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MA Philosophy and Psychoanalysis

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  • Objectives
    1. To provide students with a knowledge of some of the principal concerns, methods and conclusions of modern philosophy in the continental European tradition. 2. To provide a thorough grounding in psychoanalytic theory in the tradition of the 'British School' of psychoanalysis and of the leading themes in this tradition, with an understanding of their relationship to each other 3. To develop students' awareness of the ways in which psychoanalytical and philosophical perspectives can fruitfully interact, in the exploration of existential, ethical, social and cultural issues. 4. To develop students' own capacity to connect philosophical and psychoanalytical perspectives creatively, in the exploration of existential, ethical, social and cultural issues. 5. To develop students' capacities for independent thought and critical reflection. 6. To provide students with knowledge, understanding and skills constituting a firm basis for suitably qualified students to proceed to a research degree in continental European philosophy, psychoanalytic studies, or the area of intersection between the two. The outcomes listed below represent the minimum that might be expected of a graduate student. It is the intention of the Department that the vast majority of graduates will achieve significantly more. Details of the different standards expected for the various classes of degree can be found in the Student Handbook produced annually by the Department of Philosophy.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Qualifications BA of Upper Second Class standard or above in Philosophy or other Humanities subject, or an equivalent qualification. Language requirements : IELTS 7.0 TOEFL 600 and TOEFL (computer) 250 or comparable.
  • Academic Title
    MA Philosophy and Psychoanalysis
  • Course description

    Course Description
    The MA in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis is offered by the Department of Philosophy and the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies. It brings psychoanalytic and philosophical perspectives into a productive interaction and introduces students to the central elements of psychoanalytic thinking in Freud and later writers, as well as major issues in modern European philosophy.

    Modules and Options

    The lists of modules below represent the range of options available for each year of study. This may not be a complete list of the options you will study, and may be subject to change, so please contact the department for further details.

    Stage 1


    Teaching and Assessment Methods

    Course Aims
    A: Knowledge and Understanding
        Learning Outcomes
        A1 : Knowledge and understanding of some of the major concerns, methods and conclusions of modern European philosophy in the continental tradition.
        A2 : Knowledge and understanding of principles of psychoanalytic theory within the 'British School', including issues involved at points of development of divergent concepts.
        A3 : Knowledge and understanding of the ways in which psychoanalytic theory and philosophy have intersected in modern European thought.
        A4 : Knowledge and understanding of the ways in which theoretical issues, which may be rooted in the existential, moral, social or cultural domain, can be illuminated from both a psychoanalytical and a philosophical perspective.

        Teaching Methods
        Outcome A1 is achieved through attendance and participation in the philosophy modules and in the MA Seminars in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis I and II (PY938, PY939). Outcomes A3 and A4 are achieved through attendance and participation in the MA Seminars in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis I and II (PY938, PY939).

        Reading for Seminars is carefully selected in advance for each session, and students are expected to have assimilated the appropriate passages prior to coming to class. The introductory/lecture part of the class is followed by discussion, during which students are given the opportunity to ask and answer questions, voice theoretical concerns, raise additional issues. Students are sometimes asked to give short non assessed presentations, followed by discussions.

        Outcome A1 is also fostered by means of the Philosophy Departmental seminars, during which speakers, sometime world-known specialists, give presentations followed by open discussions. The Philosophy Department also organises a yearly mini-course, during which a specialist of international renown is asked to teach a series of classes on a specific topic.

        Outcome A2 is achieved through attendance and participation in the module Psychoanalytic Theory 1 (PA901) (alternatively Psychoanalytic Theory II (PA902), or Psychoanalytic Methodology (PA928). Students also prepare a dissertation on a topic of their choice which is individually supervised.

        Assessment Methods
        All outcomes are assessed through the essays written for each module and through the final dissertation.

    B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        B1 : Ability to identify complex arguments and to present one's own evaluation of them.
        B2 : Ability to use specialised philosophical and/or psychoanalytical terminology appropriately.
        B3 : An awareness of the scope and limits of philosophical and psychoanalytical terminology and concepts.
        B4 : Ability to identify underlying issues in philosophical and psychoanalytical texts, debates and arguments, and to highlight deficiencies such as unquestioned assumptions, superficial analogies and unsubstantiated claims.
        B5 : Ability to summarise complex and demanding texts, sometimes written at considerable historical distance, and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the views they propose.
        B6 : Ability to demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and in commenting on complex information.
        B7 : Ability to plan and conduct (under the guidance of a supervisor) a piece of independent research, and to present it in a coherent and argumentative manner.

        Teaching Methods
        Skills B1 and B2 are developed in all modules by means of teaching, discussion, and assigned oral presentations, when these are used. The mode of teaching in all modules is text-based discussion. Skill B3 is developed especially in the MA Seminars in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis I and II (PY938, PY939), where there is a particular emphasis in involving students in an ongoing process of philosophical and conceptual enquiry.

        Skills B4-7 are developed principally through essay writing and through the exercise of selecting and researching a dissertation topic, and in writing a dissertation, that engages with issues that can be approached philosophically, psychoanalytically, or from both perspectives.

        Assessment Methods
        Skills B1-5 are assessed by means of the essays written during the year by students.

        Skill B6 is assessed through the dissertation.

    C: Practical Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        C1 : Ability to express oneself in writing in a clear, argumentative way.
        C2 : Ability to abstract and synthesize relevant information from a range of sources, including books, journal articles, library and internet resources.
        C3 : Ability to use the information thus acquired to support the exploration of, and an argument concerning, a specific issue or issues.
        C4 : Ability to formulate and compose a sustained exploration of an issue or cluster of related issues.
        C5 : Ability to present written work in accepted academic format, with appropriate supporting references and footnotes in a standard academic style.

        Teaching Methods
        Skills C1-3 and C5 are acquired through participation in seminars and the writing of essays. Considerable autonomy is encouraged in researching essays, the staff member aiming to assist in the formulation of research questions and in developing a strategy for answering them.

        Skills C1 -3 and C5 are also acquired, as is skill C4, through the planning, researching and writing of the dissertation.

        Assessment Methods
        Skills C1-3 and C5 are assessed by writing of essays, and the dissertation. Skill C4 is assessed by the writing of the dissertation.

    D: Key Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        D1 : Ability to write clearly, and to communicate ideas to an audience.
        D2 : Ability to use relevant technology to research and present written work (including library catalogues, searchable databases and internet sources).
        D4 : Ability to specify the problem to be solved, compare different approaches to the problem, and provide arguments in support of a preferred strategy in addressing and/or resolving the problem.
        D6 : Ability to learn from written and oral feedback on essays so as to improve own performance; ability to improve dissertation research proposal prior to execution in collaboration with supervisor.

        Teaching Methods
        Skills D1 and D4: all modules require students to participate actively in discussion. They also require students to work independently on essays as well as on their dissertation. These have to be structured in an argumentative manner, and the arguments have to be supported by appropriate quotes or examples. Students also learn to express their views concisely and clearly when discussing the topics of their choice with their lecturers, and during supervisory sessions for the structuring and writing of the dissertation.

        Skill D2 is developed by students while they do the preparatory work for their essays and dissertation. They are encouraged to use the University key skills on-line package, library searches and internet philosophy resources.

        Skill D6 is developed by students during the course, in responding to the detailed comment sheets that accompany each marked essay written in the course of the year, and through discussion with the dissertation supervisor.

        There is an expectation that students will build on their performance over the year in their coursework in researching and writing the final dissertation.

        Assessment Methods
        Skill D1, D2 and D4 are assessed by the writing of coursework. Skill D6 is assessed through the overall programme of essay and dissertation writing.

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