MPhil Programme

MPhil Programme

Master of Philosophy in Philosophy and Ethics of Mental Health [ MPhil (Philosophy and Ethics of Mental Health) ]

The programme provides a learning opportunity about the two-way connections between mental health practice and philosophy. Graduates of this programme who come from mental health practice will be equipped with philosophical skills and knowledge that bring more clarity, understanding and decision-making ability in mental health practice. Graduates of this programme who come from philosophy will gain more insight into areas of philosophy that are relevant to and enriched by the real life experiences of mental health care users and practitioners.

For whom is the programme designed?

The programme is intended for people who want to advance their previous education that was in a field relevant to mental health or in philosophy. They may have already obtained a master’s degree, and may for example be a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, occupational therapist, music therapist or a philosopher. The minimum admission requirement is an honours bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a field of relevance to either mental health or philosophy (e.g. MBChB, BPsych, BA(Hons), LLB, BCur, BOccT).

Being flexible, the aim is to build on the knowledge, skills, experiences and interests that an individual brings to the programme.

How is the programme structured?

The programme comprises a taught and a conceptual research component. It may be taken full time or part time but should be completed within two years. The taught component consists of 4 modules. An assignment will introduce the subject material of each module, usually requiring about 40 hours each. In addition, an essay will be required on a topic from each module. Each essay should be between 5 000 and 6 000 words, reflecting conceptual research on any topic in the field. The four essays will be compiled for constituting a dissertation. Students will be encouraged to present at conferences and submit their work for publication.

What is the syllabus?

The 4 modules explore a lively range of topics that are both highly relevant to current mental health practice and being actively debated and researched by philosophers. Case studies are thus used amply.

Module 1: Core concepts in philosophy & mental health

This module introduces philosophical knowledge and methods in the application to the core concepts used in mental health practice. It does so through the examination of case studies in mental health practice and the examination of the concept of mental disorder/illness. It draws on philosophical contributions from both analytical and existential-phenomenological traditions.

Module 2: Philosophy of science & mental health

This module examines the nature and role of science and of scientific methodology in mental health practice and research. It covers the main aspects of the clinical process (symptomatology, diagnosis, classification, aetiology, treatment and prognosis), research and the organisation of mental health services.

 Module 3: Philosophy of mind & mental health

This module examines the themes shared by mental health practice and the philosophy of mind such as the mind-body problem, subjectivity, rationality, personal identity, intentionality, agency, language & linguistics, meaning, ascription of responsibility, the relations between reasons and causes.

Module 4 : Ethics, values and mental health

This module examines various approaches of philosophical ethics to mental health practice and mental health research including the approaches of bio-ethics, values-based practice, casuistry, perspectivism, and conceptual analysis. As related to mental health practice and research, it addresses issues such as capacity, consent, responsibility, personal autonomy, freedom, conflict of values, confidentiality, abuse, mental health legislation, jurisprudence, and professional ethics.

What are the main sources of reference?

In addition to any relevant material published in mental health or in philosophy, the programme will draw mainly on the Oxford Textbook of Philosophy and Mental Health. A free copy is available at  Notwithstanding, being a master’s degree programme, it will also draw on the unique, contextually and locally relevant contribution that a student brings to the programme.

What will become of students’ research work?

Successful students may pursue doctorate research in the field, and/or the publication of their work in national and international journals.

(a) Requirements for admission 

A bachelor honours degree or equivalent in a field of relevance to either mental health or philosophy eg MBChB; BPsych; BAHons; LLB; BCur; BOccTher, is the minimum admission requirement. Practical experience and/or a relevant master’s degree is strongly recommended e.g. MMed (Psych); MA (Philosophy); MA (Psychology); MA (Sociology) MA (Social Work); MMus (Music Therapy); LLM; MCur, MOccTher. 

b) Duration 

One year full-time or two years part-time study 


(c) Curriculum

Core Modules 

FEG 881 Core concepts in philosophy and mental health 

FEG 882 Philosophy of science and mental health

FEG 883 Philosophy of mind and mental health

FEG 884 Ethics, Values and mental health  

Research Module

FEG 890 Dissertation: Philosophy and ethics of mental health


Examinations and pass requirements 

 (i) Students must complete the assignments of each of the core modules to a satisfactory standard. 

 (ii) The dissertation must consist of four sections of which each may respectively address a topic from the core modules.

 (iii) The first four sections of the dissertation should each be between 5 000 and 6 000 words.  

 (iv) A minimum mark of 50% will be required in each section of the  dissertation to pass. 

 (v) A student will be disqualified from further study towards this degree when he or she fails any one of the sections for the third time. 


Degree with distinction 

The degree will be conferred with distinction on a student who obtains a mark of 75% or more for the dissertation.



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