MA Regulations

The following document contains the regulations specific to the MA programs at the Department of Philosophy of Central European University, including applications of the university’s student policies. Students should be familiar with the rest of the university’s student policies as well.

For the exact dates of the deadlines specified below, please consult the department’s academic calendar.

Where can you find information?

If you have questions about some aspect of the program, it’s worth checking out this document and the relevant university regulations, which are available here:

https://www.ceu.edu/documents

These include:

  • Student Rights, Rules, and Academic Regulations
  • Thesis Writing and ETD Submission Guidelines etc.
  • CEU Code of Ethics
  • Central European University’s Policy on Plagiarism

If you still have questions, the following people may be able to help:

Kriszta Biber

Departmental Coordinator

biberk@ceu.edu

Tel: 327-3806

Simon Rippon

MA Director

rippons@ceu.edu

Tel: 327-3000/2022

Hanoch Ben-Yami

Head of Department

benyamih@ceu.edu

Tel: 327-3246

 

Communication with the department

In general, information about the life of the department (including announcements of talks, events, curriculum, syllabi etc.) are to be found on the departmental website, at http://philosophy.ceu.edu/. We also have a “CEU Philosophy Department” Facebook page, which you can Like and Follow.

The department uses your CEU email address to send you important information about deadlines, requirements, events, as well as your personal progress. It is very important that you check your CEU email address regularly.

Every student also has a mailbox in the department, on the second floor of Nádor u. 13.

General Policies

Students are expected to reside in Budapest and regularly attend classes and department events during term time, throughout the entire academic year. More than a week of unjustified absence may result in the loss of a tuition waiver and/or financial aid.

Please contact the MA Director or the Head of Department with any policy questions that are not answered by this document. Grievances, appeals, or requests for exemptions from the policies stated here should be addressed to either the MA Director or the Head of Department in a timely manner.

Apart from the exceptions stated in the next sentence, courses taken to fulfill program requirements, including credit requirements, are taken for a grade. The exceptions are: Logic, Academic Writing, the MA Thesis Seminar, and the Departmental Colloquium.

Final assignments submitted by email should be sent both to the Departmental Coordinator and to the course instructor(s). The time of the submission, which determines the status of the essay with respect to penalties, is recorded by the Departmental Coordinator upon the receipt of the essay. Any extension to the deadlines or exemption from the penalties should be sought with the MA Director and not with the course instructor. Requests for extension should be submitted before the deadlines.

Please consult the academic calendar for registration deadlines. Failure to register for courses in a timely manner may jeopardize your enrollment in the program. Registration for courses is done through the electronic system (Infosys). Registration also provides access to course web sites on e-learning, through which instructional materials are typically distributed.

Zero Week takes place during the week preceding the official beginning of Fall Term. During Zero Week instructors present their courses for the academic year. The schedule is posted on the departmental notice-board and website. These occasions present students with the opportunity to ask questions about the courses and hear faculty elaborate on the objectives and requirements of their courses.

During Spring Term, there are usually no classes. Students are expected to write their theses (one-year MA students and two-year MA students in their second year), or prepare for the final exams of Theoretical and Practical Philosophy and History of Philosophy (two-year MA students in their first year).

The Structure of the Program

Two-year program

To graduate in the two-year MA program, students must successfully complete a total of 62 CEU credits, of which they earn:

  • 24 credits from required courses (all MA core courses, Logic, Academic Writing, Departmental Colloquium and MA Thesis Seminar)
  • 28 credits from other courses
  • 10 credits for the thesis (15,000–19,000 words total; minimum passing grade C+)

While the minimum passing grade for all courses is C+, students must achieve a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.66 (B–) in the graded courses taken for credit in order to graduate.

Core courses, required in the first year

A significant part of the grade for the core courses is determined by performance in a series of final exams scheduled for the end of Spring Term of the first year. The exams are grouped under two main headings: “Theoretical and Practical Philosophy”, which includes Epistemology, Philosophy of Language, Metaphysics and Ethics; and “History of Philosophy”, which covers the three history courses: Ancient Philosophy, Rationalism and Empiricism, and Continental Philosophy. These are in-class written exams. Students will get the questions from their instructors by the end of the winter term and use the spring term to prepare for the exams. They will answer one randomly-drawn question for each course. The answers are graded by the instructors of the relevant courses. The instructors have the right to modify the grades by a third of a grade on the basis of the student’s performance in the classroom and on written assignments.

Logic

This course is offered on a pass/fail basis and is mandatory for all MA students.

