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MA Philosophy

Explore contemporary issues in Philosophy

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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in the UK for research in Philosophy

according to the Times Higher Education's ranking of the latest REF results (2021).

for our research impact

according to the Times Higher Education's ranking of the latest REF results (2021).

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.

Gender equality

We hold an Athena SWAN bronze award for our commitment to gender equality.

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 learn about dissertation preparation, and will work on postgraduate research skills. Later in the year you and your peers will hold an in-house conference.

You'll attend regular research seminars (colloquia) in the department at which guest speakers will discuss their latest research.

Course structure for part-time study

Year 1: Reading Philosophy and two option modules.

Year 2: Research Skills and Dissemination Practice, two option modules and your dissertation. 


Your 10,000 word dissertation enables you to produce a sustained piece of critical writing on a topic of your choosing. 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 to enable you to write your proposal, with further support later in the year. 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 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

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

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Funding information

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

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

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

Funding opportunities

Departmental scholarship information

For further information on all eligibility criteria and how to apply for our scholarships see our funding opportunities for Philosophy.

David Efird Masters Scholarship

Eligibility: Home, EU or international students pursuing research in the field of philosophy of religion, or research on contemporary issues or themes using a philosophy of religion perspective. 
Scholarship award: £5,000 reduction in fees for Home/EU or international students.

Xenophanes Scholarship

Eligibility: Home (UK) students. 
Scholarship award: a contribution of £5,000 towards living costs.

Roger Woolhouse Prize

A prize of £500 awarded to the MA Philosophy student who achieves the highest essay mark (>72) in the MA assessment period. 

The David Efird Student Prize

A prize of £300 will be awarded to the student who achieves the highest essay mark (>72) in the field of philosophy of religion, or research on contemporary issues or themes using a philosophy of religion perspective.

Find out more about Philosophy scholarships

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 some modules
  • you'll write a research proposal and complete a reflective journal for the skills element of Research Skills and Dissemination Practice
  • you'll present a paper, chair a session, and complete a funding proposal for the dissemination element of Research Skills and 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

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

  • Teacher
  • Chaplain
  • Local government officer
  • Policy officer
  • Social researcher
  • Business analyst

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
Through reflection and study of decisions, and the application of philosophical tools, we can improve the quality of decisions that institutions take
Harry Evans
Senior Strategy Advisor, NHS

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in a degree that includes some philosophy.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

You will need to submit examples of written work with your application. Please see our guidance on submitting written work.

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:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 7.0, minimum 7.0 in Writing and 6.5 in all other components
Cambridge CEFR C1 Advanced: 185, with a minimum of 185 in Writing and no less than 176 in all other components
Oxford ELLT 8, minimum of 8 in writing and no less than 7 in all other components
Duolingo 130, minimum 130 in Production and 120 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT C1 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 75 with a minimum of 75 in Writing and no less than 70 in all other components
KITE 495-526, with 495-526 in writing and 459-494 in all other components
Skills for English C1: Pass overall, with Pass in each component
PTE Academic 67, minimum of 67 in Writing and 61 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 haven't 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 English language test 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 online. 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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