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Teaching style/programme structure

Our teaching and research

Our department is one of the most highly regarded Philosophy departments in the UK. In the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), we ranked first in the UK for the quality of our research (‘research outputs’) and fourth overall, with over 90% of the research published by our staff in books and journal articles over a six year period from 2008 assessed as being ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world leading’.

Our excellence in research underpins our teaching of philosophy at all levels. Our students consistently give us excellent ratings regarding teaching and learning, organisation and management, and resources and services. In the 2015 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) results, we achieved 79% satisfaction rating overall. The PTES analyses a range of feedback from students on teaching quality (such as contact, feedback), course design, student satisfaction, and career development.

So whether you are studying Heidegger on the nature of human existence, investigating the relationship between children’s literature and ethics, or reflecting on consciousness and its connection to reality, you will be learning from leading experts who are passionate about their subject.

The information below relates to the three taught MA programmes in our department. For detail on the MPhil, please read the MPhil course description; however, if you are interested in following the MPhil, some of the information below may be useful as you will be able to audit MA modules as part of your first MPhil year.

How you'll study

All our MA courses follow a consistent structure meaning that you will follow a programme of taught modules making up 120 CATS (academic credits), followed
by a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 CATS. MA Philosophy and the Arts has a slightly different structure which can be found on the course page. Our modules are generally 20 CATS, so you will cover 6 modules - although your exact pathway will depend on the programme you choose and your selection of optional modules. Philosophy modules are assessed through essay coursework.

We offer a wide range of optional modules reflecting the great breadth of research areas we have in our department. So, beyond any core modules your course may have, you will be able to tailor your course to your interests and aspirations. The next pages describe the modules available currently across our MA courses. You will have a personal tutor who will be able to advise you on your academic progress as well as discuss aspects such as which modules are best for you.

Mode of study – duration and timing

You can study our MA programmes full-time over 12 months, or you can alternatively study part-time over a period of 24 months. Courses begin in October each year. Full-time students will undertake taught modules and submit assessed essays for these during the academic terms. You will also begin planning your dissertation and generally you will undertake your supervision sessions for this with your agreed supervisor during the summer term.

As long as you pass your taught components, you will then focus on completion of your MA dissertation in the summer months of July and August. If you study part time then you will study your taught modules over two years, with teaching taking place during the academic terms. The order in which you study your modules will be agreed following discussion with your course convenor. You will also begin planning your dissertation in your second year.

Dissertation

As long as you pass the taught part of your course, taught MA students will go on to write a dissertation of 10,000 words. Your topic and title will be agreed by you, in discussion with your supervisor. This is a chance to undertake original independent research, allowing you to focus in depth on an area of your choice, developing a coherent and sustained argument and discussion over an extended word count. You will receive support in your dissertation through meetings with your supervisor. You will also be prepared through research skills sessions and specific sessions on essay writing and dissertation planning and writing throughout your course.

From the start of your course, you will begin considering possible dissertation topics and you will look to confirm a supervisor for your dissertation by the end of spring term. Part-time students will confirm a supervisor for their dissertation by the end of the autumn term in their second year.
You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor who has the appropriate expertise in the area and, in the case of joint degrees, you may approach colleagues in
the partner department after consultation with one of your course convenors.