2020 applicants
Undergraduate Course

Integrated Master in Philosophy: Philosophy

Now In Clearing
Integrated Master in Philosophy: Philosophy

Overview

The details
Philosophy
V599
October 2020
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus

At Essex, we take philosophy back to its roots in everyday existential, social, and political problems. We embrace the relevance of philosophy to other forms of enquiry - political, cultural, legal, medical, aesthetic – and bring this to bear on urgent issues in public life, such as the controversial issues raised by mental health legislation or public policy regarding end of life care.

This degree will feed your intellectual curiosity and challenge your thinking. You’ll acquire the skills required to dig deeper into ideas and question received wisdom. You’ll rigorously examine the most fundamental questions about human life: Does God exist? Is material success all that counts in life? What do I owe to others? How free am I to decide my own future?

On the four-year MPhilos Version of this course (five years if taking a year abroad or placement year), you will gain solid knowledge in the different areas of philosophy and develop the key skills of the discipline during your first three years at Essex. In your final year, you will take MA-level modules, which will allow you to investigate more advanced topics and write a draft journal article as your final project. You’ll cover a wide range of topics from the meaning of life to capitalism and its critics, from ancient philosophy to current trends in European thought; our School has particular strengths in the areas of:

  • Ethics
  • Political Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Modern European Philosophy (including critical theory, phenomenology, and existentialism)

Our MA-level modules include:

  • Kant
  • The Frankfurt School
  • Phenomenology and Existentialism
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Critical Theory
  • Topics in Contemporary Philosophy

Why we're great.
  • Achieve a masters level qualification with this four-year course variant.
  • We focus on the existential questions of human life, and provide a critical perspective on the social, political and economic challenges we are facing today.
  • We combine Anglo-American and European Continental philosophy.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university.

Placement year

When you arrive at Essex, you can decide whether you would like to combine your course with a placement year. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

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.

Current research includes work on capitalism and competition, social pathologies, autonomy and risk in mental health care settings, the foundations of hope in end of life care, human flourishing, and much more.

Specialist facilities

Take advantage of our extensive learning resources to assist you in your studies:

  • An exciting programme of research seminars, reading groups and the Annual Essex Lectures in Philosophy, which will help you expand your philosophical knowledge beyond what you learn on your course
  • A comprehensive student support system which will direct you to the best source of advice and support in the case of personal or academic difficulties
  • An extensive and well-curated collection of Philosophy books and journals in the Albert Sloman Library.

Your future

We know that the world of work is changing. Employers want graduates who can think laterally logically and creatively about practical problems and are effective communicators.

At Essex, we are serious about providing you with a teaching environment in which you develop the skills you need to flourish in the discipline, and to be prepared for the jobs you aspire to in the future.

A degree in Philosophy at Essex provides you with:

  • The ability to analyse and solve difficult problems
  • The ability to think clearly, creatively, and self-critically
  • The ability to work in a team, taking a collaborative approach to problems

Philosophy graduates are therefore well-suited to a wide range of occupations, including law, PR, journalism and the media, the Civil Service, charity work, banking, and the NHS.

We also work with the University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course in Clearing are not published here but for most of our degree courses you will need to hold a Level 3 qualification. If you are interested in applying and have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2020 entry and find out if you are eligible. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Introduction to Philosophy

Begin your study of philosophy with an exploration of knowledge, agency, selfhood, and the vices and virtues of the mind. What does it mean to say that we ‘know’ something? How do our modes of practical interaction with the world and each other shape our ability to know different kinds of objects? How should we address questions about selfhood and identity? Are there vices of the mind that undermine our reasoning and lead our practical deliberations astray? Can the study of philosophy help us transcend such barriers to good reasoning? And can we flourish as intellectual agents?

View Introduction to Philosophy on our Module Directory

Skills for University Studies

Making the transition from school to University studies can be challenging. This module will introduce you to University life and enable you to acquire the study skills to make a success of your degree. It also orients you to work, volunteering and extra-curricular activities so that you can acquire additional skills and experience while you study.

View Skills for University Studies on our Module Directory

Death, God and the Meaning of Life (optional)

Ask life’s big questions: What, if anything, is the meaning of our lives? How can we become wise? Can we make sense of human suffering? How should we think about our own deaths? You take up these questions, first, by examining a series of ancient narratives, including The Myth of Sisyphus and Eden and the Fall; and then through the study of key works of modern thinkers including Nietzsche, Freud, Sartre, and Marx.

View Death, God and the Meaning of Life (optional) on our Module Directory

Critical Reasoning and Logical Argument (optional)

Sharpen your philosophical skills through learning how to construct and deconstruct arguments. You learn how to identify arguments in philosophical texts, how to assess arguments for logical soundness, and how to formulate your own arguments.

