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V7K107 Philosophy MA Postgraduate Taught  2018


Degree MA
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year (full-time) or 2 years (part-time)
Start Date 02-10-2018
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 6553

Course Summary


This one-year programme (two years part-time) provides an ideal academic environment for those who would like to study the subject at a higher level in preparation for a PhD or as a basis for future employment. Significant numbers of former students go on to further study. The programme includes research training and allows you to write a substantial dissertation on a topic you wish to pursue at PhD level. Our staff members have expertise in a very wide range of areas, so there is considerable flexibility over choice of dissertation topic. Modules are taught via group seminars and one-to-one tutorials.

Course structure

  • Candidates shall study and be assessed in the following modules:

List A:

  • Dissertation
  • Philosophical Perspectives

Candidates shall also study and be assessed in modules to the value of 90 credits from Lists BC and D. The module titles below are those offered in previous academic years. Not all the modules will necessarily be available every year.

List B:

  • Ancient Philosophers on Necessity, Fate and Free Will
  • Forms After Plato
  • Science and The Enlightenment
  • Philosophical Issues in Science and Medicine
  • Philosophy and Religion
  • Current Issues in Metaphysics
  • Current Issues in Ethics
  • Gender Theory and Feminist Philosophy
  • Phenomenology and The Sciences of Mind
  • Current Issues in Aesthetics and Theory of Art
  • Ethics, Medicine and History
  • Mind and Action
  • Philosophy of The Social Sciences
  • Ethics of Cultural Heritage
  • Environmental Philosophy
  • Research Ethics
  • Special Topic in Philosophy

 List C:

Candidates taking modules from List C must take both modules:

  • Business Ethics 1: Ethical Leadership 
  • Business Ethics 2: Society and Sustainability

List D:

Candidates taking modules from List D must take both modules:

  • Moral and Corporate Trust: Trust and Accountability 
  • Moral and Corporate Trust: Trust and Business Ethics

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course Learning and Teaching

The Taught MA in Philosophy provides the opportunity for in-depth engagement with areas of philosophy in which the Durham department has internationally recognised expertise. In the process, students develop critical abilities and independent research skills that prepare them for further postgraduate study in Philosophy and for a wide range of careers where such skills are highly prized.

Students choose three optional ‘topic’ modules from a list of approximately seventeen. They are also required to take the ‘Philosophical Perspectives’ module and to complete a double-module dissertation. Topic modules are usually taught via seven two-hour seminars and up to four one-to-one tutorials. Seminars incorporate staff-led discussion of topics, student presentations and small group discussions, in the context of a friendly, supportive environment. Seminars serve to (i) familiarise students with topics, positions and debates, (ii) help them to navigate the relevant literature, (iii) refine their oral and written presentation skills and (iv) further develop their ability to independently formulate, criticise and defend philosophical positions. Students are expected to do approximately four hours of reading for each seminar. Students decide upon an essay topic, having received guidance from the module leader. At this point, they begin a more focused programme of reading and independent study, and also benefit from one-to-one supervisions with an expert in the relevant field. These supervisions provide more focused teaching, tailored to a student’s chosen essay topic. Supervisions further enable students to develop and refine their own philosophical positions, convey them clearly and support them with well constructed arguments.

The core modules of the programme are the ‘Philosophical Perspectives’ module and the double-module Dissertation. The former consists of seminars of 2 hours duration. These introduce students to different philosophical methodologies and to contrasting conceptions of what philosophy is. Critical refection upon the nature of philosophy, cultured through seminar discussions and subsequent reading, equips them with the ‘meta-philosophical’ skills required to write a ‘Philosophical Perspectives’ essay. Other seminars include training in library use, referencing, writing abstracts, structuring an MA-level essay and other research-related matters. They also include focused advice and discussion concerning dissertation proposals, which students are required to submit as part of this module.

Having completed the three topic modules and the ‘Philosophical Perspectives’ module, students start work on their Dissertations. They are offered six one-to-one tutorials of up to an hour each, with a supervisor who will be an expert in their chosen field. There is also a Dissertation Workshop during the summer, where students present work from their Dissertation and receive feedback from members of staff and from their peers. The supervisions and the workshop both help them to further refine skills acquired during the academic year (such as presenting and defending an argument in a clear, structured fashion) and to complete a substantial piece of high quality independent research. Through the workshop, they also engage with the work of other students in ways that are mutually informative.

In addition to this core teaching, students benefit from a range of activities, including a student-led ‘work-in-progress group’ and regular meetings of EIDOS, the department’s postgraduate philosophy society. They are welcomed as full participants in the department’s research culture, and are thus strongly encouraged to attend a range of other events, including weekly Research Seminars, and occasional Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures, conferences, workshops and reading groups. The Programme Directors remains in regular contact with the students throughout the year and are always available to discuss any issues that might arise (personal or academic).

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

A typical 2:1 classification or higher at undergraduate level or equivalent qualification with a substantial philosophy component.

Admission Criteria for Research Focus on Science, Medicine and Society:

A 2:1 classification or higher at undergraduate level or equivalent qualification with a substantial philosophy component or other appropriate component, for example science-related subjects. At least one example of written work on a philosophical theme (up to 5,000 words).

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £7,350.00 per year
Home Student £7,350.00 per year
Island Student £7,350.00 per year
International non-EU Student £17,325.00 per year

Part Time Fees

EU Student £4,100.00 per year
Home Student £4,100.00 per year
Island Student £4,100.00 per year
International non-EU Student £9,600.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

Department of Philosophy

For information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please click here.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


Department Information

Department of Philosophy


The Department provides a welcoming, supportive, friendly and stimulating research environment for all our students, which stresses the diversity, openness and interdisciplinarity of our approaches to philosophy. Postgraduate students participate in reading groups, research seminars, working groups, Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures, and conferences organised by the Department and its associated research centres. We also run a postgraduate philosophy society, Eidos, the journal Philosophical Writings, and frequently organise conferences.

Departmental research is organised in five clusters: Aesthetics, Applied Phenomenology, Ethics, History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine and Mind, Language and Metaphysics. The diversity of our staff research expertise allows our taught and research postgraduate students considerable flexibility in the topics they work on. Complementing the Department’s academic strengths is our location: occupying two charming former townhouses and surrounded by cafés, pubs and restaurants and just a few minutes’ walk from the scenic banks of the River Wear.

The Department provides our postgraduate students with comprehensive training, designed to support their research and professional development, which is integrated into its broader research environment. Students are assigned to a research cluster and a supervisory team.

Our students participate in bi-annual research group workshops, where they give presentations on their ongoing research and receive detailed feedback and advice from academic staff with relevant expertise. In some areas of research there are weekly research group with staff participation, or reading group meetings. These serve to create collaboration among PhD students as well as opportunities for co-authored publications. They also present their work at conferences in the UK and abroad, with financial support from the Department.

This supportive environment ensures that our graduates are well placed for academic employment, and our placement record is correspondingly strong, with many of our PhD students going on to lectureships and postdoctoral fellowships in the UK and abroad.