Postgraduate Course

MA Philosophy

MA Philosophy

Overview

The details
Philosophy
October 2018
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus

Philosophy at Essex takes philosophy back to its roots in everyday existential, social and political issues. Our radical approach cuts across traditional boundaries, fostering dialogue between different schools and disciplines, and we are one of the few universities in the world that bridges the divide between the two great traditions of Analytic and Continental philosophy.

Our MA Philosophy will provide you with a rigorous grounding in modern and contemporary European philosophy. We have leading expertise in critical theory, phenomenology, German Idealism, nineteenth Century German philosophy, aesthetics, existentialism, contemporary French philosophy, philosophy and psychoanalysis, and medical humanities.

You study modules of your choice, develop your research, writing, and employability skills through an intensive Writing Workshop, and prepare an MA dissertation in your chosen area of research.

Our department is widely regarded as among the very best in the UK, having been recognised as one of the top 10 UK universities for research excellence (REF 2014).

As an alternative to our more flexible MA Philosophy, you can focus your study on a more specific area by following one of the following pathways:

MA Philosophy (Continental Philosophy Pathway)

All of our academic staff work on Continental Philosophy, including classical German philosophy (Kant and German Idealism), Frankfurt School Critical Theory (Adorno, Habermas, Honneth), nineteenth-century philosophy (Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche), and phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty).

On this pathway you choose from a range of specified topics in these areas, in addition to some outside options and a dissertation on a topic in Continental Philosophy.

MA Philosophy (Critical Social Theory Pathway)

We are the leading centre for Critical Social Theory in the UK with five members of academic staff working on the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Habermas, Honneth), contemporary French thought (Derrida, Foucault, Rancière) and issues in Critical Social Theory, such as activist political theory, theory of recognition, aesthetics and politics, deliberative democracy, and the moral limits of markets.

On this pathway you study modules on the Frankfurt School and Contemporary Critical Theory, in addition to some outside options and a dissertation on a topic in Critical Social Theory.

MA Philosophy (Philosophy and Art History Pathway)

Drawing on the collaborative and interdisciplinary approach of the School, our new Philosophy and Art History pathway enables students to get a thorough grounding in philosophical aesthetics. You explore issues in aesthetics and their bearing on other areas of philosophy (such as critical theory or existentialism) and Art History (such as aesthetic practices and curating), and profit from the wide-ranging expertise of our staff in both disciplines.

On this pathway you study modules on Philosophy/Aesthetics and Art History (dealing, for example, with Art & Politics, Art, Architecture and Urbanism, or Art, Science & Knowledge), in addition to some outside options and a dissertation on a topic in Philosophy and Art History.

Why we're great.
  • We are world-renowned for our combination of Continental and Anglo-American philosophy
  • Tailor your course to focus on continental philosophy, critical social theory, psychoanalysis, or art history
  • We're ranked in the top 10 UK universities for research excellence (REF 2014)

Our expert staff

Our courses are taught by world-class academics, and over three quarters of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014), which puts us fifth in the UK for research outputs.

Our open-minded and enthusiastic staff have an exceptionally broad range of research interests, so whatever questions in philosophy catch hold of your imagination, there is certain to be someone you can approach to find out more.

Recent projects and publications include:

  • Béatrice Han-Pile and Dan Watts’ major new research project, The Ethics of Powerlessness: the Theological Virtues Today
  • The Essex Autonomy Project, a major interdisciplinary project funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council), which aims to investigate the role of autonomous judgment in many aspects of human life
  • Peter Dews’ The Idea of Evil, Polity, 2007
  • Béatrice Han-Pile, Foucault’s Critical Project: Between the Transcendental and the Historical, Stanford University Press, 2002
  • Fiona Hughes, Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement: A Reader’s Guide, Edinburgh University Press, 2007.
  • Wayne Martin, Theories of Judgement: Psychology, Logic, Phenomenology, Cambridge University Press, 2006
  • Irene McMullin’s Time and the Shared World: Heidegger on Social Relations, Northwestern University Press, 2013
  • Fabian Freyenhagen’s Adorno’s Practical Philosophy: Living Less Wrongly, Cambridge University Press, 2013

Specialist facilities

  • Graduate students have access to desk space in the School and many students work there on a daily basis
  • A dedicated German-language course for graduate students in philosophy
  • Attend our Critical Theory Colloquium
  • Attend the Werkstatt, where recent work on phenomenology is presented
  • An exciting programme of research seminars, reading groups and mini-courses that help you expand your philosophical knowledge beyond what you learn on your course
  • Access a variety of philosophy textbooks and journals in the Albert Sloman Library and in our departmental library

Your future

Many of our philosophy graduates embark on doctoral study after finishing their MA. We offer supervision for PhDs in a range of fields including:

  • Continental philosophy
  • Critical Social Theory
  • History of philosophy
  • Applied ethics

Our graduates have also gone into careers in law, the media, local administration, HM Revenue and Customs, and top jobs in the Civil Service.

