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Philip Engelholm, Philosophy graduate Jean-Paul Sartre Books
Philip Engelholm, Philosophy graduate
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Philosophy/European Philosophy

MA (Hons)

Ever wondered: what is time? Does my cat think? Is censorship ever justified? Explore these questions and more with one of our Philosophy courses. Examine your own beliefs and put them to the test as you investigate the views of some of the most important thinkers in the history of Western thought.

We offer MA degrees both in Philosophy and in European Philosophy (where you specialise in continental thinkers such as Sartre, Derrida and Foucault).

Why study Philosophy at Dundee?

Philosophy involves being open to new and different responses to familiar and unfamiliar questions. If you ever find yourself thinking about big questions beyond everyday experience - questions that may never have a single, final answer - then you would probably enjoy studying philosophy.

Dundee is unique in Scotland in offering a specialisation in Continental Philosophy through our degree in European Philosophy - where you'll encounter the most exciting thinkers over the last 100 years (such as Nietzsche, Sartre, Foucault, and Deleuze).

We explore how philosophy is important to real-world concerns and contemporary issues by:

  • drawing on films and artworks in our lectures
  • discussing important scientific developments
  • debating controversial ethical issues
  • looking at how texts written three hundred years ago can be relevant to political situations today

You will be encouraged to make links between philosophy and other disciplines, such as politics, literature, film, the environment, psychology, and computer science. Specialist modules and independent study options will help you to explore philosophically the topics of special interest to you.

What's so good about Philosophy at Dundee?

Philosophy at Dundee has the highest number of specialist researchers and teachers on Nietzsche, existentialism, phenomenology and recent French and German philosophy in Scotland.

Our course ties Modern European philosophy to concrete, practical, and everyday questions-such as ethics, technology, economics, communication, work and art.

"The critical skills you gain through studying philosophy can be applied to everything from music to neuroscience. I chose Dundee because the programme is innovative and strongly interdisciplinary; while small enough to give you time to regularly discuss topics with lecturers and fellow students. I'd definitely recommend the programme to others."
3rd year student, Single Honours Philosophy

More Philosophy student and graduate profiles »

Student society

The Philosophy Society is a thriving student-led group that meets regularly in term-time to listen to invited speakers and debate important philosophical questions.

Seminars, workshops and conferences

As a student with us, you will be able to attend the Philosophy research seminars, where you will hear papers by visiting international speakers working in some of the most exciting areas of contemporary philosophy. You will also be able to attend the interdisciplinary School of Humanities research seminars.

As you progress to Honours, you will be encouraged to attend workshops and conferences hosted by the staff and postgraduate students in Philosophy: recent events have examined issues in contemporary ethics, in philosophy and science, and in philosophy and art, and have investigated the work of key thinkers in contemporary European philosophy.

Field trips

Optional field trips to museums, archives and art galleries are also a regular feature, as we encourage you to link your philosophical studies to a broader cultural and social context.

"Studying philosophy at Dundee has been a very rewarding experience for me, as I followed a programme of study that covered many of the central thinkers of Western thought. As I progressed in my course, the philosophy became more challenging, but the staff are always pleased to explain concepts clearly and thoroughly, and to show the relevance of what we were studying not only to philosophy, but also to other disciplines and to modern life in general."
4th year student, Single Honours Philosophy

Degree Combinations

Degree combinations with a language (choose from French, German, or Spanish):

  • MA Philosophy with one language
  • MA European Philosophy with one language
  • MA Philosophy and European Languages (two languages)
  • MA Philosophy and English with one language
  • MA Philosophy and European Studies with one language
  • MA Philosophy and History with one language
  • MA Philosophy and International Relations with one language
  • MA Philosophy and Politics with one language

Related Courses at Dundee

Teaching & Assessment

This course is taught by the Philosophy team based in the School of Humanities.

How you will be taught

You will attend two philosophy lectures per week, in which teaching staff will introduce you to the major themes and topics of a philosopher or philosophical problem.

