MA Philosophy of Biological and Cognitive SciencesFind a programme
|Faculty||Faculty of Arts|
One year full-time;
two years part-time
|Location of programme||Clifton campus|
|Part-time study available||Yes|
|Start date||September 2022|
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 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.
Virtual open week
This programme was covered in our Philosophy and Religion webinar.
Fees for 2022/23
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022/23 are as follows:
- UK: full-time
- UK: part-time (two years)
- Overseas: full-time
Following the recent changes to fee assessment regulation, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students will no longer be charged a separate tuition fee. From the 2021/22 academic year they will be charged the same fees as Home students.
Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.
University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.
Funding for 2022/23
Funding and studentship opportunities are listed on the Faculty of Arts funding pages.
Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.
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 would 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.
An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) with a minimum average of 65 per cent. 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.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.
Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.
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.
Expected application closure date
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REF 2014 results
- 31% of research is world-leading (4*)
- 51% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
- 17% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
- 1% of research is recognised nationally (1*)
Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.