The Conversion Diploma


The Conversion Diploma is designed for students without a first degree in philosophy who wish to pursue study in philosophy at the graduate level. It consists of two semesters of coursework, involving a selection of undergraduate modules—typically advanced Honours modules and one or two core modules. Though your modules are drawn from the undergraduate Programme, we treat you as part of the large, friendly, and flourishing graduate community. Should you choose to do so, you can progress onto our MLitt MPhil Programme (given satisfactory performance on your modules). 

The Conversion Diploma is proving to be an increasingly popular Programme. It draws students from all over the world. Typically, there are 8-10 students taking the Conversion Diploma from a variety of backgrounds—theology, fine art, modern languages, science, and the humanities. Though most of our students go on to study Philosophy at the Masters level (and many go on to pursue philosophy at PhD level and beyond), many students use the Conversion Diploma as a stepping-stone to careers in law, the tech industry, NGOs, policy institutes, advertising, mental health, consultancy, as well as to further study at the graduate level in subjects connected to philosophy, such as Psychology, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Logic, Political Science, and the Social Sciences more generally. 

The Conversion Diploma includes a seminar on how to plan and write a philosophy essay. There is also an essay feedback seminar where you can get feedback on how to improve your essays. These two seminars ensure that you will be able to get to grips with philosophical writing, and the demands of the Programme more generally, whatever your academic background.

You are also assigned an academic advisor, Dr Patrick Greenough, who will guide your studies, help you adapt to philosophical research, as well as give you advice on how to apply for study at the Masters level and beyond. We also have a dedicated careers advisor Kristyn Emmer who will be very happy to meet with you to discuss your career and study options beyond the Conversion Diploma.

There is also an optional (not for credit) module in Basic Logic. This module is for those with little or no logic under their belt who wish to pick up the basic techniques of logic. It consists of a relaxed and friendly two-hour seminar on Fridays—the first hour is devoted to a lecture and in the second hour the class works through some examples together. This optional module has proved to be extremely popular with our MLitt and Conversion Diploma students. (You don’t need to be at all good at mathematics to take it. It’s designed to help you improve your analytical and argumentative skills.)

All Conversion Diploma students are fully part of the graduate community at St Andrews. You are welcome to the attend the many conferences, workshops, seminars, speaker series, and other events hosted by the Department of Philosophy, the Arché Research Centre, the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs (CEPPA), as well as the events run by the new Institute for Gender Studies. We also actively encourage you to get together as a group each week outside of class hours—we are particularly keen on fostering a collegial, non-competitive, and mutually supportive academic environment in which to pursue your studies.    

We also invite you along to the Graduate Reading Party which is held every October and which has been running successfully for over twenty-five years. This involves a trip to the Scottish Highlands for a long weekend of walks, talks, reading, and conversation. It provides a great opportunity to get to know the other graduate students (of which there are over sixty) and to meet and interact with staff members. This year, the Reading Party will take place on the weekend of 19th October to 22nd October 2018 at The Old Inn, Carbost, Skye. Full details of the reading party will be circulated at the start of the session.

You may also study for the Conversion Diploma part-time over four semesters/ two years.

Please get in touch with the Director of the Conversion Diploma Programme, Dr Patrick Greenough, for further information and advice. And please come up to visit St Andrews if you wish to know more. We will be very happy to show you around and introduce you to students already on the Programme. The next general Postgraduate Visiting Day is on Wednesday 14th November 2018, though you are welcome to visit us any time.


Further details about the Conversion Diploma Programme, including details about fees, can be found here.  


To apply click here.


Our Current Conversion Diploma Students can be found here.



A Selection of Testimonials


“The conversion course allowed me to quickly pick up the basics of doing philosophy: the lectures were excellent, and it was inspiring to be surrounded by fellow students who had already studied philosophy for years and knew what they were doing. I had time to explore which areas of philosophy I was drawn to, and I found some wonderful friends and a home in the St Andrews philosophy community”. Caroline Touborg, Class of 2011-12. (Caroline went on to take our MLitt and PhD degrees in Philosophy. She is now a Postdoc on the Lund-Gothenburg Responsibility Project.)







“I completed my undergraduate degree in Medicine in Sudan and decided, after six years from my graduation, to shift my career to philosophy. Coming from a completely different cultural and educational background, I was unsure of how I would face the academic and financial obstacles ahead and concerned of how I could compete, to progress in this new career, with those who studied their undergraduate degree in philosophy from all over the world. However, thanks to St Andrews’ supportive, educative and embracing department I found the SASP Conversion Diploma a very smooth, solid and enlightening transition. I managed through this program to considerably raise my philosophical skills and academic endurance. I completed the SASP MLitt and proceeded to the SASP PhD, receiving funding from the department to complete both degrees.” Amr Yassin, Class of 2016-2017, starting his PhD on the SASP Programme in January 2019.



More testimonials coming soon …





This page was last updated (by Patrick Greenough) on 12th October 2018.