Practical Philosophy


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Wednesday 3 November 2021, 5–7.30pm

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  • The UK’s first MA dedicated to the study of practical philosophy 
  • Study ethics, social theory and legal and political philosophy
  • Gain the tools to understand some of the most important challenges that modern societies face
  • Approach issues such as economic injustice, climate change, racial and gendered oppression, crime and punishment, liberty, privacy, and security from a philosophical standpoint.


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

Optional Modules:

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.


Dr Angie Pepper

Angie Pepper

I’m Angie, I’m a Lecturer in Philosophy and I convene the modules Methods in Practical Philosophy and Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics. As a researcher, I am interested in what we owe to nonhuman animals as matter of interspecies justice and I have written on a wide range of topics including climate change, zoos, privacy for animals, political agency in humans and animals, the ethics of killing in animal shelters, and the importance of nonhuman animal self-determination. I’m excited to be teaching on the Practical Philosophy MA and I look forward to working with you on some of the most pressing moral, social, and political problems that we face in society today.

Dr Tom O’Shea

Dr Tom O'Shea

My name is Tom, and I'm a senior lecturer in philosophy. On the programme, I teach critical theory and political philosophy, and am keen to get students thinking deeply about power and justice across a whole range of settings, such as healthcare, human sexuality, and the workplace. The focus of my own research is the nature of human freedom in history, theory, and practice. In particular, I've written extensively about civic republican ideas about liberty and domination, and their relationship to socialist politics. The commitments driving this research are ones I also take into the classroom: above all, the belief that philosophers can help transform our world.

Dr Neil Williams

Dr Neil Williams

Hi, I’m Neil, and I am a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy. My expertise is in the history of philosophy and ethics, and my research applies concepts from American pragmatism and post-Kantian philosophy to contemporary social and ethical issues. Recently, my focus has been on applying a pragmatist approach to questions of environmental philosophy and the nature of social class. On the MA, you’ll find me teaching on these subjects and others on the ‘Practical Philosophy: Ethics and Society’ module. Like all of us here at Roehampton, I am keen to explore the practical relevance of philosophy, and enjoy working with students to discover how philosophy can help us think through the pressing social and ethical issues of our time.

Dr Jenny Bunker

Dr Mark Sinclair

I’m Jenny, a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy. I’ve been teaching here at Roehampton for 12 years and before that at the Universities of Oxford and Southampton. I specialise in the history of philosophy (especially modern and post-Kantian philosophy) and the philosophy of art. I’m interested in ethical theory – particularly in the thought of Spinoza, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. I have also studied the law, and on the MA degree you’ll find me teaching the Philosophy of Law module. At the moment, one part of my research focuses on the wrongs of homelessness, from political, moral, and legal perspectives – a topic we might analyse together in some of our classes.

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Life at Roehampton

At Roehampton, we can offer all new students the opportunity to live in accommodation on our beautiful parkland campus, including affordable and high-end options.

We offer scholarships, provide hardship funding and help you find advice on managing your finances while you study.

We provide plenty of opportunities for you to get involved, through volunteering, playing sport or music, or joining one of our many active student societies.