Taught MA in Philosophy at Durham
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 research areas, so there is considerable flexibility over choice of dissertation topic. Modules are taught via group seminars and one-to-one tutorials. There are also student-led work-in-progress seminars, which all MA students attend.
Should you wish to pursue our MA with a Research Focus on Science, Medicine and Society, further information can be found here.
MA students also can benefit from a range of other activities in the department, including the department’s postgraduate philosophy society (EIDOS), weekly research seminars and reading groups, and occasional conferences, workshops and Royal Institute of Philosophy lectures. The programme director remains in contact with students throughout the year and is always available to discuss any issues that might arise, whether personal or academic.
Information about MA Bursaries and other sources of funding for the MA can be found at the following website:
Applicants wishing to be considered for the Faculty MA Bursaries need to ensure that the Department receives their application by the 6th January 2017. This will allow sufficient time for applications to be processed and the short-list submitted to the Faculty by the deadline of the 23rd January.
Because our MA modules are responsive to our current research, we can't guarantee that these modules will run in this format next year. But we hope they will give you some idea of the sort of work you will be able to do with us at Durham.
This module critically engages with one of the most important areas of contemporary philosophy, and its content is shaped by the current research of staff belonging to our Mind, Language and Metaphysics cluster. The 2016-17 syllabus emerges out of the In Parenthesis project, Hearing the Voice and a developing project on Human Nature. The focus is Peter Geach’s Mental Acts. Reflecting our diverse staff expertise contemporary issues explored include: intentional action, perceptual activity, concept formation, perceptual and cognitive capacities, the nature of concepts, mental action, expressive action, imagination, the ontology of experience and mental agency in the context of delusion and mental illness.
Philosophy of the
This module compliments a central focus of our Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society (CHESS) and the European Research Council project ‘Knowledge for Use’ (K4U). In 2016-17 the topic of this module is ‘objectivity’, one of the most contentious of all the epistemic ideals. This concept has come in for critical reassessment by philosophers, in public debate about the authority of the sciences, and as a regulative ideal for social inquiry.
Under supervision from an expert this double-weight module allows students to write a substantial piece of research, up to 15,000 words, as the culmination of their MA studies. Durham’s wealth of research expertise caters for a wide variety of topics. Previous Dissertations include: ‘Autonomy, Oppression and Emancipation: A Critical Assessment of Relational Theories of Autonomy’; ‘‘Singing the World’ and the Sound of Silence: Can Merleau-Ponty account for Inner Speech?’; ‘Animal Welfare and Welfare Economics’.
Course Details and Requirements
V7K107 Philosophy MA Postgraduate Taught 2017
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. There are also student-led work-in-progress seminars, which all MA students attend.
- Candidates shall study and be assessed in the following modules:
- Philosophical Research Methods.
Candidates shall also study and be assessed in modules to the value of 90 credits from Lists B, C and D. The module titles below are those offered in previous academic years. Not all the modules will necessarily be available every year.
- Ancient Philosophers on Necessity, Fate and Free Will
- Forms After Plato
- Mind and Action
- Philosophical Issues in Science and Medicine
- Phenomenology and the Sciences of Mind
- Current Issues in Aesthetics and Theory of Art
- Current Issues in Metaphysics
- Current Issues in Ethics
- Philosophy and Religion
- Gender Theory and Feminist Philosophy
- Science and the Enlightenment
- Ethics, Medicine and History
- Philosophy of the Social Sciences
- Ethics of Cultural Heritage
- Environmental Philosophy
Candidates taking modules from List C must take both modules:
- Business Ethics 1: Ethical Leadership
- Business Ethics 2: Society and Sustainability
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
Learning and Teaching
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 fourteen. They are also required to take a ‘philosophical research methods’ module and to complete a double-module dissertation. Topic modules are taught via seven two-hour seminars and two 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. Having completed the seminar-based part of the module, they 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 two 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 Research Methods’ module and the double-module Dissertation. The former consists of ten seminars of 2 hours duration. Seven of 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 Methods’ essay. The other three 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 research methods 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 mini-conference’ in August, where students present work from their dissertation and receive feedback from members of staff and from their peers. The supervisions and the conference 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 conference, 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 director remains in regular contact with the students throughout the year and is always available to discuss any issues that might arise (personal or academic).
Requirements and Admissions
Subject requirements, level and grade
A typical 2:1 classification or higher at undergraduate level or equivalent qualification with a substantial philosophy component.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Fees and Funding
Fees and Funding
Full Time Fees
|EU Student||£6,900.00 per year|
|Home Student||£6,900.00 per year|
|Island Student||£6,900.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£16,500.00 per year|
Part Time Fees
|EU Student||£3,800.00 per year|
|Home Student||£3,800.00 per year|
|Island Student||£3,800.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£9,100.00 per year|
Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.