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Header image Philosophy of a specific discipline

Philosophy of a specific discipline

What makes natural science 'scientific'? What is a just law? What can science tell us about free will and ethical responsibilities? In this degree, you'll explore the philosophical aspects of science.

The bachelor "Philosophy of a specific discipline” is an English-taught programme. After the first year of your bachelor, you enroll in this programme, while continuing with your own bachelor. “Philosophy of a specific discipline” consists of a Minor of 30 EC, introducing you to the history of philosophy and to some of the major philosophical areas such as ethics, philosophy of science, social-political philosophy, and logic. After the Minor you do three electives (15 EC) and follow one out of four courses which the programme offers on “the philosophy of the various disciplines” (5 EC). Finally, you write your thesis in a well-organized course (10 EC). The philosophy part of the programme can be completed in one year but you can also spread the programme over two years. At the end of three or four years you have two bachelors!

Facts & Figures
BA in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline
Course type
36 months (180 ECTS)
Croho code
Language of instruction
Why study this programme in Groningen?

This Bachelor's programme received the Quality Label "Top Programme" from the Keuzegids 2018! More generally, our Philosophy programmes have consequently received the highest evaluations from research and teaching assessment committees. In the past fifteen years we ranked no. 1 eleven times and no. 2 two times in the Elsevier Ranking, which is based on a national questionnaire among students and professors.

This Bachelor's programme is only offered in Groningen and in Rotterdam.

CoursesCourse Catalog >
Course units of the scientific discipline (120 EC)
CoursesCourse Catalog >
1 specialization course (5 EC)

1 Specialization course

3 Elective advanced courses (15 EC)

3 Elective advanced courses

6 introductory courses (30 EC)

6 Introductory courses

Bachelor's thesis (10 EC)

Bachelor's thesis


The programme begins with an introduction of 30 EC. You will become acquainted with the history of philosophy and the major philosophical areas such as ethics, philosophy of science, political philosophy, and logic. After this, you will select 20 EC of advanced courses that relate to your specific scientific discipline. Finally, you will write a bachelor's thesis in which you will develop your own philosophical ideas about a particular topic of research in your scientific discipline (10 EC).

Entry requirements

Admissible Dutch diploma profiles

  • Cultuur & Maatschappij
  • Economie & Maatschappij
  • Natuur & Gezondheid
  • Natuur & Techniek
  • academic propedeuse

Choice of degree programme check

Prospective students can request a meeting to discuss their choice of degree programme.

Registration procedure

Enrollment is possible each month. In order to be admitted, you will need to have a completed propaedeutic exam of an academic bachelor's degree. We will check whether you have obtained your propaedeutic exam and we will finish your registration.

Studielink offers a number of registration options for this programme. Please select "Philosophy of a Specific Discipline" only, so do not choose one of the tracks. We will choose your track together with you in a later phase.

Please note: the deadline for registration of 1 May stated in the table below does not apply to Philosophy of a specific discipline.

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

TOEFL IBT score of 92, an IELTS score of 6.5

previous education

In order to be admitted, you will need to have a completed a propaedeutic degree/first year of a non-philosophical research university bachelor programme (equivalent to a Dutch research university level degree).

Please indicate on Studielink that you will not start in the first year, because the bachelor starts on a postpropaedeutic level. We will check whether you have obtained your propaedeutic exam and we will finish your registration.

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band6.5
TOEFL internet based92

Registration procedure

The programme starts on a postpropaedeutic level. In Studielink, select 'Philosophy of a Specific Discipline (Bachelor)' and finish your application. Please do not select one of the tracks. We will choose the one that is applicable in your situation together in a later phase.

Enrollment is possible each month. There is neither a matching procedure nor a binding study advice.

Students currently registered at the University of Groningen do not have to submit an application file, they only need to register for this programme in Studielink.

International students who wish to apply for this programme on the basis of a non-Dutch diploma should also submit an application file before 1 May. This file should contain a CV, motivation letter, copy of bachelor diploma, transcript of records and proof of English proficiency (see below). Please submit your file to

NB: It is not possible to apply for this programme on the basis of a degree of a university of applied sciences ('hogeschool').

Tuition fees

The Dutch government intends to halve the statutory tuition fees for specific groups of first year bachelor's students starting from the 2018/19 academic year.

