Philosophy MA (Hons) 2020 entry
The MA (Hons) in Philosophy will familiarise you with the views put forward by the principal figures of the philosophical tradition. It will also provide you with the means of rationally and independently assessing arguments. Studying Philosophy is about acquiring skills of criticism and analysis, of clear thinking and principled debate.
During your studies, you will explore some of the oldest and most complex questions asked by human beings from Greek antiquity to the present day. For example: what differentiates truth from falsehood, and reality from appearance? Are we really free in our decisions and actions, or is freedom an illusion? Are moral values objective, and if so in what sense? What justifies some in exercising power over others?
Master of Arts (single Honours degree)
Four years full time
- Start date: 7 September 2020
- End date: 30 June 2024
Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
- Standard entry grades: AAAB
- Minimum entry grades: AABB
- Gateway entry grades: BBBB
- Standard entry grades: AAB
- Minimum entry grades: ABB
- Standard entry grades: 36 (HL 6,6,5)
- Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5)
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.How to apply
Do I need to have studied this subject before?
No previous knowledge of this subject is required.
General entry requirements
All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.
More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.
St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.
Research in the Department was rated top in Scotland in the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2019 as 95% of St Andrews final year students were satisfied with the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
In the first two years of your degree, as a sub-honours student, you will take Philosophy modules alongside modules in at least one other subject.
Typically, you will take one Philosophy module per semester during your first two years (though you may take more), and two modules per semester during your third and fourth year. Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.
Students must take the following compulsory first-year module alongside other Philosophy modules:
- Reasoning: introduces the essential concepts and techniques of critical reasoning, formal propositional logic, and basic predicate logic.
Students interested in Philosophy can also choose from a number of other philosophical modules which cover topics including metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, ethics, history of philosophy, and political philosophy. Find a full list of first-year Philosophy modules in the module catalogue.
Students must take at least two Philosophy modules in their second year. The following second-year modules are available for students to choose from:
- Intermediate Logic: aims to further develop students’ understanding of formal logic by the study of a broad array of systems of logic.
- Foundations of Western Philosophy: aims to introduce students to the foundational philosophical thought of Ancient Greece, from the pre-Socratics to the Hellenistic period.
- Meaning and Knowing: aims to provide a comprehensive foundation in both epistemology (the theory of knowledge) and the philosophy of language.
- Moral and Aesthetic Value: aims to provide an introduction to the philosophy of value, exploring what it is to make aesthetic or moral judgements or statements, and the status of these.
If you decide to take Philosophy in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including modules in applied ethics, logic, and the history of philosophy.
Philosophy Honours modules which have been offered in previous years include:
- Advanced Logic
- Advanced Metaethics
- Animals, Minds and Language
- Classical Philosophy
- Conceptual Engineering and its Role in Philosophy
- Contemporary Epistemology
- Contemporary Moral Theory
- Contemporary Philosophy of Language
- Continental European Philosophy from Descartes to Leibniz
- Core Works in Continental Philosophy
- Effective Altruism
- Kant’s Critical Philosophy
- Philosophy and Literature
- Philosophy and Public Affairs: Global Justice
- Philosophy, Feminism and Gender
- Philosophy of Perception
- Political Philosophy
- Responsibility, Praise and Blame
- The Philosophy of Human Rights
- Work, Entitlement, and Welfare.
In fourth year, students may also undertake a 7,500-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.
The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.
Joint Honours degrees
You can take Philosophy as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects.
"My diverse background (I was born in Korea and have lived in China) has always made me question my identity and this led to being interested in metaphysics. The size of the Department makes for a friendly and focused environment, and our lecturers and tutors are always ready to help students.”
Youngju (Seoul, South Korea)