Overview

The Department of Philosophy has outstanding research strength in the fields of philosophy of biology, philosophy of psychology and philosophy of cognitive sciences. We are ranked by the latest Philosophical Gourmet Report as the strongest department in the UK for the philosophy of biology and the joint strongest for general philosophy of science. The department is home to the Centre for Science and Philosophy and currently hosts a number of major research grants in the philosophy of science, including an ERC Advanced Grant on "Representing Evolution", investigating how biological evolution is represented in scientific literature and communication. See our department's research page.

This MA builds on these outstanding research strengths. It is intended for graduates of philosophy, psychology or biology who wish to study philosophy of science with an emphasis on the biological and cognitive sciences. The programme focuses on philosophical issues arising from these scientific disciplines. The history of science is studied in terms of the philosophical debate about the nature of scientific method and knowledge.

As a postgraduate student, you will be an active member of the department's flourishing research culture and will be encouraged to take part in our regular research seminars, workshops and reading groups, including regular seminars in philosophy of science, featuring well-known scholars in the field from Bristol and beyond (see our events pages). There is also a dedicated postgraduate seminar, where you will have the opportunity to present your own work, helping you to develop your ideas in a supportive environment.

Programme structure

The programme consists of six taught units and a 15,000-word dissertation.

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 advanced topics in the philosophy of biology and cognitive science. You will also get the opportunity to engage with topics in cutting edge philosophy of science and undertake further optional units.

Following the taught element, you will 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 of Biological and Cognitive Sciences.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) with a minimum average of 65%. This is usually in philosophy or a science subject (typically biological science or psychology). 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.

Go to admissions statement

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.

Alumni discount

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.

Career prospects

Students who have completed the MA in Philosophy of Biological and Cognitive Sciences have gone on to careers in teaching and science administration. A number of MA graduates pursue further studies in either philosophy or science.