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MA Philosophy

Course Description

The University of Essex is one of the UK's leading academic institutions, ranked ninth nationally for research excellence following the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, December 2008).

Our School of Philosophy and Art History was founded in August 2011, born out of the merger of two long-standing departments at Essex – the Department of Art History and Theory and the Department of Philosophy. We offer courses in both philosophy and in art history, plus opportunities for exploring interdisciplinary themes at the intersection of art and philosophy. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, December 2008), our research placed us among the top ten departments in the UK for both subject areas.

This course provides those with a background in philosophy,as well as a variety of other backgrounds in humanities and social science, with a rigorous grounding in some of the principal thinkers and currents in European philosophy, from Kant to the present. It also offers you the opportunity, if you wish, to explore the dialogue between philosophy and psychoanalysis, which has been a prominent feature of European philosophy over the last century.

Graduates will be well prepared to enter employment in various areas such as academia and non-governmental organisations, as well as entering government itself.
(Student Profile)

Naomi van Steenbergen

“After my undergraduate studies, which were mostly in analytic philosophy, I wanted to do an MA in which I could take my philosophical work in a more continental direction. The choice to come to Essex wasn’t hard as the School of Philosophy and Art History stood out for the quality of both its teaching and its research. I was also attracted by the rather unique and exciting mixture of analytic and continental philosophy practised in the department, and I really liked the solid character of the MA Continental Philosophy that was offered.

I came to Essex to study for my MA with the possibility of going on to do a PhD already vividly on my mind, but at the time I thought I would apply to different programmes and quite possibly move to the United States. My MA at Essex was wonderful though, both academically and socially (and especially as a mixture of the two) so when the time to apply came it had become clear that I could not wish for a better place to do my work than Essex.

What has been the most pleasant discovery about life in the School is the great atmosphere. Staff are very approachable and encouraging, and they care about providing a good working environment for their students. The lengths some go for this are truly exceptional. Amongst students too, there is a good sense of cooperation. Everybody works very hard and takes what they do seriously but rather than be competitive, the atmosphere is very open and helpful.

In addition, there are plenty of cultural offerings on campus: art exhibitions, plays, concerts, films. London is only a short distance away and the county of Essex is beautiful with lots of historical and natural sites to visit. In spring and summer, the Colchester Campus with its lakes is lovely, and the surrounding hilly fields are perfect for a morning run.

After my PhD, I hope to find a position as a university lecturer, researching and teaching.”

(Student Profile)

Matthew Bennett

"While doing my undergraduate degree at Durham University, colleagues recommended Essex to me, as it is one of the only places in the country to specialise in Continental philosophy, a subset of the discipline that I was keen to study at postgraduate level. Alongside this specialisation, Essex appealed to me as it is also fully versed in more ‘traditional’ philosophical areas. It offers, for example, MA Continental Philosophy, while bridging the (somewhat outdated) divide being analytic and continental philosophy.

My time at Essex has given me the opportunity to study the particulars of some of the philosophical questions I was introduced to as an undergraduate. I also appreciate the vibrant academic community here at Essex; since I arrived there have been regular extra-curricular seminars, workshops, conferences and reading groups, which I have attended and enjoyed. There is an abundance of opportunities to discuss our work in a variety of environments - from more formal seminars to less formal pub-philosophy discussions. This has all been very rewarding.

Upon completion of my PhD, I want to undertake research and teaching in a philosophy department, so my studies at Essex are really the only way to help me get such a job. My best memories of the University will be my long evenings in the Students’ Union bar, talking about all kinds of smart things, with all kinds of smart people, and learning about all kinds of new ideas."


Entry Requirements

2.1 or above in a humanities or social sciences discipline; IELTS 7.0.

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