Philosophy of a Specific Discipline, 2010-2011

The two-year Master’s programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline is intended for students in a particular academic discipline who are interested in the philosophical foundations and methodological aspects of that discipline. The Institute for Philosophy represents a wide range of research interests, enabling students to choose one of the following specialisations:

Philosophy of Art History
Philosophy of European Languages and Cultures
Philosophy of Law
Philosophy of Linguistics This specialisation will be discontinued from 2010-2011.
Philosophy of Mathematics This specialisation will be discontinued from 2010-2011.
Philosophy of Medical sciences
Philosophy of Natural Sciences
Philosophy of Psychology
Philosophy of Social Science

For information about the objectives and general structure of the programme, the MA thesis and the requirements for graduation, please click on ‘More info’ below. Descriptions of the particular specialisations, as well as the philosophy courses on offer for those specialisations are to be found at the webpages listed above.

Meer info

Objectives and Achievement Levels
Programme
Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation
Additional programmes

Objectives and Achievement Levels

The MA programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline has the following objectives:

  1. with respect to knowledge, understanding and their applications
    a. to impart scholarly knowledge, insight, methods, and skills in the field of philosophy, building on the foundations laid in the BA-programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline (or the Bridging Programme);
    b. to impart a scholarly attitude, which is characterized by the student’s capacity to:
  • engage in individual and independent academic thought and action;
  • analyse complex problems;
  • write academic reports;
  • apply specialist skills in an intellectual and social context.
  1. with respect to a career
  • to prepare students for a profession in the field of the specific discipline for which philosophical knowledge, insight and skills have added value;
  • to prepare students for other professions in which philosophical knowledge, insight and skills have added value;
  • to prepare students to some extent for an academic career and for postgraduate education, in particular for a PhD project;
  • to prepare students for any non-academic career for which general academic skills such as abstraction skills, heuristic capability and creativity are required.

The following achievement levels apply with regard to the programme:

  1. Knowledge and understanding and their applications
    Students who have completed the programme
  • have acquired knowledge and understanding of the history, the foundations, the methodology and/or ethics of the specific discipline, that is founded upon and extends that associated with the level of the bachelor’s programme in the philosophy of a specific discipline;
  • have acquired knowledge and understanding of the social and cultural impact of philosophy in general and of the philosophy of the specific discipline in particular;
  • have acquired knowledge and understanding of the main parts of the philosophy of the specific discipline, of their problems, methods, and central concepts, that is founded upon and extends that associated with the bachelor’s level, and that provides a basis for originality in developing and applying original ideas and analyses;
  • know the discussions in the forefront of their field, and are able to take part in them;
  • are able to contribute to current discussions in philosophy and in new and complex contexts related to philosophy;
  • are able to contribute to the social debate on the basis of their philosophical knowledge and understanding.
  1. Making judgements
    Students who have completed the programme
  • are able to handle philosophical complexity and to formulate judgments based on information from diverse sources, even if this information is limited or incomplete;
  • have a realistic view of the tenability and reliability of their own conclusions;
  • are able to integrate or confront different approaches to philosophical questions.
  1. Communication skills
    Students who have completed the programme
  • have been trained in giving clear expositions of philosophical problems, ideas, theories, interpretations and argumentations, to specialist and non-specialist audiences, in English, and, in case of students who are Dutch native speakers, in Dutch as well;
  • are able to write philosophical papers whose quality equals that of articles in refereed journals in the field.
  1. Learning skills
    Students who have completed the programme have developed the learning skills to allow them to continue their study in a research context in a manner that may be largely self-directed, and to conceive and design a PhD project.

Programme

The MA programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline has seven specialisations, in which students are able to combine the study of philosophy with a non-philosophical discipline, varying from natural sciences to humanities and social sciences. The programme offers both full-time and part-time tuition.

Structure

The two-year MA programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline consists of five components:

  • MA courses in the chosen discipline outside philosophy (40 EC)
  • Specialist MA courses in philosophy of the chosen discipline (20 EC)
  • MA courses in philosophy (20 EC)
  • Supervised literature study in the area of the master’s thesis(10 EC)
  • Master’s thesis (30 EC)

Students are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree in the discipline of their specialisation, which enables them to follow the non-philosophical part of their master’s programme at the faculty or department of the chosen discipline. Students who have already obtained a master’s degree in the chosen discipline are normally exempted from this part of the programme.

