You are viewing information for England.  Change country or region.

MA in Philosophy - Learning Outcomes

Educational aims

This taught postgraduate programme in philosophy will:

  • allow you to study a range of philosophical questions in depth
  • teach the research skills of finding appropriate sources and using them effectively
  • teach you to read critically, extract arguments and compare different views on the same question
  • teach you to write essays that are effective in exposition and argument.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of the programme are described in four areas.

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this degree, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • key debates in selected areas of contemporary philosophy.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed this degree, you will be able to:

  • identify and obtain the material you need to complete your research
  • engage with both primary and secondary texts to make a thoughtful contribution to given debates.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed this degree, you will be able to:

  • discuss some major topics in contemporary philosophy
  • read and understand philosophical literature
  • make use of the research opportunities provided by IT
  • apply a referencing system to your work.

Key skills

When you have completed this degree, you will be able to demonstrate the following skills:

Communication

You will be able to:

  • communicate effectively in writing to a specialised audience
  • participate effectively in debates held via computer conferencing.

Improving your own learning and performance

You will be able to:

  • use feedback from your tutor and fellow students effectively
  • know how to use other resources, such as libraries and ICT resources, to improve your own learning.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Although some aspects of the teaching, learning and assessment methods change over the two years of the qualification, there are common elements. In the first year, you'll work through four units of module materials which include some embedded exercises. Each unit is assessed by written assignment. Once submitted, these are sent to your tutor who will annotate them and return them with a cover-page of further written comments. In addition, you will have access to a number of online forums, although participation in these is voluntary. These will include a conference open only to you and other members of your tutorial group and a national conference open to all those on the module.

The second year begins by following the same pattern of four units each with a written assignment. Once this is complete you will work on a dissertation. You can choose what to write about – although the topic needs to be agreed with your tutor and connected to something you have already studied on the MA. In writing your dissertation, you will employ the skills you have acquired of independent research (finding materials in the library); your tutor will be there to offer advice.

You will acquire knowledge and understanding by working through the module material and your independent research. Your cognitive skills and your practical and professional skills, which will be acquired in the first year, will be developed in the second. The way in which the module is taught (feedback on written work that you will use to inform your subsequent writing) encourages you to write effectively and to improve your learning and performance. Through practice, you will also acquire the skills to use IT both in finding research material and as a means of communication.

The first year is assessed on the basis of the four essays. To pass, the average of the marks on the first three essays must equal or exceed the pass mark for the course, and the mark on the fourth essay must equal or exceed the pass mark for the course. The second year is assessed on the basis of four essays plus a dissertation of 12,000 words. To pass, the average of the marks on the first four essays must equal or exceed the pass mark for the course, and the mark on the dissertation must equal or exceed the pass mark for the course.

« Back to MA in Philosophy description