The Master’s (Doctoral) Program of Philosophy, which has the longest tradition at Sophia University, covers historical and systematic research into the entire Western philosophical tradition, from ancient Greece, through the Christian Fathers, medieval Scholasticism and mystical thought, to early modern and contemporary thought. In addition, the program aims to explore in a more principled way the various ethical issues confronting modern society, such as environmental destruction and the manipulation of human life, by seeking the basis of knowledge and technology and by reconsidering human understanding.
The curriculum emphasizes training in the accurate reading and understanding of the classical literature of Western philosophy, with seminars on the study of literature in ancient Greek and medieval Latin sources, as well as modern and contemporary English, German, and French, as the main focus. Several lectures dealing with special problems are also offered.
Applicants are advised to have sufficient language skills at the undergraduate level. The Master’s Program is divided into two courses: A: Specialized Course in Philosophy, which studies the Western philosophical tradition from ancient Greece through the Christian Fathers, medieval scholasticism and mysticism to modern and contemporary thought, and also considers art, religion, and culture from a fundamental perspective; and B: Course in Contemporary Thought, which examines, various ethical issues facing contemporary society, such as environmental destruction and the manipulation of life, from a modern perspective. Both courses are open to a wide range of students from other departments of Sophia University and graduates of other universities.
The main objective of the Doctoral Course is to train students to become specialized researchers in their respective fields. The goal is for students to participate in national and international conferences and research groups, publish their research results, and conduct painstaking research under the supervision of a research supervisor, ultimately culminating in a doctoral dissertation. Some students go on to study at universities in Europe and the United States during their career.
- Master’s Program: MASTER OF ARTS IN PHILOSOPHY
- Doctoral Program: DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
Available Teaching License and Subjects
- Junior High School Specialized Teacher (Social Studies)
- High School Specialized Teacher (Civics)
*Only available in Master’s degree programs. Also, it is only available in subjects in which a Type 1 license has been obtained or the requirements for Type 1 have been fulfilled. Not all subjects are available.
Classes emphasize language and original sources, as the courses has a strong reputation in Western philosophy, including ancient Greek, medieval philosophy, and German idealism classes. In addition to learning from the West, the program also respects the spiritual traditions of the East and the study of Japanese philosophy since the Meiji period.
And by being deeply rooted in the spiritual tradition of philosophy, we will philosophically and fundamentally consider various issues facing society today, such as the environment and bioethics.
In the Master’s Program, students can take up to eight elective credits from courses offered by other departments, and since the program has a consignment auditing system with three universities in Tokyo (Keio University, Toyo University, and Tokyo Woman’s Christian University), students can broaden their course of study.
Collaboration with Research Institutions Inside and Outside the University
Students can interact with alumni at the biannual Sophia Philosophy Society meeting and make use of the wealth of research materials available through cooperation with the Institute of Medieval Thought and the Institute for Christian Culture on campus. The University has agreements with the University of Freiburg and LMU München for graduate-level exchange programs.
Selected Thesis Topics
- Fichte’s Concept of Trust in his Middle Knowledge Studies
- Eckhart Studies: The Structure of the Religious Search for Life
- Creativity and Life: A Historical Study of the Development of Whitehead’s Philosophy
- Economic Theory of Thomas Aquinas
- Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit.
- Blindness in Socrates
- Hegelian Logic
- Fundamental Problems of Late Nishida’s Philosophy
- Walter Benjamin’s Philosophical Theory in Photography
- Philosophical Creationism of Thomas Aquinas
- Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Power
- Benjamin’s Philosophy of Language
- Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics
- Kant’s Concept of Conceptual Power
- Human Dignity, Responsibility, and Punishment
The Master’s Program in Philosophy sets standards for the skills and knowledge students should acquire before graduation as described below. Those who fulfill the graduation requirements and pass their thesis defense shall be deemed to have acquired these qualities and will be awarded a diploma.
- The ability to conduct in-depth studies of one’s research theme and give it careful thought, based on basic knowledge of overall Western philosophical history; and deep academic knowledge that will not be affected by trends.
- Insight and thought that will seek solutions from deeper dimensions that does not take a makeshift approach to global risks of modern society.
- The ability to read in different languages (English, German, French, Greek, Latin) and comprehend old literature.
- Expressive skills suitable for both writing and speaking and the ability to convince people with different cultural backgrounds.
- The ability to acquire practical research skills in a specialized field and compile a master’s thesis.
The Doctoral Program in Philosophy sets standards for the skills and knowledge students should acquire before graduation as described below. Those who fulfill the graduation requirements and pass the dissertation defense shall be deemed to have acquired these qualities and will be awarded a diploma.
