Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

Philosophers are prone to asking critical questions: about humankind, the world and society. Not satisfied with simple answers, philosophers will try to shed a light on these issues by looking at them from all the relevant angles. In their search for answers, philosophers delve deep for underlying motives and rational explanations.

Bachelor's Programme
3 year 180 credits
Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
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Programme summary
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What

Philosophy starts with wonderment. Philosophers are prone to asking critical questions: about humankind, the world and society. Not satisfied with simple answers, philosophers will try to shed a light on these issues by looking at them from all the relevant angles. This wonder results in a persistent demand for quality of argumentation. In their search for answers, philosophers delve deep for underlying motives and rational explanations. A philosopher’s search has no fixed end point: what is important, is the rational search for insights while continuously asking new questions. Since antiquity, our way of thinking has been influenced by great philosophers. For that reason, our Philosophy programme largely consists of a critical analysis of answers to fundamental questions then and now. In addition to a thorough historical study of philosophical texts, our programme also strongly focuses on critical reflection on contemporary issues in terms of ethics, epistemology and other philosophical disciplines. A thorough study of important thinkers in history in combination with a focus on contemporary issues results in Philosophy students who learn to build arguments in a critical and autonomous manner, and who are able to contribute to contemporary and socially critical debates.

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For whom

Have you always been a deep thinker? Are you undaunted by a considerable amount of required reading and independent work? Are you eager to delve into the - at times - age-old texts by the great philosophers? Do you have a keen interest in the issues of life and in social issues? Are you critical and can you accept that philosophy is not so much about providing answers as it is about further exploring questions? If the answer to all these questions is a resounding ‘yes,’ then our Philosophy programme will appeal to you!

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Structure

The Philosophy programme is built on the idea that general knowledge acquisition and understanding comes before specialist orientation.

  • Bachelor

The first-year curriculum contains a number of faculty-wide general course units. Together, they provide a broad framework for acquiring a basic understanding of the Humanities. Four main modules contain the curriculum’s programme-specific course units: Logic, Knowledge and Science; Man, Ethics and Aesthetics; History and Text; and Skills and Methodology, respectively. The three-year Bachelor’s programme has room for methodological course units in which you will acquaint yourself with general and philosophy-specific research skills such as researching and assessing information, formulating research questions and critically reading texts relevant to your research question, elaborating and presenting your findings in writing (and orally).

From the second year onwards, the curriculum works towards a more in-depth and specific study of Philosophy. The four main modules described above remain in place, but the focus shifts to more practical applications of philosophical insights and to textual studies. A choice of minors offers an indispensable acquaintance with non-philosophical course units, staggered over the second and third year. Moreover, the minor can sometimes give access to other Master’s programmes (after completing a preparatory programme or abridged Bachelor’s programme). In the third year, the skills that you acquire throughout the Bachelor’s programme culminate in the Bachelor’s paper: a written research assignment on a topic chosen in consultation with your supervisor.

  • Master

Specialization continues in the Master’s programme through a choice of Philosophy electives and non-philosophical course units on the one hand, and through the Master’s dissertation. The set of Philosophy electives are all specialist course units and for a large part based on ongoing doctoral research in our Department. These are best chosen in line with your Master’s dissertation topic. Distinguished students can also choose to apply for the two-year interuniversity Philosophy Research Programme.

In addition to the (domain) Master’s programme described above, you can also choose a Master’s Programme in Teaching (in Dutch: Educatieve Master) (120 ECTS-credits).

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Labour Market

The Philosophy programme usually does not lead to a fixed or rigid career path. Career opportunities that are directly in line with the programme are all situated in the academic research and/or education sectors. Research has shown that Philosophy graduates end up in cultural, sociocultural, ideological and other organizations, and even in less obvious sectors such as government services, journalism, librarianship or in the business world. Take a look at our website for a list of specific professions www.philosophy.ugent.be.

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