You will also attend a philosophy tutorial every week, where you will question and develop your own world views, construct arguments to defend them, and put together projects to illustrate them with a small group of students.

You will also engage in independent reading and research, with specially designed worksheets and assignments to help you to do this most effectively.

All Level 1 and 2 students have a tutor who leads the weekly tutorial discussion and who is there to help you if you need advice.

What you will study

Honours Degree

An honours degree normally takes four years, full time, you study levels 1-4, as described below.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

It is possible to study for most of our honours degrees in three years if you have the required grades and subjects as listed in the Entry Requirements section. You study levels 2-4 below. There are definite advantages to considering this route as the time needed to study is reduced by one year which enables you to start working and earning earlier.

Typical Degree Programme

At Level 1, you will study Plato and Descartes, as well as a variety of thinkers on the good life and the nature of reality. At Level 2 you will study existentialist philosophers such as Sartre and Camus in relation to contemporary culture, technology, and film, and topics in aesthetics and the philosophy of art..

Please note: for a Philosophy degree, students are required to take any two Level 1 or 2 modules (not necessarily one of each; it could be two at level 1, or two at Level 2).

You can then specialise in Levels 3 and 4 through taking different options including modules on technology, the self, art and religion.

For single Honours students the dissertation in Level 4 is the high point, where you put forward and defend a thesis in an area of philosophy of your choice. Recent dissertation topics have involved music, film, the environment, gender, law, evolutionary theory, artificial intelligence, photography, literature and theatre.

You will have the opportunity to study with experts in these fields and to work with them on major philosophers such as Plato, Spinoza, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Bergson, Badiou, and Deleuze.

Level 1

A total of 6 modules, including at least one of:

  • Plato and the Good Life: PI11006
    Semester 1, 20 credits
    This module introduces philosophy through the works of Plato and by asking the question: what is the good life? This question and Plato's answers to it are among the most enduring themes in the Western tradition of thought. The module will introduce Plato with a variety of philosophical texts focused on the 'good life'. Students will be exposed to a range of philosophical methods and approaches, from Platonic dialogue to recent essays, and will be introduced to key skills in philosophical reading and critical assessment.

    Find out more about PI11006

  • Descartes, Thought and Reality: PI11007
    Semester 2, 20 credits
    This module will study the main concepts and methods of Descartes' Meditations and compare different philosophical conceptions of the relation between thought and reality, and mind and body. Students will develop a critical understanding of Descartes' position in modern western philosophy. The module will expose students to a range of philosophical methods and approaches, from Meditations to philosophical letters and essays, and will build key skills in philosophical reading and critical assessment.

    Find out more about PI11007

Plus further MA modules.

Level 2

A total of 6 modules, including at least one of:

  • Existential Themes in Technology, Culture and Film: PI21004
    Semester 1, 20 credits
    Existentialism was a philosophical movement that reached its height of popularity in the mid-twentieth century and grew as a reaction to its philosophical predecessors whom it claimed had lost touch with the fundamental aim of philosophy—namely, to understand what it means to exist. Existentialism was also a reaction to the false optimism of progress that followed on from the Enlightenment and the sense of spiritual loss and political cynicism generated by the two World Wars.

    This module will explore different types of existential philosophies and how the concerns they raise can be seen in contemporary forms of society and culture, such as technology, art and film. Students will therefore gain an understanding of a major movement within twentieth century philosophy and be able to apply this understanding critically in assessing significant forms of contemporary culture.

    Find out more about PI21004

  • Aesthetics: PI22006
    Semester 2, 20 credits
    This module introduces the wide range of philosophical debates relating to Art and Aesthetics. Part One will focus on "Language and Aesthetics", Part Two focuses on Enlightenment Aesthetics and will introduce the principal tenets of Kant's aesthetics, and Part Three will discuss Kant's distinction between the beautiful and the sublime with reference to such contemporary philosophers as Lyotard. Part Four will introduce issues relating specifically to Art and Religion.

