Prospectus

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Philosophy

Students in the one-year Master’s Programme in Philosophy follow three courses (each 10 EC) and they also complete the following compulsory elements: a supervised literature study in the area of the MA thesis (10 EC), and the MA thesis (20 EC).

The subjects of the MA courses are varying yearly. The choice may be made from the courses listed below, arranged by specialisation. At least two courses, as well as the literature study and the master’s thesis, must belong to the chosen field of specialisation. Please note that courses may be part of two different fields of specialisation.

Courses on offer

From the academic year 2010-2011 the former specialisations History of Philosophy, Theoretical Philosophy, and Practical Philosophy will be replaced by the following new specialisations: History and Philosophy of the Sciences, Ethics and Politics, and Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture. Studens who started their programme in the former arrangement are allowed to complete their master’s programme according the original plan. In case of incertainty about the relation of this year’s courses to the former specialisations, please contact the co-ordinator of studies.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

History and Philosophy of the Sciences

Science and Humanities in the Ancient Philosophical Curriculum 10
The Vienna Circle and Logical Positivism 10
The Problem of Objectivity in History 10
Filosofie en literatuur II (HPS) 10
Language and the Mind 10
Filosofie, psychiatrie en neurowetenschappen 10
Scientific Revolution 10

Ethics and Politics

Rechtvaardigheid en macht: 16e-eeuwse politieke theorieën 10
Nietzsche and Politics (EP) 10
Reasonable Disagreement 10
Contemporary Utilitarianism 10
Philosophy of Mind and Action 10
Filosofie van het internationale recht 10

Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture

Nietzsche and Politics (PAC) 10
Wijsgerige antropologie III 10
De revolutie in de kunst 10
Filosofie en literatuur II (PAC) 10
Wijsgerige antropologie IV 10
Wikisofie 10

More info

Objectives and Achievement Levels
Programme
Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation
Additional programmes

Objectives and Achievement Levels

The MA programme in Philosophy has the following objectives:

with respect to knowledge, understanding and their applications
1. to impart scholarly knowledge, insight, methods, and skills in the field of philosophy, building on the foundations laid in the BA-programme in Philosophy;
2. to impart a scholarly attitude, which is characterized by the student’s capacity to:

  • engage in individual and independent academic thought and action;
  • analyse complex problems;
  • write academic reports;
  • apply specialist skills in an intellectual and social context.

with respect to a career:

  • to prepare students for the educational master’s programme in philosophy;
  • to prepare students for professions in which philosophical knowledge, insight and skills have added value;
  • to prepare students to some extent for an academic career and for postgraduate education, in particular for a PhD project;
  • to prepare students for any non-academic career for which general academic skills such as abstraction skills, heuristic capability and creativity are required.

The following achievement levels apply with regard to the MA programme in Philosophy:

  1. Knowledge and understanding and their applications
    Students who have completed the programme
  • have acquired knowledge of systematic philosophy and its history, and of recent developments in contemporary philosophy, that is founded upon and extends that associated with the bachelor’s level, and that provides a basis for originality in developing and applying original ideas and analyses;
  • know the discussions in the forefront of their field, and are able to take part in them;
  • are able to contribute to current discussions in philosophy and in new and complex contexts related to philosophy;
  • are able to contribute to the philosophical-social debate on the basis of their philosophical knowledge and understanding.
  1. Making judgements
    Students who have completed the programme
  • are able to handle philosophical complexity and to formulate judgments based on information from diverse sources, even if this information is limited or incomplete;
  • have a realistic view of the tenability and reliability of their own conclusions;
  • are able to integrate or confront different approaches to philosophical questions.
  1. Communication skills
    Students who have completed the programme
  • have been trained in giving clear expositions of philosophical problems, ideas, theories, interpretations and argumentations, to specialist and non-specialist audiences, in English, and, in case of students who are Dutch native speakers, in Dutch as well;
  • are able to write philosophical papers whose quality equals that of articles in refereed journals in the field.
  1. Learning skills
    Students who have completed the programme have developed the learning skills to allow them to continue their study in a research context in a manner that may be largely self-directed, and to conceive and design a PhD project.

