen involvement and (dis)engagement
-Social capital
-Non-participation
-The role of civil society

Political ideologies and political thought

We focus on the history of political thought as well as how these ideas are embedded in programmes for political action. Our research incorporates both historical and contemporary political thought prominent in the Western tradition as well as Asian philosophy and post-colonial thinking. This is an interdisciplinary theme, serving as a bridge between empirical political science and political theory.

Global economic and environmental challenges

We study the importance of political ideas such as sustainable development and globalisation, as well as the struggle to define the core problems that society faces. These challenges pose questions to the nature and reform of global governance, and generate tensions between the state and transnationalising forces in global politics and political economy. Our work has already led to findings on:
-The implications for global justice
-The policy challenge for governments and non-governmental actors
-The empowerment of various actors

Democracy, the modern state and political organisations

Our work examines the role of interest groups, social movements, political parties, third-sector actors and charities, community organisations and postcolonial nationalism in relation to the modern state. We draw from ancient and modern political thought to understand the interpretation of democracy (including democratic rights and the foundations of democracy). Our research interrogates the forms democracy takes, including:
-Elite theories of democracy
-Deliberative democracy
-Cosmopolitan democracy
-Democracy in divided societies

Political economy of development

Our research focuses on the interaction of economic forces and principles with political power in the development of societal economics and welfare, as well as on theories of development and post-development. We cover a range of geographic areas in Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia. We explore questions such as:
-The impact of the ongoing financial and economic crisis
-The role of communities and individuals in the face of global political economic forces
-The impact of the emerging economies (for example Brazil and China) on the global political economy

Critical geopolitics and security

Our research focuses on thinking critically about the political dynamics, consequences and discourses of historical and contemporary geopolitics. We cover both historical and contemporary questions of security, including:
-The territorialisation/de-territorialisation of identity and political agency
-Political cartography
-The role of fear and identity in shaping geopolitics
-Sovereignty and nationalism - the role and impact of the military
-Notions of terrorism and the war on terror
-The geographies of international boundaries
-The war on the trade in illegal substances
-The city and security
-The threat of biological weapons and infectious disease
-The vertical dimension in geopolitical and security studies
-Visual culture and world politics
-Technologies and architectures of security and insecurity
-The human body and security

Theory of international relations

We take an active role in the global debate on the units, actors and structures that shape the dynamics of international politics. Our research covers the political consequences of the constitution of the international as a distinct kind of relation. We examine political concepts including:
-The world system
-International diplomacy
-Networks
-Notions of empire
-Regional integration
-Non-governmental actors
-The (nation) state

Governance in Britain and wider Europe

Our research investigates the dynamics driving public policy-making at national, EU and international levels. We focus on the challenges multi-level governance offers for concerns about legitimacy and accountability. This includes the changing relationship between the governing and the governed over matters of politics and policy. Our geographic scope includes the United Kingdom, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia, and the Mediterranean

Global justice and human rights

Our work in political philosophy reflects the increasing need to tackle issues at a global rather than a state-only level. We cover issues such as:
-The formulation and justification of human rights
-The competing claims of relativism, particularism, and cultural diversity
-The extension of ideas of distributive justice from states to humanity as a whole
-Proposals to secure global democracy
-The application of just war theory to modern conflicts and to humanitarian intervention
-Environmental justice, especially climate change

We tackle questions of justice from an issue perspective as well as surveys of nationalism, statism, and various non-cosmopolitan theories of global justice.

Political research and methods

We conduct qualitative and quantitative research reflecting both empirical and critical political methodologies. We use quantitative methods, including rational choice theory and experiments, to make sense of topics as diverse as party systems and transitional justice. Our aim is to push innovation in research methods in ethnography, hermeneutics and discourse analysis. We use concepts that challenge traditional notions of politics to investigate methods for research into new challenges, including:
-The rise of life sciences
-The focus on the relationship between the human body and security
-Emergent forms of subjectivity and politics

Research skills development

The University's Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate School provides a full range of research training in the social sciences, which meets the requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This training includes:
-Bibliographical techniques
-Philosophy of social science
-Quantitative and qualitative methods

The Graduate School also hosts postgraduate events, including open days, and supports personal development.

