Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

MA Philosophy and Theology

UCAS code: VV56

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Divinity

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Philosophy and Theology

Philosophy and theology frequently overlap. Philosophers have long questioned the nature of existence and agency. Theologians have engaged with philosophical traditions in developing their understanding of individual and collective belief.

This programme offers you an opportunity to explore these intersections. You will study the metaphysical, ethical and theological traditions that have shaped contemporary thinking.

You can also choose to focus on philosophy and theology as separate subjects, adjusting the balance between them according to your interests.

Philosophy

Our philosophy programme covers:

  • ancient and modern intellectual history
  • logic
  • metaphysics
  • ethics
  • aesthetics

Theology

At Edinburgh studying theology may include:

  • studying different religious traditions, such as:
  • Christianity
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Buddhism
  • Hinduism
  • indigenous religions
  • new religious movements

  • using different methods and approaches, such as:

  • studying classical languages, sacred texts, ethics, literature and the arts
  • philosophy of religion
  • systematic theology, anthropology and sociology
  • law and politics
  • race and gender
  • science and religion
  • practical theology

Year 1

In Year 1, you will take core courses in philosophy, covering the history of philosophy, morality and value, and logic.

You will choose theology courses in Christianity or other religious traditions. These courses will employ various methods and approaches, such as:

  • the study of history
  • philosophy
  • ethics
  • literature
  • languages

You may also take the Theology and Religious Studies Foundation Seminar, which will equip you with the skills you need to succeed at university.

You can also choose a course from another subject area within the University. For example, you might choose a course:

  • in a subject that complements your two programme subjects
  • that helps you to study a language
  • that simply interests you

Year 2

In Year 2, you will take core courses in:

  • philosophy
  • studying mind, matter, and language
  • knowledge and reality

You will also choose theology courses in Christianity or other religious traditions, employing a range of methods.

You can also take two courses from other subject areas across the University.

Year 3

You will choose higher-level courses in both philosophy and theology.

Year 4

You will continue to choose higher-level courses in both philosophy and theology.

You will also write a dissertation with academic supervision. This will be on a topic of your choice from either programme subject.

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 of your theology teaching will be in New College, in the centre of Edinburgh. This city landmark has its own:

  • historic library
  • study space
  • hall
  • garden

New College Library holds one of the largest theology and religious studies collections in the UK. Its special collections include:

  • historical archives
  • manuscripts
  • printed books
  • objects

Current collections support the teaching and research activities of the School of Divinity in:

  • biblical studies
  • the history of Christianity
  • religious studies
  • theology and ethics
  • world Christianity

The collections continue to develop in new and evolving areas, such as:

  • science and religion
  • Christian-Muslim relations
  • Buddhist and Jewish studies
  • religion and literature

Your philosophy teaching will be a short walk away in George Square. Philosophy facilities include a skills centre and subject library.

George Square is also home to many other study and student support facilities, including the University Main Library.

In addition, the city of Edinburgh contains many museums, galleries and cultural sites. These offer opportunities to broaden and deepen your learning.

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at the School of Divinity and the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Explore our facilities and campus:

Take a virtual tour of the School of Divinity

Take a virtual tour of the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Study abroad

You will have a range of opportunities to spend time abroad. For shorter periods, these include summer programmes and work abroad.

During Year 3, you will also have the chance to study abroad for up to a year at a wide selection of leading global universities.

These include divinity and philosophy exchanges with:

  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Dartmouth College
  • University of Oslo
  • University of Leuven

Going abroad expands your horizons and is great fun. It also offers academic and career benefits.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

In theology courses, you will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, and digital learning.

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

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

How will I be assessed?

Assessment methods vary between courses. They include:

  • written exams
  • coursework essays
  • seminar presentations and participation
  • blogs
  • contributions to digital discussions
  • an honours dissertation

Philosophy and theology graduates are able to reflect, reason and argue well.

You will develop the skills to understand the texts, traditions and histories that underpin human societies past and present. These abilities are invaluable in life and attractive to employers.

Skills

Skills you are likely to develop include:

  • written, oral and visual communication
  • gathering and analysing written sources and primary data
  • formulating arguments and responding to others
  • empathetic critical reflection
  • collaborative working
  • independent study and time management
  • technological skills
  • self-awareness

Where our graduates work

Our graduates go on to a wide range of careers, including:

  • the civil service
  • finance
  • law
  • management consultancy
  • counselling
  • the voluntary sector
  • church ministry

The programme also provides grounding for postgraduate study in either philosophy or theology.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 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 and Theology

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

More information

How to apply

School: Divinity

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences