Philosophy, Art & Social Thought

In PAS, philosophy and philosophically informed critical theory orient the approach to the arts, and to questions bearing on the social and political orders.

The MA and PhD programs in Philosophy, Art, and Social Thought are designed to prepare students to undertake original, independent research in the broad range of fields covered in the program’s title, and/or professional work of an informed and creative character in fields requiring sophistication in cultural analysis. They are designed to expose students from a wide range of backgrounds and interests to important developments in modern thought, and thus to sophisticated new approaches to the arts and socio-political phenomena.


Philosophy and philosophically informed critical theory generally orient the approach to art and to questions bearing on the social and political orders in these programs, providing a strong basis for cross-disciplinary thinking. This orientation is itself open to questioning, either from other philosophical standpoints or from the perspectives of the various domains under examination. A non-dogmatic exploration of philosophical presuppositions is a core activity of PACT faculty in their seminars. Philosophy and critical theory are therefore both vehicles for cross-disciplinary inquiry and objects of study in their own right. It is, once again, from a well-justified and always searching reference to philosophical and theoretical perspectives (particularly, but not exclusively, from the Continental tradition) that historical and aesthetic judgments are entertained in reflection that is inherently cross-disciplinary.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

MA: Students will have completed the equivalent of either a bachelor’s degree, with a grade-point average of A- or better, or EQF Level 6 certification (completion of the first Bologna cycle), with the minimum equivalent of an upper second (2.1) in the U.K. system.


Students may wish to point to other experiences or achievements that reflect their capacity for graduate study (this may pertain particularly to students returning to study after a period of other work experience). As well, students who lack the normal degree prerequisites may provide evidence of other educational or work experiences (i.e., in the creative arts, media, or an NGO) with their application. Acceptance will be conditional upon approval of the Dean of the Division of PACT.


PhD: Students will have completed the equivalent of either a master’s degree, with a grade-point average of A- or better, or EQF Level 7 certification (completion of the second Bologna cycle), with the minimum equivalent of an upper second (2.1) in the U.K. system.


Students may wish to point to other experiences or achievements that reflect their capacity for graduate study (this may pertain particularly to students returning to study after a period of other work experience). As well, students who lack the normal degree prerequisites may provide evidence of other educational or work experiences (i.e., in the creative arts, media, or an NGO) with their application. Acceptance will be conditional upon approval of the Dean of the Division of PACT.


Curriculum

The PACT programs are distinguished by the way they combine a low-residency structure with extensive offerings. Despite their compact format, they offer considerably more instruction than most MA and PhD programs in Europe (allowing students to pursue concurrently other professional work or studies). The two degree programs (PAS and LMVT) frequently share seminars, and it is possible for students to pursue research in fields such as media studies, digital design, architecture, or rhetoric and philosophy of language in either program.


MA: The ambition of this program is to prepare students for cross-disciplinary research addressed to the critical questions of our time. Students pursuing work in the arts, journalism, the visual media, or architecture (to offer just a few examples) will find intellectual inspiration in this MA program alongside students pursuing a more academic track. PACT seminars, in the first year, are “introductory” only in the sense that they lead students into a profound understanding of the guiding concepts of the fields under discussion. They are distinctive in that they provide students with immediate exposure to teaching of a very high level with leading professors. In their second year, students join PhD students in seminars of the same calibre. It is a long-standing practice of the PACT Division that both MA and PhD students study alongside one another.


PhD: PhD-level training in the PACT division is designed to equip students with a comprehensive grasp of a broadly-conceived field of study (normally cross-disciplinary, and sometimes of their own definition) and with mastery of the practices of research employed in that field. Students are also trained to undertake critical analysis at the highest level and to engage fully with new forms of thought and creative works.


At the foundation of this training is ongoing exploration (in seminars and lectures) of the fundamental concepts at work in the fields covered and constant reflection on the meaning of these concepts for various forms of cross-disciplinary research. It should be emphasized that PACT faculty are frequently leaders in their respective fields and have played a role in the critical elaboration of guiding ideas for these fields. Their teaching normally involves an enactment of the thinking process entailed in the formation of these ideas or concepts (leading them to new formulations and sometimes new discoveries), and they therefore conduct a form of research in and through their teaching. Students have the unique opportunity to participate in this “teaching-led” research with professors of special distinction.

This preparation proves to be an excellent ground for the pursuit of autonomous and original research in a PhD thesis in an area of the student’s choosing, and it prepares students for work in a broad range of professional contexts, be they in academia or in other sectors where inventive and critical thought is required.


*Students may attend residencies in either Saas Fee, Switzerland↗, or Valletta, Malta↗. Spaces will be allotted to students in the residency site to which they originally applied; students will need to apply to the Dean for permission to attend a seminar session at the other residency site. While we must monitor seminar sizes, we will make every effort to accommodate these requests as we seek to encourage movement between Valletta, Malta and Saas Fee, Switzerland.


DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

MA: The MA in PAS requires 90 ECTS credits in total, to be obtained through participation in the session seminars, evening lectures, and workshops. Attendance is required.  Students will also participate in a colloquium and complete an MA thesis. Students are required to undertake two three-week sessions over a period of two years, either in Saas Fee, Switzerland↗, or Valletta, Malta↗.*  The MA thesis, prepared in the third year, should be approximately 25,000 words. The work is expected to be at a level that demonstrates a strong grasp of the chosen field of study and the capacity to situate the student's own thinking within this area.


For more information on obtaining an MA in PAS, review the MA Thesis Guidelines↗ document.


PhD: The PhD in PAS requires participation in the seminar sessions, workshops, and evening lectures. Attendance is required.  Students will also take part in a colloquium and complete a PhD thesis. Students are required to undertake two three-week sessions over a period of two years, either in Saas Fee, Switzerland↗, or Valletta, Malta↗.*  The Doctoral thesis, prepared in the third and fourth year, should be approximately 75,000-100,000 words. (Students normally complete the PhD dissertation in two years, but may take a fifth year under continued supervision. Any further extensions must be approved by the Dean of the Division.)


For more information on obtaining an PhD in PAS, review the PhD Thesis Guidelines↗ document.

*Students not on FSA loans may complete the PACT seminar work in a single year for either degree by attending seminars in Malta and Saas Fee.  Students interested in this possibility should contact the Admissions office.  This option allows students on European scholarship to complete the MA degree in 18 months.


SEMINAR SCHEDULE

Spring Session / Valletta, Malta / 1 April - 12 April, 2017

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June Session / Saas-Fee, Switzerland / 7 June - 29 June , 2017 - with the first two days in Venice (June 7 thru 9)

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August Sesion / Saas-Fee, Switzerland / 29 July - 21 August, 2017 - with the first two days in Venice (July 29 thru 31)

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Fall Session / Valletta, Malta / 2 October - 25 October, 2017

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First-year students in PAS and LMVT will be in the mixed group (with Cixous and company), though some advanced first year students will be placed in the PAS or LMVT groups. The fact that first year students will study together is meant to underscore that the PAS and LMVT programs are conceived as overlapping.

 

The LMVT group is designed for the June as a "super-group" in that it includes 9 faculty, six of which have some specialisation in either digital design or architecture and urbanism. Second-year digital design and architecture and urbanism students will take courses with these faculty. Standard LMVT students (and this includes students in their first year of study working in the area of the digital or architecture) will take the courses taught by Lotringer, Zizek, Metahaven, Weibel, Bratton and Didi-Huberman. The courses by Metahaven, Weibel and Bratton will be meant for a broad group. The purpose of the creation of this "super-group" is to integrate digital design and architecture into the standard LMVT program, while enabling second year students in digital design and architecture and urbanism to complete the programs in which they began.

 

Students will remain within their groups for their seminars. However, in some cases exceptions may be made if students have already studied a particular subject with a particular faculty member. In other words, students should not repeat a seminar. It is, however, quite normal that they should take more than one seminar with a particular faculty member if the topics of the seminar differ.

CAMPUS

The academic experience at The European Graduate School / EGS revolves around its annual sessions in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and Valletta, Malta. Led by our eminent faculty in residence, students attend a set of intensive seminar programs, workshops, and evening lectures over the course of the session. This dynamic structure provides students and faculty with an intimate forum for critical and creative discovery.

Malta Saas-fee

APPLY NOW

The European Graduate School / EGS degree programs are now accepting applications. Interested students are invited to submit an online application for admission. Due to high demand for places, students are strongly advised to apply well before the deadlines.

For inquiries please contact: admissions@egs.edu

Application Deadlines:

Spring Session / Valletta, Malta
15 February 2017

June Session / Saas-Fee, Switzerland
10 April 2017

August Session / Saas-Fee, Switzerland
15 May 2017

Apply