The Master's Programme in the Humanities, specialising in Philosophy aims to provide a set of tools for thinking precisely about issues and problems in a variety of domains, from questions about the fundamental nature of the world around us to ideas about how we ought to live our lives. These tools can be used for a variety of purposes: to analyse the language that we use; to gain insight into social, political, and ethical questions concerning gender; or to address pressing concerns about the distribution of scarce resources.
Why this programme?
The Master's Programme in the Humanities, specialising in Philosophy, is a unique two-year programme that has been designed for students wishing to advance their studies in the field of philosophy. You will explore and gain broad knowledge in practical philosophy and theoretical philosophy, whilst having the opportunity to specialise in a research area of your choice.
During the programme you can expect to:
specialise your studies in either practical or theoretical philosophy
explore neighbouring disciplines by taking elective courses at other departments
take courses led by internationally recognised researchers.
The Department of Philosophy offers specialised supervision in a wide range of subject areas within philosophy, including the central subjects of theoretical analytic philosophy (language, mind, metaphysics, philosophy of logic, and philosophy of science) and practical philosophy (metaethics, normative ethics, reasons and normativity, philosophy of law, and applied ethics). The department also has significant strengths in aesthetics, the history of philosophy, and at the intersection of the study of philosophy and anthropology.
The structure of this programme closely mirrors that of a Swedish doctoral programme. If you wish to continue your studies at the doctoral level in Sweden or elsewhere, this programme will be excellent preparation for commencing your research career.
The programme leads to a Master of Arts (120 credits) with Theoretical Philosophy or Practical Philosophy as the main field of study depending on your choice of topic for the thesis and the area of specialisation. It is also possible to graduate after one academic year with a Master of Arts (60 credits).
The Master's Programme in the Humanities specialising in Philosophy has a duration of two academic years. You can opt for a one year version, but the programme is structured to best suit the four semester period. The Master of Arts (120 credits) consists of course and seminar work equivalent to 75 credits, and a Master's thesis of 45 credits. You are required to specialise in practical philosophy or theoretical philosophy.
The programme begins with a compulsory course, Philosophical Perspectives I (7.5 credits), which constitutes 25% of a full-time study load.
The other compulsory courses are Philosophical Perspectives II (7.5 credits, second semester), Master Class (7.5 credits, typically during the third or fourth semester), and participation in the appropriate Higher Seminar, (7.5 credits/year). The latter takes place throughout the whole of both academic years.
Elective courses can be chosen from the department's own course list (in theoretical philosophy, practical philosophy, and aesthetics), as well as from the other courses offered as part of the Master's Programme in the Humanities. There may also be the possibility of including nationally available intensive philosophy Master's courses at other Swedish universities. In practice, you should read two to four courses in parallel, depending on how much time is devoted to thesis writing in a given semester. Typically, first year Master's students read a greater number of parallel courses, while thesis writing intensifies towards the end of the programme.
At the beginning of the first semester, you will establish an individually tailored plan of study together with the programme coordinator. This is a comprehensive plan of study covering which courses you will take and how to organise the writing of the thesis, etc. The plan is revised as needed every semester.
The 45 credit thesis is to be written over multiple semesters. In consultation with the programme coordinator, you may choose to devote full attention to the thesis during a given semester or to read courses concurrently.
Upon successful completion of their studies, you will receive a degree in either Theoretical or Practical Philosophy, depending on the choice of the topic for the thesis and the area of specialisation.
Courses within the programme
For the one-year Master's degree (60 credits):
Typically during the first and second semesters you will take at least two optional courses (each worth 7.5 credits) in philosophy in addition to the required Philosophical Perspectives I. You are also required to attend one of the weekly Higher Seminars, decided in agreement with the programme coordinator as appropriate for your studies.
In addition, you will write a compulsory Master's thesis (30 credits). The thesis will enable you to undertake an in-depth study of an area or question which you have chosen together with your supervisor and the programme coordinator. Thesis writing may be organised in different ways in consultation with the programme coordinator, but most of the work tends to be done during the second semester.