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

Students in philosophy have many options on the job market. Because they have been trained as critical, analytical thinkers with a broad understanding of culture, society and the sciences, they can find jobs in several different areas. Our alumni have found jobs in

  • education (university, universities of applied sciences, high schools)
  • journalism and communication
  • business
  • policy and research (ministeries, municipalities, political parties, universities, NGOs, etc.)


Philosophical research in Groningen has a strong reputation, witness the excellent marks it has received for many years from international assessment committees. According to the most recent committee, headed by Prof. Timothy Williamson, Groningen "is producing research that is cutting-edge by international standards. There is a strong and bracing emphasis on judging work by the highest international standards. Amongst the relevant specialists the reputation of the Institute is high..

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If you want to know more about the programme Philosophy of a specific discipline, please contact:

						Testimonial of

    I'd be happy to see a philosophy course integrated in all academic programmes

    Read more

    The Faculty of Philosophy feels a hidden gem of serenity in an otherwise bustling street of the Netherlands' cosiest city centre. Its entrance, and I mean its student entrance, not the main door at the street side which can only be opened by staff, is accessible through an alley that leads to a small courtyard cluttered with bikes. I had a hard time finding it behind the façade of the Oude Boteringestraat, which made me arrive late for my first ever lecture there, as if I was a freshman again.

    ‘What does scientific even mean?’

    Almost two years earlier, I had started my academic career at the University of Groningen studying International Relations and International Organization (IRIO). Day in, day out, I’d focus on conflict and war, strengthened even more by the wide variety of the Middle Eastern Studies courses I took in addition to my degree programme. With hitchhiking as my purest passion, I enjoyed listening to the countless interpretations and perspectives people have on conflicts, war, and the world itself. But questions that were once simply interesting to explore, eventually started to bug me. What is truth? Is there a truth? What is right, what is wrong? What ethical responsibilities do I have? What does scientific even mean? Some thought-provoking courses on theoretical and methodological problems within IRIO made me realize I wanted to question more. But I was already far into my bachelor’s programme… What to do?

    An absolute godsend

    And then I found out about the English-taught Philosophy of a Specific Discipline programme. An absolute godsend for those curious students that wish to explore more philosophical aspects of science, I must say. While continuing my normal programme, I had the opportunity to also deepen and widen my philosophical interest. The programme did not give a simple answer to my questions. Often, they were a tantamount of possible answers. But perhaps more importantly the programme offered the tools to approach such questions, it taught the skill of thinking critically, thereby only widening the gray zone. Besides, I must also emphasize that I felt the lecturers genuinely care about their students, given their critical and useful feedback on essays and exams, as well as their well-prepared lectures.

    I’d be happy to see a philosophy course integrated in all academic programmes

    That sounds like a lot of sunshine and roses. Which it is, from my perspective. If there is one quote that intrigues me, it’s Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘There are no facts, only interpretations’. He wrote the sentence in his essay On Truth and Lies (1873). There is no objectivity, only subjectivity. All our ideas and judgments are formed through our own perspective. In today’s information age, we have access to the greatest amount of information ever. However, the amount of misinformation and disinformation also appears to be increasing. Therefore, one of the most important aspects of this programme has not been finding concrete answers but mastering the skill to think critically. I’d be happy to see a philosophy course integrated in all academic programmes. But well, that’s my opinion. In Nietzsche’s words, ‘You have your own way. I have my way. As for the right way, correct way and the only way, they do not exist.’ So for now, the Philosophy of a Specific Discipline provides an excellent solution, for me, and just like its location, its existence also still remains a hidden gem for many university students.

    About Christiaan

    Before starting the Philosophy of a Specific Discipline programme at the University of Groningen, Christiaan Triebert studied a Bachelor’s in International Relations and International Organization. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at King’s College London.

						Testimonial of

    You will run a serious risk of never wanting to return to your main field of study if you enrol in this programme

    Read more

    Since I have started the Philosophy of a Specific Discipline Programme I have found myself experiencing an almost perpetual state of confusion. Though my confusion has sometimes been a source of great frustration, it has never discouraged me in my pursuit of becoming a philosopher. The latter has everything to do with the Faculty of Philosophy and its inhabitants.

