How to apply to the Master’s Program in Philosophy (Faculty of Social Sciences)

A. Basics

Students who have completed a Bachelor’s Program at the University of Salzburg either in Philosophy or Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPÖ), Lehramt Psychologie und Philosophie, or Lehramt Ethik may enroll in the Master’s Program in Philosophy without having to meet any further conditions.

For all other students seeking admission to the Master’s Program in Philosophy, there is a qualitative selection process administered by the Department of Philosophy. At most 20 students are admitted to the program each year. While we accept applications all year long, early application is recommended. In order to begin in the Autumn semester of any given year, EU students should apply before June 30, non-EU students before April 30. Later applications will be considered for the next academic semester, starting at the beginning of March the following year. The admission procedure is essentially the same for EU and non-EU students, with two exceptions mentioned in step 2 and step 5 below.

While one can formally apply online using electronic copies of all the relevant documents, you will need to present hard copies of your documents to the Studienabteilung after arriving in Salzburg. Only then will you receive your student-number and ID-card and be able to complete the enrolment process.

B. The application process step by step  

Step 1: Qualitative selection process

Philosophy is a broad discipline dealing with a wide range of topics and using a variety of methods. The philosophers teaching in our department consider themselves to be part of the analytic tradition and therefore expect students to be are interested in the debates that have shaped this tradition. It is also expected that students already have some basic knowledge of the formal methods used within this tradition.

Students applying for this program are therefore selected according to the following criteria:

  • To what extent will they be capable of taking the courses that are part of the MA program (a sample of such courses you will find here.
  • To what extent they possess the skills needed for engaging with the views and arguments advocated in contemporary analytic philosophy.

When you apply for this program we ask you to explain in a personal statement  (approximately 500 words) why you think you meet these two criteria. The statement should contain information about (i) your general interest in studying philosophy, (ii) the specific areas of philosophy that most interest you, and (iii) your expectations related to studying philosophy at the University of Salzburg. 

You are also required to provide a writing example (up to 8000 words). Your writing sample could be an essay written for a seminar in your Bachelor program or something written specifically for this application. It should exhibit clear argumentation and should make reference to philosophical literature. It may deal with a contemporary issue in philosophy, or it may deal with a topic in the history of philosophy. It does not need to concern the topics that you might like to focus on in the master’s program.

The writing example must contain the following statement of authorship: “I hereby declare that this text is entirely my own work and that any additional sources of information have been duly cited. I understand that failure to declare any sources of information or help for the writing sample may have the consequence that I am required to withdraw from the MA program.”

Normally we expect the personal statement and the writing sample to be written in English. In exceptional cases we may allow them to be written in another language, such as German. If you would like to write in a language other than English, please explain the circumstances and ask for permission in advance by sending an email to Ms Kathrin Hommel ().

Applicants whose native language is English or whose prior education has been conducted in large part in English will be exempted from demonstrating competence in English at the C1 level.  Otherwise, applicants will be required to submit a scan of their C1 certificate. If you are in doubt about whether a C1 certificate will be required, please explain your individual circumstances in an email to Ms Kathrin Hommel (see address above).

In addition to the personal statement and the writing example, you are required to submit the following documents:

  • A curriculum vitae (CV), listing your postal and email addresses, your educational history, your language skills, and any relevant academic accomplishments. 
  • A complete list of the courses you have taken at the bachelor’s degree level, including the titles of courses, the grades obtained in those courses, and, if it might be unclear, information on the grading system.  An official transcript has to be submitted only for the formal admission (see below). 

All documents should be assembled in a single PDF file with a title having the following format:  LastNameFirstName.pdf. Please assemble the components in the following order:  1) CV, 2) courses and grades (or transcript), 3) personal statement, 4) writing sample, 5) a scan of the C1 certificate if it is required.

The complete file should be sent to Ms Kathrin Hommel ().

Applicants will be notified by email if they are invited for an online interview (whose format and date are arranged in personal communication with the student). If after one month you still haven’t received a notification from the admission committee, please feel free to inquire about the status of your application with Ms Hommel.

Step 2: Formal admission process

Students who have passed the qualitative selection process may apply to the Studienabteilung for formal admission to the university.  For this purpose, the following materials must be submitted at least two months before the beginning of the semester to the Studienabteilung.

  1. A completed and signed application form, which you can download here
  2.  A copy of the page of your passport with your picture on it. (The copy need not be certified by an authority.)
  3. The graduation certificate of your BA degree. (If your certificate is not in English, you are also required to provide a certified English or German translation.)
  4. A copy of the complete list of courses that you have taken in your BA-program.

Note: You will need to certify your documents. In order to do so, we recommend the simplified procedure called “Haager Apostille”. You can find information about this procedure here:  

You may submit the above documents in electronic form via Email or send hardcopies to:
University of Salzburg
Kapitelgasse 4
5061 Salzburg

Step 3: Confirmation by the university and further inquiries

After sending your documents, you should receive a confirmatory email from the Studienabteilung. This email will also inform you about any problems with your documents. If your application is complete, and successful, you will receive, both via email and via the post, the official certificate that allows you to enter the program. If your application is not accepted, you will be informed about the reasons why it has been declined.

In case you do not receive a decision on your application within two months, please inquire about the status of your application with the Studienabteilung.

Note: You should also contact the Studienabteilung if, for whatever reason, your application is delayed or you cannot provide your documents in time.

Step 4: Get more information from the Office of International Relations  

The Office for International Relations is a service facility of the University of Salzburg that supports international students with information and organisational help, e.g. about student housing, scholarships, social and cultural activities etc. Check out their website using this link.

Step 5: Enrolling in the Philosophy MA  

In order to enrol in the Philosophy MA, you should proceed as follows:

  1. Start the enrolment online here.

Following the instructions on this webpage, you need to do the following:

  • upload your personal and statistical data
  • choose your study program
  • upload a passport picture of yourself for the student ID-card
  • book a date for personal registration at the Admissions Office in Salzburg, Kapitelgasse 4.
  1. When you arrive to your pre-booked personal appointment at the Admissions Office, you should bring along the following documents:
  • passport
  • the official letter of admission
  • all the documents you submitted to the Studienabteilung in original form.
  1. Pay the student union fee (€ 20,20) once your student account has been set up
  2. For non-EU students only: pay in addition a student fee of € 726 (per semester, as of 2023).

After receiving your student ID and paying the fees, your admission process is completed. You can now use your student-ID for accessing PLUS-online. There you will find the complete list of courses offered by the University and you can register for the courses you have chosen.