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Philosophy (MA)

This degree programme will develop your knowledge of philosophical issues and techniques, your independent and collaborative research skills, and your ability to communicate complex and controversial ideas in a professional manner.

Covering analytic, continental, and empirical varieties of philosophy, our MA Philosophy will provide you with an understanding of the breadth of the discipline, reflecting the full range of our internationally recognised research strengths. As a graduate of this programme, you will be experienced in addressing difficult questions creatively, critically, and collegially.

This degree programme will develop your knowledge of philosophical issues and techniques, your independent and collaborative research skills, and your ability to communicate complex and controversial ideas in a professional manner.

We will equip you with the skills to draw together and explore issues in epistemology, moral philosophy, and philosophy of mind, and to examine the interactions between them. You will benefit from small group teaching with an emphasis on peer-to-peer discussion, led by philosophers who are internationally recognised for their work in the module areas.

You will gain a solid foundation in the discipline and explore the varieties of philosophical argumentation, critical analysis, and writing styles, through analyses of landmark works in the history of philosophy. You will receive comprehensive training in key skills for a successful research career in academia or in other careers that involve comparable research projects.

The dissertation is an independent research project supported by regular supervision meetings and preceded by training in designing and completing this project. You will able to write your dissertation on any topic in philosophy that can be supervised by our staff.

Embedded in a strong and supportive research community, you will be encouraged to participate in our weekly Royal Institute of Philosophy visiting speaker programme, our postgraduate work-in-progress seminars, the annual Welsh Philosophy Conference at Gregynog Hall, and our reading groups, workshops, and conferences throughout the year.

Distinctive features

  • Develops key techniques of research and communication crucial to success in graduate careers.
  • Develops abilities to analyse texts of different kinds and identify and analyse reasoning for conclusions.
  • Develops skills in constructing sound reasoning for original conclusions.
  • Small community of inquiry teaching to ensure continuous feedback on your knowledge and ideas.
  • Provides excellent preparation for doctoral research.
  • Participation in regular seminars, workshops, and conferences.
  • Opportunity to replace a module with one from another department in the University (at the discretion of the programme director).

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration1 year
QualificationMA
ModeFull-time
Other ways to study this course
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Admissions criteria

Applicants should normally hold a first class or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent, in Philosophy or a related discipline such as English Literature, Language, Communication, History, Law, Modern Languages, Politics, Psychology, Religious Studies, or Social Sciences. Applicants with a degree that is not in Philosophy but in a related discipline will be required to submit an essay of 2000 words(maximum) that demonstrates skills in explanation, argumentation and critical analysis, on a topic of your choice. 

Supporting material for an application should normally include:

  • At least one academic reference

  • Copy of undergraduate certificate and transcript of module results

Typical IELTS offer: An overall IELTS score of 7.0, with at least 6.5 in any sub-score is required for non-native English speakers or those who have not had a substantial part of their education taught in the English language.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

You will complete 180 credits in total, comprised of six 20-credit taught modules + one 60-credit dissertation.

The two 20-credit modules that underpin the degree programme and provide you with a solid foundation in the discipline are both taught across the two semesters.

Two of the four 20-credit modules on issues in epistemology, moral philosophy, and philosophy of mind are taught in the Autumn semester, the other two are taught in the Spring semester.

The dissertation can be in any area of Philosophy within the range of staff expertise. You will develop your dissertation proposal during the final stage of one of the core modules.

You will take 60 credits each semester and write the dissertation between the end of the Spring semester and the first week of the following September.

 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year One comprises the entire degree programme.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Artificial IntelligenceSET44220 credits
Collective ResponsibilitySET44320 credits
Consciousness and CognitionSET44420 credits
IrrationalitySET44520 credits
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.

How will I be taught?

All our MA taught modules are delivered via small-group seminars, with significant emphasis on student engagement via presentations and student-led discussion. This enables continuous consolidation of and feedback on individual and collaborative learning, development of discipline-specific and transferable skills, development of your ability to learn independently and collaboratively, and development of oral communication skills in informal group discussions and formal presentations.