    Find out more about PI22006

Plus further MA modules.

Level 3

A total of 4 modules (2 modules for joint Honours)

A selection of the following modules will be available in any one year:

Level 4

A total of 4 modules (2 modules for joint Honours)

A selection of the following modules will be available in any one year:

At Level 4, in addition to the modules listed above, it is possible to take ONE level 3 module.

Note: For details of Film Studies modules (for MA Philosophy and Film) please see English and Film Studies.

Students on the European Philosophy programme must take 'Existential Themes in Technology, Culture and Film' at Level 2 and specialise in European Philosophy at Levels 3 and 4.

European Philosophy modules are marked with an asterisk*.

Please visit our programme webpage for further details of these modules.

How you will be assessed

Assessment in philosophy is by coursework essays, tutorial performance, exams and dissertations. We take full advantage of the University's Virtual Learning Environment MyDundee: on some modules students write online journals, post minutes of tutorials, or take part in online discussions.

Careers

A philosophy degree provides you with intellectual and perceptual skills which are an advantage in the pursuit of any professional career.

Studying philosophy will allow you to:

  • Identify and explain the underlying issues in all kinds of debate.
  • Read closely and become sensitive to arguments from a variety of sources and traditions.
  • Offer clear and rigorous critical responses to arguments.
  • Summarise and assess points of view which are not your own.
  • Learn the self-discipline required for independent research.

Employers recognise that these skills are highly transferable. They mark out independent and thoughtful individuals.

As well as continuing to postgraduate study, recent graduates have gone on to work in publishing, social work, education, librarianship, the music industry, local councils and the civil service.

Philip Engleholm is from Denmark, and he graduated from MA (Hons) Philosophy and International Relations in 2009. After graduation he rejoined the Danish Army and was deployed to the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan.

He says, "Philosophy is an outstandingly important subject to study; it teaches you to think independently and out of the box. Philosophy is a very versatile degree that could potentially take you into many different walks of life. In the job that I held in Sudan my degree proved very valuable – it had given me an intellectual depth and a completely new approach to what it means to be a soldier and what it means to be an officer."

Kate Crawford graduated in 2003 with an MA Philosophy with German. After completing her degree, she worked in retail management before taking up a post as a banking advisor with Halifax Bank of Scotland.

See more Philosophy student and graduate profiles »

Postgraduate Study

If you wish to continue your studies in Philosophy, we offer a number of postgraduate Philosophy courses.

Entry Requirements

The following are the minimum requirements, please note qualifications have to be obtained at the first sitting of examinations.

Please note that the entry requirements in our printed prospectus may be subject to change. The entry requirements listed below are up to date and should be referred to in case of any discrepancy.

Courses starting September 2014

Level 1 entry

Qualification Minimum Grade Typical Grade
SQA Higher BBBB AABB
GCE A-Level BCC BBB
ILC Higher AABB
IB Diploma 30 points (including 5, 5, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects None, but see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects
EU & International Visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country

Advanced Entry (to Level 2)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher AB (Advanced Higher) + BB (Higher) in different subjects
GCE A-Level ABB
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects None, but see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects

Other Qualifications

Qualification Grade
SQA A relevant HNC with grade B in the Graded Unit (Level 1 entry)
A relevant HND with grade BB in the Graded Units (Level 2 entry)
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with CC at Advanced Higher (Level 1 entry)
Distinction with AB at Advanced Higher (Level 2 entry)
SWAP Access Programmes Relevant subjects with ABB grades to include English Literature/Language at SCQF Level 6 and Communication 4 plus Literature 1 (Level 1 entry)
EDEXCEL A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM (Level 1 entry)
A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDD (Level 2 entry)
Advanced Diploma Grade B with ASL-A Level at B (Level 1 entry)
Grade A with ASL-A Level at B (Level 2 entry)
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A Levels at BB (Level 1 entry)
Pass with A Levels at AA (Level 2 entry)
European Baccalaureate

70% overall with 7 in English (Level 1 entry)
75% overall with 7.5 in English (Level 2 entry)

Entry to English Literature courses requires Higher at B, A-Level at C or equivalent in English/English Literature.
Applicants with alternative overseas qualifications should visit the relevant country page on our International website.

