Philosophy MA/BSc/MA(SocSci)

Philosophy students

Philosophy is the systematic attempt to arrive at clear answers to profound questions about issues such as knowledge, life, morality, science and human nature using reason and argument.

We host reading parties for students, usually in the Highlands, and have a flourishing undergraduate Philosophy Society.

  • September start
  • Session dates
  • Philosophy MA (Hons): V502 4 year degree

Programme structure

Year 1

You will study two courses, which will introduce you to a range of philosophical tools and ideas by thinking through a series of tough philosophical questions.

  • How should I think? – will help you think critically about what to believe and how to behave in everyday life, start you thinking about the relationship between your mind and the world, and give you the tools to reason formally.
  • How should I live? – goes on to think about what makes actions good or bad, and uses this to explore practical questions about how to behave, as well as some deeper questions about the meaning of life and death.

Year 2

You will study two more courses, continuing to build your knowledge of the basic philosophical toolkit by exploring tough questions.

  • What am I? – looks at our minds, our free will, and our identities as individuals and members of societies.
  • What is there? – addresses foundational questions about logic, metaphysics, science and religion, to help clarify our place in the universe.

By the end of your second year you will have experience of most core areas of philosophy, as well as having practical know-how about how to draw on those areas to develop your own answers to the questions we explore in years 1 & 2.

You will also study other subjects in years 1 and 2: see Flexible degrees.

Years 3 and 4

If you progress to Honours (years 3 and 4) you will choose courses giving you an in-depth knowledge of core areas like epistemology, metaphysics, formal logic, moral philosophy, philosophy of mind, and political philosophy.

You will also take high-level specialist courses linked to the active research of lecturers and researchers in the subject.

In year 4 you will have the opportunity to write a dissertation, working one-to-one with a member of staff on a topic of your choice.

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Our international links

We encourage our students to study abroad (usually during year 3). We have an exchange scheme with the University of Barcelona and our Philosophy students have also studied in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark and Finland. See Study abroad.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2021

Applicants to subject-combinations with Psychology must meet the Psychology degree programme entry requirements.

Summary of entry requirements for Philosophy

SQA Higher Entry Requirements (by end of S6)

  • AAAAA Higher or AAAA Higher + B Advanced Higher (BBBB S5 minimum for consideration)
  • Additional requirements: Higher English and a Higher Humanities subject.

SQA Higher Adjusted Entry Requirements* (by end of S6)

  • Additional requirements: Higher English and a Higher Humanities subject. Successful completion of Top-Up or one of our Summer Schools.

* See Access Glasgow for eligibility.

A-level Standard Entry Requirements

  • AAB – BBB
  • Additional requirements: one A-level Humanities subject.

IB Standard Entry Requirements

  • 36 (6,6,5 HL) – 32 (6,5,5 HL)
  • Additional requirements: HL English and HL Humanities subject.

2021 Admissions Policy and further information about entry requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

English language requirements

Important information for entry in Autumn 2020 and January 2021

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications:

  • ibTOEFL*: 90; no sub-test less than: Reading: 20; Listening: 19; Speaking: 19; Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • IGCSE: English as a First Language (0500/0522): C in Reading and Writing, plus 1 in Listening, 2 in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • IGCSE: English as a Second Language (0510/0511): A in Reading and Writing, plus A in Listening, 2/B in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact External Relations

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:

Visa requirements and proof of English language level

It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.

For further information about English language, please see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.

Career prospects

You will develop transferable skills and attributes which will be valuable in your future career. These include the ability to evaluate arguments and interpret texts, the facility to be analytical, the skill to think and write clearly and precisely, and the capacity to question assumptions. 

Some of our graduates go on to study for postgraduate degrees in Philosophy and to teach in universities. Examples of recent destinations for Philosophy graduates include:

  • Hydrogen Group (recruitment consultant)
  • Hopscotch Films (TV researcher)
  • The Guardian (audience editor)
  • Civil Service fast track (Treasury and MoD).

