Research Master of Arts in Philosophy

Course content

This full time English/Dutch research master is organised by the Department of Philosophy of the University of Antwerp (UAntwerpen), the Department of Philosophy and Moral Science of Ghent University (UGent) and the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences of the Free University of Brussels (VUB). The programme offers a high-level training for excellent students who seek to develop a research career in philosophy.

Graduates of this programme are capable of developing a philosophical research project and draw up a funding application that can be filed with local, national or international funding institutions. They are able, within their areas of specialisation, to formulate original and innovative research problems based on a duly founded insight into the internationally recognised state-of-the-art in that domain. Graduates of this programme are able to work out original solutions to the selected research problems, and argue their cases clearly and convincingly. They are trained in academic writing, which enables them to act as lead authors of academic articles.

The research seminars that constitute the core of the programme cover a wide range of philosophical domains. Some relate to socially relevant topics (i.e. more applied philosophy) while others relate to more fundamental, purely philosophical domains. We offer research seminars on: Moral Psychology and Meta-Ethics; Empirical Ethics; Political Philosophy after Rawls: Equality, Justice and Diversity; Bioethics; Media Philosophy and Media Theory; Philosophy and Ethics of Gender, Sexuality and Diversity; Logic; Philosophy of Biomedical and Social Sciences; Philosophy of Mathematics and Natural Sciences; History and Philosophy of Science; Philosophy of Mind and Cognition; Philosophical Anthropology; Contemporary Continental Philosophy; Religion and Secularisation; History and Reception of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy and Religion; History of Early Modern Philosophy; Kant and Post-Kantian Philosophy; and Aesthetics/Philosophy of Art. All research seminars are taught in English.

Course structure

In principle students follow a 120 credits programme:

  • the compulsory course Developing and Writing Research Proposals in Philosophy (6 credits; taught in English);
  • five research seminars (10 credits each) from the above list;
  • a master’s dissertation (24 credits) which is written in English;
  • 40 credits advanced optional courses.

These advanced optional courses are taken from the standard master’s programmes in philosophy of the participating universities. Some of them are taught in English, some in Dutch.

Students with a standard (i.e. not research oriented) master’s degree in philosophy or moral sciences can obtain the research master’s degree through a 60 credit programme:

  • the course on research proposals,
  • three research seminars, and
  • the master’s dissertation.

The structure of the programme is such that, while students with sufficient command of Dutch have a wider choice of advanced optional courses, the degree can be obtained by following only courses that are taught in English. As indicated above, the language of instruction of the core activities (the compulsory course, the research seminars and the dissertation) is English. All details about the programme can be found at: www.researchmasterinphilosophy.be/home/programme/.

Career perspectives

The programme prepares students for a research career in philosophy. Students are encouraged to apply for pre-doctoral fellowships - e.g. with the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) or the research councils of the participating universities - with their own research proposal. Students should also apply for doctoral positions with a predetermined research project that falls within their area of expertise. Such positions are regularly advertised in academic newsletters and email-lists.