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Philosophy (MPHIL)


Course Description

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme is situated in the curriculum of the Institute of Philosophy after the BA and MA. The MPhil programme is primarily research-oriented and functions as a first step towards the doctoral programme. The MPhil allows each student to concentrate on a particular field of study, supplemented by courses, seminars, and the oral defence of a research-based MPhil Thesis.

The structure of the MPhil programme focuses firmly on the development of high-level independent research. Each student's study programme is tailored to this goal. Hence, there is a strong concentration on a number of fundamental research seminars and on the MPhil Thesis, during which specialised skills are developed. The research seminars are grouped into 5 "Majors",in line with the Institute of Philosophy's five research centres, which organise these seminars:
" Centre for Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy
" Centre for Logic and Analytic Philosophy
" Centre for Metaphysics , Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Culture
" De Wulf-Mansion Centre for Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
" Husserl-Archives: Centre for Phenomenology and Continental Philosophy

Upon registration the student chooses the Major which reflects the student's specialisation. The Major, comprising 2/3 of the student's programme, includes both course work and the MPhil Thesis. The MPhil Thesis should demonstrate the student's ability to conduct original research and eventually pursue doctoral studies. 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 .


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

Objectives

The programme is oriented towards specialised research in philosophy. It aims to deepen a student's advanced knowledge of a topic in philosophy closely connected with the on-going research of one of the Institute's research centres. The accent is placed firmly on the development of independent research. Each student's study programme is tailored to this goal. Hence there is a strong concentration on a number of fundamental research seminars during which specialised skills are developed. The programme is envisioned as a bridge or transitional programme to the doctoral programme and functions as a qualification for formal acceptance to doctoral studies at the Institute. The MPhil thesis should demonstrate the student's ability to conduct original research.

At the end of the MPhil programme, the student should:

1. Specialised philosophical knowledge in context
a) Have a profound knowledge of the recent, "state of the art" research work in her/his chosen field of research
b) Be able to engage at the highest level with the key texts in her/his chosen subdomain
c) Have genuine insight into the ongoing research of other philosophical domains as chosen by her/himself
d) Be able to situate her/his own research within a much larger philosophical framework and be able to explain its significance within this framework

2. Research skills
a) Be able to formulate independently a well-defined and original research question
b) Be able to independently develop a well-defined research approach appropriate to the topic of study
c) Be able to independently conduct the research necessary for adequately addressing the research question through close reading of primary sources (preferably in the original language) and critical use of a wide range of secondary sources

3. Philosophical skills
a) On the basis of independent research in the student's philosophical subdomain be able to develop a personal philosophical standpoint and defend it in debate

4. Writing skills
a) Be able to clearly present the results of the student's research in written form in both shorter papers and a more extensive thesis, all displaying signs of professional philosophical standards

5. Presentation skills
a) Be able to clearly present and defend orally the results of the student's research

6. Intellectual maturity
a) Possess sufficient intellectual maturity to proceed to doctoral studies
b) Be able to take initiative and use creativity in the pursue of high level research
c) Be able to efficiently organise her/his research work

7. Professional skills
a) Be able to present a paper at a professional philosophical meeting, be able to write an article that meets professional standards, be able to compose a grant application in a professional manner, be able to write an application to PhD programmes, be familiar with the publication process
b) Be able to communicate effectively both in research and more general professional contexts

Entry Requirements

Direct admission:Master of Arts in Philosophy (KU Leuven); Master of Arts in de wijsbegeerte (Flemish institution of higher education). Admission decisions are based upon evaluation of a complete dossier: Master of Arts (MA) in Philosophy. More: www.kuleuven.be/admissions

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