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Philosophy of Biological and Cognitive Sciences MA

Philosophy of Biological and Cognitive Sciences MA

Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Philosophy Biology (General) Cognitive Psychology

Course type


Course Summary

Programme overview

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 (2017/18) as the strongest department in the UK for the philosophy of biology and the joint strongest for general philosophy of science. The department was recently home to a European Research Council project on Darwinism and the Theory of Rational Choice that explored connections between biological and cognitive science research.

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. You will be encouraged to attend and participate in both the weekly departmental research seminar and in the Philosophy and History of Science seminar, which often features well-known scholars in the field, from Bristol and beyond. The department has strong links with the School of Psychological Science, the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology.


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.

Different course options

Full time | Clifton Campus | 1 year | SEP-20

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date



Those students who obtain satisfactory marks on the taught units are allowed to proceed to the dissertation stage. In consultation with their advisor, students choose an area of philosophy in which they would like to work. They are then assigned an appropriate dissertation advisor with whom they meet regularly on an individual basis. Aims: To produce an independent and original piece of research on a topic of the student’s choice. The student will work closely with a carefully selected adviser, but the dissertation is the student’s own work, reflecting his or her creative and intellectual capacities and research skills. The choice of subject is the student’s own, but help and guidance will be provided in the process of identifying a suitable topic and defining its focus.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) with a minimum average of 65 per cent in a science subject (typically biological science or psychology) or philosophy, or a degree with a major philosophical component.