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Philosophical issues are deeply relevant in many areas of public life and often arise in public discussion. They include issues about ethics, economics and the law, as well as politics. Read more
Philosophical issues are deeply relevant in many areas of public life and often arise in public discussion. They include issues about ethics, economics and the law, as well as politics.

This course covers topics in ethics, political philosophy and social choice, and provides an understanding of economics and research training in philosophy. It allows students to study a range of options at the intersection of philosophy and public affairs.

Course content

You will take the core 20 credit interdisciplinary module 'The PPE of Social Choice', which covers topics such as decision making, rights and justice relating to social choice (broadly interpreted) at an advanced level. This module is jointly taught by members of staff from all three of York's internationally excellent PPE departments.

The 10 credit 'PEP Graduate Skills Workshop' will prepare you for undertaking research, covering areas such as writing research proposals and specific interdisciplinary skills.

You will take two of five 20 credit Philosophy/Political Philosophy modules: 'Topics in Theoretical Philosophy' or 'Analytical Political Philosophy', and 'Topics in Practical Philosophy' or 'The Challenges of Pluralism: Contemporary and Comparative Perspectives' or 'Topics in the History of Political Thought'.

You will also take one of two 10 credit Economics modules: either 'Applied Microeconomics I', which covers central topics in microeconomics including consumer theory, decision theory, welfare and market equlibrium and efficiency; or 'Economic Analysis for PPE', which provides a non-technical introduction to Economics.

You will take a further 40 credits of taught modules of your choice, from a wide range of options offered by the Economics, Philosophy and Politics departments.

You will also write a 12,000 word dissertation, which is worth 60 credits.

Teaching

Teaching is delivered in two main ways: seminars and lectures. The main focus of your coursework will be your seminar group, normally containing 10-16 students. In seminars you will produce and discuss your own work, under the guidance of a module tutor. Seminars are normally accompanied by lectures, attended by all of the students taking the module.

The School prides itself on the friendliness of its staff and on the support that it provides for its students. Lecturers, seminar tutors and your supervisor will all help you to get the most out of the programme and, in particular, to understand the importance of interdisciplinary study.

Most modules will use the University's virtual learning environment 'Yorkshare', which may be used to access module resources or for more interactive work.

The modular system is based on a notional 40-hour week for each student. The amount of 'contact' time (lectures and seminars) varies depending on the modules you choose. The remaining time will be spent reading, preparing for seminars and essays, analysing ideas and data, making interdisciplinary connections and, of course, thinking.

Assessment

There are three assessment periods during the academic year: week 1 of the Spring term, week 1 of the Summer term and weeks 5-8 of the Summer term. Assessments occur throughout your year of study, usually in the term immediately after the module has been taken. The majority of assessments are either unseen examination papers or essays, which varies depending on which department is running the module. Most Economics modules for example are assessed by exams, but most Philosophy and Politics modules by essays.

You will spend the summer and summer vacation terms working on your dissertation, which will be handed at the end of the summer vacation (mid September).

Reasonable adjustments in assessments will be made for students with disabilities, for example extra time in exams or use of a computer. The School works with the Disability Services team to ensure all students have the support they require.

Careers

The interdisciplinary nature of the School of PEP postgraduate courses means you develop a wide range of transferable skills. Employers value these degrees precisely because they make you think across boundaries and engage critically with a range of different material.

The MA in PPE: Philosophy and Public Affairs equips you for a range of careers in research and public life.

The careers branch of the Club of PEP, YorkWorks, aims to provide a platform for students to meet with experts and industry insiders to learn about the world of work and find out more about a career path that interests them, for example by organising careers conferences with graduate employers.

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Our Philosophy MSc offers you the opportunity to work closely with our staff in courses based upon their own expertise and current research. Read more

Our Philosophy MSc offers you the opportunity to work closely with our staff in courses based upon their own expertise and current research. It will introduce you to the cutting edge of recent developments in analytic philosophy, from the practical and applied, to the most theoretical end of the subject. 

