This innovative online programme allows you to study for a postgraduate degree at one of the world’s most prestigious universities, at a pace that suits you and fits around your ongoing work and personal commitments. We bring together world leaders in the fields of philosophy, science and theology to provide you with a thorough grounding in the relationship between science and religion.
key scientific developments in areas such as quantum mechanics,
evolutionary biology, and neuroscience; fundamental theological issues, such as creation, evil, and the soul; and the philosophical analytical tools needed to understand the relationship between them. The programme is a unique interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of Edinburgh’s Department of Philosophy and School of Divinity.
Thanks to our state-of-the-art e-learning software and extensive digital resources, you can gain a world-class graduate qualification without the expense of relocating. You will also benefit from the flexible structure of the programme, which will allow you to balance your studies with work and family commitments and to develop your own specialised interest under the expert guidance of our distinguished academics.
Our programme is uniquely interdisciplinary: you will be taught philosophy, science, and theology by world-leading researchers in these three fields, providing both breadth and depth to your education.
You will benefit from the expertise of the University of Edinburgh’s faculty, as well as renowned guest lecturers from across the world.
Why study Philosophy, Science & Religion at Edinburgh?
Philosophy research at Edinburgh ranks 2nd in Scotland and 7th in the UK in the THE ranking by the subject of the REF 2014.
The School of Divinity is 1st in Scotland and 8th in the UK for Theology and Religious Studies in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) based on the quality and volume of research
An online programme with a flexible structure will enable you to balance your studies and develop your own specialised interests under expert guidance from distinguished academic staff
Programme structure and assessment
You will gain a solid foundation in the core topics in science and religion, whilst specialisation in areas you wish to pursue in greater depth
There are four options depending on what best suits your needs, you can choose from the following:
The MSc either full-time (one year) or part-time (between two and six years).
The Diploma either full-time (9 months) or part-time (between two and four years).
The Postgraduate Certificate part-time (between one and two years).
A single course (one semester).
Each course is worth 20 credits, and an MSc dissertation is worth 60 credits. The MSc, Diploma, and Postgraduate Certificate involve taking a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 60 credits per semester. The MSc is worth 180 credits, the Diploma 120 credits, and the Postgraduate Certificate 60 credits.
There are two core courses:
Philosophy, Science and Religion 1: The Physical World
Philosophy, Science and Religion 2: Life and Mind
Option courses include:
Philosophy of Religion
Philosophy of Science
Science and Scripture
History of Science and Religion
In addition, students are able to take option courses from the online MSc in Epistemology, Ethics & Mind:
Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science
Advanced Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science
Students taking the full MSc will also write a dissertation (8,000 to 10,000 words) on a research topic under the close supervision of faculty teaching on the programme.
The structure ensures that you gain a solid foundation in the core topics in science and religion, whilst allowing you to specialise in the areas you wish to pursue in greater depth.
This programme is taught through a combination of short video lectures, web discussion boards, video conferencing and online exercises, with regular one-to-one interaction with teaching staff and with other students.
As well as video lectures from our faculty, you will have access to seminars provided by renowned guest lecturers from around the world.
Each course involves a 2,500 word assessed essay; other forms of assessment, such as assessed discussion forums, quizzes, and short discussion papers, may also be used. Students taking the full MSc will also write a dissertation (8,000 to 10,000 words) on a research topic under the close supervision of faculty teaching on the programme.
You will be supported in your work by faculty members and by dedicated teaching assistants. Our team of learning technologists will help you with any technological matters.
You can access all the learning facilities you need via our online learning environment known as ‘Learn’, and the University of Edinburgh’s student portal ‘MyEd’. Through these, you will have access to video lectures, discussion forums, video conferencing, and electronic books and journals in the University of Edinburgh’s extensive online library.
Learning outcomes and careers
This programme provides you with a range of knowledge and skills to prepare you for a variety of career paths
The MSc/PgDip/PgCert in Philosophy, Science and Religion has been designed to:
Provide students with a real understanding of the key areas in the current science-religion interface – including cosmology, evolution, and the neurosciences – and the ability to engage with these areas philosophically.
Develop strong analytical skills and philosophical acumen.
Develop the ability to engage critically with key textual sources in the field.
Develop research and writing skills.
Foster the ability to engage constructively in cross-disciplinary conversations.
This programme aims to prepare students for doctoral work in relevant areas of philosophy and/or theology. However, the skills of analytical and creative thinking, clear writing, and the ability to manage significant research projects and engage in constructive conversations across disciplinary and cultural boundaries are all highly sought after by employers in a diverse range of fields.