Philosophy

MSc Philosophy, Science and Religion

An online MSc programme offered in collaboration with the School of Divinity

Philosophy, Science and Religion photomontage banner

Overview

This innovative online programme allows you to study for a graduate degree at one of the world’s most prestigious universities, at a pace that suits you and fits around your ongoing work and personal commitments. We bring together world leaders in the fields of philosophy, science and theology to provide you with a thorough grounding in the relationship between science and religion. This includes: key scientific developments in areas such as quantum mechanics, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience; fundamental theological issues, such as creation, evil, and the soul; and the philosophical analytical tools needed to understand the relationship between them. The programme is a unique interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of Edinburgh’s Department of Philosophy and School of Divinity.

Why study Philosophy, Science and Religion at Edinburgh?

Thanks to our state-of-the-art e-learning software and extensive digital resources, you can gain a world-class graduate qualification without the expense of relocating. You will also benefit from the flexible structure of the programme, which will allow you to balance your studies with work and family commitments and to develop your own specialised interest under the expert guidance of our distinguished academics.

Our programme is uniquely interdisciplinary: you will be taught philosophy, science, and theology by world-leading researchers in these three fields, providing both breadth and depth to your education.

You will benefit from the expertise of the University of Edinburgh’s faculty, as well as renowned guest lecturers from across the world.

Who is this programme for?

This programme is suitable for anyone who wants to equip themselves with a rigorous, cutting-edge understanding of science and religion, and would be an ideal foundation for further graduate work in philosophy or theology.

Programme aims

The MSc/PgDip/PgCert in Philosophy, Science and Religion has been designed to:

  • Provide students with a real understanding of the key areas in the current science-religion interface – including cosmology, evolution, and the neurosciences – and the ability to engage with these areas philosophically.
  • Develop strong analytical skills and philosophical acumen.
  • Develop the ability to engage critically with key textual sources in the field.
  • Develop research and writing skills.
  • Foster the ability to engage constructively in cross-disciplinary conversations.

This programme aims to prepare students for doctoral work in relevant areas of philosophy and/or theology. However, the skills of analytical and creative thinking, clear writing, and the ability to manage significant research projects and engage in constructive conversations across disciplinary and cultural boundaries, are all highly sought after by employers in a diverse range of fields.

Programme content & structure

There are four options depending on what best suits your needs, you can choose from the following

  • The MSc either full-time (one year) or part-time (between two and six years).
  • The Diploma either full-time (9 months) or part time (between two and four years).
  • The Postgraduate Certificate part-time (between one and two years).
  • A single course (one semester).

Each course is worth 20 credits, and an MSc dissertation is worth 60 credits. The MSc, Diploma, and Postgraduate Certificate involve taking a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 60 credits per semester. The MSc is worth 180 credits, the Diploma 120 credits, and the Postgraduate Certificate 60 credits.

There are two core courses:

  • Philosophy, Science and Religion 1: The Physical World
  • Philosophy, Science and Religion 2: Life and Mind

Option courses include:

  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophical Issues in Evolution
  • Cosmology, Reality and Religion
  • History of the Science and Religion Debate
  • Science and Scripture

In addition, students are able to take option courses from the online MSc in Epistemology, Ethics & Mind:

  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science
  • Advanced Epistemology
  • Advanced Ethics
  • Advanced Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science

Students taking the full MSc will also write a dissertation (8,000 to 10,000 words) on a research topic under the close supervision of faculty teaching on the programme.

The structure ensures that you gain a solid foundation in the core topics in science and religion, whilst allowing you to specialise in the areas you wish to pursue in greater depth.

Teaching and assessment

This programme is taught through a combination of short video lectures, web discussion boards, video conferencing and online exercises, with regular one-to-one interaction with teaching staff and with other students. As well as video lectures from our faculty, students will have access to seminars provided by renowned guest lecturers from around the world.

Each course involves a 2,500 word assessed essay; other forms of assessment, such as assessed discussion forums, quizzes, and short discussion papers, may also be used. Students taking the full MSc will also write a dissertation (8,000 to 10,000 words) on a research topic under the close supervision of faculty teaching on the programme.

You will be supported in your work by faculty members and by dedicated teaching assistants. Our team of learning technologists will help you with any technological matters.

You can access all the learning facilities you need via our online learning environment known as ‘Learn’, and the University of Edinburgh’s student portal ‘MyEd’. Through these you will have access to video lectures, discussion forums, video conferencing, and electronic books and journals in the University of Edinburgh’s extensive online library.

Facilities and resources

You can access all the learning facilities you need via our online learning environment known as ‘Learn’, and the University of Edinburgh’s student portal ‘MyEd’. Through these you will have access to video lectures, discussion forums, video conferencing, and electronic books and journals in the University of Edinburgh’s extensive online library.

Contact

Administrative enquiries regarding applications to this programme should be directed to the School Postgraduate Office.

School Postgraduate Office

Academic enquiries should be addressed to the Programme Director, Dr Jamie Collin.

Dr James Collin

Find out more

Entry requirements, Fees, funding and how to apply