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Philosophy (MA)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

Course options See other modes of study
Start date

Open day

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Why study this course

Find out more about studying MA Philosophy at Cardiff University.

Explore intriguing and complex contemporary issues with philosophers internationally recognised for their work in a wide range of specialist areas.


Confront and explore

Explore complex problems and confront contemporary issues with comprehensive training across philosophical approaches.


International expertise

Use analytic, continental and empirical philosophy, taught by leaders in their fields.


Specialisms to focus your mind

Our academics lead in epistemology, moral philosophy and philosophy of mind and cognition.


Supportive, tight-knit community

Develop crucial research and communication skills, flourishing through inquiry-led teaching.

Our MA in Philosophy enables you to achieve a deep understanding of contemporary philosophical debates and gain advanced research and communication skills. You’ll explore a range of topics related to current ethical and social concerns and learn how to connect philosophical research to professional roles outside the university. This puts you in a strong position to enter a range of exciting careers, including research-based careers, or to apply for further study through a PhD.

You’ll join a supportive research community with diverse interests and expertise. This means you can choose from modules ranging across aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, feminist philosophy, philosophy of mind, and political philosophy, with a particular focus on contemporary research at the intersections of these areas. 

To prepare you for the dissertation, you’ll learn how to plan and manage large research projects before developing your dissertation proposal. You’ll then have regular one-to-one meetings with your supervisor to help you develop and complete your dissertation project.

Throughout the programme you’ll develop a range of highly valued professional skills, including collaboration, effective communication and problem solving, and make meaningful connections between academic work and professional practice outside universities.   

The programme will support your development of advanced skills in analysing problems, ideas, and arguments, and in writing clearly, precisely, and persuasively. It builds on your existing skills in these areas, whether you have developed these by studying philosophy or another discipline at undergraduate level.

Where you'll study

School of English, Communication and Philosophy

Powered by pioneering research, we celebrate curiosity, engage in informed debate and critical analysis, and encourage creative thinking - across and beyond our disciplines.

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  • MarkerColum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU

Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject area such as philosophy or a related discipline such as communication, English literature, history, language, law, modern languages, politics, psychology, religious studies, or social sciences or an equivalent international degree. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates.
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 7.0 with 6.5 in all subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.
  3. If your degree is not in philosophy, you also need to provide an essay of 2000 words (maximum) that demonstrates skills in explanation, argumentation and critical analysis, on a topic of your choice.
  4. One reference which demonstrates your suitability for the programme. Your reference should be signed, dated and less than six months old at the time you submit your application.

Application Deadline

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of August but may close sooner if all places are filled.

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This is a one-year full-time programme. 

The programme is structured to help you develop key knowledge and skills when you need them. It comprises a taught stage, followed by the dissertation.  In the taught stage of the programme, you’ll study two core and four optional modules worth 20 credits each. In the dissertation stage, you’ll receive one-to-one supervision for a research dissertation worth 60 credits.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

Year One comprises the entire degree programme.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

All our taught modules are delivered through small-group seminars, with significant emphasis on student-led discussion and informal student presentations. Our learning activities are designed to support you in developing advanced research skills, including abilities to think independently and creatively about complex problems and to work collaboratively with others to refine your ideas and arguments. 

You will have a choice of research-led modules taught by academics whose work is internationally recognised in that area. Through participating in these modules, you will become part of our research community.

Many of our modules address contemporary problems facing society, providing you with a clear link between philosophical theory and practice. Through a core module, you’ll explore this further, taking part in a group project to plan a knowledge-exchange event on a topic of your choice, aimed at bringing together philosophers and members of other professional communities to connect philosophical research and professional practice. 

You will develop your dissertation question through collaborative discussion of your ideas on the topic of your choosing. You’ll then write the dissertation supported by a series of regular one-to-one meetings with your supervisor.

All modules make use of Cardiff University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central, where you can access course materials.

How will I be assessed?

Your assessments are designed to cumulatively develop your skills in critical analysis, oral and written communication, and collaboration over the programme. Assessments include critical analyses of texts, essays, presentations with questions, reflective assessment of your own skills, and the dissertation project. You’ll also take part in a large collaborative project to plan an event that brings contemporary philosophical work into dialogue with organisations beyond the university..

How will I be supported?

Your main sources of support in philosophy are your module leaders and dissertation supervisor, and your Personal Tutor. Your module leaders have drop-in sessions during teaching weeks if you have any questions about course materials or assessments. You’ll regularly meet with your dissertation supervisor throughout your project, and they will help you shape, research, and write your dissertation. 

Personal Tutors can advise you on academic matters, including study skills, careers and further study, and your academic progress, as well as on pastoral matters. You’ll be invited to meet with your Personal Tutor regularly throughout the degree, and they are available for extra meetings as needed. Welsh-speaking students can request a Welsh-speaking personal tutor. 

The Writing Development Centre provides specialist support for academic writing across the programme. You can access online materials, workshops, and one-to-one meetings about any aspect of academic writing to support you with your assessments.

Our Postgraduate Team provides academic and student support and is there is to provide information and guidance in response to any queries you may have. Beyond the school, the university offers a range of support services and events to help you plan your career, manage your emotional, mental, and physical health, support with financial issues, and provide support for students with disabilities. These services are located at the university’s Centre for Student Life. Libraries, study spaces and other resource centres will all be available to you. 


You’ll regularly receive feedback on your progress. Oral feedback in seminars will help you assess your understanding of the course material and your critical responses to it. We’ll provide guidance on all forms of assessment, and you’ll receive individual or group formative feedback on your ideas and essay outlines to help you develop stronger arguments and analyses. Detailed comments will be provided on all submitted assessments to help you develop your skills further. You’ll receive regular feedback on your dissertation project from your supervisor. 

What skills will I practise and develop?

On successful completion of your programme you’ll be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding:

KU 1 Critically evaluate theories and arguments in contemporary philosophical research across a variety of topics.

KU 2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of appropriate strategies for planning a knowledge-exchange event on a philosophical topic. 

KU 3 Evaluate and apply strategies for pursuing large independent and original research projects.

Intellectual Skills:

IS 1 Generate focused research questions and select appropriate literature to address them.

IS 2 Practice techniques of philosophical analysis to assess the structure and quality of complex philosophical arguments.

IS 3 Present systematically informed and well-structured arguments for a philosophical claim.

Professional Practical Skills:

PS 1 Communicate philosophical analyses in writing clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences. 

PS 2 Orally present plans of your research clearly and respond to questions on your research in a collaborative manner.

PS 3 Demonstrate insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your own philosophical work and plan for improvement. 

Transferable/Key Skills:

KS 1 Successfully plan and direct your own learning.

KS 2 Respond to complex problems creatively and independently.

KS 3 Contribute effectively to the planning and delivery of a collaborative team project.

KS 4 Implement task instructions and manage workload effectively to meet deadlines.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £10,700 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £22,700 £2,500

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs


Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You will be provided with essential specialised materials, including computer access and core course materials (books, journal articles) via the library and the cost of printing the dissertation will be covered.

You will be responsible for covering non-essential or basic costs associated with your studies. This can include travel to university, general stationery, laptop computers, copying and printing, and personal copies of books.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Master's Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's in 2024/25.

Career prospects

From the public to the private sector, we enable careers in an impressively wide range of fields. Our graduates use their newly-acquired skills in a broad spectrum of jobs, particularly in the media and creative economies, education and health sectors.

86% of postgraduates from the School of English, Communication and Philosophy were in employment or further studies within six months of graduation (DLHE 2016/17).

Next steps


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Make an enquiry

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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.