The MA in Philosophy provides a grounding for advanced work in philosophy. It is designed to cater both for those with an interest in doing an MA for its own sake and for those intending to go on to pursue a PhD.
Philosophy at Southampton is internationally renowned for its research in areas such as Aesthetics, Normativity and the History of Philosophy. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework Philosophy at Southampton achieved the 7th highest score in the UK for its published work, so you will be joining a very high-calibre team.
The MA in Philosophy is a flexible programme that can be tailored to your own interests, while providing you with a solid grounding in some of the central areas of philosophy. Whether you are simply intending to build on your undergraduate studies or planning to pursue advanced research, this programme has been designed to meet your needs.
This programme will enable you to acquire a thorough training in research skills alongside the detailed study of the central works of philosophy. You will have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of options covering particular areas and particular philosophers. You can select your own pathway or adopt a pick-and-mix approach to your studies.
Duration: 1 year (full time); 2 years (part time)
Start date: September
Closing date: 1st September (an application decision cannot be guaranteed in time unless a complete application is received by this date - students requiring a visa to study should also allow extra time for visa processes)
Dissertation Length: 20,000 words
Postgraduate loans are available.
Humanities studentships may also be available: The Richard Newitt Bursary and Sue Wilson Bursaries for more information please visit Humanities Studentships
The Southampton pre-Masters can be taken if you have qualifications or grades that do not meet University of Southampton direct entry criteria but meet the minimum entry criteria for the pre-Masters further details). You will be guaranteed a place on your chosen masters degree programme subject to successfully completing the pre-Masters. Visit our pre-Masters Programme to find out more about these degree programmes.
Typical entry requirements
Average applications per place:
Academic entry requirements: First or upper second class honours degree, or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University in Philosophy or a relevant subject.
English language entry requirements: IELTS 7.0 overall, with minimum of 7.0 in writing, 6.5 in reading, listening and speaking, or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.
Selection process: Online application
Interview may be required on a case by case basis to assess suitability of course
You will take four modules and write a dissertation (of 20,000 words in length). The modules include two core modules, one specialised module, and a research skills module. The assessed work for these modules will be in the form of presentations, critical commentaries, essays and research proposals. Your dissertation may form the backbone of further advanced work towards an MPhil/PhD.
Your first semester will be devoted to two core modules: one examines topics in epistemology, metaphysics and the philosophy of mind and language, and the other focusses on central texts in the theory of value.
The dissertation work begins with Semester Two's Research Skills module, in which you will explore the challenges of formulating a research project and present an analysis of some of the texts upon which your dissertation research will focus.
For their Special Research Topic studied in semester 2, students can choose to study one subject from a broad range of options that include, among many others, the opportunity to examine the work of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Plato and Wittgenstein as well as to pursue topics in aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, and the philosophy of mind, language, and religion.
Students wishing to take a 'free elective' in Sem 2, should contact the MA Convenor if they wish to take a non-Philosophy option.
Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the
programme and the learning outcomes that a typical
student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage
of the learning opportunities that are provided.
More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide
Fees & funding
Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are
listed for UK,
EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course
Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.
Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such
essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the
academic requirements for each programme of study.
In addition to this, students registered for this programme typically also have to pay
Printing and copying
Where possible, coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. The University printing costs are currently:
A4 - 5p per side (black and white) or 25p per side (colour) A3 - 10p per side (black and white) or 50p per side (colour).
Please note: Paper sizes not recognised by the printing devices will prompt you to select the size and then charge a minimum of 50p per black and white copy and a maximum of £1 per colour copy.
You can pay for your printing by using the money loaders or by using print copy payment service by going to www.printcopypayments.soton.ac.uk
Please remember that we are unable to refund any credit that has not been used by the end of your course, so please consider this when topping up your printing/copy account.
You will be given a printing allowance of £1 per 7.5 ECTS FREN towards the costs of printing lecture handouts and/or practical scripts.
The University Print Centre also offers a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service. Current printing and copying costs can be found here: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/printcentre/copyrooms/service.page
They also provide a large format printing service, e.g. Academic posters. Details of current costs can be found here: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/printcentre/exhibition/academicposters.page
There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the
You will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
Where a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source.
Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Laboratory equipment and materials:
All laboratory equipment and materials are provided.
IT: Computer discs or USB drives
Students are expected to provide their own portable data storage device.
IT: Software licenses
All software is provided.
It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.
In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated
with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also
ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and
Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.
Learning & Assessment
A postgraduate degree from Humanities at Southampton offers you the wide and varied learning experience you should expect from a leading research university. We are committed to providing a relevant, modern and above all enjoyable experience which will ensure you graduate with the additional skills and understanding you need to start a career in any number of areas or to go on to further research.
How will you learn?
On a postgraduate taught programme teaching is led by academic staff, allowing you to engage with, and contribute to, the world-leading research carried out in Humanities at Southampton. You will complete a core programme of research skills development in tandem with a series of modules which you select according to your personal aims and objectives. Each programme offers a wide and fascinating range of modules related to our specialisms led by academics who are experts in their chosen fields of research and who wish to engage you with their experience.
You will be assessed through essays and presentations which allow us to assess and provide feedback on the development of your capacity to interpret, analyse and criticise the philosophical texts, problems and positions under debate. Not only this but you will also be assessed through a dissertation over the summer. The 20,000 word dissertation is a core element in establishing the acquisition of appropriate skills and the application of research techniques. Your supervisor will be available to provide regular and supportive advice, guidance and feedback on your progress.
A masters degree will enable you to further develop the key skills employers seek such as: time management; problem solving; team work; deadline and project management; cultural awareness; working independently; using your initiative; relationship-building; critical thinking and research analysis. Above all, you will learn to communicate your ideas and enthusiasm to a wide range of audiences.