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First Year

Compulsory components

All first-year courses, including the Research Seminar, are compulsory.


Under certain conditions compensation of failed grades is possible within a specified cluster of courses. Students who fulfill these conditions are considered to have met the requirements for completion of the first-year programme (propaedeuse). See under More info.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Fall Semester

Research Seminar 0
World Philosophies: Greek and Roman Antiquity 5
World Philosophies: Modern Europe 5
World Philosophies: China 5
Logic 5
Philosophy of Culture 5
Comparative Philosophy I: Classical Readings 5

Spring Semester

World Philosophies: Middle East 5
World Philosophies: India 5
Epistemology 5
Ethics 5
Comparative Philosophy II: Topics 5
Academic Skills Philosophy I 5

Second Year

Compulsory components

In the first semester students follow six mandatory courses.

Decretionary space

The decretionary space (30 EC's) has been scheduled in the second semester. It is possible, however, to move the descretionary space to the third year, for instance if students wish to take a minor that is spread over the whole academic year. Students who wish to move the discretionary space to their third year of study are allowed take third-year electives in philosophy in the second semester of their second year, provided that they have completed their first year and at least 10 EC's of the second year's mandatory courses.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Fall Semester

Political Philosophy 5
Philosophy of Science 5
Language and Thought 5
Concepts of Selfhood 5
Comparative Philosophy III: Topics 5
Academic Skills Philosophy II 5

Spring Semester

Discretionary space (Philosophy) 30

Third Year

Advanced seminars

Students select five advanced seminars in philosophy, each 10 EC, level 300-400. Normally they follow three seminars in their first semester and two seminars in ther second semester. At least two of the five elective courses must below to the specialisation Global and Comparative Philosophy. Course topics are varying from year to year.

Graduation phase

In the second semester students follow the mandatory Thesis Seminar Philosophy and write their BA Thesis.
The subject of the BA theses is related to the chosen specialisation (Global and Comparative Perpectives).
Students who write their thesis in the first semester follow the faculty thesis seminar offered by the Expertise Centre for Academic Skills instead.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Specialisation Global and Comparative Perspectives

Intercultural Philosophical Hermeneutics 10
Reading Avicenna in Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin Philosophy: Avicennan Metaphysics in its Medieval Context 10
Non-Duality in Indian, Chinese, and Japanese Buddhism 10
Conceptions of Knowledge in India and China 10
Buddhist Ethics: Śāntideva’s Introduction to the Practice of Awakening  10
Feminist Theories in Chinese and Japanese Philosophy 10
Islam and Philosophy 10

Courses from specialisations outside Global and Comparative Perspectives (in English)

Logic and Phenomenology 10
Metaethics 10
Rawls' Theory of Justice 10
Art and Aesthetics 10
Counter-Objectivities: Philosophy after the Object 10
Kripke's Naming and Necessity 10
Past, Present and Future: The Philosophy of Time 10
Environmental Philosophy 10
Kant's Moral Philosophy 10
Merleau-Ponty´s Political Thought 10
Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex 10
Philosophy of History 10
Violence: Existential and Political Perspectives 10

Courses from specialisations outside Global and Comparative Perspectives (in Dutch)

The Law and the Individual 10
Critical Theory 10
René Girard on Violence, Religion and Mimetic Desire 10
Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics 10
Seminar Ancient Philosophy/Greek: Plato’s Myths: Philosophical Fiction 5
Moral Psychology 10
Hegel's Philosophy of Right 10
Heidegger - from Dasein to Kehre 10
Philosophers of Dialogue: Levinas, Buber and Rosenzweig 10

Graduation Phase

Thesis Seminar Philosophy 0
BA Thesis Philosophy 10

More info

Attainment levels

Graduates of the programme have attained the following learning outcomes, listed according to the Dublin descriptors:

1. Knowledge and understanding

Graduates have knowledge and understanding in the area of philosophy that far exceeds the level of secondary education, in particular with regard to:

  • the historical development of Western philosophy, also in relation to the development of the various disciplines;

  • the societal and cultural significance of Western philosophy, also from a global and comparative perspective;

  • the main traditional elements of Western philosophy, their problems, their methods and their key concepts;

  • for the specialisations Ethiek en politieke filosofie (Ethics and Political Philosophy), Filosofie van mens, techniek en cultuur (Philosophy of Mind, Culture and Technology), Geschiedenis van de filosofie (History of Philosophy) and Theoretische filosofie (Theoretical Philosophy): metaphysics, Continental philosophy and political philosophy, and also recent developments in the area of the specialisation;

  • for the specialisation Global and Comparative Perspectives: the philosophical traditions of India, China and the Middle East, and also recent developments in the area of comparative philosophy.

2. Applying knowledge and understanding

Graduates are able to apply their knowledge and understanding in the area of philosophy by:

  • independently collecting philosophical literature, using both traditional and modern methods, and evaluating this literature in terms of relevance and quality;

  • independently studying and analysing philosophical texts in terms of arguments and conclusions; evaluating them in terms of their argumentative qualities; understanding their interconnections, and situating them in a broader historical, societal and academic context;

  • independently identifying and analysing problems in the area of the specialisation, critically evaluating proposed solutions, and mapping out lines of further research;

  • independently formulating a philosophical, clearly delineated research question in the area of the specialisation, situating this question in a philosophical context, and developing an argument to answer the question.

3. Making judgements

Graduates are able to:

  • formulate relevant and constructive criticisms of philosophical views and substantiate this criticisms with arguments;

  • determine their position on philosophical questions and support this position with arguments.

4. Communication

Graduates are able to:

  • clearly express themselves both orally and in writing in the programme’s language(s) of instruction (Dutch and English for the specialisations Ethiek en politieke filosofie [Ethics and Political Philosophy], Filosofie van mens, techniek en cultuur [Philosophy of Mind, Culture and Technology], Geschiedenis van de filosofie [History of Philosophy] and Theoretische filosofie [Theoretical Philosophy], and English for the specialisation Global and Comparative Perspectives);

  • to chair academic discussions and to participate in these in a relevant and constructive manner;

  • give a clearly structured and accessible argument in the form of an oral presentation, supported by digital presentation techniques;

  • clearly explain complex issues in writing.

5. Learning skills

Graduates are able to:

  • ask for feedback and process other people’s criticism;

  • independently formulate and execute a research plan.

Furthermore, each humanities programme at Leiden University trains students in the general academic skills formulated by the Faculty. These skills relate to the Dublin descriptors Judgement, Communication, and Learning skills as specified in Appendix A of the general section of the BA Course and Examination Regulations (OER).

Full-time and part-time

The BA programme Philosophy: Global and Comparative Philosophy is offered as a full-time programme as well as a part-time programme.


To be announced.

Regulations on the Binding Study Advice (BSA)

For the BA programme in Philosophy (full time and part-time) the regulations on Binding Study advice (BSA) apply. These regulations contain information concerning the (binding) study advice issued to Leiden University students during their Bachelor’s programme, the requirements to be met for the issuance of positive advice, exceptions, transitional rulings and the procedures for cases of exceptional (personal) circumstances. For the Bachelor's programme in Philosophy no additional requirements have been set.


For the BA programme Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives compensation of failed grades is possible in cases where:

a. the weighted average in the specific cluster is at least 6.0;
b. the student has no more than one failed grade for any of the study components in the specified cluster;
c. none of the grades awarded in the specified cluster is lower than 5.0;
d. at least one of the study components in the specified cluster has been graded with at least 8.0.

If a student meets these conditions, he/she is supposed to have met the requirements for the exam for which he/she prepares him/herself with this cluster of study components.

Given the above-mentioned compensation scheme, the following clusters of study components exists within the programme.

