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OnderwijsMaster en PhD opleidingenFilosofie - Research
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Philosophy

What is freedom and why is it valuable? What makes an argument convincing? How do body and mind interact?

Philosophy is the systematic study of fundamental questions. Students are trained to think and write clearly about topics such as the relations between mind, body and cognition, the nature and basis of moral judgements, the limits of knowledge, or the principles of social justice.

The Research Master Philosophy offers you the opportunity to work with leading scholars in the history of philosophy, practical philosophy and theoretical philosophy (see staff pages). It prepares you for an academic career, but also teaches useful skills for other jobs.

The programme offers a core curriculum on philosophical problems related to ongoing research in the faculty, as well as many opportunities to pursue your own interests.
Our personal approach makes the Faculty a wonderful place to study, and our programme is consistently ranked highly by independent assessors. (Read about it here.)
The Master's programme in Philosophy is offered both on a full-time and part-time basis.

Attractions of the Research Master in Groningen

  • Students can apply for paid Teaching Assistantships.
  • Paid TA guaranteed for the best two EU/EEA applicants.
  • Half the tuition fee for non-EU/EEA students is covered by the Faculty of Philosophy.
  • Talent grants of €5000 for the best non-EU/EEA applicants.
  • Two fully funded PhD positions reserved for students of our Research Master every year, and more positions available in an open competition with outside applicants.

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Facts & Figures
Degree
MA in Philosophy (research)
Course type
Research master
Duration
24 months (120 ECTS)
Croho code
60128
Language of instruction
English
Start
February, September
Faculty
Philosophy
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • Top Rated programme 2017 (Consumer Guide for Dutch University Education)
  • Students can apply for paid Teaching Assistantships.
  • Guaranteed paid TA's for the best two EU/EEA applicants.
  • 50% of tuition fee for non-EU/EEA students covered by us.
  • Fully funded PhD positions reserved for the two best students from our programme every year.
  • Results of the National Student Assessment (NSE) show that our students are very satisfied with the contents of our programmes and that they value the expertise of our teaching staff.
Programme

The first year involves four 'core issue' courses of 5 EC each. These relate to core research interests of our staff, such as Kantian ethics, methods in the history of philosophy, and the problem of induction.

You also choose three specialization courses of 10 EC each. At least two of these should normally be in your area of specialization (history of philosophy, theoretical philosophy or ethics, social and political philosophy).

Finally, you follow Research in Practice 1 (10 EC), which involves training in academic English, research ethics, and presenting your research.

Periods
CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
Core Issues I-II (10 EC)
Specialization I (10 EC)
Research in practice I (10 EC)
Specialization II (10 EC)

The first part of this specialization course is in the first semester, the second part is in the second semester.

Core Issues III-IV (10 EC)
Specialization III (10 EC)

In the first semester, Dutch students go abroad. International students can do this too, but are not required to go abroad. It is up to you which courses you pick during this period (30 EC).

The second semester consists of writing a thesis (25 EC), and Research in Practice 2 (5 EC), which involves training in writing a research proposal for application to PhD programmes.

A comprehensive overview of our courses can be found in our catalogue: https://www.rug.nl/ocasys/filosofie/vak/showpos?opleiding=233

A further detailed description of the programme can be found in our prospectus: https://www.rug.nl/filosofie/education/prospectus

Periods
CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
Term abroad (30 EC)

students may also choose a 15 EC term abroad complemented with 15 EC electives.

Research in practice II (5 EC)
RM thesis (25 EC)
Programme options
History of Philosophy (specialization)
Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy (specialization)
Theoretical Philosophy (specialization)
Honours College (honours program)

The Honours College offers talented and motivated master students the opportunity to follow a programme of 15 ECTS in addition to the Master's degree programme.

The Honours programme of the master focuses on the theme of 'leadership'.

More information about this option

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is required
  • For an average of 16 weeks
  • Maximum of 30 EC

Study abroad is required for Dutch students

Entry Requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
assessment interview

Once we have received your application and all required documents, the admissions board will evaluate your file. Applicants may subsequently be invited for an interview (possibly via Skype). In any case, you will hear from us no later than one month after the application deadline (see below).

grade average

Academic transcript: We expect applicants to have a mean score of at least 7.5 for relevant courses (corresponding roughly to an A-/B+ in the US system) If the programme involved a thesis, it also must have received at least an 8.

language test

Proof of English proficiency: you will need to prove your proficiency in English by means of one of the following tests (the test cannot be older than two years):

