Postgraduate study

Philosophy, Science and Religion (Online Learning) MSc, PgDip (ICL), PgCert (ICL), PgDip

Awards: MSc, PgDip (ICL), PgCert (ICL), PgDip

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study, Full-time

Online learning

Funding opportunities

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.

You will be brought up to date with the relevant scientific developments including:

  • quantum mechanics
  • relativity
  • cosmology
  • evolutionary biology
  • neuroscience
  • human origins

And the relevant theological issues including:

  • problem of evil
  • miracles
  • theological conceptions of creation
  • theological conceptions of providence
  • eschatology

And the philosophical tools that are required to understand the relationship between them such as:

  • the philosophy of science
  • metaphysics
  • epistemology
  • philosophy of language

What will I learn?

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.

You will develop logical acumen and analytical skills, and the ability to express yourself 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 led the way in providing high quality, bespoke and intensive online learning at postgraduate level.

Is this MSc for me?

This is an online programme only and you can customise your learning in areas you are most passionate about.

The innovative online format of the programme and the flexibility of study it offers makes it accessible to those with family or professional commitments, or who live far from Edinburgh.

It provides an excellent preparation for further research and knowledge of philosophy, whether you choose to pursue this in further in academic research or in a professional career.

Reputation, relevance and employability

Edinburgh has a proud and distinguished place in the history of theology and philosophy and has long been associated with some of the field’s most important thinkers. Our academic departments are home to academics leading research into a wide range of contemporary topics.

Our students’ research projects are often published in academic or professional journals.

Our programme has an excellent reputation among employers and further research opportunities. Many of our graduates have gone onto PhD training and we have a high academic job placement record.

Philosophy is rated 4th in the UK by Times Higher Education for the quality and breadth of the research using the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).

This is an online only programme that will be taught through a combination of:

  • short video lectures
  • web discussion boards
  • video conferencing
  • 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.

Compulsory courses

  • Philosophy, Science and Religion 1: The Physical World
  • Philosophy, Science and Religion 2: Life and Mind.

Optional courses

  • History of Science and Religion
  • Mind, Matter, and Spirit
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Science and Scripture
  • Islamic Philosophy

In addition, students are able to take option courses from the online MSc in Epistemology, Ethics & Mind:

  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science
  • Advanced Epistemology
  • Advanced Ethics
  • Advanced Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science

Possible exit routes

The programme is also available as either a:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)

Dissertation

In taking the full MSc, you will write a dissertation on a research topic developed in consultation with your supervisor.

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
MScPhilosophy, Science and ReligionUp to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2022/23
MScPhilosophy, Science and Religion1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2022/23
PgDip (ICL)Philosophy, Science and ReligionUp to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2022/23
PgCert (ICL)Philosophy, Science and ReligionUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2022/23
PgDipPhilosophy, Science and Religion9 MonthsFull-timeProgramme structure 2022/23

The MSc/PgDip/PgCert in Philosophy, Science and Religion equips you 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.

You will also gain transferable skills in:

  • written and verbal communication
  • group and teamwork
  • time and project management

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 postgraduate study in theology or philosophy.

Others are teaching at community colleges and high schools. Our graduates consistently tell us that the skills they have learned through the degree have influenced their thinking both in their careers and more generally through life.

This programme would be an ideal foundation for further graduate work, however the skills of analytical, clear and creative thinking and writing, and the ability 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.

Careers Service

Our award-winning Careers Service plays an essential part in your wider student experience at the University, providing:

  • tailored advice
  • individual guidance and personal assistance
  • internships and networking opportunities (with employers from local organisations to top multinationals)
  • access to the experience of our worldwide alumni network

We invest in your future beyond the end of your degree. Studying at the University of Edinburgh will lay the foundations for your future success, whatever shape that takes.

Your application and personal statement allow us to make sure that you and your chosen programme are good matches for each other, and that you will have a productive and successful year at Edinburgh.

We strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. You should avoid applying to more than one degree. Applicants who can demonstrate their understanding and commitment to a specific programme are preferred.

Personal statements

When applying you should include a personal statement detailing your academic abilities and your reasons for applying for the programme

The personal statement helps us decide whether you are right for the programme you have selected, but just as importantly, it helps us decide whether the programme is right for you.

Your personal statement should include:

  • What makes this particular programme interesting for you?
  • What are the most important things you want to gain from the programme?
  • What are the key philosophy courses you have taken and that are relevant for this specific programme and what are your academic abilities?
  • A short description of a philosophical questions you would like to pursue during your time as a student here and an explanation of why you find it philosophically interesting.
  • Any other information which you feel will help us ensure that you are a good match to your intended programme.

A good personal statement can make a big difference to the admissions process as it may be the only opportunity to explain why you are an ideal candidate for the programme.

References

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:

pplspgoffice@ed.ac.uk

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

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

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).

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.

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 (non-MESC).

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:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScPhilosophy, Science and ReligionUp to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
MScPhilosophy, Science and Religion1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
PgDip (ICL)Philosophy, Science and ReligionUp to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgCert (ICL)Philosophy, Science and ReligionUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgDipPhilosophy, Science and Religion9 MonthsFull-timeTuition fees

There are a number of highly competitive scholarships and funding options available to MSc students.

Deadlines for funding applications vary for each funding source. Please make sure to check the specific deadlines for the funding opportunities you wish to apply for and make sure that you submit your application in good time.

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
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD
Programme start date Application deadline
11 September 2023 3 April 2023

We operate a gathered field approach to applications for this programme.

This means that all complete applications that satisfy our minimum entry requirements will be held until the nearest deadline. 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 are held for processing over two deadlines:

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 1 December 31 January
2 1 February 31 March
3 3 April 29 May

Supporting documents and references

Applications must be complete with 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 must submit one reference with your application.

Please read through the ‘Important application information’ section on this page before applying.

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

Further information

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