About the Department of Philosophy

St Andrews is one of the leading international centres for philosophy in Britain.

In the latest UK-wide assessment of the research of UK universities (REF 2014) the Department was ranked first in Scotland and fifth in the UK (by grade point average). 83% of research was assessed as either 4* or 3*. The St Andrews and Stirling graduate programme (SASP) was ranked third in Britain in a recent US-based survey. Philosophy was ranked third in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2021 league table.


There is a busy programme of conferences, workshops and visiting speakers from universities in the UK and from abroad.

Our regular departmental visiting speaker series – the Philosophy Club – is open to everybody. There is a weekly Friday seminar at which doctoral students present their work, and a seminar specifically for MLitt students. In addition, there is a rich series of specialised research seminars, many of them held under the auspices of our three philosophical research centres:

  • The Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs (CEPPA)
  • The Arché Philosophical Research Centre for the Philosophy of Logic, Language, Metaphysics and Epistemology
  • The St Andrews Institute for Gender Studies (StAIGS)

The Philosophical Quarterly, one of the most respected international philosophy journals, is edited from St Andrews.

Special strengths

  • St Andrews is a large philosophical centre with 20 permanent academic staff, as well as additional post-doctoral fellows, visiting professors and graduate tutors.
  • There is a wide range of courses on offer at every level.
  • Teaching resources are excellent, including a class library located in the Philosophy building.
  • There is a rich and varied programme of distinguished visiting scholars and lecturers, as well as a very active undergraduate Philosophy Society that organises talks, debates, parties and other social events.
  • The Philosophy Department have been taking their Honours students to Burn House in Angus on reading parties for many decades, a tradition that continues to the present day.


Philosophy teaching and staff are mainly accommodated in Edgecliffe, a large detached house in the Scottish Baronial style situated on a small cliff with views across St Andrews Bay to the eastern Grampian mountains.

Edgecliffe provides exceptionally pleasant and comfortable surroundings for teaching and research. It contains:

  • a departmental library with about 5,000 volumes
  • three seminar rooms, rooms for all academic staff
  • computing facilities
  • secretarial offices
  • a common room and a kitchen.

The main University Library across the road has a very substantial philosophy collection, including around 100 current philosophy journals. The Arché Centre is housed at 17-19 College Street, about a five minute walk from Edgecliffe.

Strategic plan

The Department of is part of the School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies whose Strategic Plan 2021 – 2026 (PDF) outlines School and Department aspirations, aims and commitment to world leading and inclusive teaching and research.