The Department of Philosophy has exceptional research strength in philosophy of physics, and very strong links with the University's School of Physics. The latest Philosophical Gourmet Report ranked Bristol as the fourth strongest department in the UK for Philosophy of Physics and the joint strongest for General Philosophy of Science. The department is home to the Centre for Science and Philosophy and regularly hosts major research projects in philosophy of science (see our research pages).

This MA draws on these outstanding research strengths. It is intended both for students who wish to specialise in philosophy of physics at a higher level, and for individuals with a background in physics or mathematics who wish to make a transition to philosophy and foundations of physics.

The MA is an exciting programme consisting of taught components in philosophy and physics, as well as a dissertation which 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.

As a postgraduate student, you will be an active member of the department's flourishing research culture. You will be encouraged to take part in the weekly departmental research seminar and the specialised philosophy of science seminars, often featuring well-known scholars in the field, from Bristol and beyond (see our events pages). There is also a weekly postgraduate seminar, where you may present your own work before your peers and learn to develop your argumentative strategies in a supportive environment.

Programme structure

The programme consists of five taught units in philosophy, two taught master's units in physics, a unit selected from a range of options, 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 physics including the foundations of quantum mechanics and the symmetry in spacetime theories. You will also get the chance to engage with topics in cutting edge philosophy of science and undertake a further optional unit. Finally, this interdisciplinary programme includes the opportunity to study advanced topics in School of Physics that typically include relativistic field theory and the foundations of modern physics.

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 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 Physics.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) with a minimum average of 65% in physics, mathematics (or a programme with a major component in physics or mathematics, for example natural sciences or joint honours physics/mathematics and philosophy). Alternative qualifications can be considered if the relevant skills are demonstrated.

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. 

Bristol Master's Scholarship 

£2,000 scholarships available for UK students from underrepresented groups applying for full-time master's programmes. Find out more about the Bristol Master's Scholarships and check your eligibility to apply

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

The MA in Philosophy of Physics is an ideal platform for further studies in philosophy or foundations of physics. This course will also provide students with a background in mathematics or physics with an opportunity to develop verbal, written and argumentative skills that are highly valued by employers.