What is consciousness? What is the relation between truth and democracy? If our world is mechanistic, how could chances ever exist?
Philosophy is the systematic investigation of very fundamental questions. Students are trained to think and write in a clear manner about topics such as the relation between mind, body and cognition, the nature and basis of moral judgments, the limits of knowledge, or the principles of social justice. Philosophical questions have been examined for thousands of years and the study of the history of thought is itself an important part of the discipline.
The Master Philosophy is aimed at further training your philosophical knowledge and skills. Students are encouraged to engage in philosophical discussions at a deeper level with the skills and knowledge they developed in their Bachelor's degree programme.
Master's students in Philosophy can choose from three specializations:
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.
In my view, a degree in philosophy from the University of Groningen is an asset for life.
The best place to fully appreciate the uniqueness of our faculty is inside the classroom. At 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 – I am truly convinced that our faculty has mastered the balance between academic excellence and collegial friendliness.
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.
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.
Each professor is devoted to every discussion
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”.
In het beleidsadvies heb ik veel aan de manier van denken die ik in mijn studie filosofie heb kunnen oefenen
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.
Ik houd me bezig met grote maatschappelijke thema's
Na mijn stage bij het Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken solliciteerde ik voor het Rijkstraineeprogramma. Sindsdien werk ik bij het Ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid, waar ik me nu vooral richt op internationaal armoedebeleid. Als ambtenaar stel ik kritische vragen en houd ik me bezig met rechtvaardigheid en verantwoordelijkheid.
In het dagelijks werk overleg ik vaak met collega's en ben ik op werkbezoek bij maatschappelijke organisaties. Verder schrijf ik veel: dat kan bijvoorbeeld een beleidsadvies aan de staatssecretaris of minister zijn.
Het verbaast me nog steeds hoeveel bewegingsruimte je hebt als ambtenaar. Ook als beleid eenmaal ontwikkeld is, is het belangrijk om in de uitvoering kritisch te blijven en iedere keuze goed te kunnen beargumenteren. Verder houd ik me bezig met grote maatschappelijke thema's, zoals radicalisering, laaggeletterdheid en armoede. Dat vind ik het leukst aan mijn werk. Werken bij de Rijksoverheid raad ik filosofen van harte aan!