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Education Bachelor's degree programmes Philosophy of a specific discipline
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 program. After the first year of your bachelor, you can enroll in this program. You can either start it while continuing your own bachelor (usually during the 2nd and 3rd year of your first bachelor) or start the bachelor Philosophy of a specific discipline after your first bachelor (usually as a 4th year of your bachelor studies).

“Philosophy of a specific discipline” consists of:

  • a Minor (30 ECTS), 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;
  • a Specialization Course (5 ECTS) that introduces you to the field of philosophy that is most relevant to your first bachelor and connects both disciplines;
  • three electives (15 EC) to gain more in-depth knowledge of your Specialization;
  • a Bachelor’s Thesis (10 ECTS) in which you carry out philosophical research connected to the discipline of your first bachelor, in well-organized course;
  • 120 ECTS of your first bachelor program

For more information about the programme and courses see p. 55 of the study guide and you can look up the courses on ocasys.

Facts & Figures
Degree
BA in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline
Course type
Bachelor
Duration
36 months (180 ECTS)
Croho code
57084
Language of instruction
English
Start
Faculty
Philosophy
Why study this programme in Groningen?

This programme received the Quality Label Top Programme in the Keuzegids 2018! More generally, our Philosophy programmes have been awarded excellent results by research and teaching assessment committees. In the past fifteen years we have 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. Only the University of Groningen and at the Erasmus University (Rotterdam) offer this bachelor's programme!

Programme
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

Curriculum

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

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

Admission requirements

In relation to the Corona crisis, the Bachelors-before-masters-rule has been adapted.

Bachelors-before-masters-rule adapted

In relation to the Corona crisis, the Bachelors-before-masters-rule has been adapted. What does this mean?

Choice of degree programme check

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

Registration procedure

Sign up in Studielink by selecting “Philosophy of a Specific Discipline (Bachelor)” and one of the seven possible specializations. For each bachelor program offered at the University of Groningen, there are one or two possible specializations. Find your specialization

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

After your enrolment is completed you will receive an email from the study advisor with information about the courses and instructions about how you can enroll for the courses on progress.

COVID-19 crisis (update 21 April 2020)

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, and to help you complete your application even if you have experienced a delay related to the crisis, some minor adaptions have been made in the application deadlines and procedure. Please view our corona web page to see them.

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

TOEFL IBT score of 92, an IELTS score of 6.5

previous education
  • At least 60ECTS of the first year of your bachelor program or a propedeutic exam: in order to be admitted, you need to have a completed a propaedeutic degree/first year of a non-philosophical research university bachelor program. We will check whether you have obtained enough ECTS
  • NB: It is not possible to apply for this program with a degree of a university of applied sciences ('hogeschool')
other admission requirements

In relation to the Corona crisis, the Bachelors-before-masters-rule has been adapted.

Bachelors-before-masters-rule cancelled

In relation to the Corona crisis, the Bachelors-before-masters-rule has been adapted. What does this mean?

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band6.5
TOEFL internet based92

Registration procedure

Sign up in Studielink following the steps below:

Sign up in Studielink by selecting “Philosophy of a Specific Discipline (Bachelor)” and one of the seven possible specializations. For each bachelor program offered at the University of Groningen, there are one or two possible specializations. Find your specialization

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

After your enrolment is completed you will receive an email from the study advisor with information about the courses and instructions about how you can enroll for the courses on progress.

Please view this overview of tuition fees and enrolment for EU/EEA, non-EU students or international students doing a non-Dutch bachelor.

COVID-19 crisis (update 21 April 2020)

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, and to help you complete your application even if you have experienced a delay related to the crisis, some minor adaptions have been made in the application deadlines and procedure. Please view our corona web page to see them.

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.

https://www.rug.nl/education/tuition-fees-halved

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

Students in philosophy have many possibilities finding a job. As they are qualified as critical, analytical thinkers with a broad understanding of culture, society and the sciences, they can apply for jobs in different fields. Our alumni have found jobs in:

  • Education: universities, universities of applied sciences, secondary education;
  • Journalism and communication;
  • Business;
  • Policy and politics: ministries, municipalities, political parties, NGO's
  • Research
Research

Research

Philosophical research in Groningen has a strong reputation, witness the excellent marks it has received for many years from international assessment committees. The research in Groningen covers a wide area, and it is carried out in three departments: History of Philosophy, Theoretical Philosophy and Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy.