Why this programme

  • The extraordinary amount of staff time and personalised attention that students on our Philosophy MSc programme receive makes this degree exceptional. Its courses are designed to reflect the developments at the forefront of the discipline, drawing upon the extensive and internationally recognised expertise of our staff in metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, ethics and political philosophy. 
  • Our courses are closely connected with research activity of both individual members of staff and the collaborative undertakings of the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience, the Forum for Philosophy and Religion, and the Forum for Quine and the History of Analytic Philosophy.
  • MSc students are encouraged to attend and participate in research seminars, workshops, conferences and reading groups hosted by these bodies. They will also present their work at the weekly postgraduate seminar where they will receive feedback from postgraduate students and staff. We host an annual reading party in the Highlands at which students also present papers and are coached on their writing and presentation skills.
  • Philosophy at Glasgow University has an illustrious history of original thinkers going against the grain of orthodoxy. Its past professors include such giants of empiricism as Adam Smith and Thomas Reid.

Programme structure

The degree consists of a choice of a choice of four semester-length courses across a range of philosophical topics, all driven by the cutting edge research of our professors and lecturers. There is also a 10-15000 word dissertation to be completed on a topic of your choice, supported by an expert supervisor over the summer.

We always offer the following courses: 

  • Metaphysics A (semester 1) and B (semester 2)
  • Philosophy of Language  A (semester 1) and B (semester 2)
  • Political Philosophy  A (semester 1) and B (semester 2)
  • Ethics A (semester 1) and B (semester 2)
  • Philosophy of Mind A (semester 1) and B (semester 2)

Students may either choose two topics and complete both semester-length courses in that topic (e.g. Metaphysics A and B and Philosophy of Language A and B) or choose semester-length courses in several topics (e.g. Ethics A and B, Philosophy of Mind A and Political Philosophy B). 

New courses are planned for 2016-17 (subject to approval) in the following topics: 

History of Analytic Philosophy including Wittgenstein and Quine A (semester 1) and B (semester 2).

Career prospects

Philosophy students at Glasgow receive rigorous and personalised training in problem solving skills, writing skills, presentation and research skills.

All these skills are widely applicable and recognised to be exceptionally valuable in a wide range of careers, including journalism, teaching, the Civil Service, local government, business, publishing, law, and the arts.

This degree also provides an exceptional foundation for philosophical research at the doctoral level.



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Master's specialisation in Political Theory. Focusing on the interface of theories of the good society, globalisation, legitimacy and power. Read more

Master's specialisation in Political Theory

Focusing on the interface of theories of the good society, globalisation, legitimacy and power.

Political theory is the soul of political science: it’s not about determining what the facts are but about determining what they mean and what should be done with them. It’s about the genuine and the deceptive arguments used to interfere in other people’s lives and business. We need political theory anywhere where power is used both covertly and openly, where policies are made and where choices are questioned and criticised.

As a political theorist, you will ask what would be sensible instead of what people call sensible. Just a handful of questions you will be asking and seeking the answers to: Is there a moral foundation for national sovereignty or self-determination? How far should tolerance go? What can and should be our ambitions for local community building? When does a political theory become a weapon or a form of power? Can authority ever be legitimate? Do we owe anything to future generations, animals, the global poor or minority groups?

This Master’s specialisation offers students an unprecedented opportunity to learn to assess political values, aspirations and dreams in terms of their desirability and reasonability. You will also discover how political theoretical work can be introduced fruitfully in other relevant contexts. This will enable you to help civil initiatives and governmental institutions, not to mention the public at large by imagining and designing policies and ambitions that are both viable and defensible.

See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/pt

Why study Political Theory at Radboud University

- Our programme is consistently ranked the best Political Science/PT programme in the Netherlands

- The programme has a unique focus on justification and recognition, globalisation and their relationship with power

- Teaching takes place in a stimulating, collegial setting with small groups

- You are encouraged to critically reflect on the staff’s ongoing research in the Nijmegen Political Philosophical Workshop

- We are the conscience of real-world politics and policies and prepare you to interpret and contribute to real-world politics

Career prospects

Graduates of political theory are academics, not politicians. We believe that to be a good policy advisor, manager or administrator, you need to have good research skills. Research is what is going to make your advice be both valid and practical: both sides of the coin of policies are equally important to the political theorists.

Job positions

Our graduates find employment in a variety of settings, including in consulting, national and international diplomacy and EU institutions. They can work as policy advisors, managers and leaders in local, regional and national government, as well as in business, media, NGOs, think-tanks and civic organisations. Quite a few go on to pursue a PhD degree.

Our approach to this field

Don’t rules, laws, commands and regulations always imply a violation of human autonomy? Are they not insults to humanity? Is there a way to escape from power?