Academic Writing

The course is offered on a pass/fail basis by the Center for Academic Writing and is mandatory for all MA students. After the first three meetings, the academic writing instructor can recommend that a student be exempted from attending the course. The decision whether to grant the exemption will be made by the MA Director and Head of Department.

Departmental Colloquium series

The series consists of papers delivered by invited speakers and faculty members followed by a Q&A. Attendance at these colloquia is a key component in meeting the program objective of developing increased familiarity with current debates in philosophy. All MA students enroll each Fall and Winter term in the one-credit pass/fail course entitled “Departmental Colloquium”. A pass grade is earned by students who attend at least seven colloquia per term.

MA Thesis Seminar

MA students enroll in the thesis seminar on a pass/fail basis in the Winter Term prior to their defense. Students give presentations of their work and attend the presentations of others.

Elective courses

Students in the two-year program earn 28 credits from other courses of their choosing. These courses are taken for a grade. Of these, a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 credits are from courses offered by other programs at CEU (language courses are excluded; courses cross-listed with the Department of Philosophy do not count toward this quota). The rest are from Master’s or Doctoral elective courses either offered by the Department of Philosophy, or cross-listed with it. (Doctoral elective courses are usually open to MA students as well, and students are advised to check them too.)

Elective courses can be distributed between terms according to students’ preferences, as long as 8 credits of elective courses are taken in the first year, and the remainder of the 28 required credits of elective courses are taken in the second year.

One-year program

To graduate in the one-year MA program, students must successfully complete a total of 40 CEU credits, of which they earn:

  • 8 credits altogether from required courses (Logic, Academic Writing, Departmental Colloquium, and MA thesis seminar)
  • 24 credits from other courses
  • 8 credits for the thesis (12,000–15,000 words total; minimum passing grade C+)

While the minimum passing grade for all courses is C+, students must achieve a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.66 (B–) to graduate.

Logic

This course is offered on a pass/fail basis and is mandatory for all MA students.

Academic Writing

The course is offered on a pass/fail basis by the Center for Academic Writing and is mandatory for all MA students. After the first three meetings, the academic writing instructor can recommend that a student be exempted from attending the course. The decision whether to grant the exemption will be made by the MA Director and Head of Department.

Departmental Colloquium series

The series consists of papers delivered by invited speakers and faculty members followed by a Q&A. Attendance at these colloquia is a key component in meeting the program objective of developing increased familiarity with current debates in philosophy. All MA students enroll each Fall and Winter term in the one-credit pass/fail course entitled “Departmental Colloquium”. A pass grade is earned by students who attend at least seven colloquia per term.

MA Thesis Seminar

MA students enroll on a pass/fail basis in the thesis seminar in the Winter Term prior to their defense. Students give presentations of their work and attend the presentations of others.

Elective courses

Students in the one-year program earn 24 credits from other courses of their choosing. These courses are taken for a grade. Up to 4 of these credits may be earned from courses offered by other programs at CEU (language courses are excluded; courses cross-listed with the Department of Philosophy do not count toward this limit). The rest are from Master’s or Doctoral elective courses either offered by the Department of Philosophy, or cross-listed with it. The choice of these courses also has to conform to the following rules:

  • A maximum of 10 credits can be earned from the Core MA courses. Logic and Academic Writing, which are required, do not count toward the 10 credits.
  • The department’s core and elective courses are classified into three areas: Axiology and Practical Philosophy, Metaphysics and Epistemology, History of Philosophy. At least 2 credits must be taken in each area. A course can count toward meeting this requirement in at most one area.

Elective courses can be distributed between terms according to students’ preferences, as long as the sum amounts to 24 credits and the choice conforms to the area selection rules stated above.

Thesis

MA Thesis Supervisor

When choosing the topic for their MA thesis, students specify potential supervisors. The department will do its best to give students the supervisor of their choice. However, in the interest both of students and faculty, the department can limit the number of supervisees per faculty member.

Every faculty member at the department is eligible as supervisor. In exceptional cases, a CEU faculty member outside the Department of Philosophy can be appointed as supervisor.

Students have only one supervisor. Other faculty may respond to questions or offer some other help, but cannot be expected to read thesis drafts.

Regulatory Limit on Submission of MA Theses

The Master’s thesis must be submitted within a maximum of two years of finishing the course-work of a program, with the MA Director’s prior agreement if this has not been done in due course.

MA Thesis Writing Process and Deadlines

About two weeks before the end of Fall Term prior to their defense (see the academic calendar for the exact date), students are required to submit a thesis title and abstract (0.5-1 page) and a ranked list of three potential supervisors.

