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Module choices

Choosing your modules (new & returning MA and returning MSc students)

Students on Department of Philosophy MA or MSc programmes should choose their modules from the catalogue of modules available at level 7.

You will be directly emailed a link to the online module registration form on 1 September 2016 and you will need to complete it by midday 14 September 2016

Additional programme-specific guidance is available below. 

Guidance: MA students (all programmes)

Thinking about choosing your modules

You should familiarise yourself with the programme regulations, and therein the syllabus requirements that govern your programme of study, including any compulsory modules or options.

In general, you must earn a total of 120 credits through taught modules, prior to a further 60 credits from the dissertation, for a total of 180 credits. Nearly all of the modules are worth 20 credits each, and are taught in one or other of the Autumn and Spring semesters; just one (General Philosophy) is worth 40 credits and spans both semesters.

Unless there are very special reasons not to do so, you should ensure an even distribution of modules across the two semesters. In nearly all cases, each module will involve two hours of direct teaching contact per week, comprising both a lecture and an opportunity for discussion of the material.

Note that the MA programme regulations do actually allow you to overshoot your 180-credit target, to a total of 200 credits. We adopted this rule at a time when most of the modules were worth 40 credits, and it did make a lot of sense in that context. Now that they are nearly all worth 20 credits (thereby eliminating the problem of getting up to 160, and then finding that the only other modules that hold any appeal are 40-credit ones), there is considerably less justification for taking extra credits: but you might still have reasons for doing so. Note, though, that all of your marks will still be factored into your final result, not just the best 180 credits' worth.

You will have the opportunity to discuss your choices with your programme director, and are strongly encouraged to do so before committing.

Part-time students

First year students should note that you are only required to sign-up for one year's modules at a time: we will ask you to select your second year modules at the beginning of your second year.

Additional advice for MA students

Part-time MA students should additionally read the advice concerning distribution of workload that can be found on the information for part-time students page. When choosing your first-year modules, you might also like to think about which modules will be offered in your second year. 

Types of modules - MA programmes

Given that our MA programmes are generally intended both for Philosophy graduates and for those who are converting into the subject at Master's level, the modules fall into different types, some of which might be more suitable for one group or the other. In particular, General Philosophy is intended exclusively for conversion students: Philosophy graduates are not eligible to take it, and conversion students will normally be expected to do so unless they have a good reason to be excused. The aim is to introduce students to methods, techniques, concepts and terminology, spanning the whole philosophical spectrum, and to provide an acquaintance with some of the most important and influential writings in the field. What it might lack in depth, it makes up for in breadth: in essence, it is designed to teach students who might opt to specialise in one branch of the subject the sorts of basic things that they will be expected to know about the other branches.

Among the other modules, some will also be surveying the kinds of issues that Philosophy graduates might well have already covered in their previous studies. But then, alongside these, other modules will examine more specialised topics, often things that even Philosophy graduates will not have had the opportunity to study before. There is no point tackling something you've already adequately covered in your previous studies: so, in general, it is expected that Philosophy graduates will be picking a preponderance of these 'topics' modules; but they might also wish to take one or two of the 'survey' modules, to fill any outstanding gaps. Conversion students, meanwhile, will probably be picking a preponderance of 'survey' modules; but perhaps then building on that foundation with one or two of the 'topics' modules (e.g. taking the general Philosophy of Mind module in the first semester to learn the basics; and then, on that basis, proceeding into Philosophy of Mind II: Special Topics in the second). You should check the details of the syllabi for any modules that could potentially be of interest to you, and weigh up whether the material will be sufficiently new to you, to make it worth taking. If there's a lot of overlap, then pick something else instead.

In the MA in Philosophy, no particular modules are strictly compulsory, although (as already noted) conversion students will normally be expected to take General Philosophy. There are, however, certain pairs of modules (e.g. Indian Philosophy I & II) such that, if you take one, it would be good to take the other one as well. For the other, more specialised MA programmes, there are specific regulations governing module-choices: see the programme-specific pages for details of those regulations.

Language modules and modules from other Departments

Students in the MA History of Philosophy programme are normally expected to take a module in a language relevant to their philosophical studies, such as French or German, Latin or ancient Greek: these are taught outside our own department. Even in the other MA programmes, although languages might not be so relevant, there could yet be other modules in other departments that you might wish to take. By and large, you will be permitted to earn up to 40 credits through modules outside the Philosophy department.

Language modules

Modern languages are taught by the Modern Languages Centre (MLC), and they have a range of 20-credit modules on offer, appropriate to different levels of pre-existing competence.

  • See here for the syllabi of 7AALFN01 - 7AALFN07 French 1–7
  • See here for the syllabi of 7AALGN01 - 7AALGN07 German 1–7

Please visit the MLC module registration webpage for guidance.

As for Latin and (ancient) Greek, those are taught by the Department of History and the Department of Classics respectively. In each case, there are beginners' and intermediate courses available. Latin is worth 20 credits (except 7AAH1022 which is worth 40), and Greek is worth 40.

However, if you are looking at maybe taking intermediate ancient Greek, then you probably shouldn't take 7AACM015. That way, you will still get to explore the language itself, but you will additionally be getting a philosophical slant on things. 

Other external modules

There might be modules, taught by other departments, that would contribute in a worthwhile way to your overall programme of study. If so, then you can take up to 40 credits' worth of them: but note that they must be designated level 7, the standard level for modules in Master's programmes. (If in doubt, look at the first character of the module code: if it's a 7, you should be okay).

Be aware that you will need permission from both departments. On their side, they might have restrictions on who'll they'll allow to take their modules, especially when there are pre-requisites involved. On our side, it is not enough that you just happen to find something interesting, and want to pursue it for your own enjoyment: you need to be able to show that it will actually have a positive contribution to make to your philosophical studies. 

If you are considering taking something outside our own department, be sure to check that the timing doesn't clash with the seminars you'll be taking with us.

Signing up for your modules

You will be directly emailed a link to the online module registration form on 1 September 2016 and you will need to complete it by midday 14 September 2016

What if I change my mind later?

You are able to amend your module choices up until:

  • Friday 7 October 2016 in the case of semester one modules
  • Friday 20 January 2017 for semester two / whole year modules

No further changes can be made after these dates.


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