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MA in Philosophy

This degree course is for those who want to develop their research and analytical skills and upgrade their qualifications. It will suit anyone with appropriate entry qualifications who has a passion for philosophy and is looking for an intellectual challenge.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

Studying philosophy will hone your ability to think clearly, reason logically, and put forward and evaluate arguments. As well as developing skills in reading and understanding philosophy texts, you will be able to engage with some areas of contemporary philosophical enquiry. With an MA in Philosophy you will have an excellent foundation for further study or research at doctoral level, as well as 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.

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.


For this masters degree you require:

180 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Postgraduate foundation module in philosophy (A850)

Gain postgraduate-level skills in research, analysis and presentation of an argument, and explore some of the contemporary debates in philosophy on the theme of personhood.

See full description.

60 Jan
Issues in contemporary social and political philosophy (A851)

Building on the philosophy foundation course, explore issues going beyond simply academic philosophy - citizenship, nationalism, democracy and more - developing your critical skills in the process.

See full description.

60 Feb
The philosophy dissertation (A857)

Complete your MA in Philosophy with a dissertation of 16,000-18,000 words, on a subject of your choice, with the aid and guidance of your tutor.

See full description.

60 Feb

Educational aims

This taught postgraduate programme in philosophy will:

  • allow you to study a range of philosophical questions in depth
  • teach the research skills of finding appropriate sources and using them effectively
  • teach you to read critically, extract arguments and compare different views on the same question
  • teach you to write essays that are effective in exposition and argument.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of the programme are described in four areas.

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this degree, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • key debates in selected areas of contemporary philosophy.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed this degree, you will be able to:

  • identify and obtain the material you need to complete your research
  • engage with both primary and secondary texts to make a thoughtful contribution to given debates.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed this degree, you will be able to:

  • discuss some major topics in contemporary philosophy
  • read and understand philosophical literature
  • make use of the research opportunities provided by IT
  • apply a referencing system to your work.

Key skills

When you have completed this degree, you will be able to demonstrate the following skills:


You will be able to:

  • communicate effectively in writing to a specialised audience
  • participate effectively in debates held via computer conferencing.

Improving your own learning and performance

You will be able to:

  • use feedback from your tutor and fellow students effectively
  • know how to use other resources, such as libraries and ICT resources, to improve your own learning.

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