Political theory is the key to good and valid politics. It is practice-oriented and should not be confused with political philosophy. Political theory is more than a reflection on eternal truths and the essence of concepts; it makes the difference between knowing and understanding. Compared to classical political philosophy it is more concrete, more interdisciplinary in nature, and sensitive both to the workings of power and the limits of feasibility.

Political Theory at Radboud University focuses on four aspects:

1. Critical understanding of theories of the good society

Of course, just like most Political Theory programmes we take a critical look at the theories of the good society. Who is – but also who should be – included in the theories: families or individuals, distinct people or everyone, animals and environment or humans only, future or only present generations?

2. Globalisation

We focus on globalisation in the broadest sense: the globalisation of people, money, technology and values so that we address global, ecological, intergenerational justice, multiculturalism and agonism. We definitely do not limit ourselves to the dominant redistributive justice discourse.

3. Justification and legitimisation

We start off by justifying and discrediting particular policies by the standards of theories of the good society. But we go further. What values, rules, tests and mechanisms are there to help design and assess political choices? Which are appropriate and when? Are they biased? We will discuss deliberative democracy, Habermas’s domination-free discourse, Rawls’s reflective equilibrium, the agora of agonists like Mouffe and, of course, foundationalism.

4. Power

Power is the mother of all political concepts; it is a concept that is too easily taken for granted or ignored by political scientists, political philosophers and politicians. We recognise that power, ultimately the threat of violence, will always be part of politics and that there will always be a gap between what you think you can justify and what others will embrace. At Radboud University we train students to try and chart where power hides in justification practices, both in political theory and political practise.

The combination of these aspects is what makes the Political Theory Master’s specialisation at Radboud University unique.

See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/pt



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About the course. This course is taught jointly by the Departments of Philosophy and Politics. It’s designed to help you develop advanced knowledge and understanding of political philosophy. Read more

About the course

This course is taught jointly by the Departments of Philosophy and Politics. It’s designed to help you develop advanced knowledge and understanding of political philosophy.

The MA teaches you the research skills you need for a PhD in political theory or a related subject.

Where your masters can take you

A masters from Sheffield will set you apart and is excellent preparation for a PhD at any leading university or for a wide range of careers, including teaching, law, publishing, civil service, charities, and NGOs, among others. Our postgraduate students have gone on to academic posts at Aberdeen, UC Berkeley, Birkbeck, Cambridge, Essex, Keele, Kent, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Manitoba, Newcastle, Nottingham, the Open University, Oxford, Sheffield, Stirling and Zurich.

Our style of teaching encourages originality and independence of mind. You will learn how to express complex ideas clearly, and how to argue persuasively for those ideas. You’ll also learn to understand other points of view. Our graduates have the confidence and the focus to tackle big projects, and they know how to carry out their own research.

We also offer more specific training. For example, many of the modules on the MA Political Theory are relevant to careers in politics, public service and NGOs.

A lively study environment

You’ll be part of a large group of students from all over the world. You’ll socialise together, share ideas and inspire each other.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) ranks us 2nd in the UK for the quality of our published work. We have expertise in almost every area of the subject, particularly philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, philosophical logic, philosophy of psychology, history of philosophy, political philosophy, metaethics and feminist philosophy. The department is also home to The Hang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies and a number of major research projects.

Studentships

If you qualify, you may be able to get financial support through the University’s studentships and fee waivers, and the AHRC Block Grant Partnership.

http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/philosophy/prospectivepostgraduates/funding

Core modules

  • Political Philosophy Research Seminar
  • Dissertation

Other modules include

Research seminars in:

  • History of Philosophy
  • Morals and Other Values
  • Mind and Language
  • Metaphysics and Epistemology
  • Cognitive Studies

Modules including:

  • Human Rights
  • Politics and Global Migration
  • The Politics of International Law

Teaching and assessment

You’ll learn through lectures, seminars and tutorials. You’ll write a long essay for each module and a dissertation.

If you’re going on to a PhD you may choose to write a PhD proposal.



