2022 entry

MA Philosophy and Theology

UCAS code: VV56

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Divinity

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Philosophy and Theology

Philosophy and theology frequently overlap. Philosophers have long questioned the nature of existence and agency. Theologians have engaged with philosophical traditions in developing their understanding of individual and collective belief.

This programme offers you an opportunity to explore these intersections. You will study the metaphysical, ethical and theological traditions that have shaped contemporary thinking.

You can also choose to focus on philosophy and theology as separate subjects, adjusting the balance between them according to your interests.

Philosophy courses

Philosophy courses cover:

  • ancient and modern intellectual history
  • logic
  • metaphysics
  • ethics
  • aesthetics

Theology courses

Theology courses include:

  • biblical studies
  • Christian theology
  • history of Christianity
  • Islamic studies
  • religious studies

Year 1

In Year 1 you will study core philosophy courses. You will also choose further courses from the subject areas of:

  • theology and ethics
  • biblical studies
  • history of Christianity
  • religious studies

You can also choose a course from other subject areas across the University. For example, you might choose:

  • a course in a subject that complements your two programme subjects
  • a course that helps you to study a language
  • a course that simply interests you

Year 2

As with Year 1, you will study compulsory courses in philosophy and a choice of courses in:

  • theology and ethics
  • biblical studies
  • history of Christianity
  • religious studies

You can also take two courses from other subjects areas across the University.

Year 3

You will choose higher-level courses in both philosophy and theology.

Year 4

You will continue to choose higher-level courses in both philosophy and theology.

You will also write a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either subject, with academic supervision.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2021/22)

Our facilities

Most of your theology teaching will be in New College in the centre of Edinburgh. This city landmark has its own historic library, hall and garden.

Your philosophy teaching will be a short walk away in George Square. The square is also home to many other study and student support facilities, including the University Main Library.

Philosophy facilities include a skills centre and subject library. The city of Edinburgh also contains many museums, galleries and cultural sites, where you can broaden and deepen your learning.

Study abroad

You will have a range of opportunities to spend time abroad. For shorter periods, these include summer programmes and work abroad.

During Year 3, you will also have the chance to study abroad for up to a year at a wide selection of leading global universities.

These include Divinity and Philosophy exchanges with:

  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Dartmouth College
  • University of Oslo
  • University of Leuven

Going abroad expands horizons and is great fun. It also brings you academic and career benefits.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a mix of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • digital learning

How will I be assessed?

Assessment modes vary between courses and include:

  • written exams
  • coursework essays
  • seminar presentations and participation
  • blogs
  • contributions to digital discussions
  • an honours dissertation

Philosophy and Theology graduates are able to reflect, reason and argue well. You will develop the skills to understand the texts, traditions and histories that underpin human societies past and present. These abilities are invaluable in life and attractive to employers.


Skills you are likely to develop include:

  • written, oral and visual communication
  • gathering and analysing written sources and primary data
  • formulating arguments and responding to others
  • empathetic critical reflection
  • collaborative working
  • independent study and time management
  • technological skills
  • self-awareness

Where our graduates work

Our graduates go on to a wide range of careers including:

  • the civil service
  • finance
  • law
  • management consultancy
  • counselling
  • the voluntary sector
  • church ministry

The programme also provides grounding for postgraduate study in either philosophy or theology.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

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.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Philosophy and Theology

Additional costs



For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding

More information

How to apply

School: Divinity

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences