MA Philosophy and History of Science
We are among the top UK institutions for philosophy of science. Our expertise is in a broad range of areas related to the philosophy and history of the specific sciences, including physics, biology, mathematics, logic, medicine and psychology. The latest Philosophical Gourmet Report ranked Bristol highly for philosophy of biology, general philosophy of science and philosophy of physics. We regularly host major research grants in philosophy of science. (See our research page.)
Our MA draws on these strengths. It is intended both for students who have a first degree in philosophy who wish to specialise in philosophy of science at a higher level, and for individuals with a background in pure science who wish to make a transition to philosophy of science or to explore foundational issues within the sciences.
The emphasis of the programme is on philosophical issues arising from specific scientific disciplines, with particular focus on physics, biology and mathematics. The history of science is studied in terms of the philosophical debate about the nature of scientific method and knowledge.
You will be an active member of the department's flourishing research culture and will be encouraged to attend and participate in regular research seminars, workshops and reading groups, including philosophy of science seminars, featuring well-known scholars (see our events pages). There is also a weekly postgraduate seminar, where you may present your own work and learn to develop your argumentative strategies in a supportive environment.
The programme consists of six taught units and a dissertation of 15,000 words.
The Philosophical Writing and Research Seminar unit is taken by all MA students in the Department of Philosophy and equips students with analytical tools and argumentative strategies essential for graduate level study and research in philosophy.
In further taught units, you will study topics in cutting edge philosophy of science and history of science, as well as selecting units from a range of available options, for example philosophy of physics and philosophy of biology.
Following the taught element, you would work on a dissertation on an approved topic of your choosing, with most of the work on this taking place over the summer. This is your chance to produce an extended piece of original philosophical research, guided by one-on-one supervisions with a member of academic staff. Some students use this as preparation for a graduate research degree.
Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our MA in Philosophy and History of Science.
An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) with a minimum average of 65%. This is usually in philosophy or a science subject. Alternative qualifications can be considered if the relevant skills are demonstrated, applicants who do not hold a Philosophy degree will be required to upload a writing sample.
See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.
Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.
If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level C.
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.
Fees and funding
- UK: full-time
- £12,600 per year
- UK: part-time (two years)
- £6,300 per year
- Overseas: full-time
- £25,200 per year
Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.
More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.
University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.
Funding for 2023/24
Funding and studentship opportunities are listed on the Faculty of Arts funding pages.
Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.
Students who have completed the MA in Philosophy and History of Science have taken up careers in teaching, the IT sector, and scientific administration. Some students also progress into postgraduate research programmes.
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