Programme website: Philosophy
We are one of the world’s leading philosophy departments for research boasting 40 academic researchers covering a wide range of research areas in philosophy.
In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), Philosophy research at Edinburgh is ranked 2nd in Scotland and joint 7th in the UK (Times Higher Education, Rank order by GPA).
The department has close links with other subject areas within the University, such as psychology, linguistics, informatics, jurisprudence, politics and classics.
This programme offers the opportunity to focus in detail on an area of your choosing, while still being able to take some taught courses. It is intended for those who already have a good background in philosophy, typically from undergraduate study or a previous taught postgraduate degree.
The main focus of the programme will be writing a dissertation, and you should have an proposal for the topic that you would like to write about when you apply. You will be supported in developing this topic during the year by your supervisor and by dedicated training in research methodology.
Students are also advised to take two taught courses (further courses may also be attended, but not for credit), which are available from the wide range of subjects taught at Masters level within Philosophy.
Teaching will typically be in small groups, and supervision is organised on the basis of one-to-one contact with one or a small number of expert supervisors.
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, in a related subject.
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:
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:
This programme is not currently accepting applications. Applications for the next intake usually open in October.
Start date: September
Applications are held for processing over two deadlines:
|Round||Application deadline||Places awarded|
|1||22 November||End of January|
|2||14 March||End of May|
We operate a gathered field approach to applications for the MSc by Research. This means that all complete applications that satisfy our minimum entry requirements will be held until the nearest deadline and the admissions panel will meet to consider all applications received together after that date.
To be considered as having met the deadline, your application must include transcripts and an academic reference.
Applications must include all supporting documentation to be passed on for consideration. This includes references. Please ensure that you inform referees of any deadline you wish to meet.
You might find it helpful to contact academics in your chosen area to discuss your proposed research and the likelihood of supervision.
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. We expect you to have a good understanding of the field you propose to study.
If you have been in touch with prospective supervisors, please list them in the Project Arrangements section of your application.
Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:
- PPLS Postgraduate Office
- Dugald Stewart Building
- 3 Charles Street
- Central Campus
- EH8 9AD