Thesis / Diploma Work
The diploma work is a dissertation (thesis) of a minimum of 35 pages (18,000 characters per page, including spaces) on any of the thematic areas studied during the training. This can be any topic within the field of the history of philosophy or of systematic philosophy, supervised by a lecturer in the training, who can help the student in finding a relevant topic and writing the thesis. In justified cases, it is allowed for students to ask a supervisor from other training programs or institutions outside the Department. However, this must be requested in advance in writing from the leader of the training.
1. Formal requirements of the thesis
The thesis must comply with the general formal requirements of scientific essays with regard to its language, style, structure, arguments, the use of primary texts, citations, notes, bibliography, etc.
The thesis should contain the following basic structural parts: Title, Table of Contents, References/Notes, Bibliography. The structure should be clarified in the Table of Contents at the beginning of the thesis and by dividing the main text into short main and sub-chapters with short titles. The thesis must include an Introduction, in which the author introduces the topic and the main subject of the thesis, and summarizes the course and methods of the research. It should also include a concluding final chapter (Conclusion or Summary), in which the author summarizes the results and conclusions, and possibly outlines further research options on the chosen topic. The main and sub-chapters must be of proportional length.
The style is that of standard scientific prose used in the humanities, with clear and explicit terminology, structure and argumentatation, supporting its findings with data, facts, texts, citations, etc. The general rules of citation and reference must be followed. Quotations should be put between quotation marks and be annotated (with the exact location of the quotation). Plagiarism must be avoided (verbatim quoations must be put in quotation marks with reference to the author and other bibliographical data, summaries or paraphrase of ideas and thoughts taken from other authors must similarly be noted, sources of specific historical or other data must likewise be annotated). Plagiarism of any extent in the thesis entails the evaluation „fail” (grade 1) for the thesis, and the student is not allowed to take the final (oral) exam. Concerning the use of notes, bibliography, abbreviations, foreign words, etc., The Chicago Manual of Style must be used. https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html
2. Content requirements of the thesis
The chosen topic and issues should be relevant to the discipline of philosophy, the thesis must raise and discuss adequate and explicit questions addressed by the secondary literature (with reference to them) to be independently presented by the candidate from their special point of view. A novel approach is an advantage, but not a must. The scope of the thesis must correspond to the competence and language skills expected of the writer on the basis of their MA studies. The contents of the thesis must comply with the chosen title and topic. The sources used should be selected and discussed in a manner appropriate to the study. Depending on the originality of the topic, the authoritative and relevant publications most widely used within the chosen field of study should be included. Altogether at least 15 publications (of which at least 3 book-length studies) should be used (apart from primary texts). Thoughtful engagement with secondary literature should be clear from the thesis (ad hoc citations are not sufficient).
The investigation should be conducted with a correct interpretation of data and sources, and the argumentation and reasoning should be logically clear and consistent. Interpretations included in the secondary literature must be presented correctly and used in a proper way, critical reflections on them must be clearly articulated with an indication of the candidate’s own interpretations (as clearly set apart from other authors’ interpretations). Efforts should be made to present and discuss alternative interpretations current in the secondary literature. Conclusions must be coherent and consistent with the investigation carried out.
The terminology used in the thesis must comply with the conventions of philosophical language and terminology, the conceptual apparatus must be consistent and relevant to the research and analysis presented.
3. Evaluation of the thesis
The thesis is evaluated by the supervisor and an opponent. Opponents shall be appointed according to regulations, at a Departmental meeting. Both the supervisor and the opponent are obliged to write a one-page opinion/evaluation of the dissertation and give it a score (from 0 to 100 points according to a pre-defined system of criteria). The final grade of the thesis is determined on the basis of the points of the two evaluations (the average of the two). If the opponent gives less than 20 points for the thesis and the difference between the two scores is more than 30 points, a third reader should be appointed to review the thesis. A total of minimum 50 points should be obtained for the thesis to pass (the average value of the evaluations of the two reviewers).
The thesis must be defended orally in front of a State Examination Committee appointed by the Department.
The final (oral) exam consists of two parts. The first one is a defense of the thesis. Students shortly present the main theses and arguments of their work and aswer questions raised by the Committee in connection with its contents, structure and argumentation. The second part is an assessment of the complete professional skills, competences and knowledge provided by the Master level Philosophy Training, of which students should give an account in a complex way, through the presentation of topics assigned for the final exam (see list below). The topic is blindly chosen by the student from among the assigned topics in front of the Committee.
The final oral exam must be taken in front of a State Examination Committee of three members.
Topics for the oral exam:
3. Philosophy of science
4. Political philosophy
5. Social philosophy
6. Philosophy of language and logic
7. Philosophy of history
8. Philosophical theology and philosophy of religion
9. Ethics and moral philosophy
10. Philosophy of mind
We do not provide a list of compulsory readings for the assigned topics. As the oral part of the final exam covers the entire professional material of the training, the reading lists of the courses announced in the subject areas during the training must be used for preparing the topics, and the student is free to use any additional literature they find useful. The topics should be presented synthetically, in the form of a short (about 10-15 minutes) oral presentation, with an introduction, discussion and conclusion. Apart from professional competence (knowledge about the topic, the adequacy and comprehensivity of its strucutre and presentation, professional skills, etc.), the committee also evaluates the creativity of students in developing and presenting a topic. The oral examination is assessed jointly by the Committee on a scale of grades from 1 to 5 (1 = fail, 2 = sufficient, 3 = average, 4 = beyond average, 5 = honours).