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  • Philosophy MPhilStud

Philosophy MPhilStud

Why choose this course?

The Philosophy MPhilStud course is a unique and intensive two-year programme – the only one of its kind in the UK.

It is dedicated to postgraduate study and research in the tradition of modern European (or 'continental') philosophy.  You will be able to study in more depth and with a more intense research focus than is possible in a one-year MA.

You'll be based at the UK's leading Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy. (CRMEP) at Kingston University, where you will be part of a large, supportive and stimulating postgraduate community.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 2 years 2 days a week September 2020
Part time 4 years 1 day a week September 2020
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • As well as offering a substantial taught programme leading to a distinctive and highly-regarded qualification, the MPhilStud offers excellent preparation for doctoral study.
  • The MPhilStud allows you to combine detailed study of foundational texts by Kant, Hegel, Marx and other seminal thinkers, along with a wide range of approaches to 20th-century developments in modern European philosophy and critical theory.
  • In addition to participating in the CRMEP's own unique research methods seminars and programme of research events, you have easy access to London's research libraries and other research events, plus proximity to French, German and other European universities and libraries.

What you will study

Studies begin with a compulsory module on Kant and his legacy, though you can choose whether to focus on his first critique, The Critique of Pure Reason, or his third, The Critique of the Power of Judgement.

You will then choose five modules covering some of the foundational texts and thinkers of the modern European tradition (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger) and 20th and 21st-century philosophy and critical theory, including psychoanalysis.

You can choose from a wide range of module options, balanced by a shared central core of texts, concepts and problems.

Over two years of study full-time (or four years part-time), you'll take one core taught module worth 30 credits (either Kant and his Legacy or Kant and the Aesthetic Tradition), and then choose five other 30-credit modules from the full range of options offered by the CRMEP over two years, before preparing a substantial 25,000 to 30,000 word dissertation (worth 180 credits).

Modules

Additional year

Throughout the degree, you'll attend content-based philosophical research methods seminars, which are specific to the MPhilStud. You'll begin preparing your dissertation (25,000 - 30,000 words) in Year 2, with close support, modelled on PhD supervision. Assessment of the dissertation includes a viva voce examination.

In addition, you will be encouraged to organise and run reading groups around your own interests and on topics related to your dissertation.

Year 1: Core modules (choose one)

Kant and his Legacy

30 credits

This module provides students with a grounding in Kant's philosophy, through detailed study of the Critique of Pure Reason and its competing interpretations. The module presents Kant's critical project as an historical and conceptual basis for the understanding of subsequent European philosophy as a whole.

Kant and the Aesthetic Tradition

30 credits

This module provides an introduction to the tradition of philosophical aesthetics through a detailed study of its founding text, Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgement.

Final year: Core modules

MPhilStud in Philosophy Dissertation

180 credits

This module guides students through an intensive and detailed research-based study of their chosen topic, over a period of none months (for a full-time student) resulting in a substantial dissertation of 25,000-30,000 words, under the guidance of an appropriate supervisor. The module includes a content-based series of philosophical methods classes, peer-led reading groups and presentation seminars.

Optional modules (These vary from year to year)

Art Theory: Modernism, Avant-Garde, Contemporary

30 credits

Based on a study of artists' texts, art criticism, art history and philosophical writings on art, this module comprises a critical examination of the legacy and possibilities of modernist and avant-garde criticism in contemporary art theory. As well as introducing you to some of the major texts and ideas in these traditions of art theory and art criticism, the modules aims to enable you to reflect critically on works of contemporary art in the light of your study.

Contemporary European Philosophies

30 credits

This module involves the guided study of major works of contemporary European philosophy, with a focus on themes of time and temporality, broadly understood. The texts will be drawn from the last couple of decades. The module will analyse texts that explore the tension between historical and political time and experiential temporality. The module will focus on concepts such as epochality, the event, historical time, kairos, messianism, memory, anticipation, and revolution. Authors studied may include thinkers like Agamben, Badiou, Cixous, Derrida, Habermas, Negri, Stiegler and Sloterdijk. The module will study texts in the original language (French, German and Italian) and in English translations where available (and French translations for the German and Italian texts). An adequate reading knowledge of French will be a requirement for registration on the course.

