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Philosophy (MA)

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Mode: Part time

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Why study this course

Find out more about studying MA Philosophy at Cardiff University.

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.

Our rewarding MA Philosophy programme will develop your knowledge of philosophical issues and techniques, with a focus on topics at the forefront of epistemology, moral philosophy, and philosophy of mind and cognition.

Building on a solid foundation by exploring the gamut of philosophical arguments through analysis of landmark works across the breadth of analytic, continental, and empirical varieties of philosophy, you’ll progress to investigate issues of real interest to you.

You’ll be nurtured to reach your potential in a collegiate environment with a focus on meaningful exchange and participation in our specialist seminars. Moreover, our programme is designed to help you to master the key skills essential for a successful research career.

Comprehensive training will build key skills for engaging in independent and collaborative research projects, essential in academia and in many graduate careers. Small group teaching with an emphasis on peer-to-peer discussion will foster your ability to communicate complex and controversial ideas in a professional manner. As a graduate of this programme, you’ll be experienced in addressing difficult questions creatively, critically, and collegially.

Embedded in a thriving and supportive research community with its postgraduate work-in progress seminars, year-round reading groups, workshops and conferences, you’ll participate in the thought-provoking Royal Institute of Philosophy visiting speaker programme and an annual conference.

We ranked fourth for the impact on society of our research in Philosophy, as published in the UK’s most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).

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.

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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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 9066
  • MarkerColum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU

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 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

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 two semesters.  You will study both of these modules as part of your programme.

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 30 credits each semester and write the dissertation between the end of the Spring semester of Year 2 and the end of autumn semester of Year 3.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.

Year one

In Year One you will complete three modules.  These must include one of either Philosophy, Research and Communication Skills or Varieties of Philosophical Reasoning.

Year two

In Year Two you will complete three modules. These must include one of either Philosophy, Research and Communication Skills or Varieties of Philosophical Reasoning, whichever was not taken in your first year of study.  You will then begin your dissertation.

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 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 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.

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.

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 community.

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.

Tuition fees

Students from the UK

Tuition fee (2021/22)Deposit
£3,850None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals starting in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course.

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Tuition fee (2021/22)Deposit
£8,950£1,000

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

We offer the opportunity to attend a Philosophy conference as part of the programme. Previous locations for such events include Gregynog Hall and Bluestone National Park but these events may also be held more locally, in Cardiff. We endeavour to make such activities free to students but at times a financial contribution may be required. Please note, these activities are not compulsory.

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.

Career prospects

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.

Funding

Master's Excellence Scholarships

An award open to students with a home fee status intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

UK Government master’s funding

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2021 or later, you may be able to apply for UK Government postgraduate funding to support your study at Cardiff University.

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