View Critical Reasoning and Logical Argument (optional) on our Module Directory

Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture (optional)

Certain ideas shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us - ideas like democracy, free speech, individualism, free markets, and human rights. These ideas took their definitive modern form during a politically and intellectually revolutionary stretch of history known as the Enlightenment (ca. 1650-1800). This interdisciplinary module examines this period and thus serves as an essential prerequisite for students who want to understand the intellectual currents that run through the world they live in. Graduating students often rank it among the most useful modules they have taken.

View Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture (optional) on our Module Directory

Knowledge and Reality

What is the nature and limit of human knowledge? What are the relations between faith and reason? What is the relation between the body and the mind? Study the philosophical texts of the modern era that helped lay the conceptual foundations for these questions and others. We will begin with a close reading of Descartes' Meditations before exploring both rationalist (Spinoza and Leibniz) and empiricist (Locke and Hume) responses.

View Knowledge and Reality on our Module Directory

Ethics

This is a module in ethical theory rather than applied ethics - that is, it takes up theoretical questions about the status and justification of morality rather than addressing directly practical moral problems. The exact focus will vary from year-to-year. In 2021, we will investigate one of the most influential modern theories of ethics, Kant’s moral philosophy. While students might have had a chance to study some aspects of Kant’s view before, this term will be devoted to really wrestle with its details and consider the most important criticisms lodged against it. We will look at the philosophy of action and view of freedom that underpins the Kant’s ethical outlook; at how he conceives of moral requirements; and at his strategies of justification as well as at the key objections to the Kantian ethical project from different critics. The main text will be the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals [1785], but other texts by Kant will also be discussed.

View Ethics on our Module Directory

Narrativity, Truth and Flourishing (optional)

This module examines what it means to be a self, focusing on the fundamental role that some philosophers think narratives have to play in this. Topics covered include: subjectivity, self-control, self-expression and the relational self.

View Narrativity, Truth and Flourishing (optional) on our Module Directory

Philosophy and Religion (optional)

Have you ever tried to discredit a belief by pointing out its backstory? “You only believe that because you grew up in X!” or “You only believe that because you have traits X, Y, or Z!” Philosophers call this a Genealogical Debunking Argument (GDA), because it aims to undermine some belief by describing its origin. GDAs exert significant influence in the philosophy of religion. Historically, figures like Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud wielded these arguments to great effect; and today one regularly encounters naturalistic GDAs, e.g., “You only believe in God because have a ‘god-shaped hole’ in your brain!” But are these arguments any good? That’s the question we will explore in this module.

View Philosophy and Religion (optional) on our Module Directory

The World in Question: The Social, Cultural, Political & Environmental Legacies of the Enlightenment (optional)

How have contemporary societies been shaped by the legacies of the Enlightenment, colonialism, and the different phases of capitalism? This interdisciplinary module helps you to critically understand some of the key forces and processes that have shaped the challenges we face in the 20th and 21st century. It is divided into three broad themes; Empire, The Self, and Nature. We’ll be examining processes of ‘othering’ that were intrinsic to colonialism; changing conceptions of the self; as well as both the causes of and potential solutions to the ecological crisis we are confronting today. The module is co-taught by academics from Art History, ISC, LiFTs, Philosophy, Psychoanalytic Studies and Sociology.

View The World in Question: The Social, Cultural, Political & Environmental Legacies of the Enlightenment (optional) on our Module Directory

Reading texts from the history of philosophy (optional)

In this module we will intensively examine a classic philosophical text, treating it not only as a historical document, but principally with regard to its ongoing contribution to philosophical thinking.

View Reading texts from the history of philosophy (optional) on our Module Directory

Texts in the Philosophy of Religion (optional)

This module is dedicated to close readings of key works in the philosophy of religion. For example, one might examine Augustine’s Confessions to examine the nature of the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. Can these virtues be said to be within our control? If not, how can these be considered virtues? How can I be praised for having faith, hoping, or loving if whether I have faith, hope or love is not up to me? Religious themes will be considered in light of the question of how theycan be relevant to the non-believer or practitioners of other religions.

View Texts in the Philosophy of Religion (optional) on our Module Directory

Philosophy Capstone Module

This is an intensive final-year module running over five weeks during the summer term. It involves a guided and structured approach to support students in completing a research project of their own. It will be co-taught on a particular theme, with the theme for Summer Term 2020 being “Aesthetics’ as a philosophical discipline directly addressing the relation between pure thinking and concrete issues, exploring its links with, and relationship to, knowledge, morality, politics, religion, language, even logic!