Critique, Practice, Power

30 credits

A historical and philosophical introduction to the two main 20th-century traditions of Critical Theory: the Frankfurt School and French anti-humanism. After several works devoted to Kant's conception of freedom and practical philosophy, the module focuses on competing conceptions of critique, practice and empowerment, in, for example, Marx, Lukács, Adorno and Horkheimer, Althusser, Foucault, and one or two more recent thinkers (e.g. Badiou or Rancière).

Hegel and his Legacy

30 credits

Through our reading of the Phenomenology of Spirit, we will focus on the issue of understanding, more specifically of philosophical understanding. In the Preface, Hegel states that "philosophical writings" "have to be read over and over before they can be understood" (§63). Which specific mental, cognitive and affective operations does such a rereading imply? According to Hegel, our understanding (Verstand) is not, as a faculty, able to give us access to the "concept" (Begriff). What is it that our understanding does not understand? Through despair, doubt, skepticism and pain produced by the resistance of the philosophical statement, something appears — spirit. "Spirit that appears", such is the meaning of the title Phenomenology of Spirit, such is also the name of the proper philosophical understanding: revelation.

German Critical Theory

30 credits

This module involves guided study of two or three major works of twentieth-century German critical theory or philosophy, focusing each year on the work of two or more related thinkers, such as Benjamin, Adorno, Horkheimer, Habermas, Sloterdijk. Indicative topics include: critique of enlightenment, philosophy of history, the non-identical, dialectics, materialism, reification, freedom, communicative reason and the philosophical response to the Shoah.

Nietzsche and Heidegger

30 credits

This module offers students an opportunity to study major works by Nietzsche and Heidegger. In particular it considers the relationship between Nietzsche's critique of metaphysics as the manifestation of an ascetic 'will to truth' and Heidegger's project of 'dismantling' and 'overcoming' metaphysics in light of a renewal of the question of being.

Philosophy and Psychoanalysis

30 credits

Each year this module focusses on a study of a different selection of Freud's major and minor works, mining them for their philosophical significance and reflecting on the implications of psychoanalysis for philosophy, particularly in relation to the philosophical notion of the subject. Where appropriate the module will discuss the critical development of this theoretical framework by psychoanalysts such as Jacques Lacan and Jean Laplanche, its reception and deployment in the tradition of Freudo-Marxist critical theory, and the theoretical transformation and political critique of Freudian theory in feminist and queer theory.

Plasticity and Form

30 credits

This module aims to investigate, via the concept of plasticity, the relations between 'thought' and 'form, that have structured certain central aspects of nineteenth and twentieth-century 'continental' philosophy. Each year, these relations are studied from a different point of view, and in relation to different thinkers. Thinkers covered might include Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault and Derrida. Each year the locus of study might include broad areas such as 'writing' (in Derrida's sense), 'literature' (Dichtung), 'habit', and 'trace'.

Political Philosophy

30 credits

This module involves guided study of one or more major works of modern political philosophy. Texts and themes vary from year to year, but possible topics include: power, class, the state, sovereignty, government, organisation, institution, constitution, representation, democracy, ideology, property, mode of production, capitalism, colonialism, slavery, violence, subjection, nature, citizenship, law, rights, difference, justice, legitimacy, insurrection, insurgency, revolution, resistance, and so on. Approaches to the material will be filtered through contemporary debates in European philosophy and critical theory, with reference to figures like Agamben, Foucault, Negri or Rancière; primary texts may include canonical works by Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, as well as material associated with major political sequences like the revolutions in France, the Americas, Russia, Cuba, and so on, or with more recent sequences like the anti-colonial struggles, May 68, or social mobilisations around questions of race, sex, class, debt, etc. 

