History of Philosophy (MLitt) 2016 entry

The MLitt in the History of Philosophy focuses on the historical traditions of western philosophy, allowing students to study across a range of periods - from the classical period through to early analytic philosophy.

Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course duration

One year full time; two years part time.

Entry requirements

A very strong 2.1 Honours degree in or including Philosophy. If you do not have an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, you may be interested in the Conversion in Philosophy.

If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.

English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

Tuition fees

UK and EU: £6,800
Overseas: £16,250

Application deadline

Application requirements

  • CV
  • sample of academic written work (no more than 2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • English language requirements certificate
  • letter of intent (optional).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes. 

If you are looking to start this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 History of Philosophy MLitt page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in our archive.

Greek philosophy busts

The MLitt in Logic and Metaphysics is run by SASP.

More information on the application process can be found on the SASP website

Course information


  • Students can choose modules which best suit their interests, with topics ranging from the classical philosophy of Plato through to the work of contemporary philosophers. 
  • Writing a 15,000 word dissertation in a topic of your choosing gives fantastic experience for those looking to go on to PhD level study.
  • The St Andrews and Stirling Graduate Programme was ranked the third best Philosophy programme in the UK in the latest Philosophical Gourmet Report.

Teaching format

The History of Philosophy MLitt is a one year taught postgraduate programme run by the St Andrews and Stirling Graduate Programme in Philosophy (SASP), taught by staff from both the University of St Andrews and the University of Stirling. It offers the ability to study a range of different philosophical periods, from the classical period, via mediaeval philosophy, modern philosophy, including the Scottish Enlightenment and Kant, to early analytic philosophy. If you are interested in focusing on the inter-connected questions, themes and topics which span these periods, the History of Philosophy MLitt is a good choice. 

Students have the opportunity to study a range of philosophical periods through lectures, tutorials and reading groups. Modules are taught in small groups of four to ten students, with all postgraduate taught students in the department participating in the compulsory Current Issues modules. In 2014-2015, there were approximately 30 postgraduate taught students in the Department.

The programme consists of six taught modules taken over two semesters (each assessed by coursework) a 15,000 word dissertation in an area of your choice.

Every MLitt student is assigned an adviser at the beginning of the year. Your adviser will provide you with individual guidance on essay planning and writing, academic conduct, and advice on how best to apply for a PhD place.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue.

Compulsory modules

Students must take three compulsory modules over the course of the programme. These are:

Semester 1 – these two compulsory modules are taught in Stirling on Mondays. A coach will take you to and from Stirling without additional cost.

  • Current Issues in Philosophy 1: focuses on epistemology and ethics.
  • Research Methods: aims to foster the range of skills required for independent research in Philosophy. Students may choose to join a seminar group most related to their interests.

Semester 2

Optional module

You will also have the opportunity to choose three modules from a selection of modules which focus on the history of philosophy. These module may include:

Optional modules are subject to change each year, and attendance may be limited (see the University’s position on curriculum development).

If you wish to brush up on your knowledge of logic, or if you have limited prior experience in this area, there is also an optional weekly seminar, Basic Logic, throughout the year. 

The modules listed ran in the academic year 2015-2016 and are indicative of this course. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2016 entry.

Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


The final element of the MLitt is a 15,000 word dissertation. The dissertation should be on an area of Philosophy you are interested in; you will be encouraged to start considering a topic for the dissertation during Semester 2. Each student is supported through their dissertation by a relevant supervisor from the Department.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.

Part time studies

The History of Philosophy MLitt can also be taken as a part time programme. Students will be expected to take three modules per year over two years, working on the dissertation over two summers. For more information about part time study, please contact the SASP secretary by emailing sasp@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Conferences and events

Studying the MLitt is enhanced by a busy programme of conferences, workshops and visiting speakers from universities in the UK and from abroad. This includes:

This is accompanied by a wide range of student-led reading groups and informal seminars.


There are the following competitive scholarships for History of Philosophy MLitt students:

Philosophical Quarterly bursaries

SASP will be funding a number of bursaries for students in the MLitt programme in 2016-2017 courtesy of generous funding provided by the Philosophical Quarterly journal. Each bursary will cover the cost of tuition fees at the Home/EU feel level and the Home/EU fee waiver can be awarded to an Overseas fee-paying student, who will then be required to meet the remainder of the tuition fee from other sources.

Applicants who wish to be considered for an award should submit their MLitt application by 12 February 2016. All applications received by this date will be considered for these bursaries.

Carnegie-Cameron Bursaries

Scottish students may apply for a Carnegie-Cameron bursary of up to £4,000.

Other taught postgraduate scholarships

St Andrews and Stirling are both committed to helping as many students as possible continue in higher education through scholarship opportunities. There are a wide range of postgraduate scholarships available for you to apply to either via the university or directly via charitable organisations.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships at the University of St Andrews.

You are also eligible to apply for funding opportunities available via the University of Stirling.

After the MLitt

Research degrees

If you have successfully completed the Philosophy of History MLitt, you may be able to proceed onto the SASP MPhil. This involves converting your 15,000-word MLitt dissertation into a 40,000-word dissertation, which is examined by an internal and external examiner at the end of the second year.

Students who graduate from the MLitt or MPhil are eligible to apply for a Philosophy PhD programme.

Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% reduction in postgraduate tuition fees for students who have graduated during the last three years and are now starting a postgraduate programme.

PhD in Philosophy


Recent graduates in Philosophy have found openings in local government, television production (Sky Sports), the National Health Service, the Co-operative Bank, insurance, the Crown Prosecution Service, publishing, and teaching English in Japan.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.


Department of Philosophy
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AR

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2486
Email: philosophy@st-andrews.ac.uk

Philosophy research portal   Philosophy website

St Andrews and Stirling Graduate Programme in Philosophy (SASP)

For further information regarding the application process, please contact the SASP secretary by emailing sasp@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Email: sasp@st-andrews.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2487

SASP website

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB)