Programme structure and assessment

This programme comprises two semesters of taught courses, followed by a dissertation.

The MSc Philosophy is the flagship taught postgraduate degree in philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. The programme can be taken full time (over one year) or part-time (over two years). The degree consists of 180 credits, with a standard load for a full-time student consisting of three 20-credit courses in semesters one and two, and then the completion of a dissertation over the summer (due for completion in August).

One of the main advantages of the MSc in Philosophy is its flexibility. There are no mandatory courses for the degree (beyond a study skills course for those without a strong background in philosophy), thus allowing you to develop a path that is tailored to your interests. Courses offered vary year to year. Recent offerings include:

  • Applied Ethics
  • The Computational Mind
  • Epistemology and Evidence Law
  • Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
  • Freedom, Consent, and Political Obligation
  • Islamic Philosophy
  • The Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Indian Philosophies of Mind and Language
  • Philosophy of Information
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Self, Agency and the Will

In addition to the courses offered in the department, you are able to take up to 40 credits of level 11 courses outside of philosophy, depending on availability and approval from the Programme Director. Recently, such courses have included Buddhist Thought, Contemporary Debates in Political Theory, Freedom and the State, and Film and Existentialism.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the MSc programme is the chance to write an 8000-word dissertation on a topic of your choosing. The topic of the dissertation can be wide-ranging, and here you can take advantage of the enormous breadth and depth of Edinburgh’s nearly 40-strong philosophy department. You will submit a dissertation proposal in semester 2, and be assigned a dissertation supervisor, with whom you will have meetings and develop your ideas.

As a student on the MSc Philosophy, you will be able to take advantage of the world-leading research culture here at Edinburgh, with a wide range of research talks and events. We are committed to providing innovative and engaging social events throughout the year on a variety of topics.

Full programme structure