Course overview

An exciting programme that:

  • expands your knowledge of philosophy
  • deepens your philosophical skills.

It's an opportunity to explore your passions while increasing your ability to shape lives, institutions, and society.

Philosophy modules

You'll work with our research active academics on a range of taught modules. These combine:

  • traditional areas such as ethics and metaphysics
  • emerging ideas such as applied, environmental, and social philosophy.

Within this framework of taught modules you'll be able to explore your particular interests.

You will also produce a dissertation - an in-depth piece of original work produced with support and guidance from a member of staff.

Research skills

We also offer interdisciplinary modules that help you:

  • develop your research skills
  • apply your knowledge and skills in wider society.

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
  • Political and legal philosophy

Your department

  • Department of Philosophy
  • Over 80% of our publications were recognised as internationally excellent in the Research Excellence Framework 2021

"One of the great things about working with such a range of groups has been finding out just how much impact philosophy can have on people’s lives and the way that they do their jobs."

Professor Jonathan Tallant explains how his research on trust has benefited local businesses, charities and the public sector.

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

Ranked 11th out of 35 for research outputs

Course content

Your masters is made up of 180 credits.

  • 5 subject modules - 20 credits each
  • Dissertation – 60 credits
  • Interdisciplinary module – 20 credits

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



Philosophical Topics

A masters-level introduction to a range of topics in philosophy. Each week we'll focus on particularly influential pieces of work in that area. 

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

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

 This module is worth 20 credits.


You'll examine contemporary debates in ethics including applied ethics, normative ethical theory and meta-ethics.

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

Representative authors include (but are not limited to):

  • Dale Jamieson
  • Brad Hooker
  • Philippa Foot
  • Christine Korsgaard

By the end of the module you'll be familiar with the current debates at a level suitable for further research.

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

Mind and Knowledge

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 module is worth 20 credits.

Metaphysics and language

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 module is worth 20 credits.

Social and Political Philosophy

You'll 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 module is worth 20 credits.


A 10,000-15,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed with the supervisor and the Director of Postgraduate Studies. Your supervisor will have regular meetings with you to support your research and writing.

Recent dissertations include:

  • Marxism and Sex Work: A Question of Voluntariness
  • Ameliorative Approaches in the Philosophy of Illness
  • Monism, Coherentism, and the Interdependent Network
  • Is Inference to the Best Explanation Compatible with Bayesianism
  • Populism: A Conspiracy Theory at Heart
  • Can Virtue Ethics Govern our Interactions with Animals?


Arts in Society

This module helps postgraduate students recognise the range of careers and opportunities that an Arts and Humanities MA/MRes can provide.

It highlights the skills and abilities present within these programmes and provides examples of the successful application of these skills. Students will explore how subjects within the arts can be ‘applied disciplines’ that serve to be impactful in wider society through research and engagement.

Through ‘live brief’ assessments, students work in groups, utilising their Arts and Humanities skill sets, to present and produce a consultancy report for a range of organisations, including SMEs/Third-sector.

Mastering the Arts

This module introduces you to the wide range of interdisciplinary research happening in the Faculty of Arts. We invite you to ‘think outside the box’ in relation to your own research, while learning key research techniques and methods. The module aims to:

  • introduce the ideas, practices, complexities, and opportunities of interdisciplinary research in the arts
  • enable you to practice critical self-reflexivity about the conventions and expectations of your own disciplines in relation to those of others
  • train you in core research skills necessary for graduate-level study
  • develop your confidence in communicating research findings to non-specialist audiences

You will build on your existing research skills gained from your university career to date. Furthermore, you will develop a more nuanced understanding of your own research practice, inspiring you to explore different approaches questions. In addition, you will develop an understanding of professional practice in areas such as:

  • academic publishing
  • knowledge exchange
  • dissertation planning and writing
  • professional communication

This module is worth 20 credits.

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 Tuesday 01 August 2023.

Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.


You will usually take three philosophy modules in the Autumn semester and two in the Spring semester. The bulk of your dissertation work will happen over the summer.

The interdisciplinary module will happen in the Autumn or Spring semester, depending on which one you choose.


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.

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 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 in philosophy or related subject


For informal queries about postgraduate study in the department contact Dr Zachary Hoskins.

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

How to apply


Qualification MA
Home / UK £9,250
International £22,600

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).


Department of Philosophy

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


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.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

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.

"I have found that as I grow and mature my background in Philosophy serves me more and more. I know where to look when I need help dealing with the human condition, both in and out of the office."

Andrew Schafer, MPhil Philosophy 2009, now Product Specialist at Cloudflare

Career progression

60% of postgraduates from the School of Philosophy secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £22,000.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on data from graduates who completed a full-time postgraduate degree with home fee status and are working full-time within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates

Related courses

This content was last updated on Tuesday 01 August 2023. 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.