We work with our university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A Degree with an overall 2.2 in Philosophy or a related subject such as: Archaeology, Anthropology, History, Law, Literature, Politics, Sociology or foreign languages with literature components.

Applicants will be asked to provide a sample of written work

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here.Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Example structure

Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

Dissertation: Continental Philosophy (optional)

Develop your research and written skills through writing a 15-16,000 word dissertation on a philosophical topic.

View Dissertation: Continental Philosophy (optional) on our Module Directory

Dissertation: Critical Social Theory (optional)

Develop your research and written skills through writing a 15-16,000 word dissertation on a philosophical topic.

View Dissertation: Critical Social Theory (optional) on our Module Directory

Dissertation: MA Philosophy (optional)

Develop your research and written skills through writing a 15-16,000 word dissertation on a philosophical topic.

View Dissertation: MA Philosophy (optional) on our Module Directory

Dissertation: Philosophy and Art History (optional)

Develop your research and written skills through writing a 15-16,000 word dissertation on a philosophical topic.

View Dissertation: Philosophy and Art History (optional) on our Module Directory

Kant's Revolution in Philosophy (optional)

Kant's <i>Critique of Pure Reason</i> initiates a new 'critical' method in philosophy which has been highly influential in both continental and analytic philosophy. His critical method establishes a new way of thinking about the relation in which we stand to the world, and the role played by knowledge and judgement within that world. You explore the ways in which Kant has been taken up in twentieth and twenty-first century continental philosophy.

View Kant's Revolution in Philosophy (optional) on our Module Directory

Contemporary Critical Theory (optional)

Discover what is probably the most influential and significant tradition of critical social philosophy to have emerged within twentieth-century European philosophy: The Frankfurt School. This module takes either the form of concentrating on some of the leading figures (such as Adorno and Horkheimer, or Habermas, or Honneth), or focusing on specific themes such as reification, social pathology, or freedom and autonomy. The exact focus will vary from year to year.

View Contemporary Critical Theory (optional) on our Module Directory

Topics in Contemporary Philosophy (optional)

You undertake the in-depth study of a given topic in Continental Philosophy which allows you to benefit from the research-led, cutting-edge discussion of important themes and authors within the phenomenological tradition. This topic varies year-on-year, but you can expect to address a theme such as 'Transcendence and Metaphysics', 'Structure and Subjectivity', 'Medio-Passivity and Agency', 'Perception and Reflection', or Kant's <i>Critique of Judgement</i>.

View Topics in Contemporary Philosophy (optional) on our Module Directory

MA Writing Workshop (optional)

Our MA Writing Workshop provides you with intensive training in postgraduate-level philosophical writing. You write a short essay every week based on a reading assignment, and meet with your writing tutor in weekly sessions to get feedback on your submissions. You also attend weekly discussions to work both on the philosophical issues and the micro-skills of writing.

View MA Writing Workshop (optional) on our Module Directory

The Frankfurt School (optional)

Discover what is probably the most influential and significant tradition of critical social philosophy to have emerged within twentieth-century European philosophy: The Frankfurt School. The module takes either the form of concentrating on some of the leading figures (such as Adorno and Horkheimer, or Habermas, or Honneth), or focusing on specific themes such as reification, social pathology, or freedom and autonomy. The exact focus will vary from year to year.

View The Frankfurt School (optional) on our Module Directory

Philosophy and Aesthetics (optional)

Undertake an investigation into aesthetic practices, activities and objects, and their history, from artworks to the aesthetic strategies of protest movements. You reflect on the distinctive experiences that are involved in participating in aesthetic practices or perceiving aesthetic performances and objects, and debate why aesthetic practices and experiences play such a central role in continental thought, from Kant and Hegel to Adorno and Rancière.

View Philosophy and Aesthetics (optional) on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • Your modules, followed during the autumn and spring terms, generally consist of two-hour seminars
  • Modules include introductions to the topic by your tutor, presentations by you and discussions based on a programme of reading
  • We host annual mini-courses in areas of philosophy, given by visiting speakers of international reputation, which are specifically designed for our postgraduates
  • We run a number of mini-courses, seminars and conferences that our postgraduates are encouraged to attend

Assessment

  • Assessment is normally on the basis of coursework and your supervised dissertation

Dissertation

  • Your dissertation allows you to focus in depth on your chosen topic from April onwards. This enables you to gain an in depth knowledge of an area that interests you

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£7,560

International fee

£16,225

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2018 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, June 23, 2018

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

If you are applying to a masters course in Philosophy you must provide a piece of critical academic writing (2,500 words) on a topic relevant to your application.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

We want you to throw yourself in at the deep end, soak up life and make the most of those special Essex moments.

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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