Recent French Philosophy

30 credits

This module involves guided study of two or three major works of twentieth-century French philosophy, focusing each year on the work of two related thinkers. Possible topics include: Sartre or de Beauvoir's existentialism, Levinasian ethics, Merleau-Ponty's theory of embodied perception, Foucault's theory of power, Derrida's practice of deconstruction, Deleuze's conception of difference, Badiou's concepts of the subject and truth.

Recent Italian Philosophy

30 credits

This module involves guided study of a selection of major works of post-war Italian philosophy, focusing each year on the work of two or more related thinkers. The module will explore the tension in Italian philosophy between the claims of theology and radical politics, one expressed in the turn to bio-philosophy and bio-politics during the 1990s. Thinkers studies include Agamben, Cacciari, Negri  and Esposito. Topics will include: the place of contemporary Italian philosophy with respect to the history of philosophy, its place with respect to French and German philosophy, political theology, time, bio-philosophy and bio-politics. 

Romantic Philosophy of Art

30 credits

This module provides an examination of Romantic philosophy of art in the light of the role played by early German Romanticism in recent philosophical and art-theoretical debates, with reference to more recent critical writing on Romanticism.

Topics in Modern European Philosophy

30 credits

Each year this module involves guided study of major works from the tradition of Modern European Philosophy, focussing either on a single text or on a range of texts in relation to a theme. The module offers students the opportunity to undertake intensive study under the guidance of a Professor – Étienne Balibar – who is himself a major thinker in the Modern European Tradition. Past topics have included Althusser, the dispute over humanism and the idea of a philosophical anthropology and the reception of Das Kapital in the Western Marxist Tradition. The content of the module changes each year, determined by the research expertise of the module tutor.

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the work placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's tier 4 visa.

Invoicing on the placement courses is split into two stages. The standard course fee is payable in year 1 with the placement fee invoiced in year 2. Therefore, students starting in September 2019 would be charged the provisional placement fee of £1,350 in September 2020.

This amount will only be charged to your account after you find a placement and are enrolled on the module. You will not be charged this fee if you do not manage to secure a work placement.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

A 2:1 or above honours degree, or equivalent, in philosophy or a related subject. Candidates with non-standard qualifications but with relevant experience are welcome to apply.

Teaching and assessment

The course is delivered through relatively small seminars, which involve a mixture of structured lectures or presentations, textual analysis, and group discussion.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, field visits, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

Type of teaching and learning

  • Year 1: 9% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Year 1

Year 1
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 326 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1274 hours

How you will be assessed

You'll be assessed through short exercises, essays, independent study, and a 25,000-word dissertation.

For this course you will be assessed almost entirely on submitted coursework (i.e. there are no exams, and no assessed oral presentations or practical components, apart from the viva voce exam that follows submission of your dissertation).

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this challenging course normally enrols 6 to 8 students and module group sizes are normally 8 to 15 (plus other students who might be sitting in). However this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

This course is taught by leading specialists at the internationally renowned Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy.

Since its inception in 1994, the CRMEP has developed a national and international reputation for teaching and research in the field of post-Kantian European philosophy, characterised by a strong emphasis on broad cultural and intellectual contexts and a distinctive sense of social and political engagement.

In each of the last two research assessment exercises, RAE 2008 and REF2014, 65% of the research activities of the CRMEP were judged 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent', with 25% of its outputs for REF2014 judged 'world-leading'.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £6,900
  • MA part time £3,795

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £14,500
  • MA part time £7,975

Funding and bursaries

The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) is pleased to announce a special CRMEP MA scholarship for a full-time student for the academic year 2020-2021.

The award is to the value of £9,900 (equivalent to UK/EU fees + £3,000 expenses). It is open to applicants to all of our postgraduate programmes.

Application is via the standard process, with the addition of a Statement in Support of Application for the Scholarship.

Application deadline: 31 March 2020

All applicants are also welcome to apply for one of Kingston's Annual Fund Scholarships, worth £3,000.

