Master of Philosophy (Leuven)

General

Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

What is the meaning of existence? This is just one of the philosophical questions you’ll explore at Leuven's renowned Institute of Philosophy. The Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA) program crosses the boundaries of all philosophical disciplines, traditions, and approaches to help you form your own well-rounded view. The program aims to develop students' knowledge of philosophy by exposing them to the more advanced study of the central issues of the subject and by equipping them with the requisite research skills needed to proceed to a higher degree.

What is the program all about?

The Institute of Philosophy offers a comprehensive range of BA, MA, Research Master, and Ph.D. degrees, all taught in English. Viewed collectively, our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees aim to familiarise students with the history of philosophy as well as with contemporary movements in analytic and continental philosophy so that they are able to engage with the fundamental areas of philosophical research. The Institute of Philosophy is proud to offer its students a broad philosophical education and a wide range of courses and seminars, as well as personalized study support and guidance.

The aim of the MA program is to deepen students’ knowledge of philosophy by exposing them to the more advanced study of the central issues of the subject and by equipping them with the requisite research skills needed to proceed to a higher degree. The program is comprehensive and at the same time allows students to begin to develop their own specialization.

Structure

The Master of Arts in Philosophy is a one-year program providing a broad range of both historical and systematic Core Courses which, together with elective courses, guarantee the comprehensiveness of the program. Yet, the program structure allows students to deepen their knowledge in a particular philosophical domain or period, thus laying the basis for their future specialization.

The Master’s Thesis is a key part of the program, where students demonstrate their research, writing and argumentative skills, as well as thorough insight in the chosen research question and the correct use of primary and secondary sources. Students are encouraged to present their thesis research to the international audience of fellow students, permanent teaching staff and young researchers associated with the institute at the yearly Graduate Student Conference. The Institute of Philosophy has hosted the conference with great success since 2011. For help with the writing process or preparing a presentation, students can turn to the HIW Skills Lab.

Strengths

Philosophy has been taught at KU Leuven since its founding in 1425. Throughout the centuries, the university has remained an important and influential center of philosophical thought, with a strong commitment to the international dimension of education. In more recent times, the Institute of Philosophy, established in 1889, has continued this august tradition and is now an internationally recognized center of philosophical research and education.

The Institute of Philosophy is international in every sense of the word.

  • It offers a complete program of philosophical studies in English, in addition to a complete program in Dutch.
  • It has its roots in the eminent tradition of European continental philosophy. In recent years, however, it has embraced other philosophical traditions ranging from Anglo-American thought to non-Western philosophy. The Institute is truly committed to philosophical pluralism.
  • Members of its teaching staff come from, among others, the USA, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and South-Africa.
  • It attracts visiting scholars and students from all over the world. Some 70 different nationalities are represented.
  • It has Erasmus+ exchange agreements with more than 40 European universities, including universities in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Madrid, Siena, and Istanbul. Master students who did the BA Philosophy at KU Leuven have the opportunity to study at a foreign partner university for one semester, in either the first or the second semester.
  • With 5 research centers, some 40 full-time staff and more than 150 adjunct faculty members, post-docs and doctoral students, it is among the largest research groups in philosophy on the continent.
  • It hosts several international conferences every year with widely varying themes and involving a mix of well-established and up-and-coming philosophers from near and far.
  • It has one of the finest philosophical libraries in the world. The library contains more than 90,000 volumes and maintains subscriptions to more than 300 journals. It is user-friendly, with open stacks, a liberal lending policy, extensive electronic resources, and an online catalog.
  • In 2018 the Institute of Philosophy was ranked 31st in the world among philosophy programs (QS World University Rankings).

Faculty

The Institute offers the most attractive opportunity for studying philosophy in Europe. Let this one-year program open doors for your further research at other universities, or introduce you to our pre-doctoral program, the Research Master in Philosophy.

Is this the right program for me?

Prospective students should have a BA in Philosophy degree from KU Leuven or another recognized university or the equivalent (BA in a related discipline and sufficient academic background in philosophy). Students without sufficient academic background in philosophy are recommended to apply to our one-year BA in Philosophy abridged program. The Admissions Board of the Institute of Philosophy makes all decisions regarding equivalencies.

Prospective students should be able to further develop their knowledge of a range of philosophical themes and disciplines and build on previously acquired skills. They should be motivated to specialize in (a particular area of) philosophy and perform solid independent research at an academic level.

Career Opportunities

Graduates in philosophy go on to careers in many different sectors, including business, civil service, politics, education, publishing, media, the socio-cultural sector, journalism, academia, etc.

Many employers seek candidates who are not only well-grounded in a specific field but are also able to handle the diverse challenges arising in a fast-paced workplace. Graduates in philosophy are well-positioned to think clearly and respond effectively to the evolving challenges of contemporary employment.

Start your career, during your studies

During your bachelor's and master's program you can already shape your own profile by choosing a certain specialization, studying abroad (Erasmus), doing a work placement, or starting your own business.

The Student Career Center is happy to put you on the right track towards your first work experience. The center also coaches you in the search for an interesting job and helps you with job interviews. For students wanting to start their own business KU Leuven also has Lcie, the KU Leuven community that encourages students with innovative and entrepreneurial ideas.

Don’t know where to start? The Student Career Center's databases contain offers for jobs, volunteer work, innovation projects, and student jobs. You can also visit one of the events organized by the Career Center.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked ... Read More

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked among the top 100 in the world. Read less
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