Joint Honours Degrees

For details of typical entry requirements for joint honours degrees, please visit the relevant webpage for the other subject.

Courses starting September 2015

Level 1 entry

Qualification Minimum Grade Typical Grade
SQA Higher BBBB AABB
GCE A-Level BCC BBB
ILC Higher AABB
IB Diploma 30 points (including 5, 5, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects None, but see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects
EU & International Visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country

Advanced Entry (to Level 2)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher AB (Advanced Higher) + BB (Higher) in different subjects
GCE A-Level ABB
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects None, but see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects

Other Qualifications

Qualification Grade
SQA A relevant HNC with grade B in the Graded Unit (Level 1 entry)
A relevant HND with grade BB in the Graded Units (Level 2 entry)
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with CC at Advanced Higher (Level 1 entry)
Distinction with AB at Advanced Higher (Level 2 entry)
SWAP Access Programmes Relevant subjects with ABB grades to include English Literature/Language at SCQF Level 6 and Communication 4 plus Literature 1 (Level 1 entry)
EDEXCEL A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM (Level 1 entry)
A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDD (Level 2 entry)
Advanced Diploma Grade B with ASL-A Level at B (Level 1 entry)
Grade A with ASL-A Level at B (Level 2 entry)
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A Levels at BB (Level 1 entry)
Pass with A Levels at AA (Level 2 entry)
European Baccalaureate

70% overall with 7 in English (Level 1 entry)
75% overall with 7.5 in English (Level 2 entry)

Entry to English Literature courses requires Higher at B, A-Level at C or equivalent in English/English Literature.
Applicants with alternative overseas qualifications should visit the relevant country page on our International website.

Joint Honours Degrees

For details of typical entry requirements for joint honours degrees, please visit the relevant webpage for the other subject.

English Language Pre-Sessional Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional programmes and Foundation Programme(s) which are designed to prepare you for university study, the 24 week and 10 week programmes provide additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and 0.5 IELTS respectively. Successful completion of these programmes guarantees progression to various degrees at the University of Dundee as long as you hold a relevant offer. The 30 week (one Academic Year) Foundation Programme(s) allow applicants who have not met our typical academic entry requirements, and require additional English Language support by up to 1.0 to 1.5 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

Fees and Funding

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will, in most cases, depend on your current country of residence.

The fee shown is annual, and may be subject to an increase each year.

Fee category Fees for students starting September 2014
Scottish students £1,820 per year of study.
You can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.
Students from the rest of the UK £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree.
You can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.
EU students £1,820 per year of study.
You can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.
Overseas students (non-EU) £10,700 per year of study.

Scholarships and Bursaries

Fee category Scholarships & Bursaries applicable
Scottish students
Students from the rest of the UK
EU students
Overseas students (non-EU)

Living Costs

  • Dundee is ranked as one of the most affordable places for students to live in the UK, and the cost of living is around 15% cheaper than the UK average.
  • Increasing numbers of students are successfully undertaking part-time work to supplement their income. You can get advice from our Careers Service, both about job opportunities and how to find a suitable study/work/life balance. EU and international students are also allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.
  • As a student in Scotland, you have free access to the National Health Service. Visits to doctors and hospitals, as well as prescriptions, sight tests and dental checkups, are available free of charge.

