MSc Mind Language & Embodied Cognition


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

This programme examines the wide landscape of issues that arise where the philosophy of mind meets the study of psychology, linguistics, and cognitive science. In particular, the programme links these issues with the growing body of work in embodied cognition, one of the most exciting areas of contemporary research in the philosophy of mind.

The University is at the cutting edge of research in philosophy and has particular strength in areas that require collaboration between philosophy, psychology, and linguistics.

In December 2014, the Research Excellence Framework highlighted our work in philosophy of mind and cognition as deserving of special mention.

  • Philosophy research at Edinburgh ranks 2nd in Scotland and 7th in the UK in the THE ranking by the subject of the REF 2014.
  • An opportunity to hear from a wide range of high-profile academics from across the world, with figures such as Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker, and Simon Blackburn having visited the University to speak to staff and students
  • Study with one of the largest philosophy of cognitive science groups in Europe.

The combination of courses you take is tailored to your interests and agreed at the start of the year in consultation with the programme director.

Compulsory courses

There are two courses that all students on this programme take:

  • Introduction to Mind, Language and Embodied Cognition
  • Advanced topics in Mind, Language and Embodied Cognition

If you are relatively new to the study of philosophy you are also required to take the Introduction to Philosophical Methods course.

Optional courses

A significant part of the programme is made up of optional courses. These come from across the University and cover a diverse range of topics, such as:

  • Social Cognition
  • Psychology of Language Learning
  • Mind, Body, and Consciousness
  • Neural Computation

There are many other options available. For a list of suggestions, see the comprehensive overview linked to above.


The dissertation is worth 60 of the 180 credits required for an MSc and provides an opportunity to pursue research into your chosen area of interest. The project is carried out under the supervision of a member of staff within the School, or potentially from a related subject area such as Informatics.

This programme comprises two semesters of taught courses followed by a dissertation of 8,000 words written towards the end of the second semester. You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor with whom you meet to plan your reading and discuss your work.

This programme provides you with a range of knowledge and skills to prepare you for a variety of career paths

Embodied cognition is the study of minds as embedded in, interacting with, and inextricable from the physical, biological, and social environments in which they evolve, develop, and act.

Embodied cognition marks a point of convergence between the front-lines of cognitive science and philosophy, drawing on analytic and continental traditions, the philosophy of mind and language, the philosophy of biology, moral philosophy and ethics, in live dialogue with empirical research in psychology, linguistics, artificial intelligence, robotics, human-computer interaction, and beyond.

This programme will provide you with the training necessary to undertake research in the philosophy of cognitive science, and ultimately to pursue a career in academic philosophy. You will also acquire an understanding of the central debates in the sciences of the mind today.

If you do not intend to follow an academic route, the study of philosophy helps to develop general intellectual abilities and enhance analytical, critical, interpretive and problem-solving abilities.

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

The School comprises Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (Linguistics and English Language). The school aims to maintain its internationally-renowned reputation for research and to use this a ... Read More

The School comprises Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (Linguistics and English Language). The school aims to maintain its internationally-renowned reputation for research and to use this as a solid foundation for teaching. Read less