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European Philosophy MA

UCAS code
Year of entry 2017
Course Length
1 year full time
2 years part time
Department Philosophy »
Politics and International Relations »


One of the few Masters-level programmes in the country to specialise in the 'European' tradition in philosophy, this MA course draws on our department's core research and teaching strengths in 19th and 20th-century French and German thought, and Continental political philosophy. Focusing on the interpretation and analysis of key texts, MA students will study the development of European philosophy paying particular attention to the influence of Kant and to the debates that structured the development of post-Kantian philosophy in both Germany and France. The flexible nature of the course allows students to concentrate on European philosophy or to engage with a broader range of options which include Human Rights, Continental Aesthetics and Anglo-American Political Theory.

At Royal Holloway we have a unique approach to the subject that looks beyond the narrow confines of the Anglo-American analytic or European tradition of philosophy to connect philosophy to other disciplines across the arts, humanities and social sciences. The result has been the creation of a truly interdisciplinary and collaborative programme that brings together academic staff from departments across the university – including scholars of drama and theatre, literature and political philosophy. Not only dedicated teachers of the subject, our philosophy staff are also experts and published authorities in their field.

This distinctive approach means that whichever area of philosophy you choose to study at postgraduate level, you will be able to place it in a wider context, with the support of experts across the disciplines.Our departmental specialisms include a wide range of philosophical topics such as ancient and Hellenistic philosophy, 19th and 20th-century European philosophy, contemporary analytic philosophy and American pragmatism.

We host a variety of additional activities throughout the year, including a visiting speaker series organized with our active student-run Philosophy Society, a number of workshops and conferences, and a reading group that meets weekly in central London.

Core modules:

Advanced Topics in Philosophy

Philosophy Dissertation

Optional modules in European Philosophy:

Contemporary Continental Political Theory

The European Philosophical legacy: From Kant to the Present

Twentieth-Century French Thought

Additional optional modules:

Adorno and Critical Theory

Anglo-American Political Theory

Continental Aesthetics

Human Rights

Identity, Power and Radical Political Theory

Legacies of Wittgenstein

Neo-Platonism

Political Concepts

Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff.

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework and a dissertation.

Entry criteria:

Normally a UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1) or equivalent. However, applications will be considered on a case by case basis.

We will consider students from non-traditional backgrounds on the basis of the submission of a substantial essay on philosophy, or demonstrable research experience, and an interview. Interviews may be held in cases where entry requirements are not formally fulfilled, and essays may also be requested.

English language requirements:

IELTS score of 6.5 with 7.0 in writing and no sub-score below 5.5 for non-native English speaking applicants.


If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

Philosophy degrees are well-regarded by employers because they give you the capacity to think through issues and problems in a logical and consistent way and to develop critical and transferable skills which can be applied in almost any area of employment.

So, by choosing to study this intellectually demanding discipline you will develop a broad range of highly prized transferable skills, both practical and theoretical, such as:

  • the ability to communicate views and present arguments clearly and coherently
  • the ability to critically digest, analyse and summarise complex ideas
  • time management and the discipline to meet deadlines
  • organisation and research skills
  • problem-solving skills and capability

An MA in Philosophy is ideal for preparing graduates not only for doctoral research in philosophy or related fields in the humanities and social sciences, but also for a wide range of careers in education, the arts, politics and public policy. With up to 90% of our most recent graduates now working or in further study, according to the Complete University Guide 2015, it’s true to say our graduates are highly employable. In recent years, PhD graduates have taken up academic positions at Oxford, Bristol and Roehampton Universities. Outside of academia, our graduates have embarked on teaching careers in the UK and overseas, undertaken archaeological and museum work and pursued careers in journalism, finance, politics and the arts.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £7,000

Overseas students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £14,500

Other essential costs**: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*The tuition fees given above apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis.  Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee and information is available from the Royal Holloway Student Fees Office on Student-Fees@rhul.ac.uk. All fees are likely to rise annually in line with inflation but no more than 5 per cent per year.

For further information, please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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