Alumni Testimonials

MA in Philosophy with Professor Sir Roger Scruton,  The University of Buckingham

Course Testimonials

Undertaking the Buckingham MA has marked one of the most enriching years of my life. It was an extraordinary experience to learn from Sir Roger, the brilliant supervisors, as well as the many excellent visiting lecturers on the course, and all the while be so well supported in the pursuit of my own interests within the discipline of philosophy. The content is second to none, and the symposium-style form is the perfect way to convey that content. It has been worth every penny, and I am deeply grateful to Buckingham for providing such a remarkable course. Sebastian Morello

My year on the MA Philosophy by Research programme at the University of Buckingham was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It was a great pleasure for me to be able to study under Sir Roger, and to achieve a Distinction was testament to the incredible quality of the content, structure and the teaching offered on the course. George Carter

I enrolled on the MA aiming to equip myself with a different set of thinking tools when my scientific approach and my concept of truth seemed inadequate in explaining a post-Brexit referendum world. A stellar line-up of guest lecturers complement Roger’s guidance in helping us to describe the world as it is, and, in particular, in helping us get to the bottom of the human condition.  In searching for answers we quickly realize that we will only make progress in that direction by ensuring we are asking the right questions.If you think this course might be for you, don’t hesitate, apply. Unless you are a philosopher before you start the course then to get the best out of it you will need to spend a lot of time reading and a lot of time writing. The more you do of each of those, the more you will get out of the MA.  Peter Murray, Buckingham PhD student in Philosophy.

I reflect as a 70-year-old student having spent my entire working in the construction industry – more renowned for practicality and common sense than philosophical musings. I completed an MA in History of Art at the University of Buckingham and on completion of that was drawn (by curiosity) to the MA in Philosophy that was offered by the University. The irresistible magnet was the course tutor, Professor Sir Roger Scruton.  We were 12 students; the pull of Roger Scruton had attracted students from around the world, Eastern Europe, USA, South Africa; mature and recent graduates came together as students under his tutelage. The visiting lecturer’s topics are structured and broad based with Scruton chairing each post lecture discussion. Scruton’s own lectures are engaging, learned and considered. He coaxed the less eloquent and informed of us to engage, plumbing the depths of the collective experiences of the great minds of philosophical thought, ancient and modern. His aim is to encourage the formulation of informed, reasoned and considered opinions and then to discuss and defend those positions within the group and with allocated supervisors providing guidance in the production of the required thesis. An open mind, informed opinion, consideration of the “other” point of view and personal bias featured in discussions.

The lectures, followed by discussion over dinner, held in the Reform club, provide a unique opportunity to experience an age of opulence, privilege and a social event not to be missed. Gerry Treacy

The Buckingham MA in Philosophy by Research was ideal for me as a retiree wanting to develop an idea I’d been thinking about for some time. As one of the first intake (2015/2016) I found a relaxed ambiance in the seminar meetings which was balanced by our intellectually demanding discussions and high quality visiting speakers. Individual essay/thesis supervision was excellent and thought provoking, yet not overbearing. Success has opened up opportunities for further philosophical seminar studies at Trinity College Cambridge and the Warburg Institute, University of London. James Rodger Sykes.

Led by Roger Scruton, often described as Britain’s foremost philosopher, this degree provides you close and excellent supervision of your chosen philosophical research, as well as access to thunderously good seminars with superb philosophers. You will come away more in love with truth for its own sake, better prepared to contribute to the betterment of wherever you call home, and well-placed for the next steps in your profession. Paul Shakeshaft

The Philosophy MA under the auspices of the Humanities Research Institute in London was ideal for me.  As someone with a full-time job, the easy access to our regular meetings to engage with leading philosophers who are experts in their field, coupled with the resources of the many academic libraries available, enhanced by the additional support of personal tutorials ensured that I was able to complete my programme comfortably with a single year. Micheal Connolly

As someone with a university background both as a student and a teacher, I had anticipated that this course would provide an ideal academic experience by combining advanced teaching  and discussion in a convivial setting.   My anticipation has turned out to be correct. Mark Roberts

Quite apart from being an immensely erudite and informed philosopher, and indeed, social commentator, Professor Sir Roger Scruton is a good communicator and an excellent teacher, with the patience, kindness and wit that makes learning both a possibility for his students and also a joy.  The course is designed for the student to present a philosophical thesis that really means something to the individual and is a theme worth pursuing, even if the student is not yet a trained philosopher: the thesis forms the core part of the course by which the MA student is finally judged, and the thesis title is agreed in discussion between the student and the supervisors, who ensure that the theme can be presented in a philosophical and academic manner.

In support of this, the dozen monthly symposia held over the year at the Reform Club in London ensure the fifteen students become more familiar with some of the greatest philosophers and their ideas, and become philosophically literate in the jargon and conceits of the discipline. Half of the symposia, or talks – all comprising a lecture, drinks and then discussion over dinner – are presented by Roger Scruton, the other half by other eminent philosophers, each expert in the topic of that particular evening. My own group spontaneously sense what a privilege it is to study philosophy under the famed Roger Scruton and his excellent supervisors, all three of whom have previously studied under him; it is also good fun.

Equally impressive are the outside speakers, who are all very interesting people and friends of Roger, so one really feels one is on the inside track of philosophy at the top of the tree. Probably some of the differences in studying philosophy with Scruton, rather than at any old university, are first that he believes philosophy has an important relationship with and relevance to daily life, and a major contribution to make, to address all of which intelligently and sensibly requires an open and preferably a principled mind; second Scruton has regard for Continental philosophy as well as the Anglo-American tradition and so can offer students a much fuller picture of the philosophical endeavour than is commonplace in academia; furthermore there is little pomposity about philosophy with Roger, however sacred it may be held quietly within (though not always!), so that dry wit may at times, for example, puncture the pedantry of Kant, the bombast of Hegel or the verbal thickets of Heidegger. There is a great tolerance of views and even bees-in-bonnets, since Roger is keenly aware that he is dealing with people (or ‘persons’ as a philosopher would say), some with burning questions within, although he allows little leeway for persistent foolishness, which is likely to elicit gentle but sharp reproof.

Philosophy is a thirsty business, so the symposium dinners are held on Thursdays. I have already learned a great deal during the first half of this one-year MA course and matured intellectually through it – certainly my own view on the topic I will present, which is important to me, has matured considerably. I would highly recommend Roger Scruton’s philosophy course to anyone who would like to explore more deeply and philosophically, human, philosophical and other issues that they feel are of personal, social or intellectual relevance, which exploration this course will certainly nurture and support; as mentioned, a philosophical background is not necessary for participation in the course, and in fact we students come from a wide range of backgrounds and present an extraordinarily varied range of topics. David Chaldecott