• Application Deadline
  • 24 months
    Duration
The Research Master of Philosophy programme is primarily research-oriented and functions as a first step towards the doctoral programme. It focuses firmly on the development of high-level independent research. The programme allows you to concentrate on a particular field of study, supplemented by courses, seminars, and the oral defense of a research-based thesis.

About

The Research Master of Philosophy is a two-year Master’s programme of 120 ECTS Credits, accessible to students holding a bachelor's degree in philosophy with excellent results. Students holding a master's degree in philosophy with excellent results can apply for the research master’s one-year track of 60 credits (abridged programme).

The Institute of Philosophy offers a comprehensive range of BA, MA, Research Master and PhD degrees, all taught in English. Viewed collectively, our undergraduate and post-graduate degrees aim to familiarise students with the history of philosophy as well as with contemporary movements in analytic and continental philosophy so that they are able to engage with the fundamental areas of philosophical research. The Institute of Philosophy is proud to offer its students a broad philosophical education and a wide range of courses and seminars, as well as personalised study support and guidance.

The Research Master programme is primarily research-oriented and functions as a first step towards the doctoral programme. It focuses firmly on the development of high-level independent research. Your study programme is tailored to this goal. It allows you to concentrate on a particular field of study, supplemented by courses, seminars, and the oral defense of a research-based thesis.

The Research Master of Philosophy is a programme of 120 credits (2 years of full-time study). Students with an MA degree in philosophy are eligible for the Abridged Research Master of Philosophy programme of 60 credits. They in fact enter directly the second stage of the regular 2-year Research Master of Philosphy.

Programme outline

The research master programme offers a diversity of research topics and areas, in line with the research centres of the Institute of Philosophy; this diversity allows a student to focus on practically any key area/domain/period/figure in philosophy, while still promoting the comprehensiveness of the philosophical education students receive at the Institute.

Upon registration you select one out of the following five majors:

  • Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy;
  • Metaphysics and Philosophy of Culture;
  • Phenomenology and Continental Philosophy;
  • Political Philosophy and Ethics;
  • Analytic Philosophy.

The Major reflects your area of specialization and it includes both course work (specialised research seminars and courses) and individual research (Research Paper in the 1st stage of the 2-year programme, Research Master’s Thesis in the 2nd stage of the programme).

The Research Master’s Thesis has the format of a research article and should demonstrate your ability to conduct original research and eventually pursue doctoral studies. You are encouraged to present your thesis research to the international audience of fellow students, permanent teaching staff and young researchers associated with the institute at the yearly Graduate Student Conference. For any help with the writing process or preparing a presentation, you can turn to the HIW Skills Lab. 

The Common Seminar equips you with skills and knowledge necessary for an academic career: formulating a good research proposal (for doctoral studies or financial aid); composing a CV or a grant application; academic publishing; giving a clear, well delivered presentation an international conference…

Students can use the Open Research Seminar as a platform for supervised reading groups of their own devising. Students can also join existing reading groups in the doctoral programme through this course and in this way become closely involved with research done in their research centre or the Institute of Philosophy more generally.

Career perspectives

Most of our graduates aspire to an academic career and go on to obtain PhDs in Philosophy, either at the Institute of Philosophy or at universities abroad, even at such prestigious universities as Oxford, Yale, Princeton and New York University (NYU). After completing their PhD they eventually work as professors or researchers, and our placement records are very good.

Other graduates go on to careers in many different sectors, including: business, civil service, politics, education, publishing, media, the socio-cultural sector, journalism, academia and elsewhere. Many employers seek candidates who are not only well grounded in a specific field, but also able to handle the diverse challenges arising in a fast-paced workplace. Graduates in philosophy are well positioned to think clearly and respond effectively in the workplace.

The Research Master of Philosophy is offered at KU Leuven.

Questions about student life in Belgium, life at KU Leuven or more information about a specific course? Chat with our students: www.kuleuven/be/chatwithourstudents.

Programme Structure

The programme (120 credits – two stages) consists of the following:

1. Common Seminar (4 credits) – 2nd stage

2. Research Seminars and Core Courses (64-66 credits)

  • Research Seminars (minimum 16 credits; at least 8 credits in major area) – 1st & 2nd stage
  • Core Courses (minimum 42 credits; at least 18 credits in major area) – 1st & 2nd stage

3. Independent Research in major area (36 credits)

  • Research Paper (12 credits) – 1st stage
  • Master’s Thesis (24 credits) – 2nd stage

4. Electives: 14-16 credits, so that the individual study programme counts at least 120 credits – 1st/2nd stage

Audience

The Research Master of Philosophy aims at deepening the student's knowledge, by focusing on a research area in which the student wishes to prepare a PhD. Applicants for the Research Master of Philosophy should have already acquired a broad and relatively deep knowledge of the history of philosophy and of the most important research domains in philosophy.

Detailed Programme Facts

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:

    7

    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS
  • Minimum required score:

    100

    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®

Academic Requirements

  • This programme does not recognise GRE® scores.

    The GRE® General Test is a widely administered admissions test that measures the skills needed in today's graduate and business school programs worldwide. The GRE® General Test contains three sections - Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Three scores are reported: a Verbal Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, a Quantitative Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, and an Analytical Writing score on a 0 - 6 score scale in half-point increments.

General Requirements

Students with a Bachelor (of Arts) in Philosophy from a recognised foreign university may be admitted by the Board of Admissions upon consideration of their complete application file. 

Decisions on admission are based on the candidate's letter of motivation and academic excellence. 

  • Non-native speakers of English are required to provide evidence of English proficiency.
  • Students who hold a prior degree awarded by an English-speaking university from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom or the USA are the only students who get an exemption from the language requirement.

For more information on the admission requirements, please visit the homepage of the programme.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    3500 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 3500 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • EU/EEA

    938 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 938 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Leuven

  • 810 - 1280 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.

Funding

Check the programme website for information about funding options.

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Research Master in Philosophy
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