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Course overview

  • Expand your knowledge of philosophy
  • Deepen your philosophical skills
  • Increase your ability to shape lives, institutions, and society.

You will develop your own route through the MA in the areas that interest you most. 

You'll be able to combine traditional areas such as ethics and metaphysics with emerging ideas, such as applied, environmental, and social philosophy.

Working with our research active academics on a range of taught modules you'll also produce a dissertation. This is an in-depth piece of original work developed with strong support and guidance from a member of staff.

Department strengths

These include:

  • Applied, Feminist and Social Philosophy
  • Metaphysics and Mind
  • Logic and Language
  • Philosophy of Science
  • History of Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Epistemology
  • Moral Philosophy

Our community

For more details on our research, teaching and what it is like to study with us see the Department of Philosophy website.

Why choose this course?

Tackling issues

Contributing to positive social change with our Centre for Social Philosophy and the Political Epistemology Network

Top student feedback

100% of students agree the course “is intellectually stimulating” and “has enhanced my academic ability”.

Postgraduate taught experience survey, School of Humanities

Research excellence

The majority of our research activity is graded as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'.

Course content

Your masters is made up of 180 credits.

  • Subject modules x5 – 20 credits each
  • Dissertation – 60 credits
  • Faculty-wide module – 20 credits

You'll also have the opportunity to take a range of lectures from the undergraduate programme. If you're interested contact Dr Aness Webster, Director of Postgraduate Taught Studies for more information.

Modules

Philosophy subject modules

Explore a wide range of theoretical and applied issues from ancient history to contemporary life.

Philosophical Topics

The module will cover topics from a range of areas in philosophy by focusing on particularly influential pieces of work. The module will cover one philosophical topic each week.

Representative areas of philosophy include (but are not limited to):

  • Philosophy of Language (Frege, Russell, Geach, Milikan, Saul, etc.)
  • Epistemology (Haack, Zagzebski, etc.)
  • Philosophy of Mind (Putnam, Chalmers, Churchland, etc.)
  • Metaphysics (Quine, Kim, Thomasson, etc.)
  • Political Philosophy (Rawls, Arendt, Appiah, etc.)
  • Ethics (Ayer, Anscombe, Parfit, Nussbaum, etc.)
  • Feminist Philosophy (Alcoff, Anderson, Haslanger, Fricker, etc.)
  • History of Philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Cavendish, Spinoza, etc.)

 This is a compulsory module worth 20 credits.

Ethics

This course will examine debates in ethics, construed broadly to cover issues in applied ethics, normative ethical theory and meta-ethics.

The course may include detailed study of particular theories which aim to articulate and justify the nature and content of morality.

The particular theories studied will be tailored to the ongoing research interests of the convenor.

Representative topics include (but are not limited to):

  • the nature of moral obligations
  • the demandingness of moral obligations
  • the action-guidingness of ethics
  • ethics and decision procedures
  • the objects of ethical evaluation
  • moral principles such as the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, and Double Effect
  • the nature and evaluability of moral emotions such as guilt and shame
  • theories of right action such as consequentialism, deontology, virtue ethics and particularism
  • axiology
  • the value of nature
  • feminist ethics
  • the objectivity of ethics (realism and anti-realism)
  • the nature and structure of moral concepts
  • applied ethical topics such as the ethics of abortion, euthanasia, vegetarianism and cloning.

The module aims to provide the opportunity for advanced study of contemporary debates in normative ethics, applied ethics and meta-ethics. In particular, it aims to enable students to familiarise themselves with debates in this area up to a level suitable as a basis for further research.

Representative authors include Dale Jamieson, Brad Hooker, Philippa Foot and Christine Korsgaard.

This is a compulsory module worth 20 credits.

Knowledge and Language

The module will cover questions in epistemology and the philosophy of language.

Typical topics covered include (but are not limited to):

  • Approaches to theories of knowledge (including conceptual analysis and formal approaches)
  • Internalism, externalism, and contextualism
  • Social epistemology
  • Theory of meaning (including proper names)
  • Speech act theory and pragmatics
  • Discourse about fictions

 This is a compulsory module worth 20 credits.

Mind and Metaphysics

The module will cover questions in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics.

Typical topics covered include (but are not limited to):

  • Essence, grounding, and the nature of modality
  • Causation, counterfactuals, and laws of nature
  • Nature of time and space
  • The nature of mind and consciousness
  • Perceptual experiences and illusion
  • Alief and belief

 This is a compulsory module worth 20 credits.

Social and Political Philosophy

This course will examine some of the major questions of social and political philosophy through the detailed study of traditional and contemporary writings.

