Pursue your passion for Philosophy with the diverse MA Philosophy from one of the highest-ranked Philosophy departments in the UK*.
Do we have free will? Is morality relative? Is time travel possible? Is global equality achievable? Can we justify religious belief? Can computers have consciousness? Philosophy is the systematic study of fundamental questions concerning the world and our existence in it.
Delve into life’s big questions and explore the area of philosophy that interests you most through a wide range of specialist modules. These include philosophy of mind and cognitive science; ethics, metaethics and global ethics; epistemology and metaphysics; philosophy of language; and philosophy of health and happiness.
Students on our MA Philosophy will be taught by a vibrant community of philosophers, pursuing original research on a wide range of topics on which expert supervision is available. This programme can also be used as a route into PhD research.
By studying philosophy at Birmingham you can develop many skills that are useful in both academic and non-academic settings:
Critical thinking skills: Good philosophers can analyse problems and assess opinions from different viewpoints. Philosophers do not take anything for granted. This is highly useful for problem-solving and decision-making.
Communication skills: Good philosophers can present and explain abstract concepts and complex arguments in an accessible manner. They are also good at persuading others by presenting logical and coherent arguments.
Writing skills: Good philosophers can communicate effectively in writing. They can write clearly and concisely without compromising rigour.
Research skills: Good philosophers can identify problems and collect the necessary information to resolve them in a timely manner.
*Research Excellence Framework 2014
Masters Scholarships available for September 2021 Entry
From £1500 discounts for current students, £1500 scholarships for our very best candidates, to our College of Arts and Law Masters Fees Scholarship, there are lots of funding opportunities available to study with us in September 2021.
Why study this course?
Flexibility – You have the opportunity to select a number of options from a wide range available, allowing you to focus on your specific areas of interest.
Taught by experts – You will study alongside some of the finest minds in Philosophy. Times Higher Education ranked the Department of Philosophy second in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.
Friendly and relaxed atmosphere – Staff within the Department of Philosophy are very approachable and happy to offer additional advice on academic performance.
Small classes – teaching on the masters-level modules mainly involves small-group seminars allowing you to really get to grips with the learning material.
Access to a wide range of services – as a postgraduate student you will have access to services such as the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Bank of Assessed Work which will aid your transition from undergraduate to postgraduate level, or back into academia after a time away.
You will study one core module:
Research Skills and Methods
This module provides an introduction to the methods of contemporary philosophy. Topics addressed typically include: critical thinking in philosophy, reading in philosophy, research skills, dissertation planning, and presenting philosophical arguments in written work. You will also participate in online sessions focused on generic research skills.
Assessment: Two 2,000-word essays
You will also choose five optional modules from a range which typically includes:
Ethics and Global Ethics
God, Freedom and the Meaning of Life
Philosophy of Cognitive Science
Philosophy of Health and Happiness
Philosophy of Language
Philosophy and Mental Health
Philosophy of Mind
Topics in Global Justice
In addition to your taught modules, you will conduct a piece of independent research with the support of a
supervisor, culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation.
Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.
The deadline for international students (including EU) to apply is Thursday 1 July 2021. The deadline for UK students is Thursday 9 September 2021.
Our Standard Requirements
The programme allows for multi-disciplinary entry. You need an upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, preferably in Philosophy or another relevant subject, or a Joint Honours degree of which Philosophy or another relevant subject is a component.
If your undergraduate degree is in another subject, you are still very welcome to apply. We consider every application on its merits and we are happy to consider applicants with diverse academic backgrounds. Your level of academic achievement, letters of reference, and personal statement will all have a strong influence on our decision. We may also require you to submit a writing sample. This should be around 3-4 pages long, and although it does not need to be a Philosophy essay, it should provide strong evidence of your potential for the type of discursive, analytical, writing that is required in Philosophy at the postgraduate level.
We ask you to submit two academic references as part of your application, but if you have been out of academia for some time we will also accept a professional reference in addition to one academic reference.
Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.
English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.
IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:
TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 21 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 59 in all four skills
Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - Minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component
Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.
The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team that offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.
You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:
Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV
What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.
Postgraduate employability: Philosophy
Birmingham's Philosophy postgraduates develop a range of skills that are highly desirable in the job market including articulacy, precise analytical thought, and the ability to analyse and construct sound arguments.
Due to the transferable nature of these skills, Philosophy postgraduates traditionally enter a wide range of employment areas, from teaching and lecturing to social work. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include BBC, Friends of the Earth, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Highways England, Ministry of Justice and the University of Birmingham. Over the past 5 years, 82% of Arts and Law postgraduates were in work and/or further study 6 months after graduation (DLHE 2012 - 2017).