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One of the few Masters-level programmes in the country to specialise in the 'European' tradition in philosophy, this MA course draws on our department's core research and teaching strengths in 19th and 20th-century French and German thought, and Continental political philosophy. Read more

One of the few Masters-level programmes in the country to specialise in the 'European' tradition in philosophy, this MA course draws on our department's core research and teaching strengths in 19th and 20th-century French and German thought, and Continental political philosophy. Focusing on the interpretation and analysis of key texts, MA students will study the development of European philosophy paying particular attention to the influence of Kant and to the debates that structured the development of post-Kantian philosophy in both Germany and France. The flexible nature of the course allows students to concentrate on European philosophy or to engage with a broader range of options which include Human Rights, Continental Aesthetics and Anglo-American Political Theory.

At Royal Holloway we have a unique approach to the subject that looks beyond the narrow confines of the Anglo-American analytic or European tradition of philosophy to connect philosophy to other disciplines across the arts, humanities and social sciences. The result has been the creation of a truly interdisciplinary and collaborative programme that brings together academic staff from departments across the university – including scholars of drama and theatre, literature and political philosophy. Not only dedicated teachers of the subject, our philosophy staff are also experts and published authorities in their field.

This distinctive approach means that whichever area of philosophy you choose to study at postgraduate level, you will be able to place it in a wider context, with the support of experts across the disciplines.Our departmental specialisms include a wide range of philosophical topics such as ancient and Hellenistic philosophy, 19th and 20th-century European philosophy, contemporary analytic philosophy and American pragmatism.

We host a variety of additional activities throughout the year, including a visiting speaker series organized with our active student-run Philosophy Society, a number of workshops and conferences, and a reading group that meets weekly in central London.

Course structure

Core modules

  • Advanced Topics in Philosophy
  • Philosophy Dissertation

You must take two from the following:

  • The European Philosophical Trajectory - From Kant to the Present
  • Twentieth Century French Thought
  • Contemporary Continental Political Theory

Optional modules

  • Philosophy of Psychology
  • Cultivation of the Self
  • Political Concepts
  • Identity, Power and Radical Theory
  • Human Rights - From Theory to Practice

Teaching & assessment

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework and a dissertation.

Your future career

Philosophy degrees are well-regarded by employers because they give you the capacity to think through issues and problems in a logical and consistent way and to develop critical and transferable skills which can be applied in almost any area of employment.

So, by choosing to study this intellectually demanding discipline you will develop a broad range of highly prized transferable skills, both practical and theoretical, such as:

  • the ability to communicate views and present arguments clearly and coherently
  • the ability to critically digest, analyse and summarise complex ideas
  • time management and the discipline to meet deadlines
  • organisation and research skills
  • problem-solving skills and capability

An MA in Philosophy is ideal for preparing graduates not only for doctoral research in philosophy or related fields in the humanities and social sciences, but also for a wide range of careers in education, the arts, politics and public policy. With up to 90% of our most recent graduates now working or in further study, according to the Complete University Guide 2015, it’s true to say our graduates are highly employable. In recent years, PhD graduates have taken up academic positions at Oxford, Bristol and Roehampton Universities. Outside of academia, our graduates have embarked on teaching careers in the UK and overseas, undertaken archaeological and museum work and pursued careers in journalism, finance, politics and the arts.



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This MA provides students with key analytical skills to study the ethical dimensions of public policy. The programme, drawing on three areas of excellence at UCL, is a unique mix of politics, law and philosophy, centred on the normative evaluation of public policy at both the domestic and international levels. Read more

This MA provides students with key analytical skills to study the ethical dimensions of public policy. The programme, drawing on three areas of excellence at UCL, is a unique mix of politics, law and philosophy, centred on the normative evaluation of public policy at both the domestic and international levels.

About this degree

The programme explores the moral quality of the decisions citizens and professionals take, and the justice of the legal and political structures within which they operate. Students develop the ability to analyse important modern political theories, and justify their position on issues concerning the relationship between politics, law and society.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules

  • Meanings of Liberty: Applied Methods in Political Theory (30)
  • Seminars in Political Theory, Colloquium in Legal Philosophy and Peer Assisted Learning Sessions (30)

Optional modules

Students choose modules worth a total of 45 credits from the list below (the others remain available as options).