Representative topics could include (but are not limited to):

  • political obligation
  • immigration
  • structural injustice
  • civil disobedience
  • punishment
  • multiculturalism
  • war and pacifism
  • global poverty
  • distributive justice
  • philosophy of social categories (including race and gender).

 This is a compulsory module worth 20 credits.

Dissertation

Dissertation

A 12 000-word dissertation on a topic agreed with the supervisor and the Director of Postgraduate Studies.

Your dissertation is usually completed during the summer.

This is a compulsory module worth 60 credits.

Faculty-wide modules

Choose one from this group of interdisciplinary modules.

Arts in Society

We will help you to apply your arts MA across society to enhance your career and contribute to wider society.

We'll demonstrate how the arts can be used to:

  • transform society, politics and culture
  • enhance the careers of arts and humanities MA students.

You'll be able to explore, explain and then detail how your disciplinary skills can impact upon wider issues to emphasise the applicability of the arts and humanities. From the role of the scholar activist to understanding ‘knowledge transfer’ and ‘public engagement’, you'll develop professional skills in preparation for a career within academia or across a range of sectors.

You will:

  • harness the ways in which the arts and humanities enable us to think differently and to innovate
  • work on issues of research, networking, grant-writing and cultural exchange
  • learn how to engage, communicate and create.

This module is worth 20 credits.

 

Mastering the Arts: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Research

This module has been developed to introduce you to a range of research techniques and methodologies. It will also help you develop a variety of valuable transferable skills for your future career.

You will achieve:

  • greater confidence in dealing with original research
  • a recognition of the huge range of approaches that can be used to address research questions.

We build on the research skills you have already developed during both your undergraduate degree and discipline-specific MA modules. The emphasis is on:

  • ensuring you are possessed of a range of practical ways to approach research
  • making you think about the nature of your discipline-specific approaches within a context of growing interdisciplinarity.

You will have the chance to consider topics as varied as:

  • academic publishing
  • digital transformations
  • use of illustrations in dissertations.

You will also have the opportunity to hear academics from across the Faculty talk about the problems they have confronted and how they overcame them.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Mastering the Arts introductory video 

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 30 April 2021.

You will be expected to take three modules in the first year and three in the second plus the dissertation. There is flexibility in which you take each year.

Philosophy subject modules

Philosophical Topics

The module will cover topics from a range of areas in philosophy by focusing on particularly influential pieces of work. The module will cover one philosophical topic each week.

Representative areas of philosophy include (but are not limited to):

  • Philosophy of Language (Frege, Russell, Geach, Milikan, Saul, etc.)
  • Epistemology (Haack, Zagzebski, etc.)
  • Philosophy of Mind (Putnam, Chalmers, Churchland, etc.)
  • Metaphysics (Quine, Kim, Thomasson, etc.)
  • Political Philosophy (Rawls, Arendt, Appiah, etc.)
  • Ethics (Ayer, Anscombe, Parfit, Nussbaum, etc.)
  • Feminist Philosophy (Alcoff, Anderson, Haslanger, Fricker, etc.)
  • History of Philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Cavendish, Spinoza, etc.)

 This is a compulsory module worth 20 credits.

Ethics

This course will examine debates in ethics, construed broadly to cover issues in applied ethics, normative ethical theory and meta-ethics.

The course may include detailed study of particular theories which aim to articulate and justify the nature and content of morality.

The particular theories studied will be tailored to the ongoing research interests of the convenor.

Representative topics include (but are not limited to):

  • the nature of moral obligations
  • the demandingness of moral obligations
  • the action-guidingness of ethics
  • ethics and decision procedures
  • the objects of ethical evaluation
  • moral principles such as the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, and Double Effect
  • the nature and evaluability of moral emotions such as guilt and shame
  • theories of right action such as consequentialism, deontology, virtue ethics and particularism
  • axiology
  • the value of nature
  • feminist ethics
  • the objectivity of ethics (realism and anti-realism)
  • the nature and structure of moral concepts
  • applied ethical topics such as the ethics of abortion, euthanasia, vegetarianism and cloning.

The module aims to provide the opportunity for advanced study of contemporary debates in normative ethics, applied ethics and meta-ethics. In particular, it aims to enable students to familiarise themselves with debates in this area up to a level suitable as a basis for further research.

Representative authors include Dale Jamieson, Brad Hooker, Philippa Foot and Christine Korsgaard.

This is a compulsory module worth 20 credits.

Knowledge and Language

The module will cover questions in epistemology and the philosophy of language.

Typical topics covered include (but are not limited to):

  • Approaches to theories of knowledge (including conceptual analysis and formal approaches)
  • Internalism, externalism, and contextualism
  • Social epistemology
  • Theory of meaning (including proper names)
  • Speech act theory and pragmatics
  • Discourse about fictions

 This is a compulsory module worth 20 credits.

