Masters in Philosophy

Masters in Philosophy

The programme offers advanced training in Philosophy, with an eye towards independent research.  A strong Honours degree in Philosophy, or a qualification judged to be equivalent by the Senate, is the usual prerequisite for admission into the MA Programme. The Department evaluates each application on its own merit, taking into account the full academic profile of the applicant. We also take into account whether the Department possesses the necessary expertise to supervise the student on his or her topic of choice.

We offer two Masters degrees: (i) MA by thesis and (ii) MA by coursework and 50% thesis.

MA by thesis:

This option is suitable for students who have a clear idea of the topic that they wish to pursue, and of the research question that they want to explore through independent research. Along with the identification of the topic, the early identification and procurement of an appropriate supervisor from within the ranks of the staff of the Department, is crucial.

MA by coursework and half-thesis:

This option is suitable students who are interested in a broader orientation within the field of philosophy. The programme consists of four ‘tentamens’, or smaller modules which collectively make up 50% of the degree, plus a thesis which counts 50% (or 90 credits) of the degree. Each of the smaller modules is supervised by a different staff member, and the contents, scope and assessment of each module are designed by the relevant staff member in consultation with the student. Students must decide the order in which the thesis and ‘tentamens’ are completed in consultation with the thesis supervisor.

In keeping with existing agreements with foreign universities, students following the structured option are allowed to follow substitute modules at other universities while remaining enrolled at Stellenbosch, with the proviso that the thesis component must be completed under supervision of a Stellenbosch staff member.

For an idea of the research expertise in the Department, please consult our staff profiles.

Please consult the faculty yearbook for information about admission requirements and application deadlines.

Inquiries can be directed to Prof Louise du Toit at