They also choose one further 15-credit module from a list available at: the programme website

  • Contemporary Political Philosophy I: Authority, Obligation & Democracy (15)
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy II: Social Justice and Equality (15)
  • Equality, Justice and Difference (15)
  • Global Ethics (15)
  • Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition I and II (30)
  • Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition I (15)
  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory I & II (30)
  • Jurispudence and Legal Theory I (15)
  • The Ethics of Poverty (15)
  • Public Ethics (15)
  • Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights (15)
  • The Ethics of Counterterrorism (15)

Dissertation/report

All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning

Teaching for all modules takes the form of seminars where time is dedicated both to introducing knowledge and materials, and allowing students to test their understanding, knowledge and evaluative skills, through discussion, criticism and debate. Assessment is primarily through long essays, coursework and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Legal and Political Theory MA

Careers

This MA provides an excellent foundation for further research in political theory, or a wide variety of careers in this field.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Leadership Fellow, Princeton University
  • Research Assistant, Labour
  • MPhil in International Relations and Politics, University of Cambridge
  • Journalist, BBC
  • Policy Adviser, HM Treasury

Employability

Students of the Legal and Political Theory MA acquire advanced analytical transferable skills and exposure to cutting-edge legal and philosophical work - problem-solving, logical skills - combined with deep understanding of challenges of the contemporary world. As a result our students have an excellent record of employability in leading professions - law, consultancy, politics, journalism and academic careers.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Political Science is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field and offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of legal and political theory.

Weekly interactive seminars offer students an unrivalled opportunity to meet and engage with some of the leading figures in the field.

The Legal and Political Theory MA benefits from the interdisciplinary research culture of the Department of Political Science, as well as from the participation of UCL Philosophy and UCL Laws.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Political Science

89% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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Philosophy at Essex takes philosophy back to its roots in everyday existential, social and political issues. Read more
Philosophy at Essex takes philosophy back to its roots in everyday existential, social and political issues. Our radical approach cuts across traditional boundaries, fostering dialogue between different schools and disciplines, and we are one of the few universities in the world that bridges the divide between the two great traditions of Analytic and Continental philosophy.

Our MA Philosophy will provide you with a rigorous grounding in modern and contemporary European philosophy. We have leading expertise in critical theory, phenomenology, German Idealism, nineteenth Century German philosophy, aesthetics, existentialism, contemporary French philosophy, philosophy and psychoanalysis, and medical humanities.

You study modules of your choice, develop your research, writing, and employability skills through an intensive Writing Workshop, and prepare an MA dissertation in your chosen area of research.

Our department is widely regarded as among the very best in the UK, having been recognised as one of the top 10 UK universities for research excellence (REF 2014), and being placed in the top 10 in The Guardian University Guide in 2010, 2011, and 2013.

As an alternative to our more flexible MA Philosophy, you can focus your study on a more specific area by following one of the following pathways:

MA Philosophy (Continental Philosophy Pathway)
All of our academic staff work on Continental Philosophy, including classical German philosophy (Kant and German Idealism), Frankfurt School Critical Theory (Adorno, Habermas, Honneth), nineteenth-century philosophy (Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche), and phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty). On this pathway you choose from a range of specified topics in these areas, in addition to some outside options and a dissertation on a topic in Continental Philosophy.

MA Philosophy (Critical Social Theory Pathway)
We are the leading centre for Critical Social Theory in the UK with five members of academic staff working on the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Habermas, Honneth), contemporary French thought (Derrida, Foucault, Rancière) and issues in Critical Social Theory, such as activist political theory, theory of recognition, aesthetics and politics, deliberative democracy, and the moral limits of markets. On this pathway you study modules on the Frankfurt School and Contemporary Critical Theory, in addition to some outside options and a dissertation on a topic in Critical Social Theory.

MA Philosophy (Philosophy and Art History Pathway)
Drawing on the collaborative and interdisciplinary approach of the School, our new Philosophy and Art History pathway enables students to get a thorough grounding in philosophical aesthetics. You explore issues in aesthetics and their bearing on other areas of philosophy (such as critical theory or existentialism) and Art History (such as aesthetic practices and curating), and profit from the wide-ranging expertise of our staff in both disciplines. On this pathway you study modules on Philosophy/Aesthetics and Art History (dealing, for example, with Art & Politics, Art, Architecture and Urbanism, or Art, Science & Knowledge), in addition to some outside options and a dissertation on a topic in Philosophy and Art History.

Our expert staff

Our courses are taught by world-class academics, and over three quarters of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014), which puts us fifth in the UK for research outputs.

