Triangle Triangle

Course overview

An exciting programme that both expands your knowledge of philosophy and deepens your philosophical skills. It's an opportunity to explore your passions while increasing your ability to shape lives, institutions, and society.

You'll work with our research active academics on a range of taught modules. These combine traditional areas such as ethics and metaphysics with 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.

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.


"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

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 in this contact Dr Stefano Predelli, Director of Postgraduate Taught Studies for more information.



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


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.

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?


This is a compulsory module worth 60 credits.

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.

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 module is 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 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.


Choose one from this group of interdisciplinary modules, depending on your interests and career aspirations.

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 Thursday 01 July 2021.


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 2022 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 in philosophy or related subject


For informal queries about postgraduate study in the Department of Philosophy contact the postgraduate admissions tutor Dr Michael Hannon.

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

How to apply


UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2022 entry to be confirmed in August 2021.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students 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 information for applicants from the EU.

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).


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

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

This content was last updated on Thursday 01 July 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.