Postgraduate study

Ancient Philosophy Under review

Awards: Under review

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Ancient Philosophy

This programme introduces the main fields, topics and research methods in ancient philosophy. It is appropriate for applicants who have previously studied philosophy and classics, or have backgrounds in history, political theory, science and literature.

The programme is appropriate for applicants who have previously studied philosophy and classics, as well as those with backgrounds in history, political theory, science and literature.

The degree provides a necessary preparation for further postgraduate research towards a doctoral degree or an academic background to a professional career outside academia.

You will be exposed to the main doctrines and texts of ancient philosophy – including Pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle, Hellenistic philosophy and Late Antiquity – mastering analytical skills pertaining to philosophical arguments and to historical (textual) sources.

You will develop the ability to reconstruct, analyse and critically assess philosophical arguments and doctrines based on a careful study of the texts.

You study two semesters of taught courses followed by a dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

  • Ancient Philosophy Seminar I and II
  • Methodology Seminars in Classics

Option courses may include:

  • Ancient Ethics
  • Ancient Theories of Knowledge
  • History of Science and Religion in the Christian Tradition
  • Christian-Muslim Relations and the Relationship Between the World of Islam and the West
  • Ancient Theories of Existence
  • Ancient Theories of Mind
  • Topics in Hellenistic Philosophy

Other option courses can be chosen from outside Philosophy and Classics with permission from the Programme Director.

You are encouraged to take at least one course outside the ‘ancient’ curriculum, such as:

  • Philosophical Method 1 and 2
  • Introduction to Mind, Language, and Embodied Cognition
  • Free Will and Moral Responsibility
  • Advanced Topics in Mind, Language & Embodied Cognition

You will enhance your knowledge and understanding of the main broad areas of ancient philosophy (Pre-Socratics, High Classics (Plato and Aristotle), Hellenistic philosophy, Late Antiquity) and medieval philosophy, specific types of philosophical thought (idealism, corporealism, naturalism, rationalism, skepticism) in their historical context.

An important goal of the programme is to develop the ability to reconstruct, analyse and critically assess philosophical arguments and doctrines on the basis of a careful study of the text.

For those planning to go on to a PhD in Ancient Philosophy, there will be an opportunity to enhance your knowledge of classical languages by studying the course texts in the original language. Up to 40 credits in ancient Greek, Latin or Arabic can be taken at introductory, intermediate or advanced level.

This programme aims to improve your analytical skills and give you a solid background in core areas of humanities useful for careers in professional fields such as law, education or public policy.

For 2019 entry:

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

For 2020 entry:

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, and evidence of having completed philosophy courses.

International qualifications

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:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

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
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Contact: pplspg@ed.ac.uk
  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD

References

You will be asked to add contact details for your referees, this should ideally be from a specialist in ancient philosophy. The application system will email them with information on how to upload their reference directly to your online application; we cannot accept references submitted by an applicant. Alternatively, the referee can email their comments to:

Personal statement

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. We expect you to have a good understanding of the field you propose to study.

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:

Further information

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Contact: pplspg@ed.ac.uk
  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD