• Master of Arts

    There are many reasons to attend the master degree course in philosophy at Bielefeld University. Click on the arrows to explore.

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  • Breadth and Depth

    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.

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  • Personal Support

    At our department, you are more than an enrolment 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 is your reference person if you have any questions concerning your studies.

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  • Specific Courses for Master Students

    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.

    Universität Bielefeld
    © Universität Bielefeld
  • Proximity to Research

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

    Universität Bielefeld
    © Universität Bielefeld
  • Excellency and Internationality

    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.

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  • Inclusion

    We set great store on an intellectually inspiring environment where you can work well without feeling excluded – irrespective of origin, gender, family situation or physical handicaps.

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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.

Study Programme

Double Degree Bielefeld Bologna

At Bielefeld University and Università di Bologna, you can earn a double master's degree in philosophy. You find more information here (in German/Italian).

The standard duration of the master degree course is four semesters. Of these four semesters, the last is intended for work on the master's thesis. Studies can be commenced in both winter and summer semester.


Study Structure

In a first stage of your studies, you attend in both theoretical and practical philosophy a basics module (each 15 ECTS-points):

A basics module consists of two graduate seminars (each 2 semester hours) and a workshop seminar (2 semester hours). All three seminars must be assigned to theoretical or practical philosophy, respectively. The basics module is completed by a seminar paper of 6.000 words.

The workshop seminar is a fixed and regular part of the master degree programme. Whereas the reception of philosophical literature has mostly priority in conventional study programmes in philosophy, the workshop seminars are supposed to purposefully and systematically train participants to develop their own ideas and arguments and to produce their own philosophical texts. Each participant puts their own text (that is related to one or both of the graduate seminars) forward for discussion. The texts are distributed and all participants prepare intensively in advance of the respective meeting. Afterwards, drawing on the discussion, the participant is supposed to revise their text. The completed, revised text is the final result of the workshop seminar (and the basis for the mark for the module).

In the second stage of your studies, you complete three further modules (each 15 ECTS-points). You can choose between the following options but you have to attend at least one specialization module and one presentation module:

Specialization modules are structured like basics modules. The only difference: the module is completed by a seminar paper of 8.000 words.

A presentation module consists of two graduate seminars and a presentation workshop. Both graduate seminars must be assigned to theoretical or practical philosophy, respectively. The module is completed by a presentation in the presentation workshop. The presentation and the subsequent discussion are each supposed to last about 20 minutes.

The optional internship module conduces to career orientation and to additionally acquire key skills such as the ability to work in a team, to manage planning, to deal with conflict and to solve practical problems. An internship of about 300 working hours is intended for this purpose. The internship colloquium (1 semester hour, block course) provides the possibility to exchange experiences and to discuss other questions concerning career orientation. In addition, you have to write a short internship report (1.500 words).

The increase of philosophical studies is accompanied by the

The individual supplementary area must contain at least one complete module. The remaining credit points can gained by means of single courses. The modules and courses can be chosen from the range of courses at Bielefeld University without restriction.

The third stage of your studies consists of the

In the fourth semester, you are intended to write the master's thesis comprising about 25.000 words. Subsequently, the contents of the master's thesis are discussed in a disputation colloquium (60 minutes).

Accordingly, the total number of 120 ECTS-points is distributed as follows:

2 basics modules 2x15 ECTS-points marked

3 further modules

3x15 ECTS-points 2 modules marked, 1 not marked
1 supplementary area 15 ECTS-points not marked
1 master's thesis module 30 ECTS-points marked

You can find examples for possible courses of study here (in German). See also the examination regulations (in German) and the list of modules with descriptions.

The current range of courses ...

... you can find here.

Application and Admission


Any more questions? Ask academic master's student counselor, Dr. Roland Kipke.

Dr. Roland Kipke

Akademische Studienberatung Master

Requirements and Procedure

Requirement of access to the master degree programme is a first university degree, usually a B.A. in philosophy. Other degrees are possible. It is important, however, that the degree was earned in a degree programme that is designed for a standard duration of at least six semesters and comprises philosophical contents to a considerable extent (i.e. at least to an extent of about 60 ECTS-points).

In addition, access to the master degree programme is preceded by an application and a selection procedure. Please note that the application can only take place electronically via the online application portal movein. Applicants for a place to study submit the following documents by way of movein:

  • degree certificate of first degree with transcript
    • If a transcript has not been issued, submit the course assessments concerning philosophy instead.
    • If you have not yet received your degree certificate, you can submit a preliminary outcome document with a prospective final mark and/or an up-to-date transcript.
  • Optionally, you can enclose an exposition of at most 500 words in which your qualification for the master degree programme in philosophy is explicated and, where appropriate, further acquirements and qualifications are stated.

A selection committee of the department of philosophy decides on the admission.

Time Limits

The application deadline for places to study in summer semester is February 28, the application deadline for winter semester is August 31. The deadlines are chosen such that the selection committee can decide about your application after the submission and you still have enough time to enrol until March 31 or September 30, respectively, when you receive an affirmative response. Submit the application earlier, if possible, so that possibly arising requests concerning your documents can be resolved in time.

For a precise description of the admission procedure, please mind the study information website and the links there.

If you cannot submit a bachelor's degree certificate until February 28 or August 31, we recommend you to initially apply without the certificate. But then you preferably submit documents (transcript) on the basis of which your prospective final degree can be assessed. The selection committee can admit you with reservation, then you have to submit the bachelor's degree certificate to the student office only when you enrol for the master degree programme.

Appliations that arrive after February 28 or August 31 can still be taken into account. But in this case we cannot ensure that the applications are dealt with in time such that an enrollment until March 31 or September 31, respectively, is still possible.

If there are delays before the enrolment at the student office, do not allow the deadline to elapse but ask before March 31 or September 30, respectively, for a deadline extension there. (Enrolments can be delayed until May 15 or November 15, respectively.)