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Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives

The BA Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives is an English taught track of the BA Filosofie. Apart from the language of instruction the programme is characterized by the fact that students choose for this specialisation from the very start (at the beginning of the first year), and that the programme's focus is on comparative philosophy: it combines the study of Western philosophy with traditions of thought from India, Eastern Asia, Africa, and the Arab world.

Programme and objectives

See More info for a description of the structure of the bachelor's programme, as well as a description of the objectives and learning outcomes of the programme, i.e. the knowledge, understanding and skills in philosophy that graduates of the bachelor's programme have attained.

First Year

Mandatory components

All propaedeutic (first-year) components, including the tutorials, are mandatory. The courses Logic, Ethics, Epistemology, and Philosophical Skills I will be offered as a series of lectures accompanying tutorial sessions on another timeslot.

Compensation regulation

Under certain conditions compensation of failed grades is possible within a specified cluster of courses. Students who fulfill these conditions are considered to have met the requirements for completion of the propeudeutic exam (first-year). See More info.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Fall Semester

Ethics 5
Logic 5
Philosophy of Culture 5
World Philosophies: China 5
World Philosophies: Greek and Roman Antiquity 5
World Philosophies: Modern Europe 5

Spring Semester

Epistemology 5
Comparative Philosophy I: Classical Readings 5
Philosophical Skills I 5
World Philosophies: Africa 5
World Philosophies: India 5
World Philosophies: Middle East 5

Second Year

Mandatory components

In the first semester of the second year students follow six mandatory courses. The courses Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, and Comparative Philosophy II: Topics have accompanying tutorial sessions.

Discretionary space

The discretionary space (30 EC's) has been scheduled in the second semester of the second year. Students may choose, however, to move the discretionary space to their third year, for instance if they have planned to take a minor that is scheduled in both semesters of the academic year. Students who wish to move the discretionary space to their third year are allowed to take third-year seminars in philosophy in the second semester of the second year, provided that they have completed their first year and at least 10 EC's of the second year's mandatory courses. Note that certain second-year courses may be a prerequisite for third-year advanced seminars. Please see the specific admission requirements of the third-year seminars on offer.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Fall Semester

Concepts of Selfhood 5
Comparative Philosophy II: Topics 5
Language and Thought 5
Political Philosophy 5
Philosophy of Science 5
Philosophical Skills II 5

Spring Semester

Discretionary space (Philosophy) 30

Third Year


  • Students select five advanced seminars in philosophy, each 10 EC, level 300-400 from a list of topics that are varying from year to year.

  • At least two of these five seminars must be selected from the list of courses for the specialisation Global and Comparative Perspectives.

  • At least one of these five seminars must be part of one of the other specialisations and cannot belong to the specialisation Global and Comparative Perspectives.

  • The subject of the BA theses must belong to the chosen specialisation, i.e. Global and Comparative Perpectives.

Graduation phase

BA students in Philosophy can start writing their BA thesis two times each academic year, at the start of the second semester, or at the start if the first semester. During the semester that students write their thesis they also follow the mandatory Thesis Seminar Philosophy. In principle students write their BA Thesis in the second semester of their third year. Please see BA Thesis Philosophy for more information about the procedure for assigning of thesis supervisors.

Please note

Students who wish to include the seminar Plato’s Phaedo en zijn Nachleben in de Late Oudheid in their programme are required to extend this course to 10 EC in consultation with the instructor.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Specialisation Global and Comparative Perspectives

African Political Theory and Philosophy of Social Change 10
Buddhist Perspectives on Environmental Ethics 10
Global Justice 10
Intercultural Philosophical Hermeneutics 10
Reading Avicenna in Medieval Times 10
Werkcollege Antieke Wijsbegeerte: Plato’s Phaedo en zijn Nachleben in de Late Oudheid 5/10
Buddhist Moral Philosophy 10
Conceptions of Knowledge in India and China 10
Feminist Theories in Chinese and Japanese Philosophy 10
Islamic Thought: Past and Present 10
Philosophy and Decolonization 10

Courses from specialisations outside Global and Comparative Perspectives (in English)

Europe as a Philosophical Problem 10
Capitalism and Beyond 10
Critical Philosophy: Feminism, Gender and Race 10
Metaethics 10
Philosophy of Technology 10
The Rise of Aesthetic Rationality 10
Philosophy of Language: Historical and Contemporary Debates 10
Wittgenstein on Certainty 10
Classics of Practical Philosophy 10
Contemporary Metaphysics 10
Deleuze: Monism is Pluralism 10
Environmental Philosophy 10
Existentialism 10
Heidegger and his Critics 10
Moral Psychology 10
Philosophy of the Infinite 10
Political Obligation 10
Truth and Its History 10
Twentieth Century French Philosophy 10
What is Thinking? Continental Conceptions 10