Your Application

All applications must be made through UCAS

UCAS Codes

Institution Code: D65

Degree UCAS Codes KIS data
MA Philosophy
V500
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MA European Philosophy
V501
View KIS data for this course
MA European Philosophy with French
VR51
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MA European Philosophy with German
VR52
View KIS data for this course
MA European Philosophy with Spanish
VR54
View KIS data for this course
MA Philosophy and English
QV35
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MA Philosophy and European Studies
RV85
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MA Philosophy and Film
VP53
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MA Philosophy and History
VV15
View KIS data for this course
MA Philosophy and International Relations
VL5G
View KIS data for this course
MA Philosophy and Politics
LV25
View KIS data for this course
MA Philosophy and Psychology
CV85
View KIS data for this course
MA Philosophy with French
V5R1
View KIS data for this course
MA Philosophy with German
V5R2
View KIS data for this course
MA Philosophy with Spanish
V5R4
View KIS data for this course

UCAS Application Process


International Applicants

We have information specifically for international applicants on our International website:

What skills, qualities and experience do I need?

The Dundee MA degrees follow the distinctive pattern of many Scottish universities by offering a broad-based education that requires you to study a number of different subjects in Levels 1 and 2 (Level 2 only for Advanced Entry Honours degrees). You do not have to finalise your choice of degree course until you are better able to appreciate both the nature of the subjects you are studying and the relationships between them. However, you must make an initial choice of course on the application form and we would expect you to provide some evidence of your enthusiasm for your chosen course and details of any relevant experience.

We use a range of learning methods at Dundee: you will be expected to respond to the information and advice provided by academic staff, especially in lectures; to prepare for and participate in tutorial discussion or to work in practical classes; to work individually or in groups on set assignments such as essays and projects; and to 'read round' the subject. Consequently, we are looking for evidence that you are capable of working systematically, of responding to the guidance of your teachers, and that you have both the ability and enthusiasm to successfully complete a degree programme.

If you wish to study Philosophy or European Philosophy at Dundee, it would be advantageous for you to be able to indicate to us that you are willing to think critically about a range of issues; that you are willing to tackle challenging texts; that you are interested in thinking about (and discussing) the 'big questions' beyond everyday experience; and that you have an open mind to different sides of an argument. Clearly, you might find it difficult to provide 'hard evidence' of any of this directly in your application, but your statement and your referee's report might provide an indication that you are willing to engage in thinking of this kind.

Tips for your application

What is important to us, in your application, is the evidence provided by the grades you have attained, or are predicted to attain, in your examinations, along with whatever you and your referee can point to indicating both your special interest in any of our subject areas, and your general liveliness of mind.

Your personal statement is an opportunity to say why you should be offered a place to study in Dundee. We are looking for applicants with an ability to express opinions clearly with reasoned support and evidence, who are open to critical guidance, and who have a commitment to high standards of achievement in all they do. These qualities can be demonstrated through academic attainment, paid or voluntary work, and extra-curricular activities of all kinds.

Referees should concisely indicate your analytical abilities, communication skills, capacity for academic work, and commitment to your studies. We will be interested to hear about examples of initiative, leadership, and any evidence of organisational skills. Indicators of a positive outlook and engagement with social and cultural activities will be welcome, as will an assessment of your potential to develop in the university environment.

We will consider applications to one or more MA courses at Dundee: each application will be considered on its merits. We are looking for applicants who either have achieved, or will achieve, the published requirements in terms of Highers, Advanced Highers, A-Levels or acceptable alternative qualifications.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

It is possible to study for most of our honours degrees in 3 years if you have the required grades and subjects as listed in the Entry Requirements section. There are definite advantages to considering this route as the time needed to study is reduced by one year which enables you to start working and earning earlier.

Any questions?

If you have any further questions about the application process, please contact:

Home / EU applicants

Undergraduate Admissions
Admissions & Student Recruitment
University of Dundee
Nethergate
Dundee
DD1 4HN
Scotland

Telephone: 01382 388074/ 388585/ 384370 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 01382 388074/ 388585/ 384370 (from outside the UK)

Contact Us

International applicants

International Office
Admissions & Student Recruitment
University of Dundee
Nethergate
Dundee
DD1 4HN
Scotland

Telephone: 01382 388 111 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 388 111 (from outside the UK)

Contact Us