This uniquely flexible programme offers postgraduate teaching in central aspects of Western philosophy in the broadly analytic tradition. The curriculum is research-led, with specialist modules taught by leading figures in their fields, and with a consistent focus on the fostering of intellectual curiosity and the development of independent thinking. The programme allows you to follow your own philosophical interests and provides a sound platform for those wishing to proceed to more advanced research work in philosophy.
The MA is open to those with a first degree in philosophy wishing to progress to more advanced levels of study and also to those without undergraduate training in philosophy. If you did not study philosophy as an undergraduate, you take a special route through the programme.
Why study this course at Birkbeck?
Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings. Our uniquely flexible MA may be studied in the evening or in the day, over 1 or 2 years, and with or without prior philosophical study. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Philosophy at Birkbeck was ranked 15th in the UK, with a research environment judged conducive to producing internationally excellent research. In the Philosophical Gourmet Report 2014-2015, Philosophy at Birkbeck was ranked among the strongest in the UK, and was highly ranked in philosophy of action, philosophy of art, seventeenth-century philosophy and feminist philosophy. We offer a wide range of modules taught by our internationally recognised research staff. As a philosophy student, you will be part of the thriving philosophical community in the University of London and eligible to attend the extensive range of seminars and conferences put on by the Institute of Philosophy. Library resources include the department's specialist library, which supplements the main Birkbeck Library and University of London libraries. You will also have access to computer workstations with email and internet facilities.
Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.
Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Philosophy at Birkbeck was ranked 15th in the UK, with a research environment judged conducive to producing internationally excellent research.
'Whilst doing my undergraduate degree in journalism in New York, I realised that I wanted to do a PhD in Philosophy. I wanted to understand the world better, and I thought philosophy could help me to do that. Upon doing some further research I was advised that I needed to a Master’s degree in philosophy in order to have a chance of being accepted onto a doctoral programme and that Birkbeck was one of the best places to go.
'The lecturers were great - they always made themselves available to us after lectures to answer questions and discuss issues with us. They never made us feel as though we were inconveniencing them. My dissertation looks at ethics and moral relativisms, and I’m lucky enough to have the head of department as my supervisor, which is incredibly challenging as well as lucky. I would like to go on to do a PhD in Philosophy so my dissertation is very important. It’s fun working with the lecturers as they’re very open to being challenged.
'Living and studying in London has provided me with a network of really diverse, intellectually challenging fellow postgraduates. It’s an environment I have never experienced before and I love it.
'I work with kids a lot and I’m really excited about being able to teach them something about philosophy and ethics. I very much see my future career as teaching at the collegiate level, so I’m in the best possible position to gain the tools I need for that future. I hope one day to be in a doctoral programme and in a position to email my Birkbeck lecturers to tell them I’m presenting at a conference they will be attending.'
School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, Postgraduate Taught (PGT) Bursary
Applications are invited for one 'Postgraduate Taught' Bursary worth £6,000, to be awarded to a candidate with an outstanding academic record who shows high potential for strong performance on one of the School's 'Postgraduate Taught' programmes.This competition is open to new Home/EU and International students who are applying for either a full-time or part-time MA/MSc place in the departments listed below; the competition is also open to students who are applying to the Department of Philosophy and the degree of M.Phil. Stud. Philosophy.This £6,000 award is in the form of a bursary (i.e., there is no 'fee waiver' but the bursary may be used towards payment of fees). If awarded to a part-time student, the bursary will be paid for two years of PGT study.Please note that in order to apply for funding you must also complete an application for a place at Birkbeck on an MA/MSc programme within the School of SSHP or the MPhil. Stud. in the Department of Philosophy, either before or at the same time as applying for funding.Prospective studentsCandidates will be expected to fulfil similar academic criteria to those demanded by external funding bodies. They will normally possess at least an upper second class honours degree or equivalent.
Value of Scholarship(s)
This competition is open to new Home/EU and International students who are applying for either a full-time or part-time MA/MSc place in the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy; the competition is also open to students who are applying to the Department of Philosophy and the degree of M.Phil. Stud. Philosophy.This competition is open to new students only.
Before you apply, you should contact the relevant department for advice.
Once you have identified a relevant programme, you will need to:
Apply online for the relevant MA/MSc or MPhil. Stud. (Dept. of Philosophy) degree in the normal way
Download the SSHP Postgraduate Taught Bursary Application Form Word icon
The SSHP Studentship application form should be returned to Jane Halstead, Assistant School Manager, via the following email address:
Postgraduate Support Scheme for final-year undergraduates (full-time)
We are pleased to announce that, for October 2015 entry, Birkbeck has a limited number of new £10,000 postgraduate scholarships. These scholarships are for students progressing from a full-time undergraduate degree to a part-time Master’s degree starting in 2015/16.
Value of Scholarship(s)
To be eligible for the scholarship you must be:Starting a 2-year part-time taught Master’s degree in 2015/16 Domiciled in the UK/EU Progressing from an undergraduate course for which you were charged the higher tuition fee (applicable since 2012–13) Studying at postgraduate Master’s level for the first time
If you want to apply for this support, you must follow these steps:
Submit an application for your intended course Submit an application for the Postgraduate Support Scheme
Good upper second-class degree, not necessarily in philosophy.Sample of written work prior to interview. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
Recipient: Birkbeck, University of London
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