At Essex, we take philosophy back to its roots in everyday existential, social, and political problems. We embrace the relevance of philosophy to other forms of enquiry – political, cultural, legal, medical, aesthetic – and bring this to bear on urgent issues in public life, such as the controversial issues raised by mental health legislation or public policy regarding end of life care.
This degree will feed your intellectual curiosity and challenge your thinking. You’ll acquire the skills required to dig deeper into ideas and question received wisdom. You’ll rigorously examine the most fundamental questions about human life: Does God exist? Is material success all that counts in life? What do I owe to others? How free am I to decide my own future?
On the four-year MPhilos Version of this course (five years if taking a year abroad or placement year), you will gain solid knowledge in the different areas of philosophy and develop the key skills of the discipline during your first three years at Essex. In your final year, you will take MA-level modules, which will allow you to investigate more advanced topics and write a draft journal article as your final project. You’ll cover a wide range of topics from the meaning of life to capitalism and its critics, from ancient philosophy to current trends in European thought; our School has particular strengths in the areas of:
- Political Philosophy
- Philosophy of Religion
- Modern European Philosophy (including critical theory, phenomenology, and existentialism)
Our MA-level modules include:
- The Frankfurt School
- Phenomenology and Existentialism
- Environmental Ethics
- Critical Theory
- Topics in Contemporary Philosophy
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university.
When you arrive at Essex, you can decide whether you would like to combine your course with a placement year. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
Current research includes work on capitalism and competition, social pathologies, autonomy and risk in mental health care settings, the foundations of hope in end of life care, human flourishing, and much more.
Take advantage of our extensive learning resources to assist you in your studies:
- An exciting programme of research seminars, reading groups and the Annual Essex Lectures in Philosophy, which will help you expand your philosophical knowledge beyond what you learn on your course
- A comprehensive student support system which will direct you to the best source of advice and support in the case of personal or academic difficulties
- An extensive and well-curated collection of Philosophy books and journals in the Albert Sloman Library.
We know that the world of work is changing. Employers want graduates who can think laterally logically and creatively about practical problems and are effective communicators.
At Essex, we are serious about providing you with a teaching environment in which you develop the skills you need to flourish in the discipline, and to be prepared for the jobs you aspire to in the future.
A degree in Philosophy at Essex provides you with:
- The ability to analyse and solve difficult problems
- The ability to think clearly, creatively, and self-critically
- The ability to work in a team, taking a collaborative approach to problems
Philosophy graduates are therefore well-suited to a wide range of occupations, including law, PR, journalism and the media, the Civil Service, charity work, banking, and the NHS.
We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- Achieve a masters level qualification with this four-year course variant
- We focus on the existential questions of human life, and provide a critical perspective on the social, political and economic challenges we are facing today.
- We combine Anglo-American and European Continental philosophy.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.