Philosophy at St Andrews

For prospective undergraduates

Philosophy at St Andrews

It is one of the great advantages of the Scottish university system that you can experiment with subjects you have not taken at school. During the first two years you can try out courses in Philosophy, alongside other subjects, without committing yourself to taking the subject further.

The great majority of those who graduate in Philosophy at St Andrews did not start in that direction, but have tasted it and fallen in love with what they find it to be.

St Andrews offers courses across the full range of philosophy, and modules provided at First and Second level in the different areas of the subject can be treated as independent components in the degree structure. The teaching staff are numerous and can specialise in widely different areas. St Andrews is one of the larger centres of philosophical studies in Britain.

Teaching & Assessment

"I transferred into Philosophy after my first semester of courses in the subject. The department is small and friendly (like many departments in St Andrews) but it is also an outstanding department in academic respects; the teaching is excellent and it's a top-rated research department. I particularly enjoyed going on study weekends in the Scottish Highlands with staff and students. When I told my tutors that I wanted to apply for a place on a prestigious PhD programme in the States they were very helpful.

It is largely thanks to their teaching and support that I can write this from my office in the Philosophy Department at Princeton."

Gill Russell, who took Joint Honours in Philosophy and German

Each First and Second level module is worth 20 credits and consists of three or four lectures per week, plus a weekly tutorial meeting in a small group of 7-10 students. Students intending to proceed to MA Honours in Philosophy must take at least 40 credits in Philosophy at First and Second level (30 credits for those entering BSc Honours Philosophy). It is possible, though, to take as many as 80 credits in Philosophy at each of First and Second level (if you’re really keen!)

Assessment at sub-Honours level is by a mixture of essays and, where appropriate, logic exercises (continuous assessment) and examinations (50-50). First level Philosophy modules are very popular, attracting students from a wide range of disciplines. About 50 students proceed each year into Honours.

The Honours component of degree study consists of core modules in reading philosophy, and advanced modules in a wide range of options, from metaphysics to the philosophy of art, and from advanced logic to political philosophy. You may also opt to write a dissertation in your final year.

Asking rates

Details of current Asking Rates are available in the Philosophy Prospectus.

Honours options

Single Honours Philosophy


Philosophy and Ancient History, Arabic, Art History, Biblical Studies, Classical Studies, Classics, Economics, English, French*, German*, Greek, International Relations, Italian*, Latin, Management, Mathematics, Mediaeval History, Modern History, Psychology, Russian*, Scottish History, Social Anthropology, Spanish*, Statistics, Theological Studies


BSc Philosophy and [one of]: Biology, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics

Entrance Bursaries 

The University awards up to four Entrance Bursaries, worth £500, to entrant students in Philosophy (Joint or Single Honours) who are of Scottish domicile. Applications should be made on the application form obtainable from the Admissions Centre, and normally enclosed with the offer of a place. The closing date is 1 March and successful applicants will normally be notified early in April.

Please see the fees and funding section on the University website for more details on bursaries.