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Education Master's and PhD degree programmes Philosophy
Header image Philosophy


What is consciousness? What is the relation between truth and democracy? If our world is mechanistic, how could chances ever exist?

Students will further train the philosophical knowledge and skills they developed in their Bachelor's degree programme and are encouraged to engage in philosophical discussions at a deeper level.

Master's students in Philosophy can choose from three specializations:

  • Theoretical Philosophy
  • History of Philosophy
  • Ethics Social and Political Philosophy

The programme is concluded with a thesis on a topic of your choice.

The Master's programme in Philosophy is offered both on a full-time and part-time basis.

Holland Scholarship

Admitted prospective students from outside the EU/EEA can apply for the Holland Scholarship. Please find information on eligibility and how to apply on our Holland Scholarship page (deadline for 1st call is on 1 February; deadline for 2nd call is on 1 May).

Tuition waiver

Half the tuition fee for non-EU/EEA students is covered by the Faculty of Philosophy.

Facts & Figures
MA in Philosophy
Course type
12 months (60 ECTS)
Croho code
Language of instruction
February, September
Why study this programme in Groningen?

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. Small-scale classes and a friendly, informal setting enhance contacts between our staff and students. In reviews of the Keuzegids Universiteiten and in the Higher Education Review of Dutch University Faculties, our faculty was rated number one by both students and professors year after year - and second-best twice.


The programme comprises one year (60 ECTS). Students choose a coherent set of at least four courses within a specialization area (20 ECTS). Additionally, students can choose up to four courses of other specialization areas (20 ETCS). The programme is concluded with a thesis (20 ECTS).

You can choose one of the areas of specialization:

  • Theoretical Philosophy: logic; argumentation theory; (formal) epistemology; and philosophy of science, mind, and language.
  • Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy: normative ethics; meta-ethics; moral psychology; and contemporary political philosophy.
  • History of Philosophy: metaphysics; epistemology; ancient, medieval and (early) modern philosophy.

However, there are also possibilities to take courses outside your specialization area if this also fits your academic interests. For example, if you are interested in contemporary debates on 'autonomy' and 'moral luck', then taking a course about Spinoza's Ethics may be an interesting choice.

You conclude the degree programme by writing and defending a thesis of 20 ECTS. You are free to formulate and pursue your own research question. The thesis is written under supervision of two staff members.

A comprehensive overview of our courses can be found in our catalogue:

A further detailed description of the programme can be found in our prospectus:

CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
Four electives within area of specialisation (20 EC)
Four electives within or outside specialisation (15 EC)
Master thesis (20 EC)

Study load

40 hours of class and self-study per week on average

Programme options
Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy (specialization)
History of Philosophy (specialization)
Theoretical Philosophy (specialization)
Honours Programme (honours program)

The Honours College gives talented, motivated master students the opportunity to challenge themselves even more by offering a programme of 15 ECTS in addition to the Master's degree programme.

More information about this option

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is recommended
  • For an average of 16 weeks
  • Maximum of 30 EC
Entry requirements

Registration procedure


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.

Transfer options

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Philosophy of a specific disciplineAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
PhilosophyAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Liberal Arts and SciencesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Students Liberal Arts need to have finished at least 60 ECTS in philosophical subjects. Written requests need to be sent to the Admission Board via FIL-study-advisor Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV and a writing sample.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
PhilosophyUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements
Philosophy of a specific disciplineUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
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 6.5 TOEFL 92/120 IBT

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 another Bachelor's 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 who 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, what he or she expects from the programme and what he or she wishes to achieve.

other admission requirements

Required documents 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 and follow the steps.

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.

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band6.5
TOEFL internet based92

Registration procedure


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.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 September 202001 September 2020
01 February 202101 February 2021
01 September 202101 September 2021
EU/EEA students01 November 202001 February 2021
01 May 202101 September 2021
01 November 202101 February 2022
non-EU/EEA students01 November 202001 February 2021
01 May 202101 September 2021
01 November 202101 February 2022
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2020-2021€ 2143full-time
non-EU/EEA2020-2021€ 13500full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

After finishing the Master's degree, many philosophers find work as educators, journalists, editors and policy advisors, both in business and at governmental agencies. It is also possible to become a researcher at the university or a private research institute.

Job examples

  • Researcher
  • Journalist


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."

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.

Read more about the research of the Faculty of Philosophy in Groningen

Apply nowBrochureEventsContact


  • Admissions Office (For questions about admission)
    Telephone: +31 50 363 8004
  • Janine Weeting (Studieadviseur)
    Email: fil-study-advisor
						Testimonial of

    In my view, a degree in philosophy from the University of Groningen is an asset for life.