Our open-minded and enthusiastic staff have an exceptionally broad range of research interests, so whatever questions in philosophy catch hold of your imagination, there is certain to be someone you can approach to find out more.

Recent projects and publications include:
-Béatrice Han-Pile and Dan Watts’ major new research project, The Ethics of Powerlessness: the Theological Virtues Today
-The Essex Autonomy Project, a major interdisciplinary project funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council), which aims to investigate the role of autonomous judgment in many aspects of human life
-Peter Dews’ The Idea of Evil, Polity, 2007
-Béatrice Han-Pile, Foucault’s Critical Project: Between the Transcendental and the Historical, Stanford University Press, 2002
-Fiona Hughes, Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement: A Reader’s Guide, Edinburgh University Press, 2007.
-Wayne Martin, Theories of Judgement: Psychology, Logic, Phenomenology, Cambridge University Press, 2006
-Irene McMullin’s Time and the Shared World: Heidegger on Social Relations, Northwestern University Press, 2013
-Fabian Freyenhagen’s Adorno’s Practical Philosophy: Living Less Wrongly, Cambridge University Press, 2013

Specialist facilities

-Graduate students have access to desk space in the School and many students work there on a daily basis
-A dedicated German-language course for graduate students in philosophy
-Attend our Critical Theory Colloquium
-Attend the Werkstatt, where recent work on phenomenology is presented
-An exciting programme of research seminars, reading groups and mini-courses that help you expand your philosophical knowledge beyond what you learn on your course
-Access a variety of philosophy textbooks and journals in the Albert Sloman Library and in our departmental library

Your future

Many of our philosophy graduates embark on doctoral study after finishing their MA. We offer supervision for PhDs in a range of fields including:
-Continental philosophy
-Critical Social Theory
-History of philosophy
-Applied ethics

Our graduates have also gone into careers in law, the media, local administration, HM Revenue and Customs, and top jobs in the Civil Service.

We work with our university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example structure

-Dissertation: Continental Philosophy (optional)
-Dissertation: Critical Social Theory (optional)
-Dissertation: MA Philosophy (optional)
-Dissertation: Philosophy & Art History (optional)
-Phenomenology and Existentialism (optional)
-Kant's Revolution in Philosophy (optional)
-Hegel (optional)
-Contemporary Critical Theory (optional)
-Topics in Continental Philosophy (optional)
-MA Writing Workshop (optional)
-The Frankfurt School (optional)
-Philosophy and Aesthetics (optional)
-Collecting Art From Latin America (optional)
-Art & Politics (optional)
-Current Research in Art History (optional)
-Art, Architecture and Urbanism (optional)
-Contemporary Theories of Justice (optional)
-Environmental Politics (optional)
-Political Economy (optional)
-Political Theory (optional)
-Research Seminar in Political Theory and Methods (optional)
-Theory and Explanation in Political Science (optional)
-Ideology and Political Discourse (optional)
-The New Nature Writing (optional)
-Foundations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (optional)
-The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law (optional)
-Human Rights and Development (optional)
-International Trade, Investment and Human Rights. (optional)
-Human Rights for Women (optional)
-Transitional Justice (optional)
-Psycho Analytic Theory (optional)
-Psychoanalytic Methodology (optional)

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What is the Research Master of Philosophy all about?. The Institute of Philosophy offers a comprehensive range of BA, MA, Research Master and PhD degrees, all taught in English. Read more

What is the Research Master of Philosophy all about?

The Institute of Philosophy offers a comprehensive range of BA, MA, Research Master and PhD degrees, all taught in English. Viewed collectively, our undergraduate and post-graduate degrees aim to familiarise students with the history of philosophy as well as with contemporary movements in analytic and continental philosophy so that they are able to engage with the fundamental areas of philosophical research. The Institute of Philosophy is proud to offer its students a broad philosophical education and a wide range of courses and seminars, as well as personalised study support and guidance.

The Research Master programme is primarily research-oriented and functions as a first step towards the doctoral programme. It focuses firmly on the development of high-level independent research. Your study programme is tailored to this goal. It allows you to concentrate on a particular field of study, supplemented by courses, seminars, and the oral defense of a research-based thesis.

The Research Master of Philosophy is a programme of 120 credits (2 years of full-time study). Students with an MA degree in philosophy are eligible for the Abridged Research Master of Philosophy programme of 60 credits. They in fact enter directly the second stage of the regular 2-year Research Master of Philosphy.