Programme

The Leiden Institute for Philosophy represents a wide range of research interests, enabling students in the one-year MA Programme in Philosophy to take courses in the History of Philosophy, Logic, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind and Cognition, Ethics and Political Philosophy, Philosophical Anthropology, and Cultural Philosophy.

Structure
Students in the MA programme in Philosophy follow three seminars of 10 EC each; they also complete a 10 EC supervised literature study in the area of the master’s thesis, and a 20 EC master’s thesis. The subjects of the MA seminars, which are varying yearly, are arranged by specialisation. The choice can be made from all courses listed in the overview, but at least two courses must belong to the chosen field of specialisation. Please note that courses may be part of two different fields of specialisation.

Full-time and part-time
The programme offers both full-time and part-time tuition. The part-time programme is offered as a daytime course. The full-time programme spans one year, the part-time programme two years. The only difference between the two programmes is in the length of time required for their completion; in content they are identical.

Specialisations
The one-year MA programme in Philosophy offers three specialisations:

  • History and Philosophy of the Sciences
  • Ethics and Politics
  • Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

In order to graduate, students must have successfully completed the 60 EC programme and have completed their final thesis as a component of that programme. The master’s thesis is an independent academic contribution to philosophy in the field of the chosen specialisation. The student is required to write a master’s thesis in the second semester of the MA programme in Philosophy. (For students starting their MA programme in February, the second semester will be the Fall semester.) In preparation to the master’s thesis students complete a supervised 10 EC literature study in the area of the master’s thesis. This literature study can be started in the first semester.

Attainment levels
The master’s thesis should clearly show that the student meets the attainment levels which have been set for this programme in terms of knowledge and skills. More specifically, the master’s thesis and the working method for the thesis should demonstrate that the student:

  • has acquired knowledge of systematic philosophy and its history, and of recent developments in contemporary philosophy, that is founded upon and extends that associated with the bachelor’s level, and that provides a basis for originality in developing and applying original ideas and analyses;
  • knows the discussions in the forefront of their field, and is able to take part in them;
  • is able to contribute to current discussions on philosophy and in new and complex contexts related to philosophy;
  • is able to handle philosophical complexity and to formulate judgments based on information from diverse sources, even if this information is limited or incomplete;
  • has a realistic view of the tenability and reliability of his/her own conclusions;
  • is able to integrate or confront different approaches to philosophical questions;
  • in short, is able to write philosophical papers, the quality of which comes close to that of articles in refereed journals in the field.

Formal requirements and assessment criteria
The thesis for the Master’s programme in Philosophy has a workload of 20 ECs, and the length of the thesis is normally approximately 20,000 words (from 1 September 2010). Depending on the subject, the student and the supervisor may agree on a different length. Other formal requirements that the thesis must satisfy are listed in the Protocol Graduation Phase MA in Philosophy.

Agreements and Supervision
The agreements relating to the planning and supervision of the writing of the MA thesis are set out in writing by the student and the supervisor in the Agreements relating to the MA thesis form. The agreements include details on the choice of subject of the thesis, on the frequency of sessions with the thesis supervisor and the manner of supervision, and on the phasing of the research leading up to the thesis.

Final examination
The master’s thesis shall be defended as part of the final examination. The final examination may be held at any time during the academic year. The grade of the master’s thesis is determined by the examiners after the questioning (defence of the thesis) in the MA examination.

Additional programmes

In addition to their MA programme in Philosophy students are qualified to follow the teacher-training in Philosophy: a preparation for a career in high school education or in MBO (intermediate vocational) education. On completion of this MA programme students obtain a second master’s degree and a high-school teaching qualification (eerstegraads lesbevoegdheid) in philosophy. Please note that students who have completed an Educational Minor as their optional subject, are allowed to follow a fast-track Educational Master’s Programme (30 EC instead of 60 EC). For more information, see ICLON.

Students awarded a master’s degree are eligible to pursue a doctorate. Information about the PhD programme is available on the institute’s website.