Master of Philosophy
Master of Arts
EducationThe Institute of Philosophy offers a comprehensive range of BA, MA, MPhil and PhD degrees. Viewed collectively, our undergraduate and post-graduate 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 one-year Master of Arts in Philosophy programme aims to develop students' knowledge of philosophy by exposing them to more detailed study of the central issues of the subject, and by equipping them with the requisite research skills needed to proceed to a higher degree. The Master of Arts in Philosophy is an initial Master's programme. This programme can also be taken part-time.
ProfileYou have a BA in Philosophy (or another recognised university degree in a related discipline or an academic background in philosophy equivalent to the BA in philosophy). You have an interest in questions of meaning, the capacity for abstract and conceptual thought and a reflective and critical inquisitiveness with regard to your own presuppositions and particular problems.
You must 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).
While the transition from the Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy to the Master of Arts in Philosophy is marked above all by a particular emphasis on independent research, the following indications must also be present:
- an ability to develop further the knowledge of a range of philosophical themes and disciplines;
- the motivation to specialise in (a particular area in) philosophy;
- the ability to build on the knowledge and skills already acquired and perform solid independent research on an academic level, resulting in a Master's thesis.
For specific admission requirements, click on the desired programme in the 'Choose your courses of study' section.
ObjectivesThis programme aims at deepening philosophical insight already obtained and broadening this knowledge. Thus, upon completion of the programme the student should be able to proceed to further advanced work in philosophy.
At the end of the Master of Arts in Philosophy programme, the student should:
1. Specialised philosophical knowledge in context
a) Have a profound knowledge of and insight into at least one systematic or historical philosophical domain and have an appreciation of the way this domain fits together with other philosophical domains
b) Have a thorough knowledge of issues in several other systematic and historical philosophical domains
c) Be able to relate the acquired specialised philosophical knowledge to the cultural, societal and academic context
d) Have knowledge of and insight into current philosophical debates and research and be able to follow and actively incorporate them into the student's own reflections and research
2. Philosophical traditions, methods and approaches
a) Have an insight into the characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of various philosophical traditions, methods and approaches
b) Be able to apply this insight to a variety of philosophical issues
a) Have an insight into the relevance of approaches from other academic disciplines for investigating philosophical problems
4. Philosophy and society
a) Be able to reflect philosophically on societal and cultural phenomena and scientific developments
b) Be able in a professional context to provide insight into philosophy's importance in society
5. Philosophical terminology
a) Be able to correctly employ specialised philosophical concepts and terminology
6. Philosophical skills
a) Be able to formulate independently a well-defined research question and in a more extensive piece of written work situate its relevance within a broader philosophical context
b) Be able to carry out research related to that question, including judiciously selecting and critically employing specialised literature at a level corresponding to a beginning researcher
c) Be able to read a broad range of primary texts (in so far as possible in their original languages) and critically evaluate them; further, be able to employ these texts independently and accurately in a written work and in discussion
d) Be able to formulate philosophical questions relevant to current societal and philosophical debates
e) Be able on the basis of these questions to form and support a personal view and to engage in discussion concerning it
7. Critical sense
a) Be able to make a judgment in a nuanced and critical fashion, taking into account relevant values and societal impact
8. Communication skills
a) Be able to communicate the results of the student's own research and reflections to both student peers and a broader public
b) Be able to present these results in both a written and oral form and in a clear and nuanced way
After graduationMaster's programmes
*Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
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.
Information sessionsKU Leuven organises a Verderstudeerbeurs each spring. In addition, faculties also organise information sessions for many of their bridging and graduate programmes.
All information sessions for (future) Master's students
SpotlightPhilosophy has been taught at the University of 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 has its roots in the eminent tradition of European continental philosophy. In recent years, however, the Institute has embraced other philosophical traditions ranging from Anglo-American thought to non-Western philosophy. The Institute of Philosophy is committed to philosophical pluralism and aspires to the highest possible standards in education and research. Its teaching staff 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 and cosmopolitan intellectual community that celebrates the subject of philosophy in its many forms. Furthermore, with some 30 full-time staff and nearly 130 adjunct faculty members, post-docs, and doctoral students, the Institute of Philosophy is among the largest research groups in philosophy on the continent.
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. Students 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.