Philosophy - Master's Programme in the Humanities

Academic year 2022/2023

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The Master's Programme in the Humanities, specialising in Philosophy, aims to provide a set of tools for thinking about fundamental issues in a precise way. These tools can be used to, for instance, analyse the language that we use; gain insight into the nature of reality; study what can be known; examine questions about how we should live our lives; or what a just distribution of resources might be. You will receive a high-quality general philosophical education and focus on a particular topic in practical or theoretical philosophy.


Why this programme?

The Master's Programme in the Humanities, specialising in Philosophy, is a unique two-year programme that is designed for anyone who wants 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 (meta-ethics, 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 in the world, this programme will be an 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 area of specialisation. It is also possible to graduate after one academic year with a Master of Arts (60 credits).

All specialisations of this programme


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 two-year programme. At the beginning of the first semester, you will make an individually tailored study plan together with the programme coordinator. This is a comprehensive plan for courses you will take and how to organise your thesis writing, etc. The plan can be revised every semester if needed.

The two-year programme consists of course and seminar work equivalent to 75 credits, and a Master's thesis of 45 credits. You will choose to specialise in practical philosophy or theoretical philosophy.

There are three compulsory courses that you must take: Philosophical Perspectives I (semester 1), Philosophical Perspectives II (semester 1 or 2), and Master Class (semester 3 or 4). The purpose of Philosophical Perspectives is to introduce and discuss a selection 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 course Master Class is associated with one of the year's visiting international philosophers, usually connected to the Hägerström-lectures given every year by an esteemed guest scholar. You will read and discuss the guest scholar's work before the visit, under the guidance of one the department's own philosophers, and have the opportunity to ask questions to the guest scholar.

You will also take elective courses. At the department, you can choose courses in theoretical philosophy, practical philosophy, and aesthetics. You can also take courses offered in the other specialisations within the Master's Programme in the Humanities. There may also be the possibility of taking other intensive Master's courses in philosophy at other Swedish universities.

One elective course per year can be replaced by regular and examined participation in the Higher Seminars that take place throughout both years. The following higher seminars currently take place regularly each semester: Theoretical Philosophy, Practical Philosophy, Aesthetics, History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Language and Culture, Philosophy of Law, and Philosophy of Science.

You may also choose to include an internship in your study plan, equivalent to either 7.5 or 15 credits. You are responsible for taking the initiative and finding a suitable internship. The programme coordinator will help you to make schedules, determine your internship role and relevance for the studies, and will check that your follow-up when the internship is completed.

The 45-credit thesis is to be written over several semesters. In consultation with the programme coordinator, you may choose to devote your full attention to the thesis in one semester or to write your thesis while you taking courses. The thesis will enable you to undertake an in-depth study of an area or question which you have chosen together with your thesis supervisor and programme coordinator. The writing of the thesis is supported by special seminars intended only for Master's students, in which your final work will also be presented and discussed.

If you wish to take a 60-credit one-year Master's degree, you will take the courses Philosophical Perspectives I and II as well as two elective courses in the first semester. In the second semester, you will write a 30-credit Master's thesis.

Courses within the programme

In addition to the mandatory courses, you have some freedom to plan your studies together with the programme coordinator. Below is how the course work is normally organised for a two-year Master's programme. If you plan to take the one-year version of the programme, please contact the programme director.

Semester 1

Philosophical perspectives I, 7.5 credits (mandatory)

Philosophical perspectives II, 7.5 credits (mandatory)

Elective courses, 15 credits in total

Semester 2

Elective courses, 22.5 credits in total.

Thesis work (towards a research plan), 7.5 credits

Semester 3

Elective courses, 15 credits in total

Thesis work, 15 credits

Semester 4

Thesis work: completion of thesis and defence in a Master's seminar, 22.5 credits

Master's Class, 7.5 credits (mandatory)

Learning experience

Courses are typically worth 7.5 credits and run for five weeks. Some courses may run through the whole semester or may be given intensively within a short period. Teaching takes the form of seminars, lectures, and independent work guided by study questions.

On a seminar, you present your ideas and discuss the reading you have done beforehand (a course book or other study material) with your classmates. The aim is to develop critical thinking and collaborative skills. All students are expected to be active participants in all forms of discussions.

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.

Work on the dissertation (45 credits) is carried out over at least two terms. To some extent you can choose how you want to organise the essay work. Participation in a regular Master's seminar, where students present and discuss their work, is an important part of this work.


This programme provides you 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 your analytical writing skills. The rigorous reasoning and writing skills associated with philosophy are an asset in diverse careers including in the financial sector, at non-governmental organisations, in policy analysis, healthcare, and even in law for those with appropriate qualifications.

The training is also highly suitable for students who wish to continue their philosophical studies at the doctoral level, either in Sweden or elsewhere in the world.

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.


Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what documents you need to submit, check the application guide. For this programme, besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit one programme-specific document: a statement of purpose.


120 credits

Autumn 2022, 100%, Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application deadline: 17 January 2022

Application code: UU-M5014 Application

Language of instruction: English


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

Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • an overall appraisal of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (1–2 pages).

Applicants are encouraged to present their interests in philosophy in the statement of purpose. Both the scope and results of your previous studies in philosophy may affect the overall appraisal.

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.

Application fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 50,000

Tuition fee, total: SEK 200,000

Contact and further resources


Philosophy: Pauliina Remes

+46 18 471 28 97

Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Archeology

+46 18 471 20 93

Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology: Charlotta Widmark

+46 18 471 70 33

Cultural Heritage and Sustainability: Gustaf Leijonhufvud

+46 18 471 83 87

Egyptology: Andreas Dorn

+46 18 471 28 97

Aesthetics: Nicholas Wiltsher

+46 471 73 53

Gender Studies: Jenny Björklund

+46 18 471 57 96

Musicology: Mattias Lundberg

+46 18 471 15 84

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:

Faculty of Arts

Dag Hammarskjölds väg 7

Box 256, 751 05 UPPSALA

Last modified: 2022-10-27