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  • 
						Testimonial of Ren de Jong

    Initially I intended to do only the Philosophy minor but after completing the first semester I was sold.

    – Ren de Jong
    Read more

    The Philosophy minor made me aware that my whole mindset was adjusted to studying biology. I had gotten used to learning biological mechanisms, doing experiments and writing reports but I'd forgotten to look beyond this.

    When I graduated high school and had to decide what to do next, I was absolutely clueless. I went to a bunch of education fairs and was overwhelmed by the possibilities. Everything seemed interesting! Philosophy already caught my eye but I was afraid it would be too theoretical for me. I thought it would only be reading about dudes that lived a thousand years ago. So in the end I chose Biology since it was a really broad study. Although I liked it, in the back of my mind I was still thinking about studying something else on top of it. The minor in my third year proved an excellent opportunity to take a closer look at philosophy. Initially I intended to do only the Philosophy minor but after completing the first semester I was already sold.

    The Philosophy minor made me aware that my whole mindset was adjusted to studying biology. I had gotten used to learning biological mechanisms, doing experiments and writing reports but I had forgotten to look beyond this. The “why-questions” had faded to the background but became very prominent while I was studying for the Philosophy minor:

    What does it actually mean to do research? How are ethics and science connected? What is permitted in science and what are the implications of discoveries for society?

    So in short, I really liked philosophy. Doing the whole Philosophy bachelor’s would cost me an extra three years, so I decided to register for Philosophy of a specific discipline instead. This is a one-year programme so it wouldn’t delay me too much but I could still get some in-depth knowledge.

    While doing the Philosophy minor I was mostly interested in ethics and social & political philosophy so I decided to do more of these courses. Last year I followed a course in ethics and we had to write an essay on a topic of our own choice. This seemed like a good excuse to try and combine philosophy with biology, so I wrote about evolution and morality. Being intrigued by this topic I even made it the topic of my thesis. It was about the question whether evolution can undermine the existence of objective moral values. This way I was able to look at the implications of evolution (my specialization within biology) in other fields.

    Last week I even spent a Sunday at the University Library because I was really excited

    However, this bachelor's is not necessarily just about your original discipline, you can also choose courses that are solely about philosophy. I am currently doing a course called “death and responsibility” and the lecture hours are the two most interesting hours of my week. The lecturer is somehow able to make Heidegger sound understandable and interesting. Last week I even spent a Sunday at the University Library to do the reading because I was really excited. I am now at the point where I can finish my bachelor and I am quite sad to leave this amazing faculty. Maybe I will just do a master to stay a bit longer.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Christiaan Triebert

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

    – Christiaan Triebert
    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 hitch hiking 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

    This interview was taken in 2016. After finishing his Bachelor's in Groningen, Christiaan Triebert earned a Master’s degree in War Studies at King’s College London. In 2017, he was awarded the European Press Prize for his reconstruction of the coup in Turkey in 2016. From then on, things developed quickly. He has worked for Bellingcat and Airwars. Currently, he has a position as visual investigations journalist at The New York Times. After that, Christiaan worked for Bellingcat and in 2019, he started at the New York Times (and was awarded UG Alumnus of the Year).

    Close
Student profile

ambitious, critical, serious, hard-working

(Binding) study advice
  • A minimum of 45 EC in the first 12 months (binding)

You will be offered study advice after first year of study. You can expect a positive result if you have earned more than 45 ECTS credit points (out of a total of 60 ECTS). If you have earned fewer than 45 ECTS and are issued a negative result, you will not be allowed to continue with your degree programme.

You will receive preliminary study advice in December to make sure that you know where you stand. Please contact your study advisor as soon as possible if you have any questions about the BSA system.

N.B. Some degree programmes use a tutoring system; please check with your study advisor.

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