The MA Philosophy programme at NCH provides a rigorous and wide-ranging programme relevant both to those entering formal philosophical study as graduates of other disciplines and to philosophy graduates seeking to consolidate and expand their studies.
NCH, with its lively and inter-disciplinary research culture and faculty including the philosophers A C Grayling, Simon Blackburn, Daniel Dennett, and Peter Singer, small-group seminars conducive to stimulating debate, and focused supervisions, offers a distinctive environment which is exceptionally conducive to the successful study of philosophy at PhD level.
Each student completes the compulsory ‘Mind and Reality’ course (20 credits) and the compulsory ‘Values and Society’ course (20 credits), takes a selection of 20-credit optional courses (for a total of 80 credits), and writes a Dissertation (60 credits).
The compulsory courses are designed to engage students with classic philosophy texts and debates and to develop in them the research, speaking, and writing skills that underpin a career in the philosophy profession and (more generally) support an informed, reflective and thoughtful approach to life. Each optional course surveys a different area of philosophy, with students encouraged to specialise further within each course through choice from assignment topics and support through associated individual tutorials.
The structured dissertation provides an opportunity for an extended piece of research on a topic of the student’s choice culminating in a 10,000- to 15,000-word dissertation.
Teaching & learning
The MA Philosophy will be delivered predominantly through seminars, of five to 15 students, and individual tutorials.
Students who are enrolled full-time should anticipate devoting approximately 35-40 hours per week to their studies for the duration of their degree. In Michaelmas and Hilary terms, this will include approximately six to seven formal contact hours per week, with the remainder consisting of structured independent study.
Independent study primarily comprises preparing both formative and summative work, though it may also include participation in Philosophy Society meetings, Philosophy Research seminars, and professorial lectures. In Trinity term, students predominantly work independently to write their dissertations.
The Masters programme can be taken part-time over two years. Part-time students attend the same classes as their full-time colleagues, taking 50% of the course load each academic year. The classes are not run separately in the evening for part-time students.
While we try to make the part-time study as flexible as possible, our Masters programmes are demanding and we advise students that, if they intend to work alongside the course, their work should be flexible.
Summative assessment for the MA Philosophy will be by a range of essays and seminar presentations; assessment of some courses may include an exam. Students will also be assessed on a dissertation of 10,000 – 15,000- words.
Timetables are usually made available to students during Freshers’ Week. Teaching can be scheduled to take place during any day of the week. However, when possible, Wednesday afternoons are usually reserved for sports and cultural activities.
New College of the Humanities’ degrees have been designed and created by the College’s world-class professors and faculty. The courses reflect their areas of expertise and research interests, meaning that they are strongly engaged with the material that they will teach you, and there may be opportunities for students to participate in active research.