For the two-year Master's degree (120 credits):
Typically during the first and second semesters you will take at least two optional courses (each worth 7.5 credits) in philosophy in addition to the required Philosophical Perspectives I and II (15 credits in total). You are also required to attend one of the weekly Higher Seminars (15 credits in total), decided in agreement with the programme coordinator as appropriate for your studies.
During the third and fourth semesters you continue to attend the appropriate Higher Seminar (15 credits in total) and in the third semester will take the Master Class (7.5 credits). During the whole of the second year of the programme you will write a compulsory Master's thesis (45 credits). The thesis will enable you to undertake an in-depth study of an area or question which you have chosen in consultation with the programme coordinator and your supervisor. Thesis writing may be organised in different ways in consultation with the programme coordinator, but most of the work tends to be done during the second year.
The Master's Programme in the Humanities, specialising in Philosophy, is structured around two special courses for Master's students during the first two semesters: Philosophical Perspectives I and II. The purpose of these courses is to introduce and discuss a selection of some of Western philosophy's historical and contemporary classics, paying special attention to methodological questions including: what is philosophy? What are its tools and methodologies? What is philosophical writing and argumentation?
The second year's studies are structured around the 'master class', a course associated with one of the year's visiting international philosophers. Before the visit, you will read and discuss the guest scholar's work under the guidance of one of institution's own philosophers. The course ends with lectures, seminars and a question hour with the guest scholar.
Courses are typically worth 7.5 credits and can either run through the whole semester or may have an intensive format. Teaching takes the form of seminars, lectures, and independent work guided by study questions.
The most common forms of examination are written assignments and take-home exams, although other forms of examination may be used depending on the course.
Regular participation in the meetings of one of the specialised 'higher seminars' (research seminars) in the department is also mandatory. Attendance and participation supports advanced studies and specialisation within the thematic area of your degree work. In any given year there may be a change in the particular high seminars that take place. However, the following higher seminars currently recur each term: Theoretical Philosophy, Practical Philosophy, Aesthetics, History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Language and Culture, Philosophy of Law, and Philosophy of Science.
The 45 credit Master's thesis takes place over the course of several semesters. You will have some flexibility in how you organise your thesis writing, with the possibility of choosing to devote full attention to the project for some period, or to read courses concurrently.
You may also choose to include an internship in their programme of study, equivalent to either 7.5 or 15 credits. While you are responsible for taking the initiative and for finding a suitable internship, the programme coordinator will work with you to help develop plans for the period, determine the internship's role and relevance for the studies, and will check that suitable follow-up is done after the internship has been completed.
The programme is taught entirely in English and you are given the choice of writing a thesis in either English or Swedish.
This programme provides students with a deep and diverse set of analytical skills applicable across a variety of career paths. In addition, the supervised writing of a Master's thesis and the written course work will develop students' analytical writing skills. The rigorous reasoning and writing skills associated with philosophy are an asset in diverse careers including in the financial sector, with non-governmental organisations, in policy analysis, in health care, and for those with appropriate qualifications, in law. The training is also highly suitable for students who wish to continue their philosophical studies at the doctoral level, either in Sweden or elsewhere.
Career support During your whole time as a student UU Careers offers you support and guidance. You have the opportunity to partake in a variety of career activities and events, as well as receive individual career counselling. This service is free of charge for all students at Uppsala University. Read more about UU Careers.
Please note that this programme is primarily for international students. Non-international students are encouraged to apply to one of the other two Master's programmes in philosophy, Theoretical Philosophy or Practical Philosophy.
Requirements: Academic requirements A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. The main field of study must be within the humanities or social sciences. Also required is 60 credits in philosophy.
Language requirements All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies. The minimum test scores are:
IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
a statement of purpose (1 page) where you detail why you want to pursue Master's studies within the programme.
Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.
If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.
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