- The ability to deliver presentations at academic meetings based on knowledge acquired through individual dissertation guidance and exchange with domestic and overseas researchers, as well as the ability to compile a doctoral thesis based on the results of such experiences
- The ability to read in different languages (English, German, French, Greek, Latin) and comprehend complex old literature
- Expressive skills suitable for both writing and speaking and the ability to convince people with different cultural backgrounds
- The ability to teach and instruct students at higher education institutions as a specialized researcher.
In accordance with the diploma policy, the Master’s Program in Philosophy constructs its curriculum based on two courses, the Philosophy Program and the Contemporary Thought Program:
- Philosophy Program: studies the history of Western philosophy from ancient times through medieval times to modern times to fundamentally approach science, art, culture and religion as well as teach students the basics of philosophical literature review.
- Offer literature review courses for intensive reading of classic philosophical literature from ancient to modern times in original text (English, German, French, Latin and Greek).
- Contemporary Thought Program: observes the fundamental issues from modern perspectives and address various ethical issues, including environment, life and healthcare, faced by modern society. In addition to literature review courses, the Program offers Contemporary Ethics, Aesthetics and Art Studies, Eastern Thought, Japanese Thought, Religious Thought, etc.
- Offer General Philosophy Seminars A & B as common compulsory courses for both programs, giving students the opportunity to present their research and engage in discussion. This will allow students to expand their scope of interest, deepen philosophical thought through questions and answers and opinion exchange, and learn about a wide range of methods for joint research. Some classes will be delivered in English, thus keeping students tuned into international research standards.
- Have students decide on a research advisor of their choice after enrollment, deepen their studies through individual research guidance and finally compile their thesis.
- Have those who wish to continue their studies in the Doctoral Program experience academic society activities through submitting papers to Sophia philosophica edited by Graduate School students, presenting research at Sophia Society of Philosophy and submitting papers to Tetsugaku Ronshu.
In accordance with the diploma policy, the Doctoral Program in Philosophy is focused mainly on developing expert philosophers (faculty members at universities, junior colleges and National Institutes of Technology) and constructs its curriculum with an aim to nurture human resources who can play leading roles on a global stage, as follows:
- Center studies on the history of philosophy on reading literature and offer several courses in Specialized Philosophy Studies covering ancient through modern times.
- In addition to literature review courses, offer Contemporary Ethics, Aesthetics and Art Studies, Eastern Thought, Japanese Thought, Religious Thought, etc.
- Offer Specialized Philosophy Studies A & B as a compulsory course where students present and discuss their research.
- Have students decide on a research advisor of their choice after enrollment in the Doctoral Program, deepen their studies through individual research guidance, present their research through academic activities such as oral presentations and paper submissions, and finally compile their dissertation.
- Have students experience academic society activities through submitting papers to Sophia philosophica, edited by Graduate School students, presenting research at Sophia Society of Philosophy and submitting papers to Tetsugaku Ronshu
- Encourage students to take advantage of Sophia’s advantageous studying environment and study abroad. Offer some classes in English, thus keeping students tuned into international research standards.
The Master’s Program in Philosophy seeks students with the following qualities:
- The Master’s Program comprises the Philosophy Program and the Modern Thought Program, which embrace different curricula with different compulsory and elective courses. Both courses offer equal admissions opportunities to degree candidates and graduates of the Department of Philosophy at Sophia University and to those of other universities.
- Philosophy Program: students with 1) a clear research theme and research questions; 2) the language skills required to read the original text of philosophical classics; 3) basic knowledge of Western philosophical history; and 4)experience in compiling an academic paper of a certain length
- Modern Thought Program: students with 1) a clear research theme and research questions; 2) an interest in and background knowledge of a broad range of social and modern issues; 3) language skills required for the pursuit of research; and 4) experience in compiling an academic paper of a certain length
The Doctoral Program in Philosophy seeks students with the following qualities:
- Given the doctoral program’s focus on fostering expert researchers of philosophy, students with 1) grades above a given level on their Master’s thesis; 2) language skills to understand literature; and 3) a clear research plan and future career plans
- The Program also welcomes those who seek careers other than researchers in the narrow sense of the word, as high school teachers, publishing company editors, etc. Admission will be based on their reasons for applying, academic work underpinning their reasons and future vision
Hiroyuki OGINO Professor
Naoko SATO Professor
Toshiro TERADA Professor
Yuji NAGAMACHI Professor
Nobukuni SUZUKI Professor
Shigeo KAWAGUCHI Associate Professor
Shunsuke KUWAHARA Associate Professor
Hajime SUGIO Associate Professor