Philosophy will be starting a new master programme in September, completely in English. The programme will replace the current master degree.

“It was high time to make some improvements to the master programme,” says Education Director Bart Leeuwenburgh. “A proliferation of electives has emerged in recent years, some of which have only been attended by two or three students. As a rule, philosophers are not normally focussed on efficiency and performance, but even we have to question ourselves about the feasibility of this.” During the course of last year, a project group prepared a revision of the master programme.

Double Degree

In the new master programme, students can choose from two paths: analytical and continental philosophy. In addition, all courses will be taught in English. According to Leeuwenburgh, this is a logical progression from the Double Degree, an English-language programme for students who wish to obtain a bachelor degree in Philosophy in addition to their normal bachelor degree.

The faculty started with this Double Degree at the beginning of this academic year and, in so doing, attracted more than two hundred students. “This year we received many requests to offer a master degree to international students from that programme and now they will also be able to do our master degree after their Double Degree,” says the Education Director.

The new master degree will start in September. Current master students who will still be engaged in their studies next year will also fall under the new master degree.

The whole faculty was involved in the redesign

The Faculty Advisory Board recently agreed to the new master programme. “Our main task was to check that everyone within the faculty had been able to deliver sufficient input,” says chairman Jasper van den Herik. “That was certainly the case. Everyone in the faculty had been able to think about and contribute to the redesign of the new master degree, so it wouldn’t have been appropriate for the Faculty Advisory Board to come up with other ideas.”

Rules of the Dutch language

Even so, not everyone is enthusiastic about the new English-language master degree. “I will no longer be giving master lectures, because there are limits to what is acceptable,” wrote philosopher Ger Groot in a column in the Dutch newspaper Trouw last week about the Anglicisation of university education. “How students are supposed to be able to explain their philosophical wisdom in Dutch is not even my main worry. I am more worried about who will explain the rules of the Dutch language to them and how one well-constructed Dutch sentence should follow the other. Because that is what is severely lacking these days.”