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MA|Postgraduate Taught


Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full Time)
Places available
12 (Full Time)

The Queen’s MA in Philosophy is a pluralist programme that recognises and values diverse philosophical methods, histories, and scholarly approaches, while providing students with a strong grounding in core areas of philosophy. The student experience is that of a generalist MA programme informed by an inclusive approach to disciplinary history and by engagement with twenty-first century issues and debates. Students will explore historical and contemporary debates, solve abstract and concrete problems, and respond to fundamental and applied questions.

Students will learn with internationally recognised leaders in philosophical research. Our staff have strengths in ethics and epistemology, as well as philosophy of science, metaphysics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of technology, political philosophy, and post-Kantian European philosophy. There is growing expertise in comparative and diverse global philosophical traditions. Research-led teaching brings students into the middle of cutting-edge research as active participants, and our dynamic research community offers multiple opportunities for students to pursue meaningful research experiences.

MA in Philosophy students have opportunities to personalise their education, through the Dissertation and the Individually Negotiated Topic module. With guidance from the supervisor, students can choose a topic that interests them for directed critical reading and analysis with a small, focussed group. Students also benefit from a wide range of interdisciplinary opportunities within the School and the Faculty of AHSS, along with the excellent postgraduate experience infrastructure at Queen’s. Students may opt to complete the Queen’s Certificate in Strategic Leadership

Philosophy at QUB is a supportive and highly research active unit—ranked joint first in the UK for Research Intensity (Complete University Guide 2022). Our programme size and location within the interdisciplinary school of HAPP means that our students’ work can receive significant individual attention, that our students can build highly productive working relationships with teaching staff from Philosophy, and that our students may also explore interdisciplinary learning and research opportunities complementing their core philosophical interests.

Philosophy highlights

Global Opportunities

Students benefit from a curriculum and learning community in which diverse perspectives are represented and valued. Students may pursue research experiences locally and internationally.

Industry Links

The School has an active Employers’ Forum that is used to forge links with national and international employers. Queen‘s philosophy graduates have an unlimited range of occupations in the public and private sectors, including the Civil Service, local government, the media, policy analysis, the voluntary sector, teaching, journalism, business, marketing and advertising. Career destinations of our students have included the BBC, the Diplomatic Service, the NHS, International House, RPS Belfast and the Belfast Education and Library Board.

Career Development

The applied and engaged philosophy emphasis of the MA is attractive to students with interests in social justice and policy careers, as well as those interested in academic and academic-related careers.

Ranked 12th in the UK for Graduate Prospects – Outcomes (Complete University Guide 2023).

World Class Facilities

Queen’s is a research-intensive Russell Group university with an excellent QS ranking and offers wonderful library and digital learning resources as well as up-to-date physical learning spaces.

Queen’s was ranked 1st out of 8 UK universities for sporting facilities (International Student Barometre 2020/21).

Internationally Renowned Experts

At Queen’s, students learn with internationally recognised experts and research innovators who are actively pursuing research projects in all areas represented within the MA curriculum.

Student Experience

Our strong cohort model means that students learn within a supportive community of peers, which provides especially effective learning support in Philosophy.

Course Structure

Students complete two required modules: a HAP7001 research methods module and an Applied Philosophy module. Students also complete four additional modules from a range of options, and then complete a dissertation on a topic of particular interest, supported by a dissertation advisor.

Module Overview

Autumn semester
• HAP7001 Approaches to Research Design
• PHL7060 Applied Philosophy
• Students will also choose one from the following Modules:
• PHL7058 Global Histories of Philosophy
• PHL7064 Philosophies of Habit and Addiction

Spring semester
• Students must take THREE of the following modules:
• PHL7038 Philosophy of Conflict and War
• PHL7057 Social Injustice
• PHL7062 Ethics, Law, and Responsibility
• PHL7063 Knowledge and Ignorance
• PHL7061 Individually Negotiated Topic

Summer semester
• PHL9099 Dissertation

1. HAP7001 Research Methods: This module is offered to all HAPP PGR students. It introduces some important themes in the philosophy of the social sciences, develops students' skills in research design and incorporates research ethics training.

2. PHL7060 Applied Philosophy: Our Philosophy cohort-building module in applied philosophy develops students’ philosophical methods.

3. PHL 9099 Philosophy Dissertation: Students are allocated an individual supervisor, with whom they work closely throughout the research, drafting and writing of a dissertation on an individually chosen issue.

Optional modules

1. PHL7057 Social Injustice: This module examines the problem of social injustice in contemporary, plural societies.

2. PHL7038 Philosophy of Conflict and War: This module explores the moral and ethical questions posed by serious political conflict, in particular those posed by war and other forms of violent collective struggle.

3. PHL7062 Ethics, Law, and Responsibility: This module focuses on the theme of responsibility to engage fundamental issues in ethics and the philosophy of law.

4. PHL7058 Global Histories of Philosophy: This module shows how historical texts within and across diverse global philosophical traditions help us to engage with contemporary help us to engage with contemporary issues in social epistemology, social metaphysics, ethics, and politics.

5. PHL7063 Knowledge and Ignorance: This module explores the ways questions of knowledge and ignorance shape our social world, for better and worse.

