Online MSc in Epistemology, Ethics and Mind


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Does the mind work like a computer? Are there universal moral principles? What is the nature of knowledge, and how do I acquire it? How can moral responsibility be reconciled with a deterministic universe? Is truth the goal of inquiry? Is my mind in my head or can it extend beyond my skull and into the world? Are there such things as moral facts?

This online MSc in Epistemology, Ethics and Mind is a unique programme which provides a thorough grounding in contemporary philosophy, with a particular emphasis on those core research areas where Edinburgh has particular strengths: epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of mind and cognitive science.

This programme is unique in three ways:

The online nature of this programme allows you to undertake personal study, at times to suit you, to gain a world-class graduate qualification without the expense of relocating.

What do our students say?

Read testimonials from the academic year 2014/15 (PDF, 149kb)

To find out more about this programme, book your place on our Online Open Day. The next sessions will be held at 9am and 5pm GMT on 29th April 2015. To book your place, please email Lynsey Buchanan and let us know which session you would like to attend.

Programme structure

Students on this programme are offered core courses in philosophical methodology and in the areas of epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of mind and cognitive science. There are advanced option courses available in epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of mind and cognitive science, and also an option course in philosophy of science. Students will thus gain a broad foundation in the research methods used within philosophy, and also a deep knowledge of the central philosophical areas of epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Students taking the full MSc degree will write a dissertation (8,000 to 10,000 words) on a research topic under the close supervision of faculty teaching on the programme.

You can earn a postgraduate certificate (three courses), a postgraduate diploma (six courses), or an MSc degree (six courses plus the dissertation) by completing courses on this programme.

Available modules and options

What does online learning entail?
Are you interested in this programme but want to know more about online learning? We have set up a 'guest' version of our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), known as 'Learn', for you to explore the kinds of resources that you will have access to. There are no live events with faculty (unlike the actual courses), but if you have any questions about the materials you find there then please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

To access the guest course you need to:

  • go to
  • choose MSc Epistemology, Ethics and Mind from the list of guest courses

What is the duration of the programme?

We are currently offering the Epistemology, Ethics and Mind programme on a part-time only basis. The programme is structured to be as flexible as possible in duration, allowing you to choose the speed of your study to suit your other commitments. The following indicates the minimum and maximum amount of time to attain each qualification.

Video overview

Provisional course guides

Note: these are subject to change and current students should use the information provided on the LEARN pages for their course.

How will the programme be taught?

This is an on-line only programme. It will be taught through a combination of short video lectures, web discussion boards, videoconferencing and online exercises. Students on the programme will have regular access to both faculty and dedicated teaching assistants, including one-to-one interactions. You will also interact with other students on the programme as part of a dedicated virtual learning environment.

Who is this programme for?

This programme would be an ideal foundation for further graduate work in Philosophy, providing a basis for research especially in the core areas of epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of mind and cognitive science. The programme would also be suitable for those who simply wish to gain an insight into cutting-edge topics in contemporary philosophy.

Admission is open to students with an upper second class or first class honours degree (or equivalent) in Philosophy. The programme will also be of interest to students from a range of disciplines closely related to Philosophy, such as Politics, Classics or Cognitive Science. Applications from strong students with these academic backgrounds will be given close consideration, and where admitted these students will be provided with additional training in philosophical methodology to enable them to prosper on this degree programme.

Technological requirements

In order to study on the programme you will require a reasonably up-to-date computer (of any type) and a reliable broadband internet connection which allows video streaming.

You will need a webcam and a set of headphones to take part in the online sessions.

This link gives you access to the Technology Handbook, which gives you information on all the technologies that will be used to deliver the course.

If you have any questions, please contact our Learning Technologist Nick Daniels.


Apply Online for MSc in Epistemology, Ethics and Mind

Further Information