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How's Leuven's program?


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I'm currently pursuing my MA in Theology, and I'm planning on doing another MA in Philosophy before I go onto doctoral work, because my background in philosophy could be stronger. My thesis advisor/mentor has been really encouraging me to move in a more philosophical direction in my work as is, as I naturally tend in that direction anyway.

 

So I'm looking at his alma mater, KU Leuven, where my plan is to do their abridged BA in Philosophy (because I really do need to strengthen my background...) and then the one-year MA, and then taking stock to see if I want to do the MPhil or move on to a PhD in either theology or philosophy.

 

So I'm curious: how is Leuven's program, and how difficult is admission? I've read elsewhere that it's not a terribly competitive admission process; one person reported being accepted within 24 hours. Is this normal? Or should it raise a huge red flag?

 

Any other thoughts you might have would be appreciated.

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I'm currently pursuing my MA in Theology, and I'm planning on doing another MA in Philosophy before I go onto doctoral work, because my background in philosophy could be stronger. My thesis advisor/mentor has been really encouraging me to move in a more philosophical direction in my work as is, as I naturally tend in that direction anyway.

 

So I'm looking at his alma mater, KU Leuven, where my plan is to do their abridged BA in Philosophy (because I really do need to strengthen my background...) and then the one-year MA, and then taking stock to see if I want to do the MPhil or move on to a PhD in either theology or philosophy.

 

So I'm curious: how is Leuven's program, and how difficult is admission? I've read elsewhere that it's not a terribly competitive admission process; one person reported being accepted within 24 hours. Is this normal? Or should it raise a huge red flag?

 

Any other thoughts you might have would be appreciated.

There may be people who know, but colleges outside of the US/Canada/England aren't well known to the standard analytic philosophy people. Philosophy in general though, is notoriously competitive at the graduate level, but I don't know if that carries over to European schools. If your goal is to get a phd in theology but have philosophical backing, then I doubt a school like the one you mentioned wouldn't be a wrong choice, but it's a lot of time and money spent working on that. If you are catholic (as your picking of catholic school lends support for) there are some good catholic universities in America that offer philosophy programs that include a lot of medieval philosophy as well as philosophy of religion, like Fordham, St. Louis University, Catholic University of America. I'm not sure if these programs offer MA's, but if you're only after more philosophical training you could enroll as a non-degree seeking graduate student.

Really, if you really want to move in a philosophical way rather than a theological way, there are many great terminal MA programs in the US that offer funding and don't require super strong backings in philosophy, like GSU, NIU, WMU, Miami Ohio. This is the way you should go if you want to attempt a Phd in philosophy at any reputable US/Canada/England department. This includes the catholic universities Phd programs I mentioned above.

Like I said though, I can't really speak on European universities. I know at least one or two members here might be able to say something more.

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There may be people who know, but colleges outside of the US/Canada/England aren't well known to the standard analytic philosophy people. Philosophy in general though, is notoriously competitive at the graduate level, but I don't know if that carries over to European schools. If your goal is to get a phd in theology but have philosophical backing, then I doubt a school like the one you mentioned wouldn't be a wrong choice, but it's a lot of time and money spent working on that. If you are catholic (as your picking of catholic school lends support for) there are some good catholic universities in America that offer philosophy programs that include a lot of medieval philosophy as well as philosophy of religion, like Fordham, St. Louis University, Catholic University of America. I'm not sure if these programs offer MA's, but if you're only after more philosophical training you could enroll as a non-degree seeking graduate student.

Really, if you really want to move in a philosophical way rather than a theological way, there are many great terminal MA programs in the US that offer funding and don't require super strong backings in philosophy, like GSU, NIU, WMU, Miami Ohio. This is the way you should go if you want to attempt a Phd in philosophy at any reputable US/Canada/England department. This includes the catholic universities Phd programs I mentioned above.

Like I said though, I can't really speak on European universities. I know at least one or two members here might be able to say something more.