First year

  • In the first year students follow two courses in philosophy, with a workload 10 EC each. The choice may be made from the seminars on offer in the one-year MA programme in Philosophy.
  • Further, students follow 500-level courses for a total of 30 EC in the chosen specific discipline outside philosophy.
  • Finally, students follow one 10 EC specialist course in philosophy of the chosen discipline.Depending on the number of enrolments these specialist courses will be offered either as a full seminar or as a series of individual tutorial sessions.

Second year

  • In the second year students follow a second 10 EC specialist course in philosophy of the chosen discipline.
  • Further, students take 500-level courses for a total of EC ec in the chosen specific discipline outside philosophy.
  • Finally, students also complete a supervised 10 EC literature study in the area of the MA thesis, and a MA thesis of 30 EC.

Please note that the structure and sequence of components of individual MA programmes in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline may deviate from the structure above due to the availability of courses in a particular semester, or the extent to which the non-philosophical part of the programme has been completed.
Students are requested to discuss their progamme with their tutor before the start of their first semester.

Full-time and part-time

The programme offers both full-time and part-time tuition. The part-time programme is offered as a daytime course. The full-time programme spans two years (including the non-philosophical component), the part-time programme fours years. The only difference between the two programmes is in the length of time required for their completion; in content they are identical.

Specialisations

The two-year MA programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline offers seven specialisations:

  • Philosophy of Art History
  • Philosophy of European Languages and Cultures
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Philosophy of Medical Sciences
  • Philosophy of Natural Sciences
  • Philosophy of Psychology
  • Philosophy of Social Science

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

In order to graduate, students must have successfully completed the 120 EC programme and have completed their final thesis as a component of that programme. The master’s thesis is an independent academic contribution to philosophy in the field of the chosen specialisation. The student is required to write a master’s thesis in the second year of the MA programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline (normally in the last semester). In preparation to the master’s thesis students complete a supervised 10 EC literature study in the area of the master’s thesis. This literature study can be started in the first semester of the second year.

Attainment levels

The master’s thesis should clearly show that the student meets the attainment levels which have been set for this programme in terms of knowledge and skills. More specifically, the master’s thesis and the working method for the thesis should demonstrate that the student:

  • has acquired knowledge of systematic philosophy and its history, and of recent developments in contemporary philosophy, that is founded upon and extends that associated with the bachelor’s level, and that provides a basis for originality in developing and applying original ideas and analyses;
  • knows the discussions in the forefront of their field, and is able to take part in them;
  • is able to contribute to current discussions on philosophy and in new and complex contexts related to philosophy;
  • is able to handle philosophical complexity and to formulate judgments based on information from diverse sources, even if this information is limited or incomplete;
  • has a realistic view of the tenability and reliability of his/her own conclusions;
  • is able to integrate or confront different approaches to philosophical questions;
  • in short, is able to write philosophical papers, the quality of which equals that of articles in refereed journals in the field.

Formal requirements and assessment criteria

The thesis for the Master’s programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline has a workload of 30 ECs, and the length of the thesis is normally approximately 20,000 words (from 1 September 2010). Depending on the subject, the student and the supervisor may agree on a different length. Other formal requirements that the thesis must satisfy are listed in the Protocol Graduation Phase MA in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline

Agreements and Supervision

The agreements relating to the planning and supervision of the writing of the MA thesis are set out in writing by the student and the supervisor in the Agreements relating to the MA thesis form. The agreements include details on the choice of subject of the thesis, on the frequency of sessions with the thesis supervisor and the manner of supervision, and on the phasing of the research leading up to the thesis.

Final examination

The master’s thesis shall be defended as part of the final examination. The final examination may be held at any time during the academic year. The grade of the master’s thesis is determined by the examiners after the questioning (defence of the thesis) in the MA examination.

Additional programmes

In addition to their MA programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline students are – on certain conditions – qualified to follow the teacher-training in Philosophy: a preparation for a career in high school education or in MBO (intermediate vocational) education. On completion of this MA programme students obtain a second master’s degree and a high-school teaching qualification (eerstegraads lesbevoegdheid) in philosophy. Generally, students who completed the MA in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline need to follow some additional courses in philosophy on BA level before they are permissable to this teacher-training. For more information about admission requirements please contact the student advisor. More information about the programme of the teacher-training is available on the website of ICLON.

Students awarded a master’s degree are eligible to pursue a doctorate. Information about the PhD programme is available on the institute’s website.

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