Courses from specialisations outside Global and Comparative Perspectives (in Dutch)

Kritische theorie 10
Hegels Rechtsfilosofie 10

Graduation Phase

Thesis Seminar Philosophy 0
Thesis Seminar Philosophy 0
BA Thesis Philosophy 10

More info


Graduates of the programme have attained the following learning outcomes, listed according to the Dublin descriptors:

1. Knowledge and understanding

Graduates have knowledge and understanding in the area of philosophy that far exceeds the level of secondary education, in particular with regard to:

  • the historical development of Western philosophy, also in relation to the development of the various disciplines;

  • the societal and cultural significance of Western philosophy, also from a global and comparative perspective;

  • the main traditional elements of Western philosophy, their problems, their methods and their key concepts;

  • for the specialisations Ethiek en politieke filosofie (Ethics and Political Philosophy), Filosofie van mens, techniek en cultuur (Philosophy of Mind, Culture and Technology), Geschiedenis van de filosofie (History of Philosophy) and Theoretische filosofie (Theoretical Philosophy): metaphysics, Continental philosophy and history of political philosophy, and also recent developments in the area of the specialisation;

  • for the specialisation Global and Comparative Perspectives: the philosophical traditions of India, China, Africa and the Middle East, and also recent developments in the area of comparative philosophy.

2. Applying knowledge and understanding

Graduates are able to apply their knowledge and understanding in the area of philosophy by:

  • independently collecting philosophical literature, using both traditional and modern methods, and evaluating this literature in terms of relevance and quality;

  • independently studying and analysing philosophical texts in terms of arguments and conclusions; evaluating them in terms of their argumentative qualities; understanding their interconnections, and situating them in a broader historical, societal and academic context;

  • independently identifying and analysing problems in the area of the specialisation, critically evaluating proposed solutions, and mapping out lines of further research;

  • independently formulating a philosophical, clearly delineated research question in the area of the specialisation, situating this question in a philosophical context, and developing an argument to answer the question.

3. Making judgements

Graduates are able to:

  • formulate relevant and constructive criticisms of philosophical views and substantiate this criticisms with arguments;

  • determine their position on philosophical questions and support this position with arguments.

4. Communication

Graduates are able to:

  • clearly express themselves both orally and in writing in the programme’s language(s) of instruction (Dutch and English for the specialisations Ethiek en politieke filosofie [Ethics and Political Philosophy], Filosofie van mens, techniek en cultuur [Philosophy of Mind, Culture and Technology], Geschiedenis van de filosofie [History of Philosophy] and Theoretische filosofie [Theoretical Philosophy], and English for the specialisation Global and Comparative Perspectives);

  • to chair academic discussions and to participate in these in a relevant and constructive manner;

  • give a clearly structured and accessible argument in the form of an oral presentation, supported by digital presentation techniques;

  • clearly explain complex issues in writing.

5. Learning skills

Graduates are able to:

  • ask for feedback and process other people’s criticism;

  • independently formulate and execute a research plan.

Furthermore, each humanities programme at Leiden University trains students in the general academic skills formulated by the Faculty. These skills relate to the Dublin descriptors Judgement, Communication, and Learning skills as specified in Appendix A of the general section of the BA Course and Examination Regulations (OER).

Additional requirements Binding Study Advice (BSA)

For the BA programme in Philosophy (full time and part-time) the regulations on Binding Study Advice (BSA) apply. These regulations contain information concerning the (binding) study advice issued to Leiden University students during their Bachelor’s programme, the requirements to be met for the issuance of positive advice, exceptions, transitional rulings and the procedures for cases of exceptional (personal) circumstances. For the Bachelor's programme in Philosophy no additional requirements have been set.


First year (propaedeutic year)

To be announced.

Second year

To be announced.

Third year

To be announced.

Discretionary space

To be announced.

Full-time and part-time

The BA programme Philosophy: Global and Comparative Philosophy is offered as a full-time programme as well as a part-time programme.

BA Thesis and graduation requirements

To be announced.

In order to graduate students must have cpompleted the propedeutic year and all components of the second and third years of the programme. The bachelor’s programme will be completed with a BA Thesis. In this thesis a student shows whether (s)he is capable of working independently and to present a critical description of the state of the art of a philosophical problem that is relevant for the chosen specialisation.

See BA Thesis Philosophy.


