Objectives and Achievement Levels
Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation
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.
Graduates of the MA programme in Philosopy will have reached the following achievement levels:
- Knowledge, understanding and their applications
- knowledge and understanding in the field of systematic philosophy and its history as well as of developments in contemporary philosophy that are based on the bachelor’s programme, surpass the level of the latter and form the basis of the independent development and application of original ideas, understanding and analyses;
- awareness of the most recent discussion in the field of their specialisation in philosophy and are able to make their own contribution here;
- the ability, on the basis of the knowledge and understanding of philosophy they have acquired, to make their own contribution to current discussion within the discipline of philosophy and within new and complex contexts related to philosophy;
- the ability, on the basis of the deepened knowledge of philosophy acquired during the programme, are able to deal with complex philosophical problems and formulate judgments based on information from different kinds of source, even when this information is incomplete or uncertain;
- a realistic view of the reliability of their own conclusions;
- the ability to integrate different approaches to philosophical questions and/or compare them with each other.
- the ability to give a clear explanation of philosophical problems, ideas, theories, interpretations and arguments. This is for both a specialist and non-specialist audience, in English as well as, for Dutch-speaking students, in Dutch;
- the ability to write philosophical papers that show the potential to approach the level of articles in national and international academic journals in the field of philosophy.
- Learning skills
- the possession of learning skills that allow the graduate to continue her study of philosophy more or less independently within a research context as well as to draw up a research proposal for a PhD.
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.
Students in the MA Philosophy (60 EC) follow one research seminar (10 EC) and three optional courses (10 EC each); they also complete a 20 EC master’s thesis.
The one-year master’s programme in Philosophy consists of the following tracks: History and Philosophy of the Sciences, Ethics and Politics, and Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture. Studens follow the research seminar that is compulsory for their chosen track. Further, students choose three optional courses (each 10 EC). At least one of these optional courses must be part of the chosen track. Not more than two of the four courses (including the research seminar) can have the same instructor. The MA courses on offer have yearly varying subjects and the choice can be made from all courses listed in the overview. The MA programme will be concluded by a master’s thesis of 20 EC.
Students are allowed to include an internship of not more than 10 EC in their MA programme. The internship will replace one of the three optional courses of 10 EC.
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 a year and a half. The only difference between the two programmes is in the length of time required for their completion; in content they are identical.
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 track. 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.)
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. 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.
The master’s thesis shall be defended as part of the final examination. The grade of the master’s thesis is determined by the examiners after the questioning (defence of the thesis) in the MA examination. The final examination may be held at any time during the academic year. However, graduation within the current academic year is only guaranteed when the final draft of the thesis has been approved of by the supervisor on July 1st at the latest.
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.