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  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date

    September, January

  • Course Duration

    Full Time - 1 year Part Time - 2 years

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees


  • Last Updated

    21 January 2019

Course content

This is a combined taught and research degree in Philosophy, which will teach you how to successfully undertake research on philosophical topics of your interest. Apart from providing Master-level training in philosophy, the course also guides you practically to develop your research skills and abilities. The course can be taken as an excellent foundation for doctoral (PhD) work, but also as part of personal or professional development. Modules are team-taught by various staff on the programme, which will expose you to different views on the nature of philosophical inquiry and will give you access to expertise in all main areas of philosophy.


The M.Res. (Master of Research) degree is a combined taught and research degree, in which you take an advanced taught module in ‘Metaphilosophy’ (the study of the nature of philosophical inquiry) which is jointly taught by various staff on the programme. You will write a dissertation (about 20,000 words) and also undergo research training, which is assessed by portfolio. The focus on metaphilosophy is unique to Keele, and makes for a fascinating course of study, since the various staff who will teach you have very different views about the nature of philosophical inquiry. This degree is ideal for students who want the freedom to write a dissertation on a topic of their choice, while also receiving the guidance expected from a taught masters. 

Topics currently or recently researched at Keele at M.Res., M.Phil. or Ph.D. level include:

  • Collingwood’s Philosophy of History
  • Davidson, Rorty, and the Problem of Mental Causation
  • Panpsychism in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophical progress: its possibility and nature
  • Kant's transendential idealism and laws of nature

We are always ready to supervise dissertations relating to our main research strengths, which are: Kantian philosophy (all aspects); metaphilosophy; philosophy of mind and action; Collingwood; Rorty. We will also consider proposals within the areas of history of philosophy; political philosophy; environmental philosophy; metaphysics; moral philosophy, in particular normative ethics and metaethics; and many other areas of philosophy. 


You will take three compulsory core modules that are designed to equip you with additional skills in research. These include Metaphilosophy, Philosophy of the Social Sciences and an Individual Research Orientation in Philosophy. In order to graduate with an MRes degree, you must undertake a dissertation on a topic in Philosophy. Topics for the assessed work for all the modules, including 'Dissertation', will be chosen by the student under the guidance of the dissertation supervisor and module convenors. 


The programme is primarily assessed through written work, mainly essays on particular topics and the dissertation. The written work enables assessment of your understanding of the module content; and also enables assessment of your analytical abilities, and of your evaluation of particular debates, arguments or ideas. 

The first essay for the ‘Philosophy of the Social Sciences’ Module will be an opportunity to discuss a methodological school or an issue related to a particular methodology in social sciences and humanities more generally. Assessment for the modules, conducted in the first semester ('Metaphilosophy' and the first part of 'The Philosophy of the Social Sciences'), will be an opportunity to address generic study skills issues such as referencing, quoting, selecting relevant material, answering the question set, and any issues of written English that may arise.

You will be further supported in the preparation for your dissertation by the second part of the module ‘Philosophy of the Social Sciences’ and by the module ‘Individual Research Orientation in Philosophy’. In the second part of the ‘Philosophy of the Social Sciences’ Module, you will apply your knowledge to the specific topic of their dissertation and will reflect on the methodological issues raised by it. The ‘Individual Research Orientation’ Module will enable you to carry out guided research on a background issue for their dissertation. 

Core Taught Modules

You will study the following 3 core modules;

Metaphilosophy: This module aims to introduce key debates in metaphilosophy, to encourage critical reflection on the nature of philosophical enquiry, its method, subject matter and relation to natural science. Topics discussed include: the nature of philosophical argument, the possibility of progress in philosophy, the relation between theoretical and practical philosophy, Kant’s conception of philosophy, Nietzsche’s conception of philosophy, Wittgenstein’s conception of philosophy, Rorty’s conception of philosophy.

Philosophy of the Social Sciences: The module aims to provide an introduction to the philosophy of the social sciences research and knowledge through a discussion of a range of key perspectives, including Durkheim’s naturalism, Popper’s falsification theory, and Weber’s interpretivism. The module will also cover phenomenology, structuralism and post-structuralism.

Individual Research Orientation in Philosophy: This is a research training module designed to guide students in the development of the background research necessary for their dissertation. Students will regularly meet their prospective supervisor to discuss an appropriate topic of research, the most relevant background reading, a theme for the writing assignment which forms part of the assessment, and a plan for the assignment. Students will submit a portfolio and an essay.

In order to graduate with an MRes degree, students must undertake a dissertation on a topic in Philosophy. This is part of the ‘Dissertation’ Module. 



The University is committed to rewarding excellence and potential. Each year we offer a range of prestigious scholarships;

UK/EU students - more information on scholarships and funding

International students - more information on scholarships and funding 


This degree is an excellent foundation for doctoral (PhD) work, so some of our graduates will continue with a PhD at Keele or another university. The degree provides excellent preparation as part of personal and professional development, so graduates can pursue a variety of career paths, including teaching, IT, finance, property development, health or banking. Philosophy teaches transferrable skills directly and employers have realised the value of hiring Philosophy graduates, who can use their critical and analytic skills, rationality and reasonableness, comprehension, originality, and oral communication and debating skills.

Visit the Philosophy MRes page on the Keele University website for more details!




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