The academic discipline known as aesthetics explores a wide spectrum of questions ranging from the role of art in society, the nature and significance of beauty, the foundations of art criticism, and more. Studied from a philosophical perspective, the Master's Programme in the Humanities, specialising in Aesthetics aims to provide you with a set of tools for thinking precisely and rigorously about issues and problems in a variety of domains that have to do with the arts, aesthetic experience and culture more broadly.
Why this programme?
Aesthetics is a discipline centrally located at the heart of the arts and humanities. By tackling philosophical questions about a wide range of art forms, and rigorously examining concepts such as aesthetic experience, artistic value, culture, beauty, emotion, creativity, imagination, and more, it addresses many of the concerns that constitute the very foundations of our common humanity. The Master's Programme in the Humanities, specialising in Aesthetics, will offer you valuable insights into today's society, through its unique combination of historical perspectives, contemporary debates, and forward-looking analysis.
This international Master's programme is unique and provides an exciting set of opportunities for you who wish to further deepen your academic training in aesthetics. You will learn how to apply artistic and aesthetic theory to practice and develop your philosophical method and argumentation. You will thereby strengthen your own reasoning abilities and knowledge set about the area and improve both writing and presentation skills.
The Master's Programme in the Humanities, specialising in Aesthetics, is offered by the internationally recognised Department of Philosophy at Uppsala University. As a student in this programme, you will be able to take advantage of the Department's broad competences. In addition to Aesthetics, the Department also has significant strengths in Practical Philosophy (including Applied Ethics and the Philosophy of Law), Theoretical Philosophy (including the Philosophy of Language and Philosophy of Science), the History of Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Anthropology.
You also have the option to take courses not only at Uppsala University but also at other Swedish universities, after consultation with your supervisors. You will make an individual study plan with the convener of the Master's programme and will be assigned a supervisor in preparation for writing a thesis during the second year of the programme.
It is a two-year programme by default, but it is also possible to complete a one-year 60-credit degree instead. However, it is expected that the majority of students will choose the full two-year version.
The structure of this programme closely mirrors that of a Swedish doctoral degree and will provide excellent preparation for you if you want to continue your studies at doctoral level in Sweden or elsewhere in the world. The programme will also give you the qualifications needed if you plan to move into the workforce directly after graduation.
The programme leads to a Master of Arts (120 credits) with Aesthetics as the main field of study. It is also possible to graduate after one academic year with a Master of Arts (60 credits).
During the first semester, we recommend that you take a theory and method course (7.5 credits).
During the first and second semester, you will take at least two elective courses (7.5 credits each) in aesthetics and possibly one elective course (7.5 credits) from another specialisation offered at advanced level at the Faculty of Arts. You can also choose to take a reading course.
During the third and fourth semester, you will take at least three elective courses (7.5 credits each) in aesthetics and possibly one elective course (7.5 credits) from another specialisation offered at advanced level at the Faculty of Arts.
You may also complete an internship as part of the programme (corresponding to 7.5 or 15 credits). You are responsible for finding a suitable internship, but the programme coordinator will help you to plan the placement, and assess the significance of the internship for the degree.
During the second year, you will write a Master's thesis (45 credits). The thesis will enable you to undertake an in-depth study of an area or question which you have chosen together with your teacher/supervisor. The work is generally spread out over several semesters. You can choose how to organise your work in consultation with your supervisor. It is possible to take courses in parallel with working on the thesis. Alternatively, you can choose to take all the necessary courses first before focusing exclusively on the thesis in the last semester.
For the one-year programme (60 credits):
During the first semester, we recommend that you take a theory and method course (7.5 credits).
During the first and second semesters you will take at least two elective courses (7.5 credits each) in aesthetics and possibly one elective course (7.5 credits) from a different specialisation offered at advanced level at the Faculty of Arts.
In addition, you will write a Master's thesis (30 credits). The thesis will enable you to undertake an in-depth study of an area or question which you have chosen together with your supervisor. You are free to organise your thesis writing, but most students choose to do it in the second semester.
Courses within the programme
In addition to the obligatory courses, you have considerable freedom to plan your studies together with the programme coordinator. Below is an example of how the course work can be organised for a two-year Master's programme.
Semester 1 Philosophical perspectives 1, 7.5 credits (obligatory) Participation in the higher seminar, 7.5 credits for two semesters (obligatory) Preparation for thesis work: decide on topic and supervisor together with programme coordinator. Elective courses, 15 credits in total
Semester 2 Participation in the higher seminar, 7.5 credits for two semesters (obligatory) Elective courses, 15 credits in total (including Philosophical perspectives 2) Thesis work commences
Semester 3 Master class, 7.5 credits Participation in the higher seminar, 7.5 credits for two semesters (obligatory) Thesis work, 15 credits
Semester 4 Thesis work, completion of thesis and defence at a Master's seminar, 30 credits
Courses usually correspond to 7.5 credits. Some courses are intensive courses (e.g. 2 weeks) whereas others are more spread out over time (e.g. 5 weeks). In general, the teaching consists either of lectures, seminars or home study with set questions. Some intensive classes are offered by renowned international visiting scholars.
On a seminar, you present your ideas and discuss with your classmates regarding a course book or other study material that you are required to read before the seminar; while the teacher usually only moderates the discussion. The aim is to develop critical thinking and collaborative skills. All the students are expected to be active participants in all forms of discussions.
The forms of examination vary from course to course, but tend primarily to be oral assessments and take-home exams. Take-home exam is unsupervised examination that you need to complete independently at home within a certain amount of time. The purpose is to test your ability in applying knowledge to new information or your understanding of a topic. You can check your course book or other study material, but you must use your own insights and considerations to create your answers.
The Master's Programme in the Humanities, specialising in Aesthetics, provides you with a deep and diverse set of skills applicable across a variety of career paths. The supervised writing of a Master's thesis and the written course work will develop your analytical writing skills. The rigorous reasoning and writing skills are an asset in diverse careers including in the administration of cultural and arts organisations, journalism, teaching, policy analysis, and more.
The training is also highly suitable for you if you want to continue your studies at the doctoral level, either in Sweden or elsewhere in the world.
Career support During your whole time as a student UU Careers offers you support and guidance. You have the opportunity to partake in a variety of career activities and events, as well as receive individual career counselling. This service is free of charge for all students at Uppsala University. Read more about UU Careers.
Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fee. For information on how to apply and what documents you need to submit, check the application guide. For this programme, besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit one programme-specific document: a statement of purpose.
Requirements: Academic requirements A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. The main field of study must be within the humanities or social sciences. Also required is 60 credits in aesthetics, philosophy, musicology, literature or art history.
Language requirements All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies. The minimum test scores are:
IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
a statement of purpose (1 page) where you detail why you want to pursue Master's studies within the programme.
Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.
If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.