  • IELTS, minimum overall score 7.0 with no band lower than 6.5
  • TOEFL 100 (section scores Reading 22, Listening 22, Speaking 26, Writing 24)

Please ask the ETS to send us the test score report using institution code 7191. This requirement does not apply if you:

  • are a native speaker and completed secondary education in any one of the following countries: Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
  • have completed your bachelor education in any one of the following countries: Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
  • have an International Baccalaureate
  • have a European Baccalaureate diploma
previous education

We expect a Bachelor's degree in philosophy or philosophy of a specific scientific discipline, or a degree which the admissions board considers to be equivalent.

reference letter

Two reference letters: these letters should be written by instructors who know the student and should describe the student's past performance and academic promise.

written request

Motivation letter: the student should explain why he or she wishes to take part in our programme and what he or she expects from it.

other admission requirements

Students with a degree from a Dutch university should send their application files to: fil-study-advisor@rug.nl and follow the application instructions here: http://www.rug.nl/education/nederlandse-studenten/inschrijven/master

Required documents in addition to the above to be provided with application:

  • Copy of bachelor diploma or proof of enrolment including expected graduation date
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Writing sample: This can be the student's Bachelor thesis or a paper he or she has written for a philosophy course.

International students: first register in Studielink, and then upload your application files to the Online Application System. In order to do this, visit http://www.rug.nl/howtoapply and follow the steps. DOWNLOAD PDF: https://www.rug.nl/research/gradschool-philosophy/research-master/philosophy-rm-groningen-admissions-procedure.pdf

We advise non-EU students to apply even earlier and use the deadline of the preceding admission moment, as acquiring visa and other documents is often time consuming. Please visit the 'Visa and immigration' section on http://www.rug.nl/education/international-students/ for more information.

Registration procedure

Dutch students wishing to apply for this programme, please submit your application (including all required documents) to: fil-study-advisor@rug.nl , visit http://www.rug.nl/education/nederlandse-studenten/inschrijven/master and follow the application instructions.

HOW TO APPLY

All applicants have to register in Studielink

After registering in Studielink, Dutch students send their application files to: fil-study-advisor@rug.nl (Mr. Harrie ten Have);

International students upload their application files in the Online Application System

Full information about documents required

Full information about all steps involved in the application procedure (including assessment) for Dutch students

Full information about all steps involved in the application procedure (including assessment) for international students

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
assessment interview

Once we have received your application and all required documents, the admissions board will evaluate your file. Applicants may subsequently be invited for an interview (possibly via Skype). In any case, you will hear from us no later than one month after the application deadline (see below).

grade average

Academic transcript: We expect applicants to have a mean score of at least 7.5 (corresponding roughly to an A-/B+ in the US system) for relevant courses. If the programme involved a thesis, it also must have received at least an 8.

language test

Proof of English proficiency: you will need to prove your proficiency in English by means of one of the following tests (the test cannot be older than two years):

  • IELTS, minimum overall score 7.0 with no band lower than 6.5
  • TOEFL 100 (section scores Reading 22, Listening 22, Speaking 26, Writing 24)

Please ask the ETS to send us the test score report using institution code 7191. This requirement does not apply if you:

  • are a native speaker and completed secondary education in any one of the following countries: Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
  • have completed your bachelor education in any one of the following countries: Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
previous education

We expect a Bachelor's degree in philosophy or philosophy of a specific scientific discipline, or a degree which the admissions board considers to be equivalent.

reference letter

Two reference letters: these letters should be written by instructors who know the student and should describe the student's past performance and academic promise.

written request

Motivation letter: the student should explain why he or she wishes to take part in our programme and what he or she expects from it.

other admission requirements

Students with a degree from a Dutch university should send their application files to: fil-study-advisor@rug.nl and follow the application instructions here: http://www.rug.nl/education/nederlandse-studenten/inschrijven/master

Required documents in addition to the above to be provided with application:

  • Copy of bachelor diploma or proof of enrolment including expected graduation date
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Writing sample: This can be the student's Bachelor thesis or a paper he or she has written for a philosophy course.

International students: first register in Studielink, and then upload your application files to the Online Application System. In order to do this, visit http://www.rug.nl/howtoapply and follow the steps. DOWNLOAD PDF: https://www.rug.nl/research/gradschool-philosophy/research-master/philosophy-rm-groningen-admissions-procedure.pdf

We advise non-EU students to apply even earlier and use the deadline of the preceding admission moment, as acquiring visa and other documents is often time consuming. Please visit the 'Visa and immigration' section on http://www.rug.nl/education/international-students/ for more information.

