Our MA Practical Philosophy will allow you to use philosophical ideas to engage with urgent social and political problems. Drawing on political philosophy, ethics, social philosophy, and the philosophy of law, this programme is driven by our belief that philosophy is at its best when it learns from and intervenes in the world around us.
You will explore philosophical debates on topics such as the relationship between law and morality, the ethics of animal experimentation, the operation of ideology, and the nature of class, gender, and race. Our core modules have student-led syllabi, with readings selected by each class to reflect their own interests, so that you can concentrate on the topics that really matter to you.
Whether you already have an undergraduate degree in philosophy and want to specialise in practical philosophy, or you come from a different background, this MA programme will provide you with the skills needed to conduct independent research, think logically and creatively, and construct and analyse arguments, as well as honing your writing abilities.
You will graduate with a solid foundation in practical philosophy, ready to pursue further study or confidently apply your critical and analytical reasoning skills in your chosen career – for example, writing sophisticated policy reports or undertaking research on social and political problems.
You will be taught through a combination of seminars and lecturers, and will benefit from individual research supervision. You will take six modules over the course of the degree, culminating in either a dissertation or an independent project.
Our students take three core modules, which will introduce you to the key concepts and methods in the field of practical philosophy, as well as focusing on particular themes in political and legal philosophy and ethical and social philosophy. Some of the topics you might cover include debates on whether animals are owed duties of justice, the justification of compulsory medical treatment, which ethical standards should govern artificial intelligence, and under what conditions we are morally responsible for our actions.
You will also be able to choose from optional modules in specific areas of practical philosophy, and will undertake a dissertation or independent research project with support and guidance from your supervisor. This could be a traditional philosophical essay, an extended policy analysis, or another philosophical project that puts your research skills to use in creative ways.
- Introduction to Practical Philosophy: Concepts and Methods
- Issues in Practical Philosophy: Political and Legal Philosophy
- Issues in Practical Philosophy: Ethical and Social Philosophy
- Dissertation/Independent Project
Students choose from 3 of the following modules:
- Contemporary Political Philosophy (Autumn Term)
- Philosophy of Law (Autumn Term)
- Animals and Environment: Past to Present (Spring Term)
- Marx and Critical Theory (Spring Term)
Philosophy graduates go on to have careers in a wide variety of fields, including law, journalism, the Civil Service, academia, politics, technology, education, and publishing.
*What is validation and periodic review?
What is validation?
Validation is a formal process through which the University approves a programme (content, teaching, learning and assessment) as being of appropriate standard and quality.
The University expects to publish details of the validated programme by 31 March in the academic year prior to the start date of the programme. You are advised to check the University website at that time to ensure that you have up-to-date information. In the meantime, if you require information you should contact 0208 392 3232.
What is periodic review?
Periodic review is the regular and systematic monitoring and reviewing of programmes. The process may result in changes to the content, structure and/or assessment of the programme.
The University expects to publish details of the re-validated programme by 31 March in the academic year prior to the start date of the programme. You are advised to check the University website at that time to ensure that you have up-to-date information. In the meantime, if you require information you should contact 0208 392 3232.