Philosophy tackles some of the deepest and most complex questions about humanity and its place in the world. This programme will allow you to study the key debates, trends and approaches in different areas of philosophy while improving your skills in research and critical analysis.
Core modules will give you an overview of different topics in analytic philosophy, from philosophy of mind, religion, language and science to epistemology, ethics, aesthetics and metaphysics. You’ll also choose from a variety of modules specialising in the areas and topics that interest you the most.
You’ll be supported by active researchers in a stimulating environment based around our six research centres, with access to excellent library resources covering a broad span of subjects. It’s an excellent opportunity to gain diverse skills for a wide range of careers, as well as further study.
This programme is also available to study part-time over 24 months.
Throughout the course you’ll take two core modules introducing you to different topics, approaches and methods in areas of analytic philosophy. You’ll explore current and historical debates in subfields including metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, ethics, metaethics, aesthetics, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of science— all while improving your skills in research and critical thinking.
From this foundation, you’ll build specialist knowledge in areas that particularly interest you with your choice of optional modules. You can take an upper-level undergraduate module (with boosted assessment requirements) to fill gaps in your background knowledge, sign up for an independent study, or choose from several MA modules the School has to offer.
You’ll continue to specialise when you complete your dissertation – an independent research project on a topic of your choice that allows you to showcase the skills and knowledge you’ve gained. You can choose to swap one of your optional modules to extend your dissertation if you want to go into even more depth.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
You’ll study three compulsory modules including your dissertation, as well as a single optional module. If you choose the standard dissertation (60 credits) rather than the extended dissertation (90 credits), you can take a further optional module.
Most of our modules are taught through a combination of lectures and seminars, where you can discuss the issues arising from your reading with fellow students and your tutor. You’ll also have one-to-one supervisions while you work on your dissertation. Independent study is also an important element of the programme, allowing you to develop your skills and pursue your own interests more closely.
We use different forms of assessment, including essays, seminar participation and your dissertation.
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The Department of Political and Cultural Studies (PCS) boasts a dynamic research environment with a committed staff all of whom are research-active in the field of Philosophy. Academic members of staff within Philosophy have a very considerable range of research interests on which we offer supervision for research degrees.
An MA by Research in Philosophy gives you the chance to pursue a major research project based around your own passions and interests in Philosophy, leading to a qualification which can open the door to an academic career or boost employment prospects outside academia. It will give you the freedom to explore a topic of your choosing in Philosophy and develop a methodology under the close supervision of two experienced academics in Philosophy but without attending regular classes as required in taught programmes.
Typically, as a student of the Philosophy research programme you will work closely with your supervisors, meeting them regularly, in many instances fortnightly, in the first term and at regular intervals thereafter. Meetings are logged and goals agreed each time.
Students enrolled in the MA by Research in Philosophy are required to attend skills and training courses at College and University level. As a Philosophy research student you may also be expected to give presentations to other research students and staff at departmental seminars and attend the postgraduate conference of the College of Arts and Humanities which is held in October.
The MA by Research in Philosophy is ideal for those who want:
- an MA qualification in areas where taught programmes are not offered;
- the experience of a research degree without committing to a PhD at the outset.
Research proposals are invited on any topic in Philosophy for which staff in PCS can provide supervision. It is a good idea to enter into discussions about your research project in Philosophy with the Department's Director of Postgraduate Research, Professor Roland Axtmann ([email protected]), before drawing up an initial proposal and starting the application process for the MA by Research in Philosophy.
At any one time, the department has over forty research students who work together with their supervisors on their projects. In the field of history of political thought, political philosophy and political theory, there is research expertise in:
European political thought;
Political and moral philosophy
Just war theory and international ethics
Philosophy of religion