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band7
TOEFL internet based100

Registration procedure

Registration and application procedure

HOW TO APPLY

All applicants have to register in Studielink

After registering in Studielink, Dutch students send their application files to: fil-study-advisor@rug.nl (Mr. Harrie ten Have);

International students upload their application files in the Online Application System

Full information about documents required

Full information about all steps involved in the application procedure (including assessment) for Dutch students

Full information about all steps involved in the application procedure (including assessment) for international students

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 201901 September 2019
01 November 201901 February 2020
01 May 202001 September 2020
01 November 202001 February 2021
EU/EEA students01 May 201901 September 2019
01 November 201901 February 2020
01 May 202001 September 2020
01 November 202001 February 2021
non-EU/EEA students01 April 201901 September 2019
01 November 201901 February 2020
01 April 202001 September 2020
01 November 202001 February 2021
Tuition Fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2018-2019€ 2060full-time
non-EU/EEA2018-2019€ 11500full-time
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 12500full-time
After your studies

Job prospects

The Research Master in philosophy prepares you to do a PhD in philosophy, but it also provides vital skills for other jobs where research and presentation skills are needed, such as journalism, government work, consultancy, publishing, and education.

For those who want to pursue an academic career in philosophy, Groningen offers many opportunities. We reserve two PhD places per year for students who have completed our own Research Master, and offer several additional places for both internal and external applicants. Furthermore, the Faculty of Philosophy in Groningen is very successful at securing research grants, which fund many additional PhD and postdoc positions.

Research

Research

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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Contact

If you want to know more about the programme Philosophy, please contact:

  • 
								Testimonial of

    This programme prepares you for the next academic phase in every way.

    Read more

    While pursuing my Bachelor of Science in India, I noticed that when I did experiments I liked it better to explain what I did and why, than the practice itself. That's when I decided to switch to philosophy and pursued a Master's in Birmingham. Before deciding to come here, I participated in the Philosophy Winter School last year. I would advise everyone to do this as it is a good introduction to the Faculty.

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  • 
								Testimonial of

    'Throughout the programme, students are constantly encouraged to think and work as true insiders of academia.'

    Read more

    Starting his philosophical career from Jilin University in China, Chengying Guan joined UG's international Research Master's Programme in the autumn of 2013.

    Philosophy is difficult, and to pursue the career of being a professional philosopher could be arduous. Indeed, this seems more real for those who come from a civilization that had no such thing in its pre-modern stage.

    Perhaps to your surprise, although China had, of course, produced a lot of invaluable ‘ philosophical’ ideas for humankind, the very concept of ‘philosophy as an autonomous academic subject’ did not occur in Chinese language and intellectual life until about 120 years ago. This concept in its Chinese format, namely, 哲学 (zhé xué), was one of many Japanese-made Chinese words that we imported from our neighbour during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Outside of academia, few know that the first user of it was the Japanese scholar Nishi Amane (1829-1897), an ardent participant of the Meiji Restoration.

    The real challenge is to 'do philosophy' directly on our own hands

    Due to this historical background and also a series of social-political setbacks that happened in the twentieth century, philosophy in China suffered from slow development for many years. Notwithstanding, thanks to the effort of honourable pioneers, philosophical research is now no longer strange to Chinese people; our works are still short of international visibilities and thus need improvement. The Chinese philosophy community has a clear awareness of this situation and a resolute ambition to make a change.

    Being included in that community, when finishing my undergraduate at Jilin University in Changchun, I realized I had better study abroad in order to go faster. As I see it, instead of transmitting—from a bird's eye view—what great Western philosophers had said, the real challenge is to—from a trench-eye view—‘do philosophy' directly on our own hands, that is, to engage in those ongoing debates, working face-to-face with our contemporary peers from all over the world.

    Delightful

    I felt so lucky that I subsequently got the chance to enrol in the international Research Master's Programme here at the University of Groningen, which is an outstanding classic university rooted in the north of the Netherlands, a nation that stands in the frontier of philosophy. In fact, as even fewer people know, when Nishi Amane made his original translation, the object in front of him was shown in neither English nor German. Rather, it was the Dutch word ‘wijsbegeerte,' which literally means ‘desire for wisdom,' that fascinated this oriental young, during his stay for study in the Netherlands between 1862 and 1865.