International students can also apply for an International Scholarship, worth £2,000.

Facilities

The campus at Penrhyn Road is a hive of activity, housing the main student restaurant, the extensive library, learning resources centre and a host of teaching rooms and lecture theatres.

The library, in our fantastic new Town House, provides books, journals, computers and a range of learning environments organised into silent, quiet and group study zones. It has long opening hours with 24 hour opening during key teaching weeks (October to June). The large Learning Cafe on the top floor serves light snacks and drinks.

At the heart of Penrhyn Road campus is the John Galsworthy building, a six-storey complex that brings together lecture theatres, flexible teaching space and information technology suites around a landscaped courtyard.

After you graduate

Many of our graduates often progress to research degrees in European philosophy and critical theory.

What our students say

I am not a typical Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) student. I began my course of part-time study on the Modern European Philosophy MPhilStud in 2015 following retirement from a long career in teaching. My original degree at Cambridge was History/Social and Political Science. Since then I have developed an interest in continental philosophy. Retirement gave me the time and opportunity to study the subject more seriously.

I chose to study at Kingston because the syllabus suited my particular interests. A strong emphasis on Kant and Hegel combined with the opportunity to cover a wide range of C20 (and even C21) philosophy was a big plus. I was also aware that CRMEP enjoys a reputation as the leading centre for European Philosophy in the UK and one of the leading centres internationally. This is reflected in the diversity of the student body who are drawn from across Europe and the world.

The main reason for this success is undoubtedly the excellent teaching. Teaching staff are internationally recognised leaders in their areas of philosophical research. They also take their teaching responsibilities very seriously. The approach to classes – two-and-a-half-hour sessions combining lectures, discussion and questions – is one that suits me particularly well. In addition, individual tutorials support students with termly essay assignments. The support that is provided to each class by an attached PhD student is also valuable, as are the additional research support classes and the ambitious programme of public lectures.

The approach to postgraduate philosophical study at Kingston is rigorous, challenging and demanding, which is exactly what I was looking for. For any student with a similar approach the rewards and the opportunities are great. The student group is not only diverse in terms of background and nationality, but also welcoming, intellectually both knowledgeable and very able (sometimes frighteningly so for me!) and committed.

Henry Jones

Links with business, industry and the research environment

The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) organises regular research seminars, conferences or workshops each year.

Research seminars are usually held every fortnight during term time; recent speakers have included:

  • Giorgio Agamben (University of Paris 8);
  • Andrew Benjamin (Monash University);
  • Barbara Cassin (CNRS);
  • Donna Haraway (University of California, Santa Cruz);
  • Stephen Houlgate (University of Warwick);
  • Kojin Karatani (Columbia University);
  • Quentin Meillassoux (École Normale Supérieure);
  • Isabelle Stengers (Université Libre de Bruxelles); and
  • Slavoj Zizek (Institute for Social Studies Ljubljana).

Research areas

This Philosophy MPhilStud course is taught by internationally recognised specialists at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), which has a national and international reputation for teaching and research in the field of post-Kantian European philosophy.

In each of the last two research assessment exercises, RAE 2008 and REF2014, 65% of the research activities of the CRMEP were judged 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent', with 25% of its outputs for REF2014 judged 'world-leading'.

Our research areas include:

  • modern European philosophy from the late eighteenth century to the present;
  • Kant, Hegel, and German Idealism;
  • Marx and Marxism;
  • Frankfurt School critical theory;
  • philosophies of time and history;
  • critical philosophy of race;
  • conceptions of transdisciplinarity;
  • aesthetics, art theory and cultural theory;
  • philosophical and political approaches to contemporary art;
  • philosophy and the visual arts;
  • recent and contemporary French philosophy;
  • recent Italian political philosophy;
  • globalisation, post-colonial theory, contemporary politics;
  • contemporary philosophies of sex and gender;
  • feminist philosophy; and
  • philosophical approaches to psychoanalysis.
Postgraduate study
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