Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
Master of Arts
EducationThe Institute of Philosophy offers a comprehensive range of BA, MA, MPhil and PhD degrees. Viewed collectively, our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees aim to familiarise students with the historical traditions of philosophy as well as with contemporary movements in English-speaking and Continental Philosophy so that they are able to tackle the fundamental areas of philosophical research. All its programmes are taught in English. Courses are taught by means of lectures and seminars, while doctoral study is based around meetings with a supervisor.
The MPhil is situated in the curriculum of the Institute of Philosophy after the BA and MA. The MPhil programme is primarily research-oriented and functions as a first step towards the doctoral programme. Students should already have acquired a broad and somewhat specialised knowledge of philosophy and possess the skills needed to conduct independent research. The MPhil aims to deepen this knowledge, with particular focus on an area of research in which the student wishes to prepare a PhD. The process of gaining more in-depth knowledge and the process of specialisation go hand in hand. The objective is to obtain a thorough familiarity with and fundamental understanding of an area of research, and thereby to attain a level of expertise demonstrating this.
The Master of Arts in Philosophy (MPhil) is an advanced Master's programme. You can follow this programme on a full-time or part-time basis.
ProfileProspective students are expected to have obtained a general and thorough knowledge of the history of philosophy and of the discipline's most important research domains. Students should be able to demonstrate a high level of academic achievement in previous studies, for instance, by having graduated at the top of their class at the MA level. Students should have proven research abilities. Their motivation and interest should be clearly stated in the application file, the evaluation of which will play an important role in the admission decision. Students should have a recognised MA degree in Philosophy or an academic background in philosophy equivalent to the MA in Philosophy. Students must also have a good knowledge of English (either native or TOEFL standards: minimum 90-100 on internet-based test, or an IELTS score of 6.5-7.5 pt. Other English language proficiency certificates or proofs of fluency are also accepted).
For specific admission requirements, click on the desired programme in the 'Choose your courses of study' section.
ObjectivesThe programme is oriented towards specialised research in philosophy. It aims to deepen a student's advanced knowledge of a topic in philosophy closely connected with the on-going research of one of the Institute's research centres. The accent is placed firmly on the development of independent research. Each student's study programme is tailored to this goal. Hence there is a strong concentration on a number of fundamental research seminars during which specialised skills are developed. The programme is envisioned as a bridge or transitional programme to the doctoral programme and functions as a qualification for formal acceptance to doctoral studies at the Institute. The MPhil thesis should demonstrate the student's ability to conduct original research.
At the end of the MPhil programme, the student should:
1. Specialised philosophical knowledge in context
a) Have a profound knowledge of the recent, "state of the art" research work in her/his chosen field of research
b) Be able to engage at the highest level with the key texts in her/his chosen subdomain
c) Have genuine insight into the ongoing research of other philosophical domains
d) Be able to situate her/his own research within a much larger philosophical framework and be able to explain its significance within this framework
2. Research skills
a) Be able to formulate independently a well-defined and original research question
b) Be able to independently develop a well-defined research approach appropriate to the topic of study
c) Be able to independently conduct the research necessary for adequately addressing the research question through close reading of primary sources (preferably in the original language) and critical use of a wide range of secondary sources
3. Philosophical skills
a) On the basis of independent research in the student's philosophical subdomain be able to develop a personal philosophical standpoint and defend it in debate
4. Writing skills
a) Be able to clearly present the results of the student's research in written form in both shorter papers and a more extensive thesis, all displaying signs of professional philosophical standards
5. Presentation skills
a) Be able to clearly present and defend orally the results of the student's research
6. Intellectual maturity
a) Possess sufficient intellectual maturity to proceed to doctoral studies
b) Be able to take initiative and use creativity in the pursue of high level research
c) Be able to efficiently organise her/his research work
7. Professional skills
a) Be able to present a paper at a professional philosophical meeting, be able to write an article that meets professional standards, be able to compose a grant application in a professional manner, be able to write an application to PhD programmes, be familiar with the publication process
b) Be able to communicate effectively both in research and more general professional contexts
After graduationStudents of philosophy deepen their skills of analysis and synthesis and are thus uniquely prepared to take on a variety of different careers. Most of our graduates aspire to an academic career and go on to obtain PhDs in Philosophy, eventually working as professors or researchers. Other graduates in philosophy go on to careers in many different sectors, including: business, civil service, politics, education, publishing, media, the socio-cultural sector, journalism, academia and elsewhere. Many employers seek candidates who are not only well grounded in a specific field, but also able to handle the diverse challenges arising in a fast-paced workplace. Graduates in philosophy are well positioned to think clearly and respond effectively in the workplace.
SpotlightPhilosophy has been taught at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven since its founding in 1425. Throughout the centuries, the university has remained an important and influential centre of philosophical thought, with a strong commitment to the international dimension of education. In more recent times, the Institute of Philosophy, established in 1889, has continued this august tradition, and is now an internationally recognised centre of philosophical research. It houses the famous Husserl-Archives: Centre for Phenomenology and Continental Philosophy and the renowned De Wulf-Mansion Centre for Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy. The Institute is also home to the Centre for Metaphysics and Philosophy of Culture, the Centre for Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy and the Centre for Logic and Analytical Philosophy.
The Institute of Philosophy is committed to philosophical pluralism and aspires to the highest possible standards in education and research. Its teaching staff of more than thirty outstanding scholars offers a wide variety of challenging courses and research seminars at undergraduate and graduate levels. With nearly 700 students, from some 45 different nations, the Institute is a vibrant intellectual community that celebrates the subject of philosophy in its many forms. Furthermore, with around 100 researchers and over 100 doctoral students, the Institute of Philosophy is among the largest research groups in philosophy in the Benelux countries.
The Institute's library is one of the finest philosophical libraries in the world. It contains more than 80,000 volumes and maintains subscriptions to more than 300 journals. It is user-friendly, with open stacks, a liberal lending policy and an online catalogue. Student also have access to other excellent collections at the Central University Library, the library of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, and the considerable holdings in philosophy of other libraries within the university's library network.