Philosophy (MA)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

One year full-time or two years part-time

Attendance

Three to four classes a week full-time or one to two classes a week part-time, October to April

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.

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      Highlights

      • 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.
      • Our uniquely flexible MA may be studied in the evening or in the day, over one or two years, and with or without prior philosophical study.
      • 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.
      • 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.
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      Course structure

      The MA is designed to allow you to choose your own balance of depth and breadth in your coverage of different subject areas. You take:

      • any six option modules (see below for an indicative list of available options). Each option module consists of 10 lectures and 10 seminar sessions run by the lecturer, with set readings every week and assessment by a final essay.
      • Philosophical Research Methods: this compulsory module consists of 10 intensive two-hour seminar sessions focused on the close reading of philosophical texts
      • Dissertation in Philosophy: this may be on any topic that falls within the competence of the Department. Once you are assigned a supervisor - usually an expert in your chosen field - you will have one initial meeting followed by up to three individual supervisions to discuss drafts of your work.

      The ‘Conversion’ MA

      If you do not already have an academic background in philosophy, you may be admitted to the 'Conversion' MA. This is an alternate version of the programme with a special structure designed to help you to transfer into the discipline at postgraduate level. You take:

      • any four option modules (see below for an indicative list of available options). Each option module consists of 10 lectures and 10 seminar sessions run by the lecturer, with set readings every week and assessment by a final essay.
      • Introduction to Philosophy: this double module consists of 20 lectures and 20 seminars, designed to introduce you to the central questions and ideas in four core areas of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and political philosophy. It also includes lessons in study skills and practice in philosophical writing.
      • Introduction to Philosophical Argument: this compulsory module consists of 10 lectures and 10 classes and is designed to introduce you to some of the basic formal and informal tools of philosophical argument.
      • Dissertation in Philosophy: this may be on any topic that falls within the competence of the Department. Once you are assigned a supervisor - usually an expert in your chosen field - you will have one initial meeting followed by up to three individual supervisions to discuss drafts of your work.

      To find out more, read our programme handbook.

      Read more about modules

      Compulsory module

      'Conversion' MA compulsory modules

      MA Philosophy dissertation

      Option modules

      In order to provide maximum flexibility, half of our modules are taught during the evening and half during the day. Each year we flip the previous year's daytime modules to the evening and the evening modules to the daytime, thus ensuring that evening-only part-time students can access our full range of modules over two years.

      Please note that the following list is intended only as a guide. For the most up-to-date information on our option modules, please contact the Department of Philosophy.

        Indicative option modules

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