    More interestingly, Dutch people take ‘wijsbegeerte’ to be the synonymy of another more informal word which nonetheless indicates philosophy’s Greek origin in a more common way , namely, ‘filosofie’ (i.e. φιλοσοφία, or rather, ‘love of wisdom’). By specifically isolating ‘desire’ from ‘love,’ it seemed that they revealed a more active mentality about how to get along with philosophy , that is, the mentality that philosophy is more like a craft worth doing than simply something worth admiring . Considering that the physical size of the nation is so small, this mentality, which is also the point I think Chinese people should learn, is impressively unusual and perhaps has mattered a lot. Nowadays, Dutch philosophers consistently put out cutting-edge and internationally-recognized works. Every year, a considerable number of papers and books written in Dutch philosophy departments get published in world’s top journals and presses. To be part of this story is, in one word, delightful.

    An atmosphere of mutual respect

    Three distinctive characteristics of the Faculty of Philosophy (Faculteit Wijsbegeerte) at Groningen and its international Research Master's Programme must be highlighted. First of all, the faculty is the largest one of its kind nationwide. This provides students with comprehensive possibilities to explore their own upgrading routines; that is to say, enrolling in the faculty, students can develop academic interests in almost all branches of philosophy and get appropriate supervision.

    Secondly, the structure of the international Research Master Programme is wisely designed, prepares its participants well for getting surviving and thriving in the environment of ‘analytical tradition,' which is currently the dominating research paradigm. (Yet, at the same time, it also teaches us never to underestimate the value of other traditions.) To be precise, the programme is arranged in such a way that it does not only just pass on knowledge but it also has a strong emphasis on the mastery of research skills. Throughout the programme, students are constantly encouraged to think and work as true insiders of academia.

    Related to this, thirdly and of the most importance, being ‘research masters,’ we are treated by Groningen professors as not merely students but their future colleagues. Such an atmosphere of mutual respect—not to mention their tremendous patience with those who need much time to grow—is highly exhilarating. To summarize, I think it would be quite fair to say that no matter how rough the path to a philosophical career may be, sitting at Groningen’s research master classes implies a good start-up. Especially, for those from China, like me, as well as—if I may venture to infer—for those from similar non-Western countries, this kind of feeling could be even stronger.

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  • 
								Testimonial of Sabine van Enckevort

    I got to present my papers at conferences in Berlin, Toronto and Nijmegen

    – Sabine van Enckevort
    Read more

    This Research Master not only provides you with amazing reflexive and writing skills, but also allows you to get in touch with other philosophers in and outside of the Groningen department.

    After my Bachelor’s programme I wanted to continue to study medieval and early modern philosophers. This is why I decided to do this 2-year, English-taught Research Master programme, a selective programme for those who want to pursue an academic career. As a part of this programme I spent a term abroad at the University of Toronto, and I got to present three of my papers at conferences in Berlin, Toronto and Nijmegen. This programme stimulated me to become an active member of the department and eventually even opened the door for me becoming a PhD student.

    Since the male-female ratio in academia is still out of balance, I would hope to see more young female philosophers to join this great programme and to become part of the department, which, I think, forms a challenging and at the same time friendly community.

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  • 
								Testimonial of Efthymis Panourgias

    What could be better than the University of Groningen?

    – Efthymis Panourgias
    Read more

    Before coming in Groningen I worked as a teacher of philosophy and Greek literature in secondary education in Greece. Continuing my studies in Philosophy was something that I wanted to do, since I finished my studies at the Philosophy department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. I wanted to expand my horizons and get in contact with new ways of thinking and working. Hence, I decided to follow a programme abroad. What could be better than the University of Groningen?

    The reason for choosing this specific faculty was that it is considered one of the best faculties in Europe and the best in the Netherlands.

    Very high level and competitive programme

    I have to admit that the Faculty of Philosophy and the programme were more than I had expected. First of all, the programme is a very high level and competitive one, with a variety of subjects from almost all areas of philosophy. Secondly, it consists in high skilled, experienced, and specialized personnel. The very fact that it hosts a large group of PhD students and post-docs is a strong indication that it is a very active faculty in terms of research with a strong presence in the philosophical domain. What is more, the fact that there are regular colloquia and seminars organized, gives everyone the opportunity to present their research and discuss it with their colleagues. I think that this is very important for the prosperity and the progress of everyone individually and of the Faculty in total. I shouldn't omit to mention the extra-curricular activities, such as reading groups, which are regularly organised just for the sheer interest and engagement with a topic.