    I joined the programme after finishing my Psychology Bachelor. In the first semester of the last year of this bachelor I took the Philosophy Minor. It was there that I was introduced to a topic that made everything else I had ever learned about pale in comparison: Metaethics. When I returned to psychology I tried to integrate my new found passion in my studies, writing my thesis on the effects of empathy on metaethical attitudes. While writing my thesis, I realised that I enjoyed the philosophical work a lot more than the psychological work. So, I made an appointment with the faculty’s student advisor, hoping some arrangement could be made, but feeling rather pessimistic about it.

    A programme tailored to me

    The conversation I had that day characterises how the faculty sees its students. The emphasis was not on whether I had the right skill-set or profile to fit the programme, but on how the programme could be tailored to me, so that it would be conducive to my goals. The presumption appeared to be that I would succeed, given that I received the right guidance. I have set my goals (even) higher now, having decided to use the programme as a pre-master for the Research Master in Philosophy, which has quite strict selection criteria. I tend to get overwhelmed from time to time, when I think about having to meet these criteria. But, as I said before, I never get discouraged and that is because there is always someone, staff or student, who will take the time to take you through the material again, answer your questions and address your doubts, or to provide you with the necessary encouragement.

    Learn from some of the brightest minds in philosophy

    What you take from the programme strongly depends on your personal interests and background. No matter which courses you choose to follow, however, you will have the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest minds in philosophy. Though these philosophers all have their own take on what philosophy is about and which questions are relevant, there is one thing each and every one will teach you. You will learn to evaluate, and more importantly, value your own thoughts and ideas. Now, I believe this is something that you can only learn by doing philosophy. The moment you walk into your first lecture, and here I paraphrase prof. dr Martin Lenz, you join the huge conversation that is philosophy. Lecturers will ask you about your take on a philosophical problem, or your objections to a position, because your input is considered valuable. After a while, you will – hopefully – learn to see this too, and be able to contribute your unique views and ideas to the philosophical conversation.

    Lectures are very interactive

    Most importantly perhaps, the programme is also a lot of fun. Lectures are very interactive, so there is plenty of room for discussion with your lecturers and peers. There is a wide of range of interesting and challenging topics you can study, and when you find a topic you love chances are that there will be someone on staff that will happily take the time to tell you all about it. STUFF, the Faculty’s study association, organises all kinds of study-related and social activities, that will make your experience as a philosophy student even more enjoyable. To summarize, if you enrol in the Philosophy of a Specific Discipline Programme you will run a serious risk of never wanting to return to your main field of study. But that’s alright, because it’s never too late to become of a philosopher.

						Testimonial of Patrick Leacy

    This is what academia is supposed to be like

    – Patrick Leacy
    Read more

    It was a long and arduous career in engineering that led me to the philosophy faculty. With a two year stop-over in mathematics to orient my logical compass I felt that it was time to jump the monotonous tracks of the modern scientific paradigm and learn to think more independently. I sought respite in the halls of the philosophy faculty. And I found it.

    Here in a grand old building tucked down a narrow, cobblestone alley, one is as free of the foot-worn, fact-gathering rat race of modern academia as one could be. It is by the nature of the art-of-thought that the pressure to fill a mould is replaced with encouragement to satisfy one’s curiosity and grow into oneself. Students are inundated with timeless ideas; gems of thought that are so variously faceted that there is always promise of a novel angle for the inquisitive mind, and tools of reasoning; to provide clarity of thought whatever the focus. This is what academia is supposed to be like: an intellectual journey as opposed to a subscription - though credit is also due to the ethereal nature of a philosophical career.

    There is a surprise in store for everyone

    The curriculum of Philosophy of a Specific Scientific Discipline begins with a unique one semester tour of the highlights of philosophy. Engaging lecturers deliver fundamental, invigorating ideas. From modern politics to formal logic to nihilist ethics, there is a surprise in store for everyone and everyone benefits from the breadth of coverage. These lectures are shared with diverse peers from across the university with a common passion for open-mindedness and truth. In the second semester a range of electives are offered and it is here that one sees further practical value in the programme. The courses are focused and relevant to one’s interests, and they are often shared with the most curious and engaging people one could hope to meet; the pure philosophy students.

    Welcoming student association

    The benefits of the programme are not limited to the curriculum, however. Once in the door one is also welcomed to the STUFF student association of the philosophy faculty. This was the highlight of the programme for me. The association is welcoming and active and will keep you entertained for the rest of your time in Groningen.