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Masters Degrees in Philosophy, Belgium

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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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What is the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) all about?.  The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme is situated in the curriculum of the Institute of Philosophy after the BA and MA. Read more

What is the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) all about?

 The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme is situated in the curriculum of the Institute of Philosophy after the BA and MA. The MPhil programme is primarily research-oriented and functions as a first step towards the doctoral programme. The MPhil allows each student to concentrate on a particular field of study, supplemented by courses, seminars, and the oral defence of a research-based MPhil Thesis.

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

Structure

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is a one-year advanced Master’s programme of 60 ECTS Credits. Applicants for the MPhil programme should have already obtained an MA degree in philosophy with good results or have an equivalent academic background.

The structure of the MPhil programme focuses firmly on the development of high-level independent research. Each student's study programme is tailored to this goal. Hence, there is a strong concentration on a number of fundamental research seminars and on the MPhil Thesis, during which specialised skills are developed. The research seminars are grouped into 5 "Majors", in line with the Institute of Philosophy's five research centres, which organise these seminars:

  • Centre for Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy;
  • Centre for Logic and Analytic Philosophy;
  • Centre for Metaphysics , Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Culture;
  • De Wulf-Mansion Centre for Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy;
  • Husserl-Archives: Centre for Phenomenology and Continental Philosophy.

Upon registration the student chooses the Major which reflects the student's specialisation. The Major, comprising 2/3 of the student's programme, includes both course work and the MPhil Thesis. The MPhil Thesis should demonstrate the student's ability to conduct original research and eventually pursue doctoral studies.

Students are encouraged to present their 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. The Institute of Philosophy has hosted the conference with much success for five years now. For any help with the writing process or preparing a presentation, students can turn to the HIW Writing Lab.

International

The Institute of Philosophy is international in every sense of the word: not only due to its English-language programmes but also thanks to cultural diversity of its teaching staff and student body. We have members of our teaching staff coming from the USA, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Ireland and others. Furthermore, with a large number of visiting scholars and students of some 55 nationalities, the Institute of Philosophy is a vibrant and cosmopolitan intellectual community that celebrates the subject of philosophy in its many forms.

Faculty

The Institute of Philosophy offers a comprehensive range of BA, MA, MPhil and PhD degrees. Viewed collectively, our undergraduate and post-graduate degrees aim to familiarise students with the historical traditions of philosophy as well as with contemporary movements in English-speaking and continental philosophy so that they are able to tackle 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 Institute also 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.All its international programmes are taught in English.

Furthermore, with 5 research centres, some 30 full-time staff and nearly 130 adjunct faculty members, post-docs and doctoral students, the Institute of Philosophy is among the largest research groups in philosophy on the continent. The Institute's library is one of the finest philosophical libraries in the world. It 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 and an online catalogue. The Institute offers a most attractive opportunity for studying philosophy in Europe. Let this one-year programme open doors for your further research at other universities, or introduce you to our pre-doctoral programme, the advanced MPhil programme.

Career perspectives

Students of philosophy deepen their skills of analysis and synthesis and are thus uniquely prepared to take on a variety of different careers. Most of our graduates aspire to an academic career and go on to obtain PhDs in Philosophy, eventually working as professors or researchers.

Other graduates in philosophy 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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What is the meaning of existence? This is just one of the philosophical questions you’ll explore at Leuven's renowned Institute of Philosophy. Read more

What is the meaning of existence? This is just one of the philosophical questions you’ll explore at Leuven's renowned Institute of Philosophy. Its Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA) programme crosses the boundaries of all philosophical disciplines, traditions, and approaches to help you form your own well-rounded view. The programme aims to develop students' knowledge of philosophy by exposing them to more advanced study of the central issues of the subject and by equipping them with the requisite research skills needed to proceed to a higher degree.

What is the 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 aim of the MA programme is to deepen students’ knowledge of philosophy by exposing them to more advanced study of the central issues of the subject and by equipping them with the requisite research skills needed to proceed to a higher degree. The programme is comprehensive and at the same time allows students to begin to develop their own specialisation. 

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

Structure

The Master of Arts in Philosophy is a one-year programme of 60 ECTS Credits. With regard to its structure, the MA provides a broad range of both historical and systematic Core Courses which, together with elective courses, guarantee the comprehensiveness of the programme. Yet, the programme structure allows students to deepen their knowledge in a particular philosophical domain or period, thus laying the basis for their future specialisation.

The Master’s Thesis is a key part of the programme, where students demonstrate their research, writing and argumentative skills, as well as thorough insight in the chosen research question and the correct use of primary and secondary sources. Students are encouraged to present their 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. The Institute of Philosophy has hosted the conference with much success for more than seven years now. For help with the writing process or preparing a presentation, students can turn to the HIW Writing Lab.

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 to philosophical 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 is among 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 2017 the Institute of Philosophy was ranked 30th in the world among philosophy programmes (QS World University Rankings).

Career perspectives

Graduates in philosophy go on to careers in many different sectors, including business, civil service, politics, education, publishing, media, the socio-cultural sector, journalism, academia ...

Many employers seek candidates who are not only well grounded in a specific field, but are 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 full time English-taught research master is jointly organised by the Department of Philosophy of the University of Antwerp (UAntwerpen), the Department of Philosophy and Moral Science of Ghent University (UGent) and the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences of the Free University of Brusssels (VUB). Read more
This full time English-taught research master is jointly organised by the Department of Philosophy of the University of Antwerp (UAntwerpen), the Department of Philosophy and Moral Science of Ghent University (UGent) and the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences of the Free University of Brusssels (VUB). The programme offers a high-level training for excellent students who seek to develop a research career in philosophy.

Graduates of this programme are capable of developing a philosophical research project and draw up a funding application that can be filed with local, national or international funding institutions. They are able, within their areas of specialisation, to formulate original and innovative research problems based on a duly founded insight into the internationally recognised state-of-the-art in that domain. Graduates of this programme are able to work out original solutions to the selected research problems, and argue their cases clearly and convincingly. They are trained in academic writing, which enables them to act as lead authors of academic articles.

The research seminars that constitute the core of the programme cover a wide range of philosophical domains. Some relate to socially relevant topics (i.e. more applied philosophy) while others relate to more fundamental, purely philosophical domains.

Course structure

In principle students follow a 120 credits programme:
• the compulsory course Developing and Writing Research Proposals in Philosophy (6 credits; taught in English);
• five research seminars (10 credits each) from the above list;
• a master’s dissertation (24 credits) which is written in English; and
• 40 credits advanced optional courses.

The structure of the programme is such that, while students with sufficient command of Dutch have a wider choice of advanced optional courses, the degree can be obtained by following only courses that are taught in English. As indicated above, the language of instruction of the core activities (the compulsory course, the research seminars and the dissertation) is English.

Students with a standard (i.e. not research oriented) master’s degree in philosophy or moral sciences can obtain the research master’s degree through a 60 credit programme:
• the compulsory course Developing and Writing Research Proposals in Philosophy (6 credits; taught in English);
• three research seminars (10 credits each) and
• a master’s dissertation (24 credits) which is written in English.

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