Taught course

History of Philosophy

University of St Andrews · Philosophy Department
MLittPGDipConversion Diploma

Entry requirements

A good first degree in Philosophy: a UK upper second class honours degree or its equivalent (or the equivalent level of pass in the "St Andrews-Stirling programme" (SASP) Conversion Diploma).

Months of entry


Course content

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.


  • 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.

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.

Information for international students

Minimum IELTS score of 7.0 (or equivalent). Specific details are available here: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/elt/entry/

Fees and funding

UK students
International students


Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months


part time
21 months
full time
9 months

Conversion Diploma

part time
21 months
full time
9 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations44
Written coursework / continuous assessment22
Dissertation34 (15000 words)

Course contact details

Postgraduate Secretary
+44 (0) 1334 462486