Eh. Just because he picked Leuven doesn't mean he's interested in religion. The philosophy department at Leuven is huge and is actually a fairly well known program in continental circles. It's a good choice as long as you don't mind being in Europe and being a part of a huge department.

Oh. I should mention I'm only familiar with their PhD. I don't know anything about the MA or MPhil or whatever.

Edited by bar_scene_gambler
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Eh. Just because he picked Leuven doesn't mean he's interested in religion. The philosophy department at Leuven is huge and is actually a fairly well known program in continental circles. It's a good choice as long as you don't mind being in Europe and being a part of a huge department.

Oh. I should mention I'm only familiar with their PhD. I don't know anything about the MA or MPhil or whatever.

Oh I was just assuming he was interested in Religion and stuff because he's doing Theology and whatnot.

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Oh I was just assuming he was interested in Religion and stuff because he's doing Theology and whatnot.

Yeah that makes sense. I just meant (though didn't make clear) that (s)he's not necessarily Catholic given the fact that (s)he chose to look at Leuven, given it's reputation in non-phil religion areas as well.

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Nah, I'm Catholic, so it was a fair assumption.

I have two main reasons for looking at European schools, and Leuven in particular: cost, and family.

 

I've been in conversation with Leuven, and I have been told (and my mentor confirms this) that Leuven is so heavily subsidized by the Belgian government that the cost per year is 600 Euros. That's the *cost*. My mentor made very clear to me that it's an absurdly affordable program.

The other side is that my wife is a Wagnerian soprano who needs to spend a couple years auditioning in Europe. I'm already an EU national, so *getting* there isn't an issue, but this would let me knock out some necessary schooling at relatively low cost without having to sacrifice a couple of years putting around Europe getting nothing done.

Zizeksucks, thank you for your advice regarding American schools. I am actually going to be looking at Fordham again (I applied for my MA Theo, but they never even responded!) 

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Nah, I'm Catholic, so it was a fair assumption.

I have two main reasons for looking at European schools, and Leuven in particular: cost, and family.

 

I've been in conversation with Leuven, and I have been told (and my mentor confirms this) that Leuven is so heavily subsidized by the Belgian government that the cost per year is 600 Euros. That's the *cost*. My mentor made very clear to me that it's an absurdly affordable program.

The other side is that my wife is a Wagnerian soprano who needs to spend a couple years auditioning in Europe. I'm already an EU national, so *getting* there isn't an issue, but this would let me knock out some necessary schooling at relatively low cost without having to sacrifice a couple of years putting around Europe getting nothing done.

Zizeksucks, thank you for your advice regarding American schools. I am actually going to be looking at Fordham again (I applied for my MA Theo, but they never even responded!) 

Yeah, if Leuven is a respected school and it costs that much it sounds like a great option. Man, I wish analytic had continental European programs like that... The only problem I can think of is applying to US schools from that program with the language barrier, but I have no idea how that works. And you want to get  a Phd at an American school if you want to teach in America. My understanding is that doctorate degrees from outside of the country aren't very well respected in any discipline, but I'm not sure why. 

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Really? My professor's doctorate is from Leuven. It might be different within theology. I dunno.

In philosophy it really boils down to the academic environment in the US. European PhD programs (excluding the UK), have historically tended to emphasize continental and historical fields. This is changing, as was emphasized to me by a German Kant scholar who recently gave a talk at my uni, but reputation takes a while to change. So, people with PhD's from places like Leuven or the Sorbonne and so on have a more difficult time getting tenure-track positions in the US, because the philosophical climate in the US is heavily analytic. Of course, there are other factors to take into consideration as well, such as the difference in education on a practical level (how European PhD's are educated on an administrative level), emphasis on research over teaching, etc. It's not a black and white issue. But there is a certain degree of truth in what Zizeksucks says. It's not necessarily the case that European PhD's aren't well respected, it's more that they have a harder time getting to tenure track because of a large variety of reasons which all work counter to the interests of the applicant. 

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