For the dissertation you will conduct independent research on a topic of your choice. This will be supported by regular supervision meetings with a member of academic staff. This develops your ability to plan and deliver a sustained independent research project, to articulate your own detailed analyses and arguments in formal writing, and to develop your ideas through oral discussion of your written drafts.

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

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a personal tutor who will help you reflect on your work and advise you on study techniques, module selection, and career planning. This will include a formal meeting each semester to formulate concrete strategies to help you reach your full academic and professional potential.

Your personal tutor is also your first point of contact if you experience any difficulties.

Module leaders are available in their office hours or by appointment to discuss any matters relating specifically to their module. You are encouraged to discuss topics and readings for assessments with your module leaders.

You can meet with the MA Philosophy programme director to discuss your progress and any difficulties you face.

Reasonable adjustments can be made for disabilities and dyslexia.

Writing skills support is available to all students.

Careers support includes one-to-one career planning advice meetings and information about placement opportunities.

A specialist librarian for Philosophy provides advice in finding books, articles, and other relevant materials.

University support is available for navigating financial, health, and wellbeing difficulties.

How will I be assessed?

A variety of assessment types are used to develop your ability to present your own thoughts in formal speech and writing. The forms of assessment for all modules are set out in the module descriptions.

Your work will be assessed in relation to formal grading criteria set out in the degree handbook, which emphasise knowledge, understanding, critical analysis, and argumentation.

You are encouraged to discuss ideas for your assessed work with the module leader or supervisor.

In each taught module, you will be able to submit a first draft of your work for formative feedback.

The dissertation is developed through formal meetings with your supervisor, who provides feedback on draft sections and discusses any ideas that you present orally at the meeting.

 

What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • An ability to explain clearly, identify interconnections between, and critically and creatively assess central theories and arguments across the breadth of Philosophy, past and present, including topics at the forefront of Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, and Philosophy of Mind and Cognition.
  • An ability to evaluate and apply a broad range of techniques of textual interpretation and reasoning.
  • An ability to evaluate and apply strategies for pursuing large independent and original research projects.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • An ability to extract the central claims and arguments of complex texts.
  • An ability to critically and creatively analyse problems arising from claims or reasoning being made.
  • An ability to identify and critically analyse the literary style deployed in a complex text.
  • An ability to present arguments and ideas clearly and coherently in writing for a specialist audience.
  • An ability to present arguments and ideas clearly and coherently in spoken presentations for specialist audiences.
  • An ability to present arguments and ideas clearly, coherently, and collegially in group conversation.
  • An ability to present arguments and ideas clearly and coherently in writing for non-specialist audiences.
  • An ability to plan and write a substantial original paper analysing literature on a complex issue.
  • An ability to plan and complete a large independent and original research project.
  • An ability to engage professionally and productively in a collaborative research inquiry.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • An ability to present arguments and ideas clearly and coherently in writing for a professional audience.
  • An ability to present arguments and ideas clearly and coherently in spoken presentations for professional audiences.
  • An ability to present arguments and ideas clearly, coherently, and professionally in professional conversation.
  • An ability to plan and write a substantial original report analysing literature on a complex issue.
  • An ability to plan and complete independent professional research projects.
  • An ability to engage productively in collaborative professional work.
  • An ability to organise workload to ensure being well prepared for regular meetings and meeting major deadlines.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • An ability to interpret complex ideas and reasoning presented in a variety of written and spoken forms.
  • An ability to summarise sophisticated original thinking in brief and engaging writing for online publication.

 

Graduates of the MA Philosophy degree will possess well developed skills in critical thinking, communication, and project planning that are highly valued by all employers. The assessed work for this MA Programme is comparable to the kinds of research projects and report writing central to careers across public sector work (especially civil service, local government), non-governmental organisations, law, publishing, HR, journalism, advertising and marketing, primary and secondary education, management consultancy, banking and insurance, and many more. It is also excellent preparation for doctoral research, potentially leading to an academic career.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Fees for entry 2020/21 are not yet available.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Fees for entry 2020/21 are not yet available.

Additional costs

We encourage our MA Philosophy students to attend the annual joint Wales Student Philosophy conference held at Gregynog Hall. We will offer a subsidy for attendance and travel costs, but you will also need to make a contribution.

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.