    Read more

    Hi all! My name is Jannick, and I’m a master’s student in philosophy at the University of Groningen. In the following lines, I share some of my thoughts about studying philosophy, the contents of our graduate programme, and the benefits of our faculty.

    Why philosophy? - I submit that, in a sense, philosophy serves as a much-needed firewall for the brain. Nowadays, we find information being hurled at us at every turn. It can often be difficult to get our bearings due to this never-ending influx of words, pictures, and video clips. To prevent unjustified and harmful beliefs from infiltrating our worldviews, it is worthwhile to cultivate a lifelong disposition to think clearly about what's actually going on. Philosophy nurtures that clarity of mind like no other field of study, and that's why I value it so highly.

    Why this programme?

    The MA Philosophy at our university is a one-year, 60EC degree that’s split into four blocks. In the first two blocks, your primary task is to complete a number of courses in two or more of our research specializations. These are the history of philosophy, theoretical philosophy, and moral and political philosophy. Examples of courses I attended include Philosophy of Argument, Heidegger’s Being and Time, and Gender and Race. How many courses you take per block is entirely up to you – that way, you can customize your degree to fit your particular requirements. In the last two blocks, besides taking some additional courses, you will also start writing your thesis. The thesis is a 20EC independent research project for which you’re encouraged to pursue a topic of personal interest. By now, you must have noticed that in our programme it is paramount that you are free to design your own study experience. I hope you enjoy that freedom to the fullest.

    Groningen is widely seen as one of the best places to study philosophy in Europe: our faculty consistently shines in both national and international rankings. But while rankings are important, they are also impersonal. The best place to fully appreciate the uniqueness of our faculty is inside the classroom. At the graduate level, groups are small and teaching styles are informal. In-class discussions are unfailingly stimulating due to there being ample opportunity for everyone to share their thoughts. Because of this, I have never doubted my decision to remain in Groningen after my bachelor’s degree – I am truly convinced that our faculty has mastered the balance between academic excellence and collegial friendliness.

    In my view, a degree in philosophy from the University of Groningen is an asset for life. Far beyond graduation, it will inspire me to stay curious and open-minded, and to always greet inherited wisdom with a healthy dose of scepticism.

						Testimonial of Anna Herngreen

    In het beleidsadvies heb ik veel aan de manier van denken die ik in mijn studie filosofie heb kunnen oefenen

    – Anna Herngreen
    Read more

    Na mijn bachelor sociologie heb ik de switch gemaakt naar filosofie en ben ik afgestudeerd op het Groningse aardbevingendossier. Rond mijn afstuderen werd mij via via een vacature onder de neus geschoven en had ik vrijwel direct een baan – binnen twee maanden zat ik in Den Haag achter een bureau. In het beleidsadvies en procesmanagement heb ik veel aan de manier van denken die ik in mijn filosofiestudie heb kunnen oefenen: kwesties kritisch ontrafelen, analyseren en weer in elkaar puzzelen.

						Testimonial of

    Each professor is devoted to every discussion

    Read more

    In August 2015, I came to Groningen from Buenos Aires to start a Master in Philosophy at the UG. One of the things I appreciate most here is the fact that each professor is devoted to every discussion with true interest, putting their minds and passion in relation to authentic philosophical enquiry.

    The philosophical interests I have may differ a lot from the ones my fellow students have. This is not a problem: Groningen philosophy students are given freedom and are encouraged to follow their own interests, teachers offer advice and flexibility. You may start doing courses that will broaden your knowledge about certain areas or authors, and then focus in what your intellectual appetite is calling for.

    It is likely that you will meet people with similar interests very soon in Groningen, even if they study at a different Faculty. The city functions as an exchange field of information, connections, friendship and ideas: because of its medium size and its high amount of students you will receive a lot of unexpected interesting stimulus, not necessarily in relation to your academic background, which may inspire you.

    Even though you can speak English thanks to the fact that almost every Dutch person knows it very well as a second language, it’s worthwhile to pay some attention to the Dutch language. It has beautiful words that you may fall in love with. ‘Wijsbegeerte’ (a traditional way of saying Philosophy in Dutch), which can be translated, just like Philosophy, as “desire for wisdom”.

						Testimonial of

    Ik houd me bezig met grote maatschappelijke thema's

Study associations


STUFF is the social network of all philosophy students of the University of Groningen.
STUFF organizes philosophical activities, like lectures and debates and trips to foreign universities as well as many social happenings such as monthly meetings at a local café, (theme) parties, competitions etc.
Read more
Study support

The programme provides study support. Our international officer provides general information for international students. If you have any questions or problems you can always consult the study advisor. The 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.