Universiteit Leiden

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Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives (BA)

About the programme

What is justice? Can robots replace caretakers? Is economic inequality inevitable? Philosophy is about raising Big Questions. In this programme you will improve your grasp on current problems in science and society, by questioning beliefs from cross-cultural and historical perspectives.

Programme overview

In your first year, you will follow compulsory core courses in such subjects as Ethics, Arabic Philosophy, and Epistemology. You follow lectures and attend tutorials and as you complete assignments and make presentations you develop your academic and communication skills, as well as the ability to think critically, analytically, and independently. You will be reading abstract texts, and will be asked to systematically process complex issues individually and in teams, building your resourcefulness and intercultural skills.

From the second year you begin to advance your skills and knowledge further; the flexibility of the programme enables you to begin to tailor your study. The first semester has six compulsory courses on subjects such as Chinese Philosophy and Concepts of Selfhood; the second semester you choose your optional studies, meaning you can take a minor or your choice of elective courses, study abroad, or do an internship. You can also spread these optional studies over two semesters, including the first semester of your third year.

In your third year you will take part in five advanced philosophy seminars of your own choice, typically with student presentations; and you will write a final thesis, a capstone project based on a research proposal of your own design.

Lisanne Stoffer

Graduate

Lisanne Stoffer

"You learn how to think in precise terms and formulate exactly what you want to say.  For philosophers, an argumentation structure is almost a form of higher maths. But it sounds harder than it really is, because an argumentation structure that is well constructed gives you some firm guidelines."

Stephen Harris

University lecturer

Stephen Harris

"A great feature of our programme is that it builds upon Leiden’s strong tradition in political and continental philosophy by adding work from Asian and Islamic thinkers. Students can study the thought of the Buddha, Nāgārjuna, Confucius and Avicenna alongside Plato, Heidegger and Rawls. In my courses I draw upon classical and contemporary traditions around the globe to discuss a particular set of questions."

Educational methods

As a student of Philosophy, you can expect a full working week of about 40 hours. You will spend an average of 20 hours in-class, for example lectures or tutorials, and the rest of the time in independent study – reading and writing. Your lectures focus on a particular topic and are complemented by tutorials in which the material is discussed in greater depth and with more student input.

Student support services

A mentor/tutor helps get you, along with a group of other first-years, on your path. In the mentoring group you practice academic skills, from correct literature references to writing a scientific argument.

The coordinator of studies of the programme advises students about their programme, arranges all kinds of practical things (such as the schedule) and help students in case of personal issues.

You have support beyond your programme too, from the dean of students or student psychologist. And if you experience chronic illness, physical or psychological disabilities or dyslexia you can contact Fenestra Disability Centre for personal advice before or early in your application process.