Master in Philosophy


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The MLitt in Philosophy offers the opportunity to study a wide range of topics within the discipline in order to broaden your understanding and investigate different research topics.

The MLitt in Philosophy is a one-year taught postgraduate programme run by St Andrews and Stirling Graduate Programme in Philosophy (SASP), taught by staff from both the University of St Andrews and the University of Stirling.


  • Philosophy at St Andrews was ranked top in Scotland and fifth in the UK in the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  • St Andrews and Stirling Graduate Programme was ranked the third best Philosophy programme in the UK in the latest Philosophical Gourmet Report.
  • Supervisors at both St Andrews and Stirling are available to oversee the MLitt dissertation.
  • Students can choose any of the optional modules offered by the Department, allowing you to explore any combination of philosophical topics.

Teaching format

Students on the MLitt in Philosophy have the opportunity to study a broad range of philosophical topics through lectures, tutorials and reading groups. Modules are taught in small groups, normally consisting of four to ten students.

Those on the MLitt in Philosophy may sign up for any of the postgraduate taught modules offered by the department, building a timetable which best suits individual interests. The course offers flexibility for those students who are not yet sure of their research interests, or who wish to gain a broader understanding of issues and debates across the discipline. This flexibility allows students to combine the modules which are of most interest; combining logic and ethics for example, or metaphysics and political philosophy.

The programme consists of six taught modules taken over two semesters (each assessed by coursework) and a 15,000-word dissertation in an area of your choice.

Every MLitt student is assigned an advisor at the beginning of the year. Your advisor will provide you with individual guidance on essay planning and writing, academic conduct, and advice on how best to apply for a PhD place.

Part-time studies

The Philosophy MLitt can also be taken as a part-time programme. Students will be expected to take three modules per year over two years, working on the dissertation over two summers.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment.


Students must take three compulsory modules over the course of the programme.

Semester 1 – these two modules are taught in Stirling on Mondays. A coach will take you to and from Stirling without additional cost.

  • Current Issues in Philosophy 1: focuses on epistemology and ethics.
  • Research Methods: aims to foster the range of skills required for independent research in Philosophy. Students may choose to join a seminar group most related to their interests.

Semester 2

  • Current Issues in Philosophy 2: explores the philosophy of language and philosophy of mind.


You will also have the opportunity to choose three modules from all of the postgraduate Philosophy modules across the Department. These modules may include:

  • Aesthetics
  • Classical Philosophy
  • Formal Epistemology
  • Intuitions and Philosophical Methodology
  • Kant
  • Moral and Political Philosophy in the 19th Century
  • Origins and History of Analytic Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Logic
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Political Philosophy
  • Texts in Contemporary Metaphysics
  • Texts in the History of Political Philosophy
  • Topics in Recent Moral Theory
  • Wittgenstein

If you wish to brush up on your knowledge of logic, or if you have limited prior experience in this area, there is also an optional weekly seminar, Basic Logic, held throughout the year.

Optional modules are subject to change each year, and some may only allow limited numbers of students.


The final element of the MLitt is a 15,000-word dissertation. The dissertation should be on an area of philosophy you are interested in; you will be encouraged to start considering a topic for the dissertation during Semester 2. Each student is supported through their dissertation by a relevant supervisor from the Department.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2019 entry.


Recent graduates in Philosophy have found openings in:

  • local government
  • television production (Sky Sports)
  • the National Health Service
  • the Co-operative Bank
  • insurance
  • the Crown Prosecution Service
  • publishing
  • teaching English in Japan

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Entry requirements

  • A very strong 2.1 Honours degree in or including Philosophy. If you do not have an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, you may be interested in the Conversion in Philosophy.
  • If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • English language proficiency.

The qualifications listed are indicative of minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV.
  • personal statement (optional).
  • a sample of academic written work (2,500 words maximum).
  • two original signed academic references.
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates.
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).


The following competitive scholarships are available for students on the MLitt in Philosophy:

Philosophical Quarterly bursaries

SASP will be funding a number of bursaries for students in the MLitt programme in 2019-2020 courtesy of generous funding provided by the Philosophical Quarterly journal. Each bursary will cover the cost of tuition fees at the Home/EU fee level. The Home/EU fee waiver can be awarded to an Overseas fee-paying student, who will then be required to meet the remainder of the tuition fee from other sources.

Recent Graduate Discount

The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Other taught postgraduate scholarships

St Andrews and Stirling are both committed to helping as many students as possible continue in higher education through scholarship opportunities. There is a wide range of postgraduate scholarships available for you to apply for, either via the university or directly via charitable organisations.

Last updated Apr 2020

About the School

As a 600-year-old institution, it's no surprise that the University of St Andrews is known across the globe as a world leader in education. We are Scotland’s best university ranked by the Complete Uni ... Read More

As a 600-year-old institution, it's no surprise that the University of St Andrews is known across the globe as a world leader in education. We are Scotland’s best university ranked by the Complete University Guide 2019, and 2nd overall in the UK (Guardian Good University Guide 2019). Read less
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