What is freedom and why is it valuable? What makes an argument convincing? How do body and mind interact?

Philosophy is the systematic study of fundamental questions. Students are trained to think and write in a clear manner about topics such as the relations between mind, body and cognition, the nature and basis of moral judgments, the limits of knowledge, or the principles of social justice.

The Research Master Philosophy offers you the opportunity to work with leading scholars in the history of philosophy, practical philosophy and theoretical philosophy. It prepares you for an academic career but also teaches useful skills for other jobs.

The programme offers a core curriculum on philosophical problems related to ongoing research in the faculty, as well as many opportunities to pursue your own interests.

Our personal approach makes the Faculty a wonderful place to study, and our programme is consistently ranked highly by independent assessors.

The Master's programme in Philosophy is offered both on a full-time and part-time basis.

Attractions of the Research Master in Groningen

  • Students can apply for paid Teaching Assistantships (with priority for Research Master students).
  • Half the tuition fee for non-EU students is covered by the Faculty of Philosophy.
  • Talent grants of €5000 for the best international students.
  • Two fully funded PhD positions reserved for students of our Research Master every year, and more positions available in an open competition with outside applicants.


1st year

The first year involves four 'core issue' courses of 5 EC each. These relate to core research interests of our staff, such as Kantian ethics, methods in the history of philosophy, and the problem of induction.

You also choose three specialization courses of 10 EC each. At least two of these should normally be in your area of specialization (history of philosophy, theoretical philosophy or ethics, social and political philosophy).

Finally, you follow Research in Practice 1 (10 EC), which involves training in academic English, research ethics, and presenting your research.

2nd year

In the first semester, Dutch students go abroad. International students can do this too but are not required to go abroad. It is up to you which courses you pick during this period (30 EC).

The second semester consists of writing a thesis (25 EC), and Research in Practice 2 (5 EC), which involves training in writing a research proposal for an application to PhD programmes.

Programme options

History of Philosophy (specialization)

Research and teaching of the Department of History of Philosophy focus on ancient philosophy, medieval and (early) modern thought. Important areas of research are the role of relativism in ancient thought, the transformations of the scholastic-Aristotelian worldview, the rise of modern philosophy and science in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the role of common sense and common language in early modern philosophy.

Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy (specialization)

Research and teaching in this department include normative ethics; metaethics; contemporary political philosophy; research include applied ethics; moral psychology; social ontology; critical theory; deliberative democracy; citizenship theory and theories of global justice.

Theoretical Philosophy (specialization)

The Department of Theoretical Philosophy specialises in logic, argumentation theory, epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of science, of mind, and of language. Important areas of research are the notions of agency, cognition, and probabilistic knowledge.

Honours College (honours program)

The Honours College offers talented and motivated master students the opportunity to follow a programme of 15 ECTS in addition to the Master's degree programme.

The Honours programme of the master focuses on the theme of 'leadership'.

Admission requirements

Specific requirements/ More information
assessment interview

Once we have received your application and all required documents, the admissions board will evaluate your file. Applicants may subsequently be invited for an interview (possibly via Skype). In any case, you will hear from us no later than one month after the application deadline (see below).

grade average

Academic transcript: We expect applicants to have a mean score of at least 7.5 for relevant courses (corresponding roughly to an A-/B+ in the US system) If the programme involved a thesis, it also must have received at least an 8.

language test

Proof of English proficiency: you will need to prove your proficiency in English by means of one of the following tests (the test cannot be older than two years):

  • IELTS, minimum overall score 7.0 with no band lower than 6.5
  • TOEFL 100 (section scores Reading 22, Listening 22, Speaking 26, Writing 24)

Please ask the ETS to send us the test score report using institution code 7191. This requirement does not apply if you:

  • are a native speaker and completed secondary education in any one of the following countries: Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
  • have completed your bachelor education in any one of the following countries: Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
  • have an International Baccalaureate
  • have a European Baccalaureate diploma
previous education

We expect a Bachelor's degree in philosophy or philosophy of a specific scientific discipline, or a degree which the admissions board considers to be equivalent.

reference letter

Two reference letters: these letters should be written by instructors who know the student and should describe the student's past performance and academic promise.

written request

Motivation letter: the student should explain why he or she wishes to take part in our programme and what he or she expects from it.

Job prospects

The Research Master in Philosophy prepares you to do a PhD in philosophy, but it also provides vital skills for other jobs where research and presentation skills are needed, such as journalism, government work, consultancy, publishing, and education. For those who want to pursue an academic career in philosophy, Groningen offers many opportunities.

We reserve two PhD places per year for students who have completed our own Research Master and offer several additional places for both internal and external applicants. Furthermore, the Faculty of Philosophy in Groningen is very successful at securing research grants, which fund many additional PhD and postdoc positions.

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
2 years
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