Mind and Metaphysics

The module will cover questions in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics.

Typical topics covered include (but are not limited to):

  • Essence, grounding, and the nature of modality
  • Causation, counterfactuals, and laws of nature
  • Nature of time and space
  • The nature of mind and consciousness
  • Perceptual experiences and illusion
  • Alief and belief

 This is a compulsory module worth 20 credits.

Social and Political Philosophy

This course will examine some of the major questions of social and political philosophy through the detailed study of traditional and contemporary writings.

Representative topics could include (but are not limited to):

  • political obligation
  • immigration
  • structural injustice
  • civil disobedience
  • punishment
  • multiculturalism
  • war and pacifism
  • global poverty
  • distributive justice
  • philosophy of social categories (including race and gender).

 This is a compulsory module worth 20 credits.

Dissertation

Dissertation

A 12 000-word dissertation on a topic agreed with the supervisor and the Director of Postgraduate Studies.

Your dissertation is usually completed during the summer.

This is a compulsory module worth 60 credits.

Faculty-wide modules

Part-time students take one faculty-wide module. Choose either Mastering the Arts in the Autumn semester or Arts in Society in the Spring semester.

Arts in Society

We will help you to apply your arts MA across society to enhance your career and contribute to wider society.

We'll demonstrate how the arts can be used to:

  • transform society, politics and culture
  • enhance the careers of arts and humanities MA students.

You'll be able to explore, explain and then detail how your disciplinary skills can impact upon wider issues to emphasise the applicability of the arts and humanities. From the role of the scholar activist to understanding ‘knowledge transfer’ and ‘public engagement’, you'll develop professional skills in preparation for a career within academia or across a range of sectors.

You will:

  • harness the ways in which the arts and humanities enable us to think differently and to innovate
  • work on issues of research, networking, grant-writing and cultural exchange
  • learn how to engage, communicate and create.

This module is worth 20 credits.

 

Mastering the Arts: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Research

This module has been developed to introduce you to a range of research techniques and methodologies. It will also help you develop a variety of valuable transferable skills for your future career.

You will achieve:

  • greater confidence in dealing with original research
  • a recognition of the huge range of approaches that can be used to address research questions.

We build on the research skills you have already developed during both your undergraduate degree and discipline-specific MA modules. The emphasis is on:

  • ensuring you are possessed of a range of practical ways to approach research
  • making you think about the nature of your discipline-specific approaches within a context of growing interdisciplinarity.

You will have the chance to consider topics as varied as:

  • academic publishing
  • digital transformations
  • use of illustrations in dissertations.

You will also have the opportunity to hear academics from across the Faculty talk about the problems they have confronted and how they overcame them.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Mastering the Arts introductory video 

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 30 April 2021.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Supervision

We use a variety of teaching styles. These are mainly focused around seminars and small-group discussions, usually involving student presentation and peer-to-peer feedback.

How you will be assessed

  • Essay
  • Dissertation

Pass criteria

You must achieve an overall mark of 50%. Your overall mark is a weighted average of your seven modules (six taught and the dissertation).

Contact time and study hours

The minimum scheduled contact time you will have is 20 hours per module. The dissertation has a maximum of five hours one-to-one contact time.

We have an “open door” policy so staff can be available outside your scheduled contact time to discuss issues and develop your understanding.

As well as your timetabled sessions you’ll carry out extensive self-study. This will include course reading and seminar preparation. As a guide 20 credits (a typical module) is about 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study).

Philosophy modules typically have 8-10 students in a cohort.

Your lecturers will be from our academic staff

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 in philosophy or related subject

Applying

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

Qualification MA
Home / UK £8,500
International £20,000

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Funding

Thanks to the generosity of our alumni and partners we sometimes have funding available for Philosophy postgraduate students. For the latest details, application forms and deadlines see our funding page.

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

Graduate destinations

Philosophy doesn’t lead to a single specific career – it leads into a huge range of professions!

Our graduates go on to many different sectors including:

  • business and finance
  • commercial, industrial and public sector management
  • marketing, sales and advertising
  • academic research

We have a good track record of our MA students progressing to our Philosophy PhD

Career progression

78.4 % of postgraduates from the Faculty of Arts secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £23,045*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" One of my favourite things about philosophy is its breadth. Not only is the subject itself hugely varied but we can philosophise about all sorts of other subjects; science, art, law, religion, to name just a few. As the convenor of one of our MA modules called “Philosophical Topics”, I’m particularly excited to take a whirlwind tour of ten different topics in philosophy! "
Dr Aness Webster, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Friday 30 April 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.