Institution / Open University In Ireland
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Studying the MA in Philosophy will hone your ability to think clearly, reason logically, and develop your essay writing, research and analytical skills. You will put forward and evaluate arguments while exploring current debates and issues in social and political philosophy – engaging with a wide range of fascinating philosophy texts and areas of contemporary philosophical enquiry. You’ll begin by considering contemporary debates in philosophy on the theme of personhood, before examining issues such as citizenship, nationalism, and democracy. Finally, you’ll undertake a substantial piece of independent enquiry with a dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Key features of the course
• Explores contemporary philosophical questions in depth from a range of perspectives
• Develops valuable transferable skills that are highly prized in the workplace
• Excellent preparation for further study or research at doctoral level.

Entry requirements

You must hold an honours degree to study for our MA in Philosophy course. Although your degree need not be in philosophy, you must have the basic skills expected of a graduate in that area. The foundation module will bring you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches, but does not offer remedial undergraduate training if your qualifications and/or experience are inadequate.

Before you enter the degree you must be able to:
•write clear, concise, accurate prose
•read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
•classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
•argue logically, consistently and sceptically
•marshal various sorts of evidence to support a logical argument.

If you are in any doubt about whether you possess these skills, you should consider taking one or two of our higher level undergraduate modules in philosophy first. Our 60 credit OU level 2 module Exploring philosophy (A222), in particular, is designed to introduce standard techniques of analysis and argument, some of which will be presupposed at MA level. If you would like help to assess your preparedness you can contact us for advice or read the MA in Philosophy website.

You must commence your studies towards the MA in Philosophy with the postgraduate foundation module in philosophy and your final module must be the philosophy dissertation.


3 - 10 years. The minimum time to complete is three years, the maximum time to complete is ten years.

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
This qualification will provide you with a respected qualification and valuable transferable skills such as critical thinking, research skills, time management, and problem-solving that are in demand in many areas of business, government and the media. If you are considering an academic career, the MA in Philosophy is ideal preparation for further study or research at doctoral level.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

You must study the modules in the order shown below.

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows

Compulsory modules

Credits Next start

MA Philosophy part 1 (A853) NEW 60 07 Oct 2017
MA Philosophy part 2 (A854) planned for October 2018 120 06 Oct 2018

If you have already studied the Postgraduate foundation module in philosophy (A850) and Issues in contemporary social and political philosophy (A851) you will need to take The philosophy dissertation (A857) in February 2018 when it will be available for the final time to gain the MA in Philosophy.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


On completion
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded the Master of Arts in Philosophy, entitling you to use the letters MA (Phil) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

If you leave the programme before you qualify for a degree you can qualify for a Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities (C20) after successfully completing 60 credits including a postgraduate foundation module, or a Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities (D35) with 120 credits including a postgraduate foundation module and a subject module.

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