Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Political Philosophy A PHIL5012

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

A Masters level course in Political Philosophy which develops undergraduate level understanding of the field towards a foundation for postgraduate research in Philosophy.


6 two-hour seminars and 2 one-hour occasional tutorials. In addition to the 2 one-hour tutorials, students receive (1) immediate oral feedback on presentations at seminars; (2) written feedback on short non-assessed essays written during the semester; (3) availability of course lecturers during office hours.

This course may not run every year. Options running this year are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level with the first degree being in Philosophy.

Excluded Courses

All courses in Philosophy associated with the MLitt Philosophy.




One essay of 4000-5000 words

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Develop students' undergraduate level understanding of Political Philosophy to a level which allow them to engage with contemporary positions and arguments in the field

■ Enable students to articulate and critically evaluate their own position within these contemporary issues

■ Provide a foundation in this field for future engagement in original research in Philosophy

■ Provide the opportunity to achieve a foundation that equips the student for research leading to a Ph.D. on the topics of political legitimacy and authority; duties and obligations, utility and common good; natural justice; consent and contract.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able:

■ To explain the leading contemporary positions and arguments in Political Philosophy

■ To articulate arguments for and against these theories, and compare them fruitfully and critically

■ To recognise and incorporate contemporary positions and arguments in Political Philosophy into their own developing research fields where relevant

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's

summative assessment.