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.

You can design a path to match your interests by choosing one of the following seven specialist pathways, each dedicated to a key area of contemporary philosophical research:

  • Ethics

  • Epistemology and Metaphysics

  • Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics

  • Philosophy and History of Science

  • Philosophy of Biological and Cognitive Sciences

  • Philosophy of Physics

  • Political Philosophy

Each pathway has distinct mandatory units, providing the foundation to develop specialist expertise in a particular area of philosophy. 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 events, including research seminars, workshops and reading groups. There is also a dedicated weekly postgraduate seminar with a friendly and supportive environment.

Programme structure

For all pathways, the programme consists of six taught units and a dissertation of 15,000 words.

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

Each pathway has between two and four further mandatory units for that pathway. For the Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics and the Philosophy of Physics pathways, these include advanced units in Mathematics and Physics, so it is recommended that only students with significant relevant mathematical experience enter onto these pathways. The remainder of the taught element of your programme is made up of optional units. There will be a choice of available specialist units. 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 in line with your pathway specialisation, 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%. Applications will be considered with any undergraduate degree. Many students gain admission to our programme with prior training in philosophy. However, the pathways within our programme also make it particularly suited to students with non-philosophy backgrounds (e.g. physics for the Philosophy of Physics pathway; maths for the Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics pathway; psychology or biology for the Philosophy of Biological and Cognitive Sciences pathway; or politics or sociology for the Political Philosophy pathway). If your degree is not in philosophy, we may ask you to provide a sample of your writing to demonstrate writing and research capability.

We will consider applicants whose interim grades are currently slightly lower than the programme's entry requirements. We may make these applicants an aspirational offer. This offer would be at the standard level, so the applicant would need to achieve the standard entry requirements by the end of their degree. Specific module requirements may still apply.

We will consider applicants whose grades are slightly lower than the programme's entry requirements, if they have at least one of the following:

  • evidence of significant, relevant work experience;
  • a relevant postgraduate qualification.

If this is the case, applicants should include their CV (curriculum vitae / résumé) when they apply, showing details of their relevant work experience and/or qualifications.

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
£14,000 per year
UK: part-time (two years)
£7,000 per year
Overseas: full-time
£28,300 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 2024/25

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 Philosophy MAs at Bristol have gone on to careers in counselling, journalism, management, scientific research, teaching, policy development, scientific administration, medical ethics, and roles in the IT sector, among other things. A number of MA graduates have gone on to study at MPhil/PhD level and develop careers as philosophy academics.