Master of Philosophy (Leuven)
Master of Arts
What is the meaning of existence? This is just one of the philosophical questions you’ll explore at Leuven's renowned Institute of Philosophy. Its Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA) programme crosses the boundaries of all philosophical disciplines, traditions, and approaches to help you form your own well-rounded view. The programme aims to develop students' knowledge of philosophy by exposing them to more advanced study of the central issues of the subject and by equipping them with the requisite research skills needed to proceed to a higher degree..
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What is the Master of Philosophy all about?
The Institute of Philosophy offers a comprehensive range of BA, MA, Research Master and PhD degrees, all taught in English. Viewed collectively, our undergraduate and post-graduate degrees aim to familiarise students with the history of philosophy as well as with contemporary movements in analytic and continental philosophy so that they are able to engage with the fundamental areas of philosophical research. The Institute of Philosophy is proud to offer its students a broad philosophical education and a wide range of courses and seminars, as well as personalised study support and guidance.
The aim of the MA programme is to deepen students’ knowledge of philosophy by exposing them to more advanced 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 programme is comprehensive and at the same time allows students to begin to develop their own specialisation.
This is a programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
The Master of Arts in Philosophy is a one-year programme of 60 ECTS Credits. With regard to its structure, the MA provides a broad range of both historical and systematic Core Courses which, together with elective courses, guarantee the comprehensiveness of the programme. Yet, the programme structure allows students to deepen their knowledge in a particular philosophical domain or period, thus laying the basis for their future specialisation.
The Master’s Thesis is a key part of the programme, where students demonstrate their research, writing and argumentative skills, as well as thorough insight in the chosen research question and the correct use of primary and secondary sources. Students are encouraged to present their thesis research to the international audience of fellow students, permanent teaching staff and young researchers associated with the institute at the yearly Graduate Student Conference. The Institute of Philosophy has hosted the conference with much success for more than five years now. For help with the writing process or preparing a presentation, students can turn to the HIW Writing Lab.
Philosophy has been taught at KU 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 and education.
The Institute of Philosophy is international in every sense of the word.
- It offers a complete programme of philosophical studies in English, in addition to a complete programme in Dutch.
- It has its roots in the eminent tradition of European continental philosophy. In recent years, however, it has embraced other philosophical traditions ranging from Anglo-American thought to non-Western philosophy. The Institute is truly committed to philosophical pluralism.
- Members of its teaching staff come from, among others, the USA, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Ireland.
- It attracts visiting scholars and students from all over the world. Some 70 different nationalities are represented.
- It has Erasmus+ exchange agreements with more than 40 European universities, including universities in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Madrid, Siena and Istanbul. Master students who did the BA Philosophy at KU Leuven have the opportunity to study at a foreign partner university for one semester, in either the first or the second semester.
- With 5 research centres, some 30 full-time staff and more than 150 adjunct faculty members, post-docs and doctoral students, it is among the largest research groups in philosophy on the continent.
- It hosts several international conferences every year with widely varying themes and involving a mix of well-established and up-and-coming philosophers from near and far.
- It has one of the finest philosophical libraries in the world. The library contains more than 90,000 volumes and maintains subscriptions to more than 300 journals. It is user-friendly, with open stacks, a liberal lending policy, extensive electronic resources and an online catalogue.
- In 2016 the Institute of Philosophy was ranked 26th in the world among philosophy programmes (QS World University Rankings).
The 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. The Institute of Philosophy is proud to offer its students a broad philosophical education and a wide range of courses and seminars, as well as personalised study support and guidance. The Institute also hosts several international conferences every year with widely varying themes and involving a mix of well-established and up-and-coming philosophers from near and far.All its international programmes are taught in English.
Furthermore, with 5 research centres, 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 90,000 volumes and maintains subscriptions to more than 300 journals. It is user-friendly, with open stacks, a liberal lending policy and an online catalogue. The Institute offers a most attractive opportunity for studying philosophy in Europe. Let this one-year programme open doors for your further research at other universities, or introduce you to our pre-doctoral programme, the advanced MPhil programme.
- 1 March 2017 (for non-EEA citizens)
- 1 June 2017 (for EEA citizens)
For the application procedure and the specific application requirements of the Institute of Philosophy, please see www.hiw.kuleuven.be/eng/admission.
The Institute of Philosophy offers a high quality education at a very affordable fee. The exact tuition fee for the 2017-2018 academic year will be determined in the spring of 2017. Please consult the website for the most recent information: www.kuleuven.be/tuitionfees.
Is this the right programme for me?
Prospective students should have a BA in Philosophy degree from KU Leuven or another recognised university or the equivalent (BA in a related discipline and a sufficient academic background in philosophy). Students without sufficient academic background in philosophy are recommended to apply to our one-year BA in Philosophy abridged programme. The Admissions Board of the Institute of Philosophy makes all decisions regarding equivalencies.
They should be able to further develop their knowledge of a range of philosophical themes and disciplines and build on previously acquired skills. They should be motivated to specialise in (a particular area of) philosophy and perform solid independent research at an academic level.
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 as chosen by her/himself
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
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 ...
Many employers seek candidates who are not only well grounded in a specific field, but are 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.
Institute of Philosophy
Kardinaal Mercierplein 2
3000 Leuven, Belgium
tel. + 32 16 32 63 02
fax + 32 16 32 63 52
Study Advice Service
Naamsestraat 80 box 5415
3000 LEUVEN, Belgium
To contact us, please complete the contact form on our website .
- Research Master of Philosophy (Abridged Programme) (Leuven)
- Master of Advanced Studies in Linguistics (New Programme as from 2016-2017) (Leuven et al)