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Course Description

What is the meaning of existence? Explore your own perplexity 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 detailed 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 course offering in our MA is comprehensive, yet the programme structure lets the student deepen her/his knowledge in a particular philosophical domain or period and lay the basis for her/his future specialisation. The key part of the programme where the student can demonstrate her/his research, writing and argumentative skills, as well as thorough insight in the chosen research question and the correct use of primary and secondary sources is the Master Thesis. 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 http://hiw.kuleuven.be/eng/events/graduatestudentconference 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 http://hiw.kuleuven.be/eng/programmes/writinglab HIW Writing Lab.

Long a leading centre of philosophical thought, embodied by the five research centres, the Institute offers you unparalleled opportunities to further your own research. And with its impressive library, expert faculty, and central location in Belgium, 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.

This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.


This programme aims at deepening philosophical insight already obtained and broadening this knowledge. Thus, upon completion of the programme the student should be able to proceed to further advanced work in philosophy.

At the end of the Master of Arts in Philosophy programme, the student should:

1. Specialised philosophical knowledge in context
a) Have a profound knowledge of and insight into at least one systematic or historical philosophical domain and have an appreciation of the way this domain fits together with other philosophical domains
b) Have a thorough knowledge of issues in several other systematic and historical philosophical domains as chosen by her/himself
c) Be able to relate the acquired specialised philosophical knowledge to the cultural, societal and academic context
d) Have knowledge of and insight into current philosophical debates and research and be able to follow and actively incorporate them into the student's own reflections and research

2. Philosophical traditions, methods and approaches
a) Have an insight into the characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of various philosophical traditions, methods and approaches
b) Be able to apply this insight to a variety of philosophical issues

3. Interdisciplinarity
a) Have an insight into the relevance of approaches from other academic disciplines for investigating philosophical problems

4. Philosophy and society
a) Be able to reflect philosophically on societal and cultural phenomena and scientific developments
b) Be able in a professional context to provide insight into philosophy's importance in society

5. Philosophical terminology
a) Be able to correctly employ specialised philosophical concepts and terminology

6. Philosophical skills
a) Be able to formulate independently a well-defined research question and in a more extensive piece of written work situate its relevance within a broader philosophical context
b) Be able to carry out research related to that question, including judiciously selecting and critically employing specialised literature at a level corresponding to a beginning researcher
c) Be able to read a broad range of primary texts (in so far as possible in their original languages) and critically evaluate them; further, be able to employ these texts independently and accurately in a written work and in discussion
d) Be able to formulate philosophical questions relevant to current societal and philosophical debates
e) Be able on the basis of these questions to form and support a personal view and to engage in discussion concerning it

7. Critical sense
a) Be able to make a judgment in a nuanced and critical fashion, taking into account relevant values and societal impact

8. Communication skills
a) Be able to communicate the results of the student's own research and reflections to both student peers and a broader public
b) Be able to present these results in both a written and oral form and in a clear and nuanced way

Career paths

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 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.

Entry Requirements

Direct admission:Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (KU Leuven). Admission decisions based upon evaluation of a complete application file: Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy or the equivalent (BA in a related discipline). More: www.kuleuven.be/admissions

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