In the propaedeuse compensation between the courses is possible within the following cluster:

Cluster 1

  • Comparative Philosophy I: Classical Readings

  • Comparative Philosophy II: Methodology

  • Epistemology

  • Ethics

  • Logic

  • Philosophy of Culture

Compensation is not possible after the propaedeuse.

BA Thesis and graduation requirements

To be announced.

Master's programmes after graduation

MA in Philosophy

The bachelor's degree in Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives gives direct admisson to the following specialisations of the one-year master's programme in Philosophy 60 EC at Leiden University:

  • Ethics and Politics (as of 2020-201: Moral and Political Philosophy)

  • Global and Comparative Philosophy (starting 2020-2021)

  • History and Philosophy of the Sciences (as of 2020-2021: Philosophy of Knowledge)

  • Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture (as of 2020-2021: Modern European Philosophy)

  • Philosophical Perspectives on Politics and the Economy

Teacher's programme in Philosophy

A master’s programme which prepares you for a position in education in the Netherlands, for example at a secondary school or in adult education. There are a number of criteria students of Philosophy have to meet to be eligible for this programme. See ICLON, Lerarenopleiding (in Dutch), and World Teacher's Programme

Career Preparation

Career Preparation in the BA Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives

The programme

The curriculum of the English-taught BA Philosophy: Global and Compatrative Perspectives is versatile: students will broaden their knowledge in a variety of the world's traditions of thought, as well as in the ways these traditions mutually inform and enrich one another. Additionally, the series of Comparative Philosophy modules focus on classical readings, topics and methodology. In the first three semesters, the basic knowledge will be offered in lecturers and tutorial sessions. In their third year, students choose advanced seminars in their specialisation. Right from the start of the first year, students will be trained in a number of basic academic skills for working with philosophical texts, themes and problems.

How can you use this knowledge and the skills that you acquire? Which specialisation should you choose within your study programme and why? What skills do you already have, and what further skills do you still want to learn? How do you translate the courses that you choose into something that you’d like to do after graduation?

These questions and more will be discussed at various times during your study programme. You may already have spoken about them with your study coordinator, the Humanities Career Service or other students, or made use of the Leiden University Career Zone. Many different activities are organised to help you reflect on your own wishes and options, and give you the chance to explore the job market. All these activities are focused on the questions: ‘What can I do?’, ‘What do I want?’ and ‘How do I achieve my goals?’.


You will be notified via the Humanities website, your study programme website, and email about further activities in the area of job market preparation. The following activities will help you to thoroughly explore your options, so we advise you to take careful note of them:

First year

Second year

Third year

Transferable skills

Future employers are interested not only in the subject-related knowledge that you acquired during your study programme, but also in the ‘transferable skills’. These include cognitive skills, such as critical thinking, reasoning and argumentation and innovation; intrapersonal skills, such as flexibility, initiative, appreciating diversity and metacognition; and interpersonal skills, such as communication, accountability and conflict resolution. In short, they are skills that all professionals need in order to perform well.

It is therefore important that during your study programme you not only acquire as much knowledge as possible about your subject, but also are aware of the skills you have gained and the further skills you still want to learn. The course descriptions in the e-Prospectus of the BA Philosophy include, in addition to the courses’ learning objectives, a list of the skills that they aim to develop.

The skills you may encounter in the various courses are:

  • Collaboration

  • Persuasion

  • Research

  • Self-directed learning

  • Creative thinking

Courses of BA Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives

Courses of the study programme obviously help to prepare you for the job market. As a study programme, we aim to cover this topic either directly or less directly in each semester. Within the BA Philosophy, this takes, for example, place within the following courses:

First year

Second year

Third year


If you have any questions about career choices, whether in your studies or on the job market, you are welcome to make an appointment with the career adviser of the the Humanities Career Service 071-5272235, or with your Coordinator of Studies, Patsy Casse.