The BA programme in Philosophy offers the following specialisations:

  • Ethiek en politieke filosofie [Ethics and Political Philosophy]

  • Filosofie van mens, techniek en cultuur [Philosophy of Mind, Culture and Technology]

  • Geschiedenis van de filosofie [History of Philosophy]

  • Global and Comparative Perspectives

  • Theoretische filosofie [Theoretical Philosophy]

For graduation in one of the specialisations it is required that at least two and not more than four of the five successfully completed third-year seminars in philosophy (level 300-400) must belong to the chosen specialisation. The subject of the BA thesis must also belong to the chosen specialisation.

The specialisation Global and Comparative Perspectives is an English taught programme and the choice for this specialisation has been made at the start of the first year.

Follow-on Master's programmes

MA in Philosophy

The bachelor's degree in Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives gives direct admisson to the following specialisations of the one-year master's programme in Philosophy 60 EC at Leiden University:

  • Global and Comparative Philosophy

  • Modern European Philosophy

  • Moral and Political Philosophy

  • Philosophical Perspectives on Politics and the Economy

  • Philosophy of Knowledge

Teacher's programme in Philosophy

A master’s programme which prepares you for a position in education in the Netherlands, for example at a secondary school or in adult education. There are a number of criteria students of Philosophy have to meet to be eligible for this programme. See ICLON, Lerarenopleiding (in Dutch), and World Teacher's Programme

Compensation regulations

On completing the propaedeutic year of the BA Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives compensation of failed grades is possible between courses of the following cluster of study components:

  • Comparative Philosophy I: Classical Readings

  • Epistemology

  • Ethics

  • Logic

  • Philosophy of Culture

Compensation of failed grades is only possible in cases where:

a. the weighted average in the specific cluster is at least 6.0;
b. the student has no more than one failed grade for any of the study components in the specified cluster;
c. none of the grades awarded in the specified cluster is lower than 5.0;
d. at least one of the study components in the specified cluster has been graded with at least 8.0.

If a student meets these conditions, he/she is supposed to have met the requirements for the exam for which he/she prepares him/herself with this cluster of study components. Students who wish to make use of this option can submit a request to apply the compensation regulation to the Board of Examiners.

Compensation is not possible in the post-propaedeutic phase.

Career Preparation

Career Preparation in the BA Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives

The programme

The curriculum of the English-taught BA Philosophy: Global and Compatrative Perspectives is versatile: students will broaden their knowledge in a variety of the world's traditions of thought, as well as in the ways these traditions mutually inform and enrich one another. Additionally, the series of Comparative Philosophy modules focus on classical readings and topics. In the first three semesters, the basic knowledge will be offered in lecturers and tutorial sessions. In their third year, students choose advanced seminars in their specialisation. Right from the start of the first year, students will be trained in a number of basic academic skills for working with philosophical texts, themes and problems.

How can you use this knowledge and the skills that you acquire? Which specialisation should you choose within your study programme and why? What skills do you already have, and what further skills do you still want to learn? How do you translate the courses that you choose into something that you’d like to do after graduation?

These questions and more will be discussed at various times during your study programme. You may already have spoken about them with your study coordinator, the Humanities Career Service or other students, or made use of the Leiden University Career Zone. Many different activities are organised to help you reflect on your own wishes and options, and give you the chance to explore the job market. All these activities are focused on the questions: ‘What can I do?’, ‘What do I want?’ and ‘How do I achieve my goals?’.


You will be notified via the Humanities website, your study programme website, and email about further activities in the area of job market preparation. The following activities will help you to thoroughly explore your options, so we advise you to take careful note of them:

First year

Second year

Third year

Transferable skills

Future employers are interested not only in the subject-related knowledge that you acquired during your study programme, but also in the ‘transferable skills’. These include cognitive skills, such as critical thinking, reasoning and argumentation and innovation; intrapersonal skills, such as flexibility, initiative, appreciating diversity and metacognition; and interpersonal skills, such as communication, accountability and conflict resolution. In short, they are skills that all professionals need in order to perform well.

It is therefore important that during your study programme you not only acquire as much knowledge as possible about your subject, but also are aware of the skills you have gained and the further skills you still want to learn. The course descriptions in the e-Prospectus of the BA Philosophy include, in addition to the courses’ learning objectives, a list of the skills that they aim to develop.

The skills you may encounter in the various courses are:

  • Collaboration

  • Persuasion

  • Research

  • Self-directed learning

  • Creative thinking

Courses of BA Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives

Courses of the study programme obviously help to prepare you for the job market. As a study programme, we aim to cover this topic either directly or less directly in each semester. Within the BA Philosophy, this takes, for example, place within the following courses:

First year

Second year

Third year


If you have any questions about career choices, whether in your studies or on the job market, you are welcome to make an appointment with the career adviser of the the Humanities Career Service 071-5272235, or with your Coordinator of Studies, Patsy Casse.