The MA in Philosophy will give you a thorough grounding in the core knowledge and skills required for philosophical research, while also allowing you to pursue your own philosophical interests in depth.

Bristol ranks as one of the top ten philosophy departments in the UK in the Philosophical Gourmet Report and QS University Rankings. Our staff have diverse research interests and expertise across a wide range of philosophical areas (see our research pages).

The MA is an exciting programme that provides an opportunity to design a path to match your philosophical interests. You will take three core taught units plus three additional units that you will select from a range of options. Your dissertation is an opportunity to work on an extended and original piece of research on a topic of your choosing, with guidance from a research supervisor. You will develop a deep knowledge and understanding of key areas of philosophy and a sophisticated ability to critically evaluate and assess philosophical theories.

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 (see our events pages). There is also a dedicated weekly postgraduate seminar with a friendly and supportive environment.

Programme structure

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

The Philosophical Writing and Research Seminar unit equips students with analytical tools and argumentative strategies essential for graduate level study and research in philosophy. Skills learnt in this unit are transferable into a vocational context and as such are highly valued by employers.

The two further mandatory units will study some key central areas of philosophy including metaphysics, epistemology, moral philosophy, and other areas of value theory.

The remainder of the taught element of your programme is made up of three optional units. There will be a choice of available specialist units. You will also be able to take advantage of our range of units available at undergraduate level via a Personal Option Unit where you may undertake the teaching of an undergraduate level unit to guide your development of a master's level assignment. You also have the option to undertake guided independent research into an agreed topic of your choice, working with a project supervisor.

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 by a member of academic staff.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our MA in Philosophy.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) with a minimum average of 65%. This is usually in philosophy, however other students can apply and should evidence their aptitude and interest in the application.

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 have gone on to careers as counsellors, journalists and teachers of philosophy. A number of MA graduates have gone on to study at MPhil/PhD level and develop careers as philosophy academics.