Postgraduate study

Philosophy MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Philosophy

There are a number of really wonderful things about this programme. It was a thriving, bright, welcoming intellectual community which made studying philosophy really exciting. I was surrounded by people who made me feel welcomed, who were encouraging me to push myself but in a very supportive environment. Being around this lively scholarly community was also really good fun.

Dr Elanor Taylor MSc Philosophy, 2005 (currently Assistant Professor at John Hopkins University, USA)
Dr Elanor Taylor               MSc Philosophy, 2005 (currently Assistant Professor at John Hopkins University, USA)

Edinburgh has a proud and distinguished place in the history of philosophy, and has long been associated with some of the field’s most important thinkers.

Our flagship MSc Philosophy degree programme offers you an excellent opportunity to enhance your learning and join a large, vibrant and supportive postgraduate community.

We provide a broad, advanced education in philosophy, covering all the core areas of analytic philosophy:

  • Epistemology
  • Metaphysics
  • Logic and philosophy of language
  • Moral and political philosophy

The department also has particular focus in the following areas:

  • Applied ethics
  • History of philosophy, including Ancient philosophy, Islamic philosophy, and Early modern and Enlightenment philosophy
  • Meta-ethics
  • Philosophy of mind, philosophy of cognitive science and neuroscience
  • Philosophy of race and gender
  • Philosophy of science

This programme provides an intensive grounding in philosophy, its methodology and techniques of research. It is the ideal programme to lead on to further research and study in philosophy as part of a PhD programme.

This programme comprises two semesters of taught courses followed by a dissertation, which you will write at the end of Semester 2 and over the summer.

At the dissertation stage, you will be assigned a supervisor with whom you meet to plan your reading and discuss your work.

Compulsory courses:

  • Phil Skills (a 0 credit study skills course for students without a background in philosophy)
  • Philosophy Dissertation

Optional courses vary year to year; recent courses 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

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2022/23

The study of philosophy helps develop general intellectual abilities and enhances analytical, critical, interpretive, and problem-solving abilities. This programme brings you into a postgraduate community with a very high academic job-placement record.

This programme provides you with a range of knowledge and skills to prepare you for a variety of career paths, including, but not limited to, further study in a PhD programme in Philosophy.

This is the ideal programme for deepening your involvement in philosophy, giving you a grounding in postgraduate work, or developing an academic career in philosophy.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

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

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

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 Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

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
  • your tuition fee 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
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD
Programme start date Application deadline
12 September 2022 30 June 2022

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa, then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis with a final deadline of 30th June 2022.

Applications submitted after the deadline date will unfortunately not be considered.

You must submit one reference with your application.


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:

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.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD