The Master’s Program in Philosophy of Science was established at the Leibniz Universität in 2013. The program offers academic training designed to develop analytic and critical thinking skills, thus preparing students for academic and research-related occupations both within and outside a university setting. (see Career Prospects).
The M.A. program is developed around the observation that modern societies are increasingly influenced by scientific and technological developments. These developments have profound effects on social and political systems and on our understanding of ourselves. They thus need to be critically analyzed—a task to which philosophy is ideally suited. Philosophy involves reflection on the conceptual foundations of the sciences, and it can analyze the role of values in science and the sources of the special credibility of scientific results. This Master’s Program aims to provide students with the ability to participate in critical reflection on the sciences.
The M.A. program offers courses in core areas of contemporary philosophy, including metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of mind and value theory. There is particular focus on the philosophy and ethics of science.
Special emphasis is placed on close interactions between faculty and students. Students and faculty come from a variety of academic backgrounds, creating an environment well suited to the philosophical investigation of the sciences and their place in society. Early in the program, students form groups that work independently on some of the most pressing problems and questions in the philosophy of science. Students develop research and presentation skills, participate in cutting-edge research, gain a sense of different potential career paths, and achieve greater breadth and depth in their understanding of philosophy.
WHO SHOULD APPLY
The Master’s Program in Philosophy of Science is designed for students from a variety of academic backgrounds. Roughly, our students can be divided into two groups:
1) This program is suited to students who have completed their undergraduate studies in philosophy or a closely related subject (whether as a major or a minor), and wish to expand and deepen their philosophical education, with a special focus on questions in philosophy of science.
2) This program is also aimed towards students with no philosophical training, who have a degree in a subject in, for example, the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, or humanities, which has some sort of philosophical dimension, and who are interested in philosophical questions that go beyond what can typically be addressed from within their respective disciplines. Students might, for example, be interested in probing the theoretical foundations of the field upon which their undergraduate study was focused (its ontological prerequisites, epistemological conditions, concepts, reasoning, methods or practices) or its ethical implications (its social and political effects, prospects, risks, challenges and limits).
The M.A. Program
Introduction to Philosophy of Science
Introduction to Formal Methods
Metaphysics, Epistemology, or Philosophy of Mind (3 Courses)
Value Theory (3 Courses)
First Year Project Seminar
(Students need to choose two)
Ethics and Philosophy of Science (2 Courses)
History and the Philosophy of Human Sciences (2 Courses)
Philosophy of the Life Sciences (2 Courses)
Philosophy of the Physical Sciences
MA Thesis with Colloquium
3 Elective Courses
INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY
The Institute of Philosophy at the Leibniz Universität Hannover was established in 2010. The Institute currently has five tenured faculty members, with a diverse range of philosophical research and teaching interests. Research conducted in the institute is focused on the philosophy of science, ethics of science, and value theory, with strengths in general philosophy of science (including history of science), science and values, philosophy of biology, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of physics, ethics and political philosophy, and philosophy of climate change.
The aim of the Philosophy of Science M.A. program is to provide students with the tools to engage in philosophical reflection concerning the conceptual foundations of the sciences, and their social and political significance. In addition, students receive a more general philosophical education, covering both contemporary philosophy and the history of philosophy, and will learn to critically analyze and develop arguments. The skills which this program is designed to develop can be applied beyond philosophy, enhancing students’ ability to engage in critical analysis of contemporary problems, arising in a complex world increasingly influenced by science and technology. There are several potential career paths for which these skills are an asset:
1) You could pursue an academic career: in this case, your next step would be a doctorate, preferably in philosophy or in philosophy of science. The Institute of Philosophy at Leibniz Universität Hannover hosts the graduate research training group "Integrating Ethics and Epistemology of Scientific Research" (DFG-GRK 2073) in collaboration with the Philosophy Department of Bielefeld University, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
There exist a variety of public sector jobs which utilize the skill set acquired in the M.A. program: universities and research institutions offer positions in research management, in research-related public relations or as coordinators of interdisciplinary research groups. There are similar administrative positions in government agencies (especially those involved with science policy, education, technology, environment, or health), and in science funding agencies.
You may wish to search for a job the private sector. Careers for which the critical thinking, writing and research skills developed in the program are essential range from publishing houses, the media, and private foundations to freelance journalism or ethics counseling.
HOW TO APPLY
You can apply to begin the program in either for the winter semester (applications between June 1-July 15) or the summer semester (applications between December 1-January 15). Applications must be submitted online at Leibniz Universität’s central registration office website:
Please note that the German academic calendar is out of sync with the U.S. and British academic calendars. Students who wish to begin the M.A. program in the winter semester but need an acceptance decision by April are encouraged to apply for admission for the summer semester (deadline January 15) and defer the beginning of their studies for one semester.
To be considered for admission you must have completed a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Your application must include the following:
A cover letter including a statement of purpose, in which you explain why you would like to join the program.
A CV (including the list of courses that you have taken as an undergraduate).
A copy of your undergraduate transcript. If your transcript is neither in German nor in English, please send a separate document (in English) explaining the meaning of your grades.
Proof of English language proficiency (TOEFL or equivalent), if your first language is neither English nor German.
There is no tuition, except for a small fee ("Semesterbeitrag") for administrative, transportation, and student union costs. This fee includes a semester ticket for public transportation, covering all of Niedersachsen (+Hamburg). The current Semesterbeitrag for the Leibniz Universität Hannover can be found here.