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Our Philosophy MA is ideal for graduates who already have some knowledge of philosophy and wish to deepen their understanding of selected areas. It is also suitable for strong students who wish to transfer into philosophy from another subject.

Our Masters will enable you to develop a deeper understanding of philosophy and gain valuable research and project management skills that will be highly beneficial in your future career. The course is highly flexible allowing you to tailor your programme to suit your individual ambitions.

Our academics are active researchers and we have expertise in all the main traditional areas of philosophy, as well as in more recent areas such as feminism and the philosophy of film. We were ranked number two in the UK for the quality of our publications in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014).

If you are planning to go on to PhD study, we will work with you to develop a clearly focused topic, and provide you with the knowledge, understanding, and skills you will need to undertake high quality philosophical research.

Structure of the course

The course takes one year (or two years part time), and consists of the following components:

Core modules

Dissertation (9-12,000 words)

Other modules

You can choose four modules from a wide range of lecture-based modules. One of these will normally be one of the MA Research Seminars: Mind and Language, Metaphysics and Epistemology, Cognitive Studies, Political Philosophy, Morals and Other Values.

Students planning to continue to a PhD can do a PhD proposal (6-8,000 words) as one of their modules, consisting of an outline of the projected thesis and an annotated bibliography.

Teaching and Assessment

You’ll learn through lectures, seminars and tutorials. You’ll write a long essay of 4-6,000 words, or two short essays of 2-3,000 words each for each module, and a dissertation (9,000-12,000 words). If you’re going on to a PhD you may choose to write a PhD proposal.


You will have a supervisor for your research to discuss your essays, your dissertation and PhD proposal if appropriate. Your module lecturers also help and support you through your course.

Graduate activities

In addition to your chosen modules, Masters students attend the graduate seminar where you will have the opportunity to engage with other students’ work and present your own work. You can also attend the departmental seminar where you can listen to and question invited speakers.

The department has a very active graduate community and every year there are reading groups on a wide variety of topics, in which graduate students participate along with staff. Other departmental activities include the annual Reading Weekend and Philosophy Rocks. Our graduate students also organise the annual Understanding Value conference.

PhD Study

If you wish to continue to the PhD at Sheffield, you can apply for a place during your Masters course. You will usually need a Distinction in your Masters. You can apply for PhD funding to support further study.

Disabled applicants

We welcome disabled students. We're committed to responding effectively and appropriately to individual support needs. We take all practicable steps to ensure that disabled students can participate in their studies without disadvantage, and can make full use of the University's academic and support services. Information for disabled applicants

Our campus and how we use it

While some of our teaching takes place in the department, most of it is timetabled to take place in purpose-built teaching spaces across the campus (see our campus map). The campus has many amenities, and is located at the heart of the city, giving you easy access to shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.

Tuition Fees and Funding

Scholarships are available. For information on these see our funding page. Costs of living in Sheffield are relatively low. The culturally vibrant yet low-key city, conveniently located on the edge of the Peak District just two hours by train from London, has among the most affordable rents of any urban area in the UK.


Course Duration
  • 1 year full-time
  • 2 years part-time
Semesters The teaching component of the programme will commence late September and is based on semesters (Autumn/Spring) with students taking two modules in each semester. Semester dates. Over the summer you will complete your dissertation. Part-time students will commence this aspect of the programme in the summer of their second year.
Award This programme is offered as a MA (180 credits), or a Diploma (120 credits).
  • Four essays (one long essay of 4-6,000 words or two short essays of 2-3,000 words per module) on topics related to the subjects covered in the modules. Essay topics should be chosen in consultation with the module leader. The essays should be thought of as mini research-papers, whose content can be related more or less loosely to the material covered in the course. Students should meet with the module leader or other appropriate member of staff to discuss the topic and to discuss a draft of the essay.
  • Students planning to continue to a PhD can do a PhD proposal (6-8,000 words), instead of an essay, consisting of an outline of the projected thesis and an annotated bibliography.
  • A dissertation of 9-12,000 words.


Our MA students come from a range of backgrounds and can take different routes through the MA.  The Director of Graduate Studies will advise you on what is best for you and which modules might be most suitable. There is also flexibility over the year, allowing you to change your plans as your interests develop.

You will take the following core module:

  • Dissertation

You can then choose four optional modules. The list of MA modules available varies slightly from year to year. Below is a sample of some representative modules for the year 2019-20.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Autumn Semester Spring Semester
PHI6601 Political Philosophy Research Seminar PHI6710 Aristotle
PHI6603 Moral & Other Values Research Seminar PHI6590 Feminism
PHI6016 Cognitive Studies Research Seminar PHI609 For the Love of Knowledge: Topics in Social Epistemology
PHI6680 Metaphysics & Epistemology Research Seminar PHI6370 Free Will & Religion
PHI6670 Mind and Language Research Seminar PHI6009 Global Justice
PHI6026 Guided Reading PHI6026 Guided Reading
PHI6225 Metaphysics PHI615 Hegel and the Phenomenology of Spirit
PHI6600 Phenomenology PHI6700 PhD Proposal
PHI6660 Philosophy of Psychology PHI6640 Philosophical Problems 2 - Language and Us
PHI6630 Philosophical Problems 1 - Mental Time Travel PHI613 Moral Theory and Moral Psychology
PHI6364 Philosophy of Law PHI6100 Work Placement
PHI6379 The Political Philosophy of Climate Change
PHI6374 The Radical Demand in Logstrup's Ethics
PHI614 The Rationalists
PHI616 Sources of Normativity

The highly flexible Independent Research module, Guided Reading, may (but need not) go together with one of the department's many informal reading groups. Students can also attend the weekly Postgraduate Seminar and Philosophy Training Seminars.

