Do you study psychology, physics, history, or… and are you interested in philosophical questions concerning your discipline? This master's degree programme broadens and enriches your knowledge!
You transcend your own discipline by acquiring knowledge of philosophy in relation to it. In this two-year master's programme (120 EC), you combine your own master's programme (60 EC) with a philosophy programme (60 EC).
The programme involves a compulsory course in the philosophy of science in which you reflect on the development of scientific theories. In addition, you select three philosophy courses with a connection to your own field, and follow two 'tutorials': courses consisting of seminars only in which you acquire in-depth knowledge of subjects that interest you.
In some cases, you can partly determine the content yourself. You also follow colloquia: lectures relevant to your area of specialization, on which you write reports that translate the scientific context to philosophical or public ones. You finish your master by writing a philosophical thesis on a subject relating to your own discipline. By these means you learn how to think philosophically about your field.
This programme grants students the freedom and tools to read, think and write more carefully about intellectual and moral questions
“An unexamined life is not worth living!” This is a harsh statement the Greek philosopher Socrates is said to have uttered towards the end of his life, whilst being under trial for 'poisoning' the Athenian youth with his ideas. During my Bachelor and Master, I have been fortunate to enjoy the dynamic and rewarding study environment of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Groningen. Poisoned I have been, and happily so!
I have always thoroughly appreciated the Faculty of Philosophy for offering an intimate space where ideas can mature through conversations with fellow students and staff members. Like its equivalent on the Bachelor level, the Master of Philosophy of a Specific Discipline grants students the freedom and tools to read, think and write more carefully about the intellectual and moral questions they are troubled by. This freedom and challenge to think is for example evident during the Master’s particularly rewarding tutorial-phase, which is comprised of a handful of series of one-on-one meetings where a student picks a theme, idea or author to explore together with a staff member with relevant expertise.
Often during my studies in International Relations at the Faculty of Arts I found myself thinking back on a particular text or conversation I have enjoyed during my studies in philosophy, or found myself looking forward to my classes at the Faculty of Philosophy in order to obtain a fresh and ofttimes challenging perspective on an idea that would not be problematized during my primary studies. Studying – and, indeed, life – has become much more rewarding through my experiences at the Faculty of Philosophy.
Is an unexamined life, then, not worth living? Perhaps I would not go as far as Socrates. I definitely would, however, exclaim with equal force and conviction: an unexamined study career is not worth studying! And for this, you will not find a better place than the Faculty of Philosophy.
The enthusiasm and knowledgeability of the staff was incredibly inspiring
Already during my bachelor studies in Artificial Intelligence I found myself wondering more and more about the underlying assumptions in the practice of science. I was able to follow the master's Philosophy of a Specific Discipline along the AI master's, which greatly helped me in my studies.
The enthusiasm and knowledgeability of the staff was incredibly inspiring and drove me to discover and learn many interesting things.
For anyone who has the feeling that the "core" issues and assumptions of their field are not adequately addressed, I would highly recommend the master of a Specific Discipline.
From Minor via Bachelor to Master
I started studying psychology four years ago. In clinical courses, we use a thick manual for diagnosing mental illnesses, the DSM-V. By applying diagnostic criteria, we separate the normal from the abnormal. I asked myself: Is this a reflection of reality or are we creating a reality here? And what does this say about the concept of 'being normal' ? Answering one question leads to another. I was disappointed that we weren't guided in reflection on such questions in the psychology programme.
A friend who studied philosophy told me that these kinds of questions are subject of thought in Social Philosophy and Philosophy of Science. Conversations with her introduced me to elementary philosophical questions concerning 'the being of things' (ontology) and 'the knowing of things' (epistemology). “You should do a Minor in Philosophy!” was her advice to me. And so I did. The courses involved: From Ancient to Contemporary Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, and Reasoning and Arguing. It was an extensive and inspiring set of courses to build a philosophical foundation.
Those six months have been very instructive and challenging to me, but I also made new friends. The Faculty of Philosophy is small and so it is easy to contact others. Conversations with fellow students come about spontaneously. Sometimes I found myself standing near the coffee machine talking to one of the lecturers about all kinds of things. When I learned that the Minor can be extended to a Bachelor Philosophy of a Specific Discipline, I decided to do that too, and enjoyed it very much. To acquire the bachelor's degree, I only had to do an extra 30 EC, in part by writing a Bachelor thesis. At last I could unravel the usage of diagnostic criteria to my heart's content.
I currently follow the Master's programme Philosophy of a Specific Discipline, which means that I study Clinical Psychology and Philosophy simultaneously. I value being able to select your own set of courses in order to tackle the philosophical questions you encounter in your own discipline. I think it's important to have gumption when you choose this programme. I warmly recommend it to anyone who wants to enrich their knowledge. The options are very diverse, and along the way you learn to write well and think critically. And, although new questions still pop up regularly, I now feel that I'm in the right place AND learning what I want to learn!