Philosophy, Science and Religion (Online Learning) MSc
Study modes: Flexible
Programme website: Philosophy, Science and Religion (Online Learning)
Philosophy, science and religion are three endeavours that shape in far-reaching and fundamental ways how we think, what we value, and how we live. Public discourse, professional life, politics and culture revolve around the philosophical, scientific and religious ideas of our age; yet they and their relationship to each other are not well understood.
This programme brings together leaders in the fields of philosophy, science and theology, based both in Edinburgh and across the world.
Students will be brought up to date with the relevant scientific developments – including quantum mechanics, relativity, cosmology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and human origins – the relevant theological issues – including the problem of evil, miracles, theological conceptions of creation, theological conceptions of providence, and eschatology – and the philosophical tools in philosophy of science, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language required to understand the relationship between them.
Students will develop logical acumen and analytical skills, and the ability to express themselves clearly in writing and in conversation with diverse groups of students from around the world. As well as being a leading research institution in philosophy, theology and the sciences, Edinburgh has lead the way in providing high quality, bespoke and intensive online learning at postgraduate level.
The innovative online format of the programme and the flexibility of study it offers make it accessible to those with family or professional commitments, or who live far from Edinburgh.
This MSc/PGDipl/PGCert in Philosophy, Science and Religion is designed to give you a rigorous grounding in contemporary work in the intersection of philosophy, science and religion.
This is an online only programme that will be taught through a combination of short video lectures, web discussion boards, video conferencing and online exercises.
You will have regular access both to faculty and dedicated teaching assistants, including one-to-one interactions. You will also interact with other students on the programme as part of a dedicated virtual learning environment.
Studying online at Edinburgh
Find out more about the benefits and practicalities of studying for an online degree:
You will take options from a wide range of courses offered by the Department of Philosophy and the School of Divinity both jointly and individually, and will be required to write a dissertation.
All students will be required to take two core courses: Philosophy, Science and Religion 1: The Physical World; and Philosophy, Science and Religion 2: Life and Mind.
Courses will include online lectures, tutorials, quizzes, discussion sessions and personal tutor contact.
At the dissertation stage, you will be assigned a supervisor with whom you will meet, through video conferencing, to plan and discuss your research and writing.
The MSc in Philosophy, Science and Religion aims to develop students to:
- Demonstrate a good understanding of the key areas in the current science-religion interface—including cosmology, evolution, and the psychology—and will be able to engage with them philosophically.
- Demonstrate strong analytical skills and philosophical acumen in approaching debates between science and theology.
- Engage critically with key textual sources in the field.
- Engage constructively in cross-disciplinary conversations.
- Demonstrate an openness to personal growth through a commitment to dialogue across intellectual and spiritual boundaries.
This course is designed to prepare you for doctoral work in relevant areas of philosophy and/or theology.
However, the skills of analytical but creative thinking, clear writing, and the abilities to manage projects that require significant research and to engage in constructive conversations across disciplinary and cultural boundaries, are all highly sought after by employers in a diverse range of fields.
A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent in a relevant natural science (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, mathematics) or relevant humanities subject (e.g. theology, religious studies, philosophy).
Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:
English language requirements
You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)
PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components
Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
Degrees taught and assessed in English
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:
We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*
(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)
Find out more about our language requirements:
UK government postgraduate loans
If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)
Other funding opportunities
Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:
- PPLS Postgraduate Office
- Dugald Stewart Building
- Central Campus
- EH8 9AD
This programme is not currently accepting applications. Applications for the next intake usually open in October.
Start date: September 2019
Awards: MSc (12-12 mth DL), MSc (24-72 mth DL)
Applications submitted after the deadline date will not be considered.
We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa.
You will be asked to add contact details for your referees. We will email them with information on how to upload their reference directly to your online application. Alternatively, they can email their comments to:
In addition to the supporting documents requested on the application form, you should include a personal statement detailing the background of your interest and why you are attracted to the programme.
Sample of work
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.
Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:
- PPLS Postgraduate Office
- Dugald Stewart Building
- Central Campus
- EH8 9AD