Additionally, there are modules sharing lectures with 2nd year undergraduate modules that are particularly suitable for students with less background in Philosophy or those who feel they would benefit from taking a more general module. Students can choose up to two modules from this list as part of their choice of 4 modules overall. The available modules vary slightly from year to year. Below is a sample of some representative modules sharing lectures with 2nd year undergraduate modules for the year 2019-20.

Autumn Semester Spring Semester
PHI6020 Philosophy of Mind PHI6420 Philosophy of Science
PHI6110 Theory of Knowledge PHI6160 Philosophy of the Arts
PHI6780 Plato PHI6030 Formal Logic
PHI6830 Ethics


Applying for the MA in Philosophy

Entry requirements

To apply, you will need a first-class or a 2.1 honours degree from a UK university or an equivalent grade from overseas.

For the Philosophy MA, a degree in Philosophy (or Philosophy combined with something else) is preferred, though we will consider strong applicants with other degrees as well.

Admissions decisions are based mainly on:

  • What your referees say about you
  • Your record of academic achievement

English language requirements

Overall IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students

How to apply

You are welcome to contact the department to discuss your application, but for formal consideration, you must complete the University's MA application form.

Your application must consist of:

  1. The completed application form.
  2. Reference letters from two referees, who should each send their references to the Department directly ( or by post). Your referees should be people able to address the issue of your academic abilities and performance. Ideally they should be professional academic philosophers with experience of teaching you and knowledge of your work. (If you are not a philosophy graduate they can be academics in another discipline.) Other things being equal, the more they know about you the better.
  3. Academic transcripts of your academic performance at undergraduate and (for PhD applicants) Masters level.
  4. Documentation of English language qualifications if you are not a native speaker.

Apply now


You can apply at any time however there will be deadlines for any applications for funding you may be making.


The Philosophy Department in Sheffield welcomes international students. Many of our graduate students and many of our staff are from other European countries, Asia and America.

There is lots of information for international students on our international and EU Philosophy applicants page and our University wide EU and international students webpages.

Welcome to Sheffield message to international students


Find out about our academic staff and their research interests.

Ethics and Political Philosophy Feminism
History of Philosophy Logic and Language
Metaphysics Mind and Cognition
Philosophy of Art Philosophy of Science and Epistemology
Post Kantian Philosophy

Our students say

What our students say

Rosa Vince

Rosa Vince, MA Philosophy 2016

"I chose to study at Sheffield because the Philosophy department is leading the way in the area I am researching; I get to work with people who are making waves in the discipline."

Photo of Minjia SituMinjia Situ, MA Philosophy 2015

"As an overseas student I was nervous about starting my postgraduate studies but found that the staff in the philosophy department were nice, warm-hearted and willing to help. It took only a short time to get used to a new life and new discipline."

Photo of Patrick ConnollyPatrick Connolly, MA Philosophy 2016

"The main reason I stayed on after my BA to do an MA is that the Department is excellent. The environment here is really good, it’s really friendly. The staff are all really approachable. You can go to them to discuss things and not feel like it’s unwelcome, which for a student is very encouraging. You feel like you’re developing. I’ve had an excellent experience and I just wanted to continue here in Sheffield. There’s a great postgraduate community. In the first week we had some drinks and went out for a meal to get to know each other. Everyone’s really into their subject so you can have some really interesting discussions. There’s a lot of intellectual independence; you can very much pick what you want focus on."

Jack Waites, MA Philosophy 2017

Photo of Jack Waites"I decided to study for my MA in Sheffield after having such a positive experience studying for my BA here. The department has an unusually wide range of research expertise which allows for students to engage with all areas of philosophical inquiry, creating a stimulating, open, and exciting environment for postgraduate students. From metametaphysics to feminist phenomenology, the department has expertise and support for all interests and ambitions!"

"Along with their research expertise both staff and students are incredibly supportive, creating an ideal research environment for a postgraduate to develop their ideas. I fondly remember times where I have gone to see a supervisor with the intention of briefly discussing an idea expecting the conversation to last five minutes, only to leave two hours later with an idea for a PhD proposal!"

"In particular, the department provides excellent support to students looking to secure funding, and thanks to this I was able to receive a scholarship for my MA. I cannot recommend the department enough to anyone considering postgraduate study, rest assured Sheffield will bring the best out of those wishing to take their philosophical studies to the next level."


Contact Us

The Director of Studies for 2019/20 is Luca Barlassina.

If you would like further information, please contact us:

Or you can ask a student:

Photo of Isela Gonzalez VazquezHi, I'm Isela. I'm a PhD student from Mexico. I work on Feminism and Philosophy of Science. I am also interested in Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Sex and Philosophy of Race. I'm happy to answer any questions you have about postgraduate life in Sheffield and the Department of Philosophy.