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MA Philosophy

Explore contemporary issues in Philosophy

Year of entry: 2020


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

Postgraduate opportunities

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On our MA in Philosophy you'll engage with key issues at the centre of contemporary debates, and you'll gain up-to-date knowledge of philosophy across a broad range of topics.

The flexible programme gives you the opportunity to choose option modules, and provides training in critical thinking and analysis. You'll be able to create a substantial piece of research following your own interests.

You'll develop valuable transferable skills in research and presentation which will be essential if you are thinking of continuing to study to PhD level. The skills that you develop on the course will also equip you for a range of careers.

Course content

On the MA in Philosophy you'll study issues at the centre of contemporary debates. Teaching will be research-led, drawing on our strong and diverse research community.

We have strong research interests in history of philosophy, philosophy of mind, ethics, aesthetics, and several other fields, allowing you to cover a broad range of philosophical issues.

You'll study seven modules over the course of the year. You'll learn about dissertation preparation across three terms, and will work on postgraduate research skills across two terms.  During your third term you and your peers will hold an in-house conference.

Course structure for part-time study

Year 1: Topics in Practical Philosophy, Postgraduate Research Skills, Topics in Theoretical Philosophy and the Project Essay module.

Year 2: Choose an option module, study Dissertation Preparation and Dissemination Practice, as well as complete your dissertation. 


You'll study five core modules, and two 20-credit option modules. Option modules will vary from year to year according to staff availability.

Core modules

Option modules

These are 20-credit modules

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


Your 10,000 word dissertation enables you to produce a sustained piece of critical writing on a topic of your choosing, and it is worth 60 credits. It will allow you to apply the core knowledge, skills and experience that you have gained in the previous stage of the course.

You'll attend dissertation preparation seminars in Term 1 to enable you to write your proposal, with further support in Terms 2 and 3. You'll be supervised by a member of staff with expertise in the relevant area.

Recent dissertation topics have included the perception of the present, personal identity, the puzzle of imaginative resistance, the preservation of endangered species, freedom of expression, ethics and the environment and the unreality of time.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Critically review current scholarship and research on key problems, issues and debates across a wide range of areas of philosophy.
  • Apply critical perspectives to current research in their field in a technically proficient yet accessible and clear manner informed by current practice, scholarship and research.
  • Work effectively and collaboratively in the planning, organization, and delivery of significant research events and reports (in a manner continuous with best practice at a professional level).
  • Take full ownership of their own development as researchers and professionals, continually reflecting on their own practice, progress and received feedback, and seeking assistance where appropriate.
  • Give presentations of their ideas and arguments at a professional level (aligned with best practice) to varied audiences.
  • Create detailed and persuasive project proposals at a high level (continuous with best practice in professional research proposals), and initiate, develop and complete substantial independent projects.
I particularly liked the broad course content offered by the Department of Philosophy at York, as well as the combination and balance of taught and research elements. The teaching staff are brilliant. Their combination of academic rigour and approachability is winning. They are always happy to provide feedback and discuss lines of thought.
Daniel, MA in Philosophy

Find out more about the course from our students.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2020/21

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £8,040£18,240
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Departmental scholarship information

Roger Woolhouse Prize

Each year a prize of £500 is awarded to the student on the MA in Philosophy programme who achieves the highest essay mark (>72) in the January MA assessment period. This prize is generously funded by the widow and family of Professor Roger Woolhouse, who taught at York from 1969 until his retirement in 2001. 

Further information on funding opportunities for Philosophy.

The Jane Tomlinson Masters Scholarship

For September 2020 entry, the Department of Philosophy will be offering the Jane Tomlinson Masters Scholarship which is in the form of a fee-waiver at the UK/EU rate.

Students applying for the taught MA in Philosophy on either a full or part-time basis will be considered for the Scholarship automatically provided that their course application has been received by midnight (UK time) on 28 February 2020.

The Scholarship will be awarded on the basis of academic merit. The successful candidate will be notified in March 2020 and reserve candidates will also be notified.

The awarding of the Scholarship will be subject to candidates meeting any outstanding conditions of their offer of a place on the Taught MA in Philosophy and registration on the programme.

For further information please email:

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You'll be taught by intensive seminars and individual or small-group tutorials, which will allow you and your tutors to systematically explore complex issues at the forefront of Philosophy.


You'll be part of a lively research community at the Humanities Research Centre which includes staff, postgraduate students, postdoctoral scholars and academic visitors from across the arts and humanities. 

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Philosophy on Campus West. Most of your contact hours will be nearby on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Your work will be assessed in a variety of ways:

  • you'll write a 4,000 word essay for each option module, and for the core modules Topics in Theoretical Philosophy and Topics in Practical Philosophy
  • you'll complete online academic exercises plus a reflective journal of academic talks that you have attended for Postgraduate Research Skills
  • you'll present a paper, chair a session, and produce a team report for Dissemination Practice

You will also receive assignments throughout your course which will provide constant feedback on your development, and help prepare you for your assessments.

Philosophy seminar
Philosophy seminar

Careers and skills

Studying Philosophy develops skills that are highly sought after by employers and transferable to many different careers. Our graduates have gone on to roles in marketing, education, finance, IT, the charity sector, tourism and leisure industries, as well as into academia.

Career opportunities

  • Academia
  • Advertising, marketing and PR
  • Business
  • Banking
  • Finance
  • Central and local government
  • Law
  • Management

Transferable skills

  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Constructing and defending a coherent argument
  • Grasping complex ideas
  • Creatively imagining alternative possibilities and problem solving
  • Presenting your research
  • Time management and independent study skills

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in a degree that includes some philosophy.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 7.0, minimum 7.0 in Writing and 6.5 in all other components
PTE Academic 67, minimum of 67 in Writing and 61 in all other components
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 185, minimum 185 in Writing and 176 in all other components
TOEFL 96, minimum 24 in Writing and 23 in all other components
Trinity ISE III Distinction in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Philosophy Postgraduate Admissions

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Department of Philosophy

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