Help with your application

When applying you should include a personal statement detailing your academic abilities and your reasons for applying for the programme

Students join this programme from a wide range of backgrounds, including but not limited to philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and cognitive science. The main features we look for in applicants are an interest in the topic and a strong academic record.

Personal statements

When applying you should include a personal statement detailing your academic abilities and your reasons for applying for the programme.

The online application form will ask you to enter this directly into the online system however you do have the option to attach your personal statement as a further relevant document in the Upload Docs section. 

Your personal statement should not exceed 500 words.

What you should include

The personal statement helps us decide whether you are right for the MSc programme you have selected, but just as importantly, it helps us decide whether the MSc programme is right for you. To help us with this, your personal statement should include:

  • details about your qualifications and what you can bring to the programme (if your first degree is not obviously related to the programme you have chosen, you may want to say something about any relevant subjects you have taken, skills you have learned, or reading you have done);
  • an explanation of why you are interested in studying at Edinburgh, and why you have chosen the particular MSc you are applying for (for example you might mention previous work experience or reading which inspired your interest, or you might explain a little about how you would intend to use your MSc qualification);
  • any other information which you feel will help us ensure that you are a good match to your intended MSc programme.

A good personal statement can make a big difference to the admissions process as it may be the only opportunity to explain why you are an ideal candidate for the programme. Please do take care when writing your statement so that we can be sure that you and your chosen MSc are good matches for each other, and that you will have a productive and successful year at Edinburgh.

Writing Sample

Please also provide a sample of your written academic work in English from the last 2 years on a relevant topic of your choice to demonstrate your suitability to the MSc programme. If you don’t have an existing piece of academic work that would be suitable, you should provide a short essay, approximately 2000 words, analysing a piece of philosophy you have found interesting. This could be an analysis of a book chapter, or a philosophy paper.

The writing sample allows faculty to assess your philosophical potential. It is of particular importance to this programme as it is open to candidates from a diverse range of academic backgrounds, including those who do not have a degree in philosophy. As such, one’s suitability for the programme often cannot be assessed solely on the basis of an undergraduate transcript

The writing sample allows us to gauge your ability to write philosophical essays and to construct philosophical arguments.  As these skills are crucial for success in the program, the writing sample may well be of decisive importance for the success of your application.