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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Theology students today are faced with the momentous task of contributing to modern culture. This requires a thorough and interdisciplinary academic training. With this in mind, the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies insists on developing well-rounded and highly trained scholars with critical minds. The two-year Research Master equips students to function as experts in Church and society and prepares them for further research specifically oriented towards the Doctoral Programme in Theology.
The Research Master: Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion offers you a broad perspective on what theology and religious studies are all about. After graduation, you will have obtained a broad yet profound theoretical foundation in the great European traditions of thought and you will be able to move with ease as a dialogue partner in diverse theological fields.
The (full-time or part-time) programme is offered by the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies which ever since its founding in 1432 has built a rich history and tradition. Guided by our world-renowned faculty members, whose individual areas of expertise span the breadth and depth of theology, you will learn to give shape to your own independence, and transform it into a project with the potential to lead into doctoral studies. And rest assured: research at Leuven is second to none. Just ask Jansenius, Erasmus, or Louis Janssens – names from Leuven’s rich and ongoing history that spring to life in the Faculty’s peerless library, containing countless priceless volumes and ancient manuscripts. At Leuven, your research is sharpened by the newest digital tools, and bolstered by subscriptions to a rich variety of international journals, ranging from the mainstream to the cutting edge of today’s theology. The Faculty also confers on qualified students the degrees of Sacrae Theologiae Baccalaureus (S.T.B.) and Licentiatus (S.T.L.) in combination with the Research Master.
This is an Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
The 120-credits programme comprises the following:
The research master’s programme attracts students from all over the world, which adds a valuable intercultural element to your experience. The Faculty currently has students from more than sixty countries and thus from virtually every part of the globe. We also encourage students to participate in exchange programmes that allow them to spend a semester abroad. The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies has 68 agreements in 23 different countries within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. All of the Faculty’s programmes are taught in both Dutch and English.
The programme is offered by the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, which from its founding in 1432 has built a rich history and tradition. The Faculty focuses on training students and researchers in scientifically-based, and methodological reflection and application, where theology and religious studies mutually enrich one another. All of the Faculty’s programmes are taught in both Dutch and English and are open to students of every nationality. The Faculty currently has students from more than sixty countries and thus from virtually every part of the globe.
Final attainment levels with respect to the Programme of Research Master: Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion as a whole:
The graduate has acquired
1. a general familiarity with theology and religious studies;
2. specialization in a particular discipline with a view to the provision of a constructive contribution to the study of theology;
3. thorough acquaintance with the sources, problems and methods characteristic of one's own major and area of specialization;
4. the ability to apply both the knowledge acquired as well as the methods relevant to one's particular discipline in a manner which contributes to the reflection of the faithful within the Church;
5. insight into the relationship between the study of theological and social-religious issues and the actual social context which is characterized by religious and ethical plurality and a multiplicity of fundamental life options;
6. the ability to conduct independent theological research, as well as to pass on the acquired attitudes, methods and knowledge;
7. an openness to interdisciplinary inquiries and the ability to contribute and engage in interdisciplinary research from within one's own area of specialization;
8. the ability to set up a theological or religious studies project: the formulation of a relevant research issue and the development of a method of argumentation pertaining to the formulated problematic;
9. the ability to complete a project-oriented research thesis;
10. the ability to comprehensively present one's research results;
11. the ability to write a theological or religious studies article in an academically appropriate manner.
The research master’s programme prepares you for admission to the Doctoral Programme in Theology, but also for a variety of careers in sectors including secondary and higher education, business, publishing, academia, the media, the socio-cultural sector, and the various domains of pastoral care.