Study abroad during your MA studies
Note: this page is for philosophy MA students interested in going abroad. For BA students, see.
|My exchange contributed substantially to my MA thesis and my further career (now I am studying for a PhD in the Netherlands). In addition to learning about new topics, I got acquainted with a different academic environment and established important academic contacts.
(Alena Kamenshchikova, stayed at Lund University)
|Studying abroad provided new, exciting perspectives. It was a unique opportunity for me to learn about a different culture, make new friends, network, and benefit from academic experts from two universities at the same time. I recommend it!
(Arunkumar Rajavel, stayed at the University of Stockholm)
Why go abroad during my studies?
Even if for some of you studying in Tartu already means studying abroad, our university offers some excellent opportunities to maximize your study experience by spending some time in another philosophy department or by doing a work experience in another country.
First of all, you will get to live in another part of the world, which—it goes without saying—is always an occasion for personal growth and a source of eye-opening experiences. From the point of view of your studies, you might choose a destination which complements the courses offered in Tartu, or which has particular research and teaching strengths on your favourite topics. You might also have reasons to improve on another language. For sure, you will be able to put your philosophical skills to the test in a different, less familiar, context, as well as learn how philosophy is taught and practiced elsewhere compared to Tartu. As a result, you will come back “home” to Tartu philosophically much stronger than before. Moreover, a stay abroad is going to give you a big bonus if you decide to go on to study for a PhD program—people who have studied abroad typically stand out from other candidates for their capacity to adapt and communication abilities. And, who knows, you might end up doing your PhD at the same place where you went on exchange.
In the case of doing a work period or traineeship abroad, you will get a work experience that is going to look good on your CV, and give you a clearer idea about your future prospects, including the all-important question, for many of you, whether to choose an academic or a “normal” career. Whether you do study or work abroad, you will in any case build relationships that might prove very useful for your career after your MA studies.
How does going abroad fit into our study program?
Whether you do study or practice abroad, all the ECTS earned abroad are going to be part of your total 120 ECTS.
In the case of study abroad, you need to plan for at least 15 ECTS to be earned abroad. That means choosing courses from the host department that in total will amount to at least 15 ECTS. Those 15 (or more) ECTS will be transferred to one or more of your modules. For example, up to 12 ECTS earned abroad may be transferred to the module called “Elective Subjects”. The remaining 3 (or more) ECTS can be transferred to a Specialisation Block, or to Optional Subjects. Our program in fact gives you the freedom to transfer the ECTS you earned abroad to almost any module—the only exceptions are the Research Seminar, the Master’s Seminar, and the MA Thesis. You need to talk to the Program Manager (Francesco Orsi) when you are about to choose the courses to take abroad, in order to receive further advice on this.
Since the ideal amount of total ECTS to be earned in each semester is 30, when you go abroad you will need to do one or the other: either (1) plan for the full 30 ECTS to be earned abroad, or (2) plan for less than 30 ECTS and compensate for the remaining ECTS with individual work arranged with your supervisor or another member of our department, or with University of Tartu courses that can be taken online. Option (1) is preferable, in order to get a richer experience abroad. But option (2) may be practically necessary, depending on the availability of courses at your destination, and the period chosen. Talk to your supervisor and the Program Manager about this.
In the case of practice abroad, you will also earn ECTS, which will be part of your Practice Module. In fact, depending on the amount of work hours, you may well complete your full Practice Module (6 ECTS) with your practice abroad. Please make sure you contact our Practice Specialist Mats Volberg for advice on this.
Can the Master’s Seminar be attended or replaced with something else while abroad?
Our Master’s Seminar runs through each of the four semesters. This means that if you go abroad for one semester, you will not be able to physically attend the Master’s Seminar. But don’t worry! You just need to talk to the Program Manager and a solution will be found.
What is the best period to go abroad?
In the case of studies abroad, second, third, and fourth semester are all eligible periods (not the first semester, obviously). Here are general pros and cons.
Second semester: It requires fast preparations—basically as soon as you start your MA, and the number of available destinations might be somewhat limited. On the other hand, it is a semester where you don’t have particular study constraints (except for the Master’s Seminar, see above), so you can freely plan for the full 30 ECTS to be earned abroad.
Third semester: You can plan this with more calm, and there are more destinations available (for example, Erasmus+ application deadlines tend to be in February/March). On the other hand, during the third semester you need to submit your Thesis Prospectus, which is worth 10 ECTS. This means that a sizable part of your time abroad needs to be committed to writing your Thesis Prospectus under the guidance of your supervisor. In this case, it makes sense to plan for around 20 ECTS to be earned abroad.
