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University of Essex
United Kingdom, Colchester
Tuition fee £14,950 per year
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Expenses, accommodation, working etc. 


Philosophy at Essex takes philosophy back to its roots in everyday existential, social and political issues. Our radical approach cuts across traditional boundaries, fostering dialogue between different schools and disciplines, and we are one of the few universities in the world that bridges the divide between the two great traditions of Analytic and Continental philosophy.

Our MA Philosophy will provide you with a rigorous grounding in modern and contemporary European philosophy. We have leading expertise in critical theory, phenomenology, German Idealism, nineteenth Century German philosophy, aesthetics, existentialism, contemporary French philosophy, philosophy and psychoanalysis, and medical humanities.

You study modules of your choice, develop your research, writing, and employability skills through an intensive Writing Workshop, and prepare an MA dissertation in your chosen area of research.

Our department is widely regarded as among the very best in the UK, having been recognised as one of the top 10 UK universities for research excellence (REF 2014), and being placed in the top 10 in The Guardian University Guide in 2010, 2011, and 2013.

As an alternative to our more flexible MA Philosophy, you can focus your study on a more specific area by following one of the following pathways:

MA Philosophy (Continental Philosophy Pathway)

All of our academic staff work on Continental Philosophy, including classical German philosophy (Kant and German Idealism), Frankfurt School Critical Theory (Adorno, Habermas, Honneth), nineteenth-century philosophy (Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche), and phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty).

On this pathway you choose from a range of specified topics in these areas, in addition to some outside options and a dissertation on a topic in Continental Philosophy.

MA Philosophy (Critical Social Theory Pathway)

We are the leading centre for Critical Social Theory in the UK with five members of academic staff working on the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Habermas, Honneth), contemporary French thought (Derrida, Foucault, Rancière) and issues in Critical Social Theory, such as activist political theory, theory of recognition, aesthetics and politics, deliberative democracy, and the moral limits of markets.

On this pathway you study modules on the Frankfurt School and Contemporary Critical Theory, in addition to some outside options and a dissertation on a topic in Critical Social Theory.

MA Philosophy (Philosophy and Art History Pathway)

Drawing on the collaborative and interdisciplinary approach of the School, our new Philosophy and Art History pathway enables students to get a thorough grounding in philosophical aesthetics. You explore issues in aesthetics and their bearing on other areas of philosophy (such as critical theory or existentialism) and Art History (such as aesthetic practices and curating), and profit from the wide-ranging expertise of our staff in both disciplines.

On this pathway you study modules on Philosophy/Aesthetics and Art History (dealing, for example, with Art & Politics, Art, Architecture and Urbanism, or Art, Science & Knowledge), in addition to some outside options and a dissertation on a topic in Philosophy and Art History.

Programme structure

Year 1

Dissertation: Continental Philosophy (optional)
Dissertation: Critical Social Theory (optional)
Dissertation: MA Philosophy (optional)
Dissertation: Philosophy & Art History (optional)
Phenomenology and Existentialism (optional)
Art & Politics (optional)
Art, Architecture and Urbanism (optional)
Critical Moments in the Theory and History of Film (optional)
Art, Science, Knowledge (optional)
Collecting Art From Latin America (optional)
Contemporary Critical Theory (optional)
Contemporary Theories of Justice (optional)
Critique and Curating (optional)
Curating Inside Out (optional)
Current Research in Art History (optional)
Foundations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (optional)
Freud in Contexts (optional)
Human Rights and Development (optional)
Human Rights for Women (optional)
Ideology and Political Discourse (optional)
Environmental Politics (optional)
International Trade, Investment and Human Rights. (optional)
Hegel (optional)
Kant’s Revolution in Philosophy (optional)
MA Writing Workshop (optional)
Philosophy and Aesthetics (optional)
Political Economy (optional)
Political Theory (optional)
Psychoanalytic Methodology (optional)
Psycho Analytic Theory (optional)
Research Seminar in Political Theory and Methods (optional)
The Frankfurt School (optional)
The New Nature Writing (optional)
The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law (optional)
Theories of International Relations (optional)
Theory and Explanation in Political Science (optional)
Topics in Art History (optional)
Topics in Continental Philosophy (optional)
Transitional Justice (optional)

Career opportunities

Many of our philosophy graduates embark on doctoral study after finishing their MA. We offer supervision for PhDs in a range of fields including:

Continental philosophy
Critical Social Theory
History of philosophy
Applied ethics

Our graduates have also gone into careers in law, the media, local administration, HM Revenue and Customs, and top jobs in the Civil Service.

Apply now! Fall semester 2020/21
This intake is not applicable

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Studies commence
Sep 20, 2020

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States