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The MA in Philosophy provides a grounding for advanced work in philosophy. It is designed to cater both for those with an interest in doing an MA for its own sake and for those intending to go on to pursue a PhD.
This programme will enable you to acquire a thorough training in research skills alongside the detailed study of the central works of philosophy. You will have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of options covering particular areas and particular philosophers. You can select your own pathway or adopt a pick-and-mix approach to your studies.
A postgraduate degree from Humanities at Southampton offers you the wide and varied learning experience you should expect from a leading research university. We are committed to providing a relevant, modern and above all enjoyable experience which will ensure you graduate with the additional skills and understanding you need to start a career in any number of areas or to go on to further research.
How will you learn?
On a postgraduate taught programme teaching is led by academic staff, allowing you to engage with, and contribute to, the world-leading research carried out in Humanities at Southampton. You will complete a core programme of research skills development in tandem with a series of modules which you select according to your personal aims and objectives. Each programme offers a wide and fascinating range of modules related to our specialisms led by academics who are experts in their chosen fields of research and who wish to engage you with their experience.
In your second semester, you will take two specialised modules (known as Individually Negotiated Topics'). In these sessions, you will meet with your tutor in small groups (of two-three students or even individually) once every two weeks, working through an agreed programme of study. While your tutor will provide guidance, with these small groups there is ample opportunity for the programme of study to be tailored to students' own particular interests; and, in this way, these modules allow you to explore in a structured way topics that fascinate you. Topics might include: Aesthetic Value, Aesthetics of the Environment, Art and Emotion, Contemporary Analytic Philosophy of Art, The Philosophy of Horror and Tragedy, Philosophy of Film, Philosophy of Music, Poetry and Philosophy in Plato and Aristotle, 18th Century British Aesthetics, Kant's Aesthetics, Schopenhauer's Aesthetics, Nietzsche's Aesthetics and Collingwood's Aesthetics. (Alternatively, you may choose from MA modules in other Humanities disciplines.)
You will be assessed through essays, presentations and seminar performance, which allow us to assess and provide feedback on the development of your capacity to interpret, analyse and criticise the philosophical texts, problems and positions under debate. Not only this but you will also be assessed through a dissertation over the summer. The 20,000 word dissertation is a core element in establishing the acquisition of appropriate skills and the application of research techniques. Your supervisor will be available to provide regular and supportive advice, guidance and feedback on your progress.
A masters degree will enable you to further develop the key skills employers seek such as: time management; problem solving; team work; deadline and project management; cultural awareness; working independently; using your initiative; relationship-building; critical thinking and research analysis. Above all, you will learn to communicate your ideas and enthusiasm to a wide range of audiences.
This programme is divided into 180 credits. 105 credits are obtained from taught modules with the remaining 75 credits relating to the dissertation.
Typical course content
You will take four modules and write a dissertation (of 20,000 words in length). The modules include two core modules, one specialised module, and a research skills module. The assessed work for these modules will be in the form of presentations, critical commentaries, essays and research proposals. Your dissertation may form the backbone of further advanced work towards an MPhil/PhD.
Your first semester will be devoted to two core modules: one examines topics in epistemology, metaphysics and the philosophy of mind and language, and the other focusses on central texts in the theory of value.
The dissertation work begins with Semester Two's Research Skills module, in which you will explore the challenges of formulating a research project and present an analysis of some of the texts upon which your dissertation research will focus.