Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

MA Philosophy and Economics

UCAS code: VL51

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Philosophy and Economics

Philosophy

Philosophy has been at the core of Western intellectual life for at least 2,500 years. It is central to our understanding of the world and our interaction with it.

Philosophy gives you the skills to think about great philosophical questions in a clear and systematic way.

While there are different approaches that philosophers have taken, the study of philosophy focuses on:

  • argument
  • critical enquiry
  • rigour in reasoning
  • clarity of expression, including making important distinctions

Philosophy at Edinburgh

The University has a strong historic connection to the subject, counting Adam Ferguson and Sir William Hamilton among its former students.

Edinburgh has one of the UK’s largest philosophy departments and the Philosophy Society attracts high-profile speakers.

Our programme covers the basics of Western philosophy and offers you the opportunity to specialise in your areas of interest.

Economics

Economics is the study of the incentives that affect decisions made by:

  • individuals
  • businesses
  • governments
  • societies

Economists analyse the macroeconomic results of those decisions, for example:

  • economic fluctuations
  • growth
  • unemployment
  • crises

Studying Philosophy and Economics

Studying philosophy and economics will equip you with the skills to participate in philosophical and economic debates.

You will gain the knowledge to understand philosophical issues and the quantitative skills for answering economic questions.

Year 1

Philosophy

In Years 1 and 2, you will take courses that introduce you to the main areas of Philosophy. This will include courses in the following areas:

  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • History of Philosophy
  • Logic
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Science

Economics

You will also take Economics 1, to learn core economic models and their applications.

Option courses

You will complete your Year 1 studies with an option course chosen from a wide range of courses.

Year 2

Philosophy

You will continue to take courses in some or all of the main areas of Philosophy listed under the Study Year 1 section.

Economics

You will also take:

  • Economics 2
  • Statistical Methods for Economics

Option courses

You can also choose to take courses in other subjects, such as sociology and politics, that cover topics related to philosophy or economics.

Year 3

Philosophy

You will take the Philosophy Dissertation Preparation Course. You can also choose from a range of courses linked to our areas of expertise.

In philosophy, these include topics such as:

  • language, cognition and science
  • morality and value
  • knowledge and reality
  • history of philosophy

Economics

You will take:

  • Essentials of Econometrics
  • Topics in Microeconomics

You will also start to specialise. You can select a course in Applications of Econometrics or Topics in Macroeconomics.

Year 4

You will choose another four to six courses from a wide variety available.

You will also complete either of the following:

  • an independent dissertation on a philosophy or economics topic of your choice
  • a coursework dissertation through two extended essays in philosophy

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 (2024/25)

Our facilities

Most teaching takes place at the University's Central Area. You can use all the University's libraries and computing facilities.

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at the University’s Central Area and explore our facilities on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 through international exchange programmes.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a mix of:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials

In Year 1 and 2, philosophy courses are taught through lectures and tutorials.

In Year 3 and 4, philosophy courses are taught through seminars and tutorials.

⁠The peer-assisted learning scheme offered by the School of Economics aims to help first-year students to:

  • transition into higher education
  • develop their learning and study strategies
  • socialise with other students

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through coursework and exams.

In Year 4, you will also complete either:

  • an independent dissertation on a topic of your choice
  • a coursework dissertation through two extended essays

The philosophy courses you study during your programme will provide you with the analytical and critical-thinking skills that are valued by employers.

Past graduates have gone on to work in:

  • education
  • commerce
  • journalism
  • finance
  • law
  • computing

Some graduates also choose to continue with their studies through research or an academic career.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAA.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 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: Mathematics at B. Higher Applications of Mathematics is not accepted in place of Higher Mathematics. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: Mathematics at B, or AS Mathematics at A. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Mathematics at 5. SL: English at 5 and Mathematics at 6 (if not at HL).

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

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

SQA, GCSE and IB

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
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at 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: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

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

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

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 Economics

Additional costs

The Economics textbooks needed for Years 1 and 2 cost about £100.

Funding

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