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Centres, institutes and groups

At the University of St Andrews, much of the philosophical activity is focused on the three research centres and institutes. They serve to enhance the research of academic staff and strengthen the overall research community. In addition, they further the education of PhD, MPhil, and MLitt students, and they engage with other departments and the public.


Arché was founded in 1998. Its mission is to conduct and foster collaborative research on fundamental issues in metaphysics, epistemology and the philosophies of logic, language, mathematics and mind. It provides a dedicated training environment for postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers.

With hundreds of members around the world, the philosophers affiliated with the Arché centre are responsible for shaping many of the most important discussions in contemporary philosophy.

Kevin Scharp is the Director of Arché. The centre hosts visits from several Professorial Fellows and currently has five research groups:

Visit the Arché website.

Exterior of the Arche building in College Street

Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs

CEPPA was founded in 1984 and houses research projects, outreach projects, seminars, conferences, academic visits, fellowships, publishing, and public discussion. Its mission is to promote exploration into important ethical issues arising in public life. Its field of interest comprises ethics, social and political philosophy, and the philosophical dimensions of public affairs.

Dr Ben Sachs is the Director of CEPPA. The centre has seven current projects, with the aim of advancing thematically focused research and outreach in potentially high impact areas:

  • Effective Altruism
  • Knowledge, Democracy, and Public Discourse
  • Philosophy and Education
  • Virtue and Character
  • Human Rights
  • Exoplanet Ethics
  • Blame and Responsibility

Visit the CEPPA website.

CEPPA crest

St Andrews Institute for Gender Studies

StAIGS was founded in 2018. In collaboration with the Graduate School, it will be welcoming its first class of MLitt students in Gender Studies in Autumn 2020. While housed within the Philosophy Department, StAIGS is unique in its approach as a deeply interdisciplinary research institute with more than 130 academic staff members from more than 20 different disciplines within the University of St Andrews.

StAIGS is strongly committed to an intersectional analysis of the phenomena it examines, understanding that gender, class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, power, and inequality are inextricably connected.

Dr Alison Duncan Kerr is the Director of StAIGS. In addition to hosting and supporting workshops, conferences, and public events, StAIGS has several standing activities:

  • Internal Interdisciplinary Speaker Series
  • External Speaker Series
  • Feminist Reading Group
  • Feminist Film Series.

STAIGS is now accepting applications for an MLitt in Gender Studies.

Visit the StAIGS website.

Students with a rainbow flag

Ancient Philosophy

St Andrews has a strong and diverse ancient philosophy community with equal resources in Classics and Philosophy. It inherits a distinguished tradition (the great scholars Lewis Campbell, John Burnet, A. E. Taylor, and Ian Kidd all worked at St Andrews), and the group carries it forward. Faculty and postgraduates from both departments have collaborated on workshops and conferences, and the collaboration is ongoing.

Visit the Ancient Philosophy website and the Greek reading group page.

Aristotle Politics, Papyrus 11, 2nd century CE