This is a programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.

Structure

The research master programme offers a diversity of research topics and areas, in line with the research centres of the Institute of Philosophy; this diversity allows a student to focus on practically any key area/domain/period/figure in philosophy, while still promoting the comprehensiveness of the philosophical education students receive at the Institute.

Upon registration you select one out of the following eight majors:

  • Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
  • Metaphysics and Modern Philosophy
  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Culture
  • Phenomenology
  • Continental Philosophy
  • Political Philosophy
  • Ethics
  • Analytic Philosophy

The Major reflects your area of specialization and it includes both course work (specialised research seminars and courses) and individual research (Research Paper in the 1st stage of the 2-year programme, Research Master’s Thesis in the 2nd stage of the programme).

The Research Master’s Thesis has the format of a research article and should demonstrate your ability to conduct original research and eventually pursue doctoral studies. You are encouraged to present your thesis research to the international audience of fellow students, permanent teaching staff and young researchers associated with the institute at the yearly Graduate Student Conference. For any help with the writing process or preparing a presentation, you can turn to the HIW Writing Lab

The Common Seminar equips you with skills and knowledge necessary for an academic career: formulating a good research proposal (for doctoral studies or financial aid); composing a CV or a grant application; academic publishing; giving a clear, well delivered presentation an international conference…

Students can use the Open Research Seminar as a platform for supervised reading groups of their own devising. Students can also join existing reading groups in the doctoral programme through this course and in this way become closely involved with research done in their research centre or the Institute of Philosophy more generally.

International

Philosophy has been taught at KU Leuven since its founding in 1425. Throughout the centuries, the university has remained an important and influential centre of philosophical thought, with a strong commitment to the international dimension of education. In more recent times, the Institute of Philosophy, established in 1889, has continued this august tradition and is now an internationally recognised centre of philosophical research and education.

The Institute of Philosophy is international in every sense of the word.

  • It offers a complete programme of philosophical studies in English, in addition to a complete programme in Dutch.
  • It has its roots in the eminent tradition of European continental philosophy. In recent years, however, it has embraced other philosophical traditions ranging from Anglo-American thought to non-Western philosophy. The Institute is truly committed tophilosophical pluralism.
  • Members of its teaching staff come from, among others, the USA, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and South-Africa.
  • It attracts visiting scholars and students from all over the world. Some 70 different nationalities are represented.
  • It has Erasmus+ exchange agreements with more than 40 European universities, including universities in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Madrid, Siena and Istanbul. Master students who did the BA Philosophy at KU Leuven have the opportunity to study at a foreign partner university for one semester, in either the first or the second semester. 
  • With 5 research centres, some 40 full-time staff and more than 150 adjunct faculty members, post-docs and doctoral students, it isamong the largest research groups in philosophy on the continent.
  • It hosts several international conferences every year with widely varying themes and involving a mix of well-established and up-and-coming philosophers from near and far.
  • It has one of the finest philosophical libraries in the world. The library contains more than 90,000 volumes and maintains subscriptions to more than 300 journals. It is user-friendly, with open stacks, a liberal lending policy, extensive electronic resources and an online catalogue.
  • In 2016 the Institute of Philosophy was ranked 26th in the world among philosophy programmes (QS World University Rankings).

Career perspectives

Most of our graduates aspire to an academic career and go on to obtain PhDs in Philosophy, either at the Institute of Philosophy or at universities abroad, even at such prestigious universities as Oxford, Yale, Princeton and New York University (NYU). After completing their PhD they eventually work as professors or researchers, and our placement records are very good.

Other graduates go on to careers in many different sectors, including: business, civil service, politics, education, publishing, media, the socio-cultural sector, journalism, academia and elsewhere. Many employers seek candidates who are not only well grounded in a specific field, but also able to handle the diverse challenges arising in a fast-paced workplace. Graduates in philosophy are well positioned to think clearly and respond effectively in the workplace.



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This programme provides you with the opportunity to study Philosophy at an advanced level, with world leading researchers and teachers. Read more

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:

  • Theoretical Philosophy (including: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Language or Logic)
  • Value Theory (modules covering topics in Ethics, Aesthetics, or Political Philosophy)
  • History of Philosophy


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