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MA Philosophy

UCAS code: V500

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Philosophy

Studying philosophy gives you the skills to think about great philosophical questions in a clear and systematic way.

Philosophy:

  • introduces you to the thinking of some of the great philosophers of the past and present
  • shows the connections between different areas of human experience
  • increases awareness of assumptions that influence your beliefs

Philosophy at Edinburgh

As the historical home of David Hume and Adam Smith, the city of Edinburgh has long been, and remains, a fitting place to study philosophy.

The University too, has a strong historical connection to the subject, counting Adam Ferguson and Sir William Hamilton among its former students.

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Year 1

In Years 1 and 2, you will take a range of courses that introduce you to the main areas of Philosophy. This will include courses, such as:

  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • History of Philosophy
  • Logic
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Science

Option courses

In addition, you will also be able to choose from a wide range of option courses outside your primary subject.

Year 2

You will continue to take courses in some or all of the areas of philosophy listed under the Year 1 section.

Option courses

You will also select 80 credits of option courses.

Year 3

As well as the Philosophy Dissertation Preparation course, you will also choose from a range of option courses across topics relating to:

  • language
  • cognition and science
  • history of philosophy
  • knowledge and reality
  • morality and value

These courses may include:

  • Philosophy of Language
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Modal Logics
  • Mind and Cognition
  • Late Modern Philosophy
  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Early Modern Philosophy
  • Epistemology
  • Metaphysics
  • Political Philosophy
  • Aesthetics
  • Feminism
  • Ethics

Year 4

You will choose to write either of the following:

  • single long 8,000-word dissertation
  • two 5,000-word essays (short dissertations) relating to a philosophy topic or problem

You will also choose from a wide range of optional courses in philosophy. These courses may include:

  • Social Cognition
  • Philosophy of Wittgenstein
  • Philosophy of Oppression
  • Decision Theory
  • Applied Ethics
  • Philosophy of Ethics
  • Kant
  • Free Will and Moral Responsibility
  • Ancient Theories of Mind
  • Philosophy of Time Travel

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2024/25)

Our facilities

Most teaching takes place at facilities located in the University's Central Area. You can use all the University's libraries and computing facilities.

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at the University’s Central Area and explore our facilities on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 through international exchange programmes.

Depending on availability, you would take courses in philosophy at your host institution.

If this is not possible, you would take an online course that covers major themes in philosophical methodology. This course will help you critically analyse and explore literature by key philosophers and present your arguments in essays and short assignments.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

In Years 1 and 2, philosophy courses are taught through lectures and tutorials.

In Years 3 and 4, philosophy courses are taught through seminars and tutorials.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through coursework and exams.

In Year 4, you will also complete either an independent dissertation on a topic of your choice, or a coursework dissertation through two extended essays.

The philosophy courses you study during your programme will give you the analytical and critical-thinking skills that are valued by employers.

Past graduates have gone on to work in:

  • education
  • commerce
  • journalism
  • finance
  • law
  • computing

Some graduates also choose to continue with their studies through research or an academic career.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAB by end of S5 or AAAA by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6 (Revised 18/04/2024 to lower entry requirements from AAAA, preferred by S5.)
  • A Levels: AAA.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

SQA, GCSE and IB

For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Philosophy

Additional costs

None.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding