FIL4080 – Thesis seminar in philosophy

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

As part of the Master's degree, all students take 60 credits consisting of either a Master's thesis (60 credits) or two 30-credits essays. The purpose of this course is to assist the students in initiating the work on their MA-thesis/MA-essay. The content of the course is chosen with this purpose in mind, and the course is therefore oriented towards practical issues rather than theoretical issues, such as meta-philosophical examinations of philosophy, philosophical method and philosophical argumentation.

The course is a preparation of the MA-thesis/MA-essay and is intended to be taken during the first semester of the MA-programme. Students who have previously taken the course but enrolled on the programme a second time should, as a rule, take it anew. If you have questions, please contact the department.

A supervisor for the MA-thesis/MA-essay will be assigned based on the project description that the students are to submit at the end of the course.

Learning outcome

After having completed the course, you are expected to:

  • have a project description that forms the basis of the work on the MA-thesis/MA-essay
  • have a developed understanding of both your own and others’ approach to philosophical explanation and argumentation
  • be able to discuss the relation between the hermeneutic and historical approach to philosophy on the one hand and the problem-oriented and systematic approach to philosophy on the other.
  •  have an understanding of the tension between an approach to philosophy that prioritises analysis of concepts and a revisionist approach to philosophy
  •  have an understanding of different methodological approached to ethics, and have a critical understanding of the interrelation between moral intuition and principles on the one hand and their legitimacy on the other
  •  have an understanding of (the real or imagined) differences and similarities between the so-called ‘continental’ and ‘analytic’ philosophy
  •  having read and discussed texts that explicitly illustrate the essential approaches to philosophy


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

In order to be admitted to the course, you have to be admitted to the MA-programme in philosophy.

Only master degree students can formally enroll, and take the course for credit.


The teaching consists of both lectures and writing seminars, but the amount of hours depends of the number of participants. It is estimated to be about 14 two-hours sessions. The first five sessions will be lectures on philosophical methodology, while the next nine sessions will be group seminars.

Compulsory tuition activities:

  • You are required to submit two written assignments, each of about 1500 words (about 3 pages), which will form the basis for the discussions in the first part of the course. These are to be submitted in Canvas. One of the assignments must be written in English.
  • During the semester, you are expected to work on a project description for your MA-thesis/MA-essay. A written draft of this project description is to be submitted and presented orally  in the group seminar, where it will form the basis for discussion in the second part of the course.
  • You are also required to participate at a minimum of 9 out of 14 dual-hour sessions (or 8 out of 12 sessions, etc.). By participate we mean that it is not just obligatory to be present, but also to be prepared to these sessions and participate in the discussions, both in relation to your own presentation and to those of your fellow students.

The written assignments and the oral presentations must be approved by the course teacher.

The compulsory tuition activities are only valid for the semester they are approved. The exception is the written assignments, which are also valid the next two times the course is offered.

Further information regarding the compulsory tuition activities and the deadlines, etc., will be given in the seminars.


A project description of about 2500 words.All compulsory tuition activity (submission of obligatory written assignments, the draft of the project description and the oral presentation of this description as well as presence in class) must be approved before the final submission of the project description is accepted for evaluation.

You submit the project description in Inspera.


Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

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Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every autumn

From fall 2019 this course will be replaced by FIL4081 (a course description will be available on line during April).


Every autumn

Teaching language

In the first part of the seminar the teaching language will be English. During the second part of the seminar the students will be divided in two groups, one in Norwegian and one in English.