View Philosophy Capstone Module on our Module Directory

Dangerous Ideas: Essays and Manifestos as Social Criticism (optional)

Is Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal’ the best example of Early Modern Western satire? What kind of writing does George Orwell champion? What did Marx and Engels achieve with ‘The Communist Manifesto’? Examine the ‘dangerous ideas’ presented in a range of subversive essays and manifestos. Study how they challenge and satirise existing ideas and social arrangements. Experiment with writing, thus broadening the approach of your own essays.

View Dangerous Ideas: Essays and Manifestos as Social Criticism (optional) on our Module Directory

Art and Ideas III (optional)

New, exciting, and unconventional practices call for new, exciting and unconventional theories. This module deepens your existing thematic and historiographical knowledge, concentrating on contemporary art and philosophical responses to it. You’ll find out why contemporary art forced a new beginning in the way we theorise art, examine the connection between the new and the museum, and learn more about viewer participation and the role of the spectator.

View Art and Ideas III (optional) on our Module Directory

Phenomenology and Existentialism (optional)

Existentialism encompasses a variety of different thinkers unified by a.) the belief that human existence cannot be fully understood using the categories provided by the philosophical tradition or the natural sciences, and b.) a commitment to taking seriously the first-person quality of experience as it is lived. For this reason Existentialism has close ties to Phenomenology, which is a philosophical methodology defined by its insistence on examining meaning as it is experienced first-personally in order to uncover the structures governing the possibility of those meaningful experiences. In this module we will closely study one or more of the leading figures of these two inter-related philosophical movements. In 2020-2021, we will focus on Heidegger’s major work, Being and Time.

View Phenomenology and Existentialism (optional) on our Module Directory

Topics in the Philosophy of Religion (optional)

Can belief in God be reconciled with the reality of terrible evils in our world? What about those who suffer evil from other humans? What about natural evils such as COVID-19? Take an in-depth look at this central topic in the philosophy of religion and advance your understanding of key concepts such as: faith, theodicy, trial, free will, and sin.

View Topics in the Philosophy of Religion (optional) on our Module Directory

Philosophy and Medical Ethics (optional)

Discover the philosophical questions that are raised by everyday medical practice and recent developments in medical science. You consider topics including suicide, euthanasia, abortion, cloning, reproductive medicine, resource allocation, medical research, confidentiality, patient autonomy, and biopolitics.

View Philosophy and Medical Ethics (optional) on our Module Directory

MA Writing Workshop

This module provides intensive training in postgraduate-level writing and research. Each week you read something about the practice of philosophical writing, you receive an exercise designed to put what you’ve learned into practice, and you get feedback on that exercise from your writing tutor or peers or both. We explore all the core aspects of philosophical writing—style, the creative and critical phases of writing, argument reconstruction, dialectical strategies, types of analytical essays, and more. This module will not add significantly to your philosophical workload; the assignments, rather, are designed to scaffold the process of producing two postgraduate-level essays. In other words, the module aims to help you develop your skills as a writer and researcher, as you make progress on your work for other modules. Interested students are also encouraged to use this module to develop PhD applications and funding proposals.

View MA Writing Workshop on our Module Directory

Contemporary Critical Theory (optional)

According to thinkers of the ‘Frankfurt School’, modern society has become dominated by ‘instrumental rationality’, which prioritizes technical efficiency at the expense of reflection on the goals and values guiding human nature. But how do we justify critique if we assume there are no social relationships which have not been contaminated by it? And how do we prevent our vision of an alternative kind of society from being implausibly utopian, or even authoritarian? We explore these question by looking at the work of Theodore Adorno, Jürgen Habermas, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Rancière.

View Contemporary Critical Theory (optional) on our Module Directory

Kant's Revolution in Philosophy (optional)

Kant's Critique of Pure Reason 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.

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

Phenomenology and Existentialism (optional)

This module examines the philosophical methodology and relevance of a major phenomenological thinker, such as Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir or Maurice Merleau-Ponty. We will examine how this methodology addresses existential questions. For instance, in discussing Heidegger, we may address central themes such as being-in-the-world, anxiety, authenticity, and temporality - while focusing in particular on how to understand the individual's relationship to the public norms and practices through which she understands herself. In addressing, Merleau-Ponty we may address topics such as: perception, reflection, spatiality, temporality, expression, as well as the way in which certain artworks offer a form of implicit phenomenological reflection. In 2020-1 we will study Merleau-Ponty.

View Phenomenology and Existentialism (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 alienation, reification, social pathology, progress, capitalism or social freedom. The exact focus will vary from year to year.

View The Frankfurt School (optional) on our Module Directory

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

£16,050

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

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Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

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Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

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Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
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The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.


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