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  • Master of Arts

    There are many reasons to study Philosophy within the Master of Arts programme in Bielefeld. Click on the arrows to discover some reasons.  

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Important: Knowledge of the German language is required

Please note that most of our courses are held in German. Therefore, sufficient knowledge of German is required in order to successfully attend the master degree programme in Philosophy.

Six good reasons for studying Philosophy in our M.A. programme

Our master degree programme provides profound education in both theoretical and practical philosophy and still allows you to intensify your studies in one of these areas.

At our department, you are more than a matriculation number: everyone knows and supports each other; we pride ourselves on the familiar atmosphere in our department. As a master student, you choose a professor as mentor who will be your reference person for any issues concerning your studies.

You benefit from the small graduate seminars specially conceived for master students. In specific seminars, you train how to develop your own ideas and to discuss your work in a constructive climate. In seminars on presentation, you train how to convincingly present your ideas.

In our research colloquia on theoretical and practical philosophy, you come into contact with contemporary research: we discuss present literature and you get to know the authors. Talks by guest speakers and conferences offer you a good overview of the international landscape of philosophical research.

The department of philosophy at Bielefeld University enjoys a good reputation. Our teaching staff stands for internationally recognized research in the analytic tradition of philosophy. We are well networked inland and abroad and happy to aid you in planning a stay abroad.

We value an intellectually stimulating environment in which you can work optimally without feeling excluded - regardless of origin, gender, family situation or physical impairment.

Study programme

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Dr. Steffen Koch

Dr. Steffen Koch

Master's representative

Building X A4-232

Here you will find information on the structure of the Master's programme in Philosophy. In the following, the programme is described in general, in the fold-out elements you will find a detailed description of the individual modules as well as a graphic of the structure of the Master's programme at the end.

Detailled information can also be found in the subject specific regulations and the module handbook.

Study structure

The MA program usually lasts four semesters. It can be divided into three phases.

In the first phase of the program you will take the Basic Module Practical Philosophy and the Basic Module Theoretical Philosophy (15 ECTS each). The first phase takes place in the first and second semester.

A schematic representation of the master's programme

Of the total of 120 ECTS credits of the Master's programme, 105 ECTS credits are allotted to the specialised studies and 15 ECTS credits to the individual supplementary area.

The following document presents two possible courses of study:

One basic module each in Practical Philosophy and Theoretical Philosophy must be completed. A basic module consists of two graduate seminars and one workshop seminar. The seminars must be thematically appropriate to the module (theoretical or practical). The module is completed with a term paper of 6,000 words. Please note the additional information on the supervision of term papers and please hand in the validation sheet with your term paper.

In the second phase of the program in the second and third semesters, you will complete three additional modules (15 ECTS each). You can choose between the following modules, but you must choose three different Modules, taking at least one Specialisation Module and one Presentation Module. The following modules are available:

The Specialisation Modules Practical and Theoretical Philosophy are structured like the Basic Modules. The only difference is that the module is completed with a term paper of 8,000 words. The additional information on the supervision of term papers also applies here, and here too please hand in the booking sheet with your term paper.

The Presentation Module can be theoretical or practical. It consists of two graduate seminars and a presentation workshop. The graduate seminars must either both be in the area of Practical Philosophy or both in the area of Theoretical Philosophy. The module is completed with a graded presentation in the presentation workshop. The presentation should last approximately 20 minutes and the discussion that follows will also last 20 minutes.

The practical module serves both career orientation and the additional acquisition of key qualifications such as the ability to work in a team, planning management, conflict management and practical problem-solving skills.This is accomplished through an internship of approx. 300 working hours. The internship colloquium provides a forum for the exchange of internship experiences and the discussion of other career orientation issues. In addition, a short internship report (1,500 words) is to be written.

Philosophy students studying abroad will acquire in-depth knowledge in different areas of Philosophy at a foreign university. The credits obtained abroad can be transfered into this module.

The third phase of the degree is the Master's Thesis Module (30 ECTS). The fourth semester is set aside for this.

In addition to a basic education in Practical Philosophy and Theoretical Philosophy, you will have the opportunity to specialise in one of the two areas through the choice of modules in the second phase and the thematic orientation of your Master's thesis. The academic advisor as well as teaching staff, instructors, and lectures from both areas are available to advise you.

The specialised studies are accompanied by the Individual Subsidiary Area (15 ECTS), in which non-specialised courses can also be studied.

The fourth semester of the MA programme is reserved for writing the Master's thesis of approx. 25,000 words. The thesis must be registered.

Finally, the contents of the Master's thesis are discussed in a disputation colloquium (60 minutes).

In the Individual Supplementary Area, at least one complete module must be studied; the remaining credit points can be earned through individual courses. The modules or courses can be freely selected from the courses offered by Bielefeld University. Detailed information on the Individual Supplementary Area can be found on the dedicated page.

Workshop seminar

The workshop seminar is a fixed and regular component of the MA programme. While conventional philosophy courses usually focus on the reception of philosophical literature, the workshop seminars are intended to train students specifically and systematically in the development of their own ideas and arguments and the production of their own philosophical texts.

In a workshop seminar, all students present their own text for discussion. (The text is thematically related to one or both graduate seminars). The texts are distributed before the session and intensively prepared by all participating students. After the discussion in the workshop seminar, the text can be revised again on the basis of the discussion. The finished, revised text is the final result of each workshop seminar (and the basis of the module grade).

Courses and events

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Looking for something specific?

You will find all forms, documents and information sheets on examinations, theses and all other topics related to your studies bundled and clearly arranged on the page "Examination Office and Documents".

Click here to reach the page "Examination office and documents"


Every semester, the Philosophy Department offers a colourful range of courses on all topics of philosophy. These include seminars and lectures that are generally assigned to philosophy as well as those that are specific to your degree programme.

Here you will find the present selection of courses within the Master's in Philosophy.

Further events

The Philosophy Department offers a varied programme of events, such as guest lectures, colloquia, specialist days, etc. Under our programme All you can think you will also find a mixed offer of extracurricular events specifically aimed at students.

Application and Admissions

Students can start their studies in the winter or summer semester.

Here you will find all information on application and enrolment. Please note that there may be special requirements for applicants with foreign educational qualifications. Special conditions also apply to those qualified in vocational education.

Informationen on deadlines concerning applications, enrollment, and the beginning of the semester can be found here.

Any further questions?

Should you have questions on the Master's programme, you can contact the Department's Master's representative, Dr. Steffen Koch, or the student advisor.

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