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Course content

The University of Bristol is among the top UK institutions for philosophy and history of science. Our expertise is in a broad range of areas related to the philosophy and history of the specific sciences, including physics, biology, mathematics, logic, medicine and psychology. The latest Philosophical Gourmet Report (2017/18) ranked Bristol as the as the strongest department in the UK for philosophy of biology, the joint strongest for general philosophy of science and the fourth strongest for philosophy of physics.

Our MA draws on these strengths. It is intended both for students who have a first degree in philosophy who wish to specialise in philosophy and history of science at a higher level, and for individuals with a background in pure science who wish to make a transition to philosophy and history of science or to explore foundational issues within the sciences.

The emphasis of the programme is on philosophical issues arising from specific scientific disciplines, with a particular focus on physics, biology and mathematics. The history of science is studied in terms of the philosophical debate about the nature of scientific method and knowledge.

As a postgraduate student, you will be an active member of the department’s flourishing research culture. You will be encouraged to attend and participate in both the weekly departmental research seminar and in the Philosophy and History of Science seminar, which often features well-known scholars in the field, from Bristol and beyond. There is also a weekly postgraduate seminar, where you may present your own work before your peers and learn to develop your argumentative strategies in a supportive environment.

Programme structure

You will take six taught units (three compulsory and three optional). Satisfactory completion of semesters one and two will allow you to progress to writing a dissertation of up to 15,000 words on an approved topic of your choice. The dissertation is your chance to produce an extended piece of philosophical research that can act as preparation for a graduate research degree. You will have supervisory meetings with a member of staff who will provide feedback on a draft of your work.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our MA in Philosophy and History of Science.

Careers

Students who have completed the MA in Philosophy and History of Science have taken up careers in teaching, the IT sector and scientific administration.


Visit the Philosophy and History of Science - MA page on the University of Bristol website for more details!

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