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Philosophy | Education

Teaching in the department is small-scale. This is greatly appreciated by the students, as is shown by positive course evaluations and the number of VU Amsterdam philosophers who have won or have been nominated for teaching awards.

The Department of Philosophy provides the bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, as well as various master’s degrees. Each programme begins with a number of core subjects, after which students can choose their own specialization. Teaching is generally small-scale and students are given the freedom to take their pick out of various courses, as well as choosing their own thesis topic. Besides these degree programmes, the department also provides basic philosophical education for virtually all VU Amsterdam bachelor’s degree programmes.

The bachelor’s programme devotes a lot of time to academic skills. The department also provides the option of taking a part-time or shortened bachelor’s degree, as well as minor programmes which allow students to explore new topics or deepen their specialist knowledge.

We are also responsible for basic philosophical education in most bachelor’s degrees across the university, as well as for the philosophical aspects of the interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). Teaching in the master’s programmes is mainly research-driven. The master’s degree in Philosophy also offers unique interdisciplinary tracks that combine philosophy with specific academic disciplines, allowing students to become an expert in the philosophy of a particular field.

Ad Verbrugge and Martin van Hees won teaching awards in 2008 and 2014 respectively; Marije Martijn was nominated for an award.

The first year of the bachelor’s programme consists of a broad introduction to the field through introductory foundation courses and a course in academic skills. The second year consists of more in-depth courses, allowing students to start thinking about their thesis topics. Third-year students take their minors, which can be in-depth or broad-based. You could opt for a minor in a specific academic field, placing philosophy in an interdisciplinary context, or choose the in-depth minor in the ‘Philosophy of Freedom’ .

Students can choose to specialize in a specific field during their minor, but they can also use the period to study abroad. Ambitious and talented bachelor’s students can also participate in the Honours Programme, which allows students to collaborate on current research. Philosophy degrees last three years (fulltime) or six years (part-time), and a shortened version of the degree can be taken by students who are also taking another degree (two years fulltime or four years part-time). Non-students can take individual subjects through the contract education system

The department has a wide range of master’s programmes. The Graduate School of Humanities plays an important role, as this is where master’s students and research master’s students become acquainted with current research first hand. The Graduate School organizes Graduate Lectures, course presentations given by students, seminars for research master’s students and PhD candidates, and career events.

Two-year master’s programme
The two-year master’s programme consists of four specializations: