Information for prospective postgraduates

Postgraduate Philosophy @ Edinburgh


We have one of the world's largest and most vibrant postgraduate communities in Philosophy, with around 100 postgraduate students. We also host an extremely active research community, with a regular programme of research events. Indeed, in the latest UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 65% of Philosophy's research activity was judged to be either 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent'. As a guide, this puts us on a par with Philosophy at Oxford and Cambridge, and so confirms our status as one of the leading departments of Philosophy in the UK for research (in the previous RAE, in 2001, we were one of only a small handful of departments of Philosophy in the UK to obtain the highest ranking of 5*).

Although we have research expertise in all the main areas of Philosophy, we have specific strengths in the following five areas:

In recent years our PhD graduates have gone on to academic careers in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Greece and the USA. We put a high priority on placement, and aim to ensure that all PhD graduates have the skills and experience to succeed in the academic job market, if that is their chosen career path.

We receive excellent feedback from our postgraduate students regarding the programme we offer. For example, take a look at the results of the 2009 PhD student feedback survey (pdf).

Full details about how to apply to our graduate programme are available. We offer four types of postgradute degree:

Taught MSc degree programmes

We offer four taught MSc programmes, all of which can be taken over one year (full time). Our core flagship MSc Philosophy programme enables students to either follow a broad-based curriculum spanning the breadth of contemporary analytical philosophy or specialise in one of five areas where we have particular research strengths:

The idea behind these specialisations is to provide students with a very specific programme of research training. For each specialisation you will thus take two core courses (one in each semester) which deal with relevant research and also write your dissertation on a suitable research topic under the supervision of one of the members of staff in the appropriate research cluster. To find out which of the courses are obligatory for each specialisation, contact Dr Alasdair Richmond.

If you are presently an MSc Philosophy student and have a particular inquiry about your degree programme, or about these specialisations, then please contact Dr Alasdair Richmond.

In addition, we also offer four more specific taught MSc degrees:

Research degree programmes

In addition to our taught MSc degree programmes, we offer three research degrees: MSc by Research, MPhil and PhD. We particularly welcome applications for these degrees in those reserach areas where we have particular strengths:

The MSc by Research is normally taken over one year (full-time), the MPhil is normally taken over two years (full-time), and the PhD is normally taken over three years (full-time). Students on the MSc by Research are able to take some courses as part of their overall assessment (for more details, click here). In contrast, the MPhil and PhD degrees are pure research degrees.

Who to contact

Application information

Applying on-line

You can apply online for the various degrees that we offer. Here are the relevant links:

Please note that while we do not have a deadline for applications as such, early applications are encouraged. Moreover, for certain kinds of funding application it will be essential to have your application processed relatively soon in the academic year (early February of the calendar year in which you hope to start your degree is a good guide), so it is important to check on funding deadlines before applying.

Some useful links

Visiting doctoral students

We welcome visiting doctoral students from other doctoral programmes (information about being a visiting postgraduate student in our School). If you are interested in coming to the Department as a visiting doctoral student, then please contact the Philosophy Postgraduate Advisor, Dr Michela Massimi.

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