Philosophy and Economics

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: Jul 15, 2024
StudyQA ranking:1534 Duration:2 years

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The programme is a demanding and graded path of training. You will study courses that will provide you with a rigorous Master's level training in the core areas of philosophy and economics.

This course is a systematic study of the major topics in contemporary ethics. In Part I you will study metaethics, which is concerned with the status and grounding of moral claims in general. In Part II you will study the two main traditions of normative ethics: deontology and consequentialism. You will study how each of these traditions set rules for handling practical issues for the 'just society' (e.g. rights, punishment, equality).

Political Philosophy
This course is a systematic study of contemporary political philosophy. In Part I you will explore the nature of rights, the sources of political obligation, legitimacy and authority of the state, the significance of liberty, and the justification of democracy. In Part II you will focus on questions about the content, scope and normative role of distributive justice. In Part III you will study the significance of institutions and political realism in philosophical inquiry.

Philosophy of the Social Sciences
This course is a systematic study of the different approaches to the scientific study of society. In Part I you will study conceptions of human agency and social phenomena and the methods of social scientific inquiry. In Part II you will study social science explanations. In Part III you will look at objectivity, rationality, and the concepts of methodological holism and individualism. In Part IV you will examine contemporary controversies.

Advanced Microeconomics
The course will provide you with the knowledge and techniques of modern microeconomic theory. The main focus is on individual decision and demand behaviour, strategic interaction of companies as well as the assumptions underlying models of perfect competition and their welfare implications.

Advanced Macroeconomics
This course is about modern international macroeconomics and the interaction between real and monetary variables in open economies. In Part I you will study inter-temporal trade and constraints for a country's borrowing and lending. Part II introduces the concept of purchasing power and shows the link between real exchange rates and productivity growth. Part III examines the relationship between key nominal variables, such as prices and exchange rates. Part IV looks at the role of monetary policy for real economic variables.

Advanced Empirical Economic Research
This course will train you in the basics of different estimation methods for analysing micro- and macro-data. This will provide the basis of empirically-based economic analysis. You will learn how to undertake empirical studies and develop a sensitivity for context specific evaluations and judgements. Particular attention will be given to practical applications using appropriate software packages.

The Integrative Seminar
This course is what defines the intellectual identity of your P&E degree. It is the lab in which you will bring your knowledge, talents, and interests in philosophy and economics to bear on contemporary policy problems of international governance and global justice. Your task will be to apply economic modelling to the analysis of policy proposals and institutional structures and investigate their welfare and justice implications. You will work in small teams and be expected to show a high level of independence and research initiative. The outcome of your research will be presented in a series of workshops. The broad topics for the current academic year included "Taxation and Redistribution in Open Economies", "Migration and Population Policy in Open Economies", "Global Financial Markets and the System Crisis".

Research Seminars
You must attend two series of departmental research seminars. This will give you the opportunity to come into contact with current research as well as become socialised into the international world of research.

Educational organisation

The Bayreuth Master's programme builds on more than a decade of experience in our very successful Bachelor's degree programme. The Master's programme is based on a set of core courses in both disciplines, an integrative seminar, and a wide range of electives which allow students to specialise according to their interests and aptitudes. We see both economics and philosophy and their integration as methods for analysing allocation, distributive, and institutional mechanisms and problems. All members of the teaching staff have established interdisciplinary backgrounds.

Compulsory courses (56 ECTS)
  • Microeconomics (semester two)
  • Macroeconomics (semester one)
  • Empirical Economic Research (semester one)
  • Ethics (semester one)
  • Political Philosophy (semester two)
  • Philosophy of the Social Sciences (semester one)
Integrative Seminar
  • Inter-departmental Philosophy & Economics Seminar (semester three)

Electives (30 ECTS)
You must take five electives (6 ECTS each) from any of the advanced courses on offer in the Departments of Philosophy and Economics, or related disciplines (semesters two and three).

Thesis (30 ECTS)
  • You must write a Master's thesis in your fourth semester.
  • Thesis workshop (to take place prior to commencement of your thesis research)

Research Seminar (four ECTS)
You must attend at least two series of weekly research seminars from either department.

Forms of assessment

Written as well as oral exams are possible (48 ECTS), seminar papers (38 ECTS) and thesis (30 ECTS).

Course objectives

The MA Programme in Philosophy & Economics is organised and taught by both the departments of philosophy and economics. It is a unique two-year course of studies offering a rigorous and demanding graduate level education in core areas of economics and core areas of philosophy especially relevant to economics. The programme is targeted at students with an interest in obtaining an advanced analytical and quantitative training as a foundation for pursuing research-based careers in academia, public service, and business.
We see both economics and philosophy and their integration as methods for analysing allocation as well as distributive and institutional mechanisms in a world that is in need of new global governance structures. Chief among these are pressing foundational and practical questions: What are the dimensions of equality? Does globalisation threaten social solidarity? How should we regulate migration flows? Is the international organisation of labour necessary for achieving social justice? What are the economic and moral challenges that regional trade agreements create for the WTO? What is a fair allocation of voting power in the EU? What is the best way to organise deliberation? Who bears responsibility for climate change? Should executive salaries and bonuses be capped? How do we encourage corporate social responsibility? The Bayreuth P&E Programme is the advanced degree for the national and international public policy analyst, the public servant, and the concerned business professional. Our MA Programme is for the serious intellectual who wants a rigorous training that will cut across disciplines, who wants to innovate and engage with the world. It is an advanced training in the concepts and methods of social and economic justice and is a real alternative to the standard types of Master's programmes in economics, philosophy, political science, or business and management studies.

Language requirements

Proof of excellent knowledge of English in the form of two samples of written academic work of 2,000 to 2,500 words

Academic requirements

Applicants should have a background in philosophy & economics, economics, or a related discipline with an economics component (e.g. business/management, political science). You require at least a Bachelor's grade point average of 2.3 according to the German grading scale. You must also have an excellent command of written and spoken English. If you are unsure whether you qualify, do not hesitate to contact us. We are open to talented and dedicated applicants who want to enter the field. You will need to provide two letters of reference from academic referees.

Enrolment fees

Social fee: approx. 65 EUR per semester

Costs of living

Approx. 750 EUR per month to cover personal expenses

Job opportunities

Due to the intensive nature of the programme, students will have only limited time for part-time jobs.

Funding opportunities within the university

Students coming to Bayreuth from a partner university may have the opportunity to receive some financial support from the University of Bayreuth.

Arrival support

The International Office with its Service for International Students (SIS) assists students before and upon arrival (mailing of information, pick-up service from the station). It offers assistance in all administrative matters including registration and enrolment.

Services and support for international students

The International Office with its Service for International Students (SIS) offers administrative, academic, and social support before and during the semester.


The International Office offers assistance in finding accommodation in a student residence (rent approx. 120 EUR to 200 EUR per month) or private accommodation (250 EUR to 400 EUR).
However, a search on the private market as a backup is advisable. You can find links to the private market on our website.
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