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MPhil Philosophy

Course Description

Programme description

The University of Edinburgh has one of the top-ranked Philosophy departments in the UK for research.

In the latest UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 65% of our research activity was judged to be either "world-leading" or "internationally excellent" (as a guide, this puts us on a par with the Departments of Philosophy at Oxford and Cambridge).

While we have particular areas of particular research strength (as indicated by our seven research groups listed below), we are able to supervise a thesis on almost any area of analytical philosophy.

We maintain close links with other disciplines/subject areas within the University, such as psychology, linguistics, cognitive science, informatics, jurisprudence, politics, classics and the Science Studies Unit. Within Scotland, we have close ties with the Philosophy departments of all the major universities, in particular those of St Andrews, Stirling, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Our teaching and research span most areas of philosophy but our main strengths are in five main research clusters.

Ancient Philosophy

Ancient Philosophy includes research interests in ancient metaphysics and ethics, ancient and medieval philosophy and science, Presocratics, Plato and Aristotle.


We have a unique wealth of research talent in Epistemology. In particular, we host researchers who are interested in scepticism, epistemic value, contextualism, social epistemology, epistemic responsibility, perceptual knowledge, rationality, the nature of cognitive processes and virtue epistemology.


Ethics is one of the central areas of philosophy and one in which there have been exciting recent developments. We have particular strengths in ethical theory, meta-ethics, normative theory and political philosophy.

Mind and Cognition

Our research team ranks among the world leaders in this fast-moving area, and specialises in the study of embodiment, consciousness, perception, action, and situated reason. Our researchers benefit from close links with the University’s world-leading School of Informatics.

Philosophy of Science

Philosophy of science at the University of Edinburgh specialises in the philosophy of the natural sciences, and the philosophy of cognitive sciences. Topics we cover include: laws, causation, realism, time, models, explanation, measurement and fictionalism.

Visit the MPhil Philosophy page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants will normally have a masters degree in Philosophy or a related subject. (Those applicants who wish to take the MPhil directly after their undergraduate degree are advised to apply for the MSc by Research in the first instance, from which they can subsequently transfer to the MPhil programme).

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