Fourth semester: During this semester you need to work on your thesis, and there are some fixed dates. You need to submit and discuss (possibly via Skype) a pre-defence thesis draft in April, submit your final version in May, and defend (strictly in person) your thesis at the end of May or beginning of June. Moreover, you will need to make sure that by the defence date our university receives all of your results earned abroad. But it’s not impossible to go abroad in this semester, and there might be good reasons to do it, especially if you have a precise destination or goal in mind (see below).
In the case of practice abroad, it may depend on the period already specified in the relevant traineeship scheme (Erasmus+ or other). The summer is obviously the best time, so that your practice will not conflict with your studies. But if the practice takes place during the semester, you should make plans for compensatory study, like individual study or courses offered online.
Will my study progress be slowed down if I go abroad?
In principle, this should not happen, because you will have planned to earn your 30 ECTS during that semester, and it is basically up to you whether you do earn your 30 ECTS while abroad. Just to repeat: all the ECTS earned abroad are going to be part of your total 120 ECTS. Your study progress might be slowed down in the case that you fail your courses abroad, or (for example) only plan 15 ECTS abroad but fail to make complementary arrangements for individual study with your supervisor. In any case, if you have earned at least 15 ECTS abroad, you have the right to ask for an extension semester, should you need it. Please ask Ruth Jürjo about this.
What are the destinations for philosophy students?
Have a look at the pinboard outside room 326! And make sure you check the list of competitions currently open (though it doesn’t necessarily include all of them): https://www.ut.ee/en/studies/studyabroad/competitons-currently-open
There are some destinations for which you will only compete with other philosophy students, and some others for which you will compete with students from other disciplines. You may also pick a destination yourself (see below). If you want to know which courses in English are offered in one particular place, you should immediately write to the host philosophy department secretary or to the international exchange contact at the partner university. They will be happy to help you. You should do this well in advance of deadlines. Ask the Program Manager (Francesco Orsi) for advice on where to go.
Erasmus+ partners: University of Pardubice (Czech), University of Bochum-Ruhr (Germany), University of Konstanz (Germany), University of Osnabrück (Germany), University of Potsdam (Germany), University of Groningen (Holland), University Roma Tre (Italy), University of Latvia (Latvia), Vilnius University (Lithuania), Nicolaus Copernicus University (Poland), Istanbul Medeniyet University (Turkey), Uppsala University (Sweden).
(In italics are philosophy departments in the top 200 of the 2019 QS rankings).
- What do you get? Free tuition for a semester or two + Erasmus stipendium (470-520 €/month).
- Further information: Contact Ruth Jürjo and visit https://www.ut.ee/en/erasmus. (Ask Ruth about other possible destinations where the Erasmus+ agreement is with semiotics or other departments. It is worth giving it a try!)
Nordplus Network in Philosophy: Study abroad for a full semester or for short-term visits at a philosophy department in any of these Nordic or Baltic countries: Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Faroe, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania. Among these are very prestigious departments (Stockholm, Uppsala, Lund, Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen etc.)
- What do you get? Free tuition, maintenance grant: EUR 200 per month, travel expenses: EUR 660 (travel to or from Iceland or the Faroe Islands) or EUR 330 (travel between all other destinations).
- Further information: Contact Francesco Orsi for the list of universities and application procedures (orsi [ät] ut.ee).
Swiss-European Mobility: University of Lausanne. Please contact Tuuli Pern (tuuli.pern [ät] ut.ee). Check the program and other potential Swiss destinations (always worth inquiring).
- UTRECHT NETWORK YOUNG RESEARCHER’S GRANT. Several great universities in Europe. This grant supports a research stay for your MA thesis (also for a short period), but you can also take courses. Contact Ülle Tensing: ulle.tensing [ät] ut.ee.
- PARTNER UNIVERSITIES. Several universities around the world (including Melbourne, Nebraska Wesleyan, some in Japan). Free tuition in all of them, in some accommodation and other benefits too.
- AUSTRALIAN-EUROPEAN NETWORK, BRASIL, STUDY IN USA WITH MAUI.
- ISEP. Big range of destinations around the world, especially USA. You will need to pay either study fees or an application fee.
Pick a destination yourself!
If you want to be for some time in a precise department, or go to a summer/winter school or conference, you may always apply for a scholarship, but the application must be very strong and well-motivated, because you will be competing with students from other disciplines as well as with PhD students.
The Kristjan Jaak scheme offers scholarships for study periods abroad up to one year. And also for shorter mobility (up to 30 days). The Dora Plus scheme offers scholarships for short mobility (up to 30 days)
What should I do next?
We advise you to read the regulations.
Who should I contact?
Ruth Jürjo (ruth.jurjo [ät] ut.ee) takes care of all of the administrative tasks, in particular the paperwork you need to do before and after your stay abroad in order to earn your ECTS. Francesco Orsi (orsi [ät] ut.ee) will advise you on your study options abroad and how it is all going to fit with the MA program. Mats Volberg (mats.volberg [ät] ut.ee) is the person to turn to for practice abroad.