    Family atmosphere

    As for the atmosphere among the students and the teachers, I found it more relaxed and friendly than I was used to. The very fact that it is an independent Faculty gives it the leverage of a family atmosphere. The teachers are easily accessible and cooperative, while there is a good communication among the fellow students. What makes the whole atmosphere more comfortable and pleasant is the Kantine in which everyone gathers to have their lunch, relax and talk.

    Language and cultural differences

    Nevertheless, there are quite a few difficulties that one faces by their arrival in Groningen. Even though both the University and the Faculty give a warm welcoming, and there is a general willingness to help on several levels, there are some objective difficulties that one has to face. Language and cultural differences are the most important ones. It is true that it takes time to adjust to the cultural differences and get used to speaking and talking in a foreign language. However, it is a minor obstacle that can be easily surpassed.

    Bureaucratic issues: do some research beforehand

    The search for accommodation and the bureaucratic issues that one has to deal with before and during staying in Groningen, are quite easily resolved. However, one must take care of them quite some time before arrival. Especially accommodation must be catered for before arrival due to the fact that the demand for housing is bigger than the offer. An easy and safe solution is staying during the first period in one of the student houses which are administered by the Housing Office. As for the bureaucratic issues (enrolment at the municipality hall, health insurance, bank account etc.), it is advisable to do some research beforehand as to what is required. I shouldn't fail to mention that I had quite some help from the Faculty and some fellow students.

    Groningen: great chances for new experiences

    Groningen is mainly characterized by its student life, since the RUG is a big university. Hence, it is the perfect place for someone to meet new people from different countries and cultural backgrounds from all over the world. Especially for someone easy-going, it is not difficult to make new friends and socialize a lot. Combined with the fact that Groningen is a city with a variety of options concerning entertainment and cultural events, I think that it offers great chances for new experiences. Even though it is considered a remote area within the Netherlands, it is a lively city with many facilities for almost every taste and an easy access to several places around Central and Northern Europe.

    I am following the Research Master programme with a specialization in ancient metaphysics and epistemology (Plato and Aristotle). After the end of my studies at the Faculty of Philosophy I intend to continue research in my area of interest.

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  • 
								Testimonial of Ingrid Pendaries

    I immediately felt at home

    – Ingrid Pendaries
    Read more

    After having finished my Bachelor Degree at the Université de Toulouse Le Mirail in France, I felt the deep need to explore new horizons, be they cultural or philosophical. Groningen was a great place for me to do so. I easily found a room in a student house through the Housing Office. Living in such a place has not only allowed me to quickly become fluent in English, but also to make great Dutch and international friends. Although I was away from my family, I immediately felt at home.

    I should stress, however, that a stay abroad has to be prepared months in advance! Even though I had started making plans in January (for September), I still turned out to be late with some administrative issues in the end.

    Genuine interest

    When I arrived at the Faculty, the staff welcomed me with open arms. I was also glad to see the freedom of thought and the genuine interest that was given to my work. The Faculty of Philosophy in Groningen is supported by a team of dedicated professionals, as they manage to make time and to properly advise each student.

    Variety of lectures

    I would even say that the Faculty of Philosophy stands out from other faculties because of its internal dynamics and variety of lectures and seminars. I remember specifically, that in June 2011, I went to a conference given by Peter Singer. It was quite an epiphany for me. I read The Life You Can Save and Animal Liberation in the week that followed, and that is when I realized how Practical Ethics are of central importance to me.

    Research

    I then deepened my knowledge of the subject and was given the opportunity to express my views on Animal Ethics through my papers, a topic so dear to me. Moreover, it is during the time I spent in Groningen that I experienced the implications of long term research, especially through the elaboration and support of my Master’s thesis. I learned to appropriately use scientific data and fundamental philosophical opinions needed for researching. The Faculty's teachers and supervisors have been, and still are, of inspiration to me regarding these accomplishments. That is why today, I am more than happy to continue in the Research Master's programme in Groningen to perfect my researching skills.

    Ingrid graduated with her research master's thesis: Veganism Light: The Feasibility of a Moral Ideal

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Study support

The programme provides a great deal of study support. Small-scale classes and a friendly, informal setting stimulate contact between our staff and students. Each student is assigned a tutor that counsels the student on the choices of the individual study programme. Our international officer provides general information for international students and she also helps students to arrange the term abroad.

If you have any questions or problems you can always consult the study advisor. A study advisor can provide more detailed information about our programmes. He also monitors your study progress. You can also contact the study advisor in case of personal problems that affect your study performance. Students can make an appointment or drop by during consultation hours.