6. PHL7064 Philosophies of Habit and Addiction: This module addresses habit as an issue in the philosophy of mind, psychology and the neurosciences,

7. PHL7061 Individually Negotiated Topic

People teaching you

Moral philosophy (including applied ethics), legal philosophy, political philosophy.

Philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, and metaphysics against the intellectual background of the history of modern European philosophy.

Programme Convenor

Post-Kantian European philosophy, especially 19th Century; Ethics, including normative ethics and applied ethics, especially bioethics; African philosophy; social & political philosophy.

Epistemology (especially contextualism, the nature of belief, norms of assertion, formal epistemology, scepticism); Free will/moral responsibility; philosophical logic; Buddhist philosophy (especially Nagarjuna); Daoist philosophy (particularly the Zhuangzi).

Political theory, including issues surrounding freedom of speech; race and gender; social equality; multiculturalism and recognition theory; social justice.

Teaching Times

Teaching times will fall Monday-Friday, between 9am and 5pm.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning focuses upon critical reading, writing, and thinking. Weekly module seminars are grounded in small and large group discussion, presentations, and learning activities.

Additional learning opportunities are provided by weekly research seminars in term time given by visiting speakers in Philosophy, as well as research events in HAPP and beyond.

Learning materials focus upon texts, and may also include films, blogs, and podcasts. Learning materials and issues will be drawn from a range of scholarly traditions and geographic locations.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to -

  • Cognitive Skills

    • Identify and solve, resolve or dissolve conceptual problems; read and critically assess relevant academic sources; analyse and criticise arguments, identifying fallacies therein.
    • Synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement, primarily through essay writing; identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems; gather, organise and deploy evidence and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources, so as to formulate and support a line of reasoning, or argument.
    • Make judgments on the basis of varied and problematic evidence and according to the persuasiveness of the arguments or the reliability of the evidence used; evaluate sources critically in their context; discriminate between what is central and what is peripheral to the issue in question; assess and appraise differing views on significant areas of academic debate.
    • Structure, manage and adapt strategies for self-directed independent research; work autonomously; reflect on their own learning and seek and make use of constructive feedback; produce intellectually coherent academic analysis under time-managed conditions and within word limits.

  • Knowledge and Understanding

    • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of a range of sub-fields in the discipline including ethics, epistemology, philosophy of science, political philosophy, and history of philosophy.
    • Apply philosophy to practical issues, for example in the area of applied ethics.
    • Critically discuss some of the central problems and issues in contemporary philosophy.
    • Critically discuss key texts and ideas in the global history of philosophy, along with an appreciation of the plurality of global traditions and histories of philosophy and how the contemporary discipline has developed out of those histories.
    • Employ key concepts and tools that are used in philosophical reasoning, with an informed understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of multiple approaches and methodologies.

  • Subject Specific Skills

    • Read and interact with seminal philosophical texts, in appreciation of their philosophical insights and modes of argument; research philosophical topics using appropriate tools and resources.
    • Solve problems, process and prioritize a wide variety of information, and express arguments and positions in oral and written form.
    • Demonstrate an awareness of key debates arising out of philosophical inquiry, conducted in its various domains.
    • Engage with influential primary and secondary sources in philosophy, according to contemporary canons of academic debate and critical analysis.

  • Transferable Skills

    • Use libraries and online resources; use IT skills (word processing, use of internet re-sources); take notes and summarise accurately and effectively.
    • Evaluate and judge evidence and the quality of information; digest material from various sources; collate and process information from an array of sources, including electronic media.
    • Communicate and interact effectively; present ideas and arguments orally in both formal and informal contexts; present high-quality analysis cogently and succinctly; and make oral and group presentations using appropriate skills.
    • Respond constructively to criticism; manage time efficiently; show self-reliance, initiative, adaptability and flexibility; work effectively both independently and in a team setting.


HAP7001: Students complete two practice-based assignments (Methods Portfolio) and a Research Design assignment.

  • Modules: Students will complete at least one major paper, or scholarly writing of equivalent significance, in each module. Students also complete oral discussion/presentations during module seminars.

    Dissertation: 15,000-word dissertation completed in drafts with advance feedback; feedback is also provided in response to the final dissertation.




The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Applied Philosophy (20 credits)

    Optional Modules

    Social Injustice (20 credits)

Entrance requirements


Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a Social Sciences, Humanities or Arts subject, or a 2.1 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject with relevant professional experience.

The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL). For more information, please visit

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 16th August 2024 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last 2 years). International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

Career Prospects


We anticipate that the MA programme is a perfect one-year course to prepare students for PhD entry. The applied and engaged philosophy emphasis is attractive to students with interests in social justice and policy careers, as well as those interested in academic and academic-related careers.

The programme will assist students in gaining wider skills which will be vital in their future careers, including:

• Excellent training in critical thinking, critical reading, critical writing
• Research and publication skills
• Understanding and responding to equality, diversity, and inclusion issues in applied contexts
• Project management: planning and executing components of a long-term project

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,300
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,300
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £21,500
International £21,500

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

How do I fund my study?

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

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