On the basis of these submissions the MA Director and Head of Department, in consultation with the faculty, will assign supervisors. The decision will be communicated to students by the end of Fall Term.

Students submit a 2500-word research proposal by late January (see the academic calendar for the exact date). The proposal should identify and situate the topic and the research question within the broader field; show a plan of the investigation that the thesis will employ to answer the question; indicate and justify the methodology as appropriate; and preferably indicate the overall argument of the thesis. The proposals will be distributed to the supervisors, and will be discussed in the MA Thesis Seminar. Failure to meet the deadline or to participate in the seminar will affect the participation grade in the MA thesis seminar. Supervisors and students have to meet and discuss the research proposal by early February (see the academic calendar for the exact date).

Early in Spring Term (see the academic calendar for the exact date), students submit a partial draft of at least 4000 words. This draft should demonstrate the feasibility of their work and, preferably, is to concentrate on the overall argument of the thesis (it could, e.g., take the form of an outline or a methodology of the thesis, or of an introductory chapter). Handing in brief introductory statements or literature reviews beforehand is welcome, but cannot be accepted as a substitute for satisfying the above requirement.

Each draft is evaluated by the supervisor as either “all right” or “problematic”, and the result is communicated to the student. No one will be disqualified from passing to the June defense phase at this point, neither will the evaluation of the first draft affect the final grade.

Students are required to consult with a member of the Center for Academic Writing on their draft version of the formal research proposal as well as on their first draft to eliminate fundamental structural and stylistic problems before submitting their work.

Around mid-May (see the academic calendar for the exact date), a full draft of the thesis is submitted. The supervisor decides on its basis whether the student may pass to the June defense phase.

Students who are not allowed to pass to the June defense phase can appeal, in writing, to the Head of Department and the MA Director. It is to be understood that a reverse judgement will be made only under exceptional circumstances. Students who are not allowed to pass to the June defense phase shall automatically lose the right to defend their MA thesis in June. Excluding exceptional personal circumstances that might justify a later deadline, they retain the right to submit and defend their MA thesis no later than 31 October of the same year. The deadline for submission of the thesis will be determined by the Head of the Department in consultation with the thesis supervisor. No MA thesis subject to mandatory deferral shall obtain a higher grade than B+.

The deadline for submission of the final version of the MA thesis prior to the June defense is specified in the academic calendar. The thesis is considered submitted when the program coordinator receives two printed copies; one bound and printed both sides and one loose. If the bound copy is not ready by the deadline, it has to be submitted by the time of the defense at the latest. An electronic copy in Word format, RTF or PDF should also be sent to the program coordinator. The thesis has also to be submitted electronically, using the Electronic Thesis Submission Guidelines.

Students can request a deferral of the submission of their MA thesis if medical problems or other extraordinary personal circumstances prevent them from completing the thesis by the deadline. A written request must be submitted before the deadline to the Head of Department, clearly specifying the reasons for deferral. The Head of the Department may ask the claimant to provide appropriate medical or other evidence supporting the request. If satisfactory reasons are provided for the deferral, the Head of the Department can accept the request and will establish a new deadline for submission of the thesis in consultation with the supervisor. In these cases, the final grade will not be affected by the deferral.

Grading criteria for MA theses

The supervisor and a second reader, appointed by the MA Director and the Head of Department, read the final draft of the thesis and evaluate it according to the following criteria:

  • The thesis is formatted in a commonly recognized academic style with a coherent system of footnotes and references.
  • The thesis is logically organized.
  • The language is fluent and free from mistakes.
  • The student has formulated a well-defined research project and has situated it in a broader philosophical context.
  • The mode of presentation and research methodology are appropriate to the subject matter.
  • The student has made a judicious selection of primary and secondary literature for discussion and analysis.
  • The student has a good understanding of the current debates and theories in the subject under investigation.
  • The student has used specialized philosophical terminology clearly and accurately.
  • The argumentation of the thesis is clear, thorough and rigorous.
  • The student has clearly differentiated his or her ideas from the ideas of others.

MA defense

The supervisor and the second reader sit on the student’s defense committee. For two-year MA students, an external examiner, appointed by the Head of Department, also sits on the committee. At the defense, students are asked to present a 10-minute summary of their thesis and then answer questions posed by the members of the committee. This is followed by the committee conferring in private and deciding upon a grade for the thesis. The grade is announced after departmental approval.

In case of a fail grade, the student receives a transcript of studies but no MA diploma.

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