Degrees and UCAS codes

When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:

MA (Hons)

Philosophy: V502 (4 years)
Philosophy/Ancient History: VV15 (4 years)
Philosophy/Business & Management: NVF5 (4 years)
Philosophy/Celtic Civilisation: QV55 (4 years)
Philosophy/Celtic Studies: QVM5 (4 years)
Philosophy/Central & East European Studies: VR85 (4 years)
Philosophy/Classics: QV85 (4 years)
Philosophy/Comparative Literature: QVF5 (4 years)
Philosophy/Digital Media & Information Studies: GV55 (4 years)
Philosophy/Economic & Social History: VVJ5 (4 years)
Philosophy/Economics: LVD5 (4 years)
Philosophy/English Language & Linguistics: QV3N (4 years)
Philosophy/English Literature: QV3M (4 years)
Philosophy/Film & Television Studies: VW56 (4 years)
Philosophy/Gaelic: Q5V5 (4 years)
Philosophy/Geography: LV75 (4 years)
Philosophy/German: RV25 (5 years)
Philosophy/History: VVC5 (4 years)
Philosophy/History of Art: VVH5 (4 years)
Philosophy/Italian: RV35 (5 years)
Philosophy/Mathematics: GV15 (4 years)
Philosophy/Music: VW53 (4 years)
Philosophy/Politics: LVF5 (4 years)
Philosophy/Portuguese: 7A3W (5 years)
Philosophy/Psychology: CVV5 (4 years)
Apply via UCAS
Applicants must meet the Psychology requirements
Philosophy/Russian: RV75 (5 years)
Philosophy/Scottish History: VVD5 (4 years)
Philosophy/Sociology: LV65 (4 years)
Philosophy/Spanish: V5R4 (5 years)
Philosophy/Theatre Studies: VW54 (4 years)
Philosophy/Theology & Religious Studies: VV56 (4 years)

BSc (Hons)

Philosophy/Mathematics: GVD5 (4 years)

MA(SocSci) (Hons)

Philosophy/Business & Management: NV25 (4 years)
Philosophy/Business Economics: LV15 (4 years)
Philosophy/Central & East European Studies: RVT5 (4 years)
Philosophy/Economic & Social History: VV35 (4 years)
Philosophy/Economics: LVC5 (4 years)
Philosophy/Politics: LV25 (4 years)
Philosophy/Sociology: LVH5 (4 years)

Philosophy can also be taken in combination with Law programmes:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details.


The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.

RUK Access Bursary 2020 Entry

The bursary supports talented students who might not be able to take a place at University for reasons of financial hardship. It is available to new entrant full-time, undergraduate students of the University of Glasgow who are fully registered for Session 2020/21, as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.

RUK Excellence Scholarship 2020

The RUK Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained AAA or better in one sitting at A Level (or equivalent). 

Beaconhouse Schools

The University of Glasgow offer a 15% discount on the first year of tuition fee to students from Beaconhouse Schools and who enrol on an undergraduate programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount does not apply to Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry programmes.

Humanitarian Scholarships

The University of Glasgow is offering four scholarships (one per college) for applicants to the University who are staying in the UK on humanitarian grounds and are facing challenges in progressing onto Higher Education. The scholarship is open to prospective undergraduate and postgraduate taught students of the University of Glasgow applying for entry in 2021/22. The scholarship meets the full cost of tuition fees for the duration of your programme as well providing an additional £5,000 per year stipend, if the eligibility criteria for university accommodation is met this will also be provided for the duration of your degree. For more information on the accommodation criteria, please see the Accommodation Services section on the website.

We are also offering eight scholarships to students who hold refugee status. This scholarship is awarded as a £2,500 stipend towards study costs, per year of study.

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

How to apply


Full-time students must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). 

International students to Arts, Engineering, Law, Nursing, Science, and Social Sciences can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS. Applications to Dentistry, Education, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine must be made through UCAS.

Application deadlines

  • 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 15 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
  • 30 June: international (non-EU) students

We do not usually accept any applications after these deadlines.

It's your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your application before submission. Requests to correct application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.

How to apply for Advanced Entry

Apply for year 2 (Y2) on your UCAS application. If the specific subject is unavailable for Advanced Entry or your application for year 2 entry is unsuccessful, you will be automatically considered for year 1 entry. You do not have to submit a separate UCAS application.

Apply via UCAS

More information about this programme


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