The Department of Philosophy has exceptional research strength in the fields of logic and the philosophy of mathematics, and very strong links with the School of Mathematics, including a joint position in both departments. It is ranked by the Philosophical Gourmet Report as the strongest department in the UK for mathematical logic, and the second strongest for philosophical logic.
Our MA draws on these strengths and is open to students with first degrees in philosophy (subject to a suitable background in logic) or mathematics. It consists of six taught units, examined by essay, and a 15,000-word dissertation.
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 seminars, which often feature well-known scholars in the field, from Bristol and beyond. 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.
The MA consists of taught components, examined by essay, and a dissertation. You will take six taught units, normally three in each semester.
- Philosophical Writing and Research
A mandatory, two-hour weekly seminar developing ideas, bibliographical and writing skills necessary for philosophical research. The unit is assessed by seminar contributions and presentations.
- Axiomatic Set Theory
An MSc unit delivered by the Department of Mathematics which examines the theory of Godel's universe of constructible sets and uses this model to prove the consistency of various statements of mathematics with the currently accepted axioms of set theory.
(All students will be expected to be familiar with core material in logic and set theory prior to starting the Axiomatic Set Theory unit)
- Epistemology and Metaphysics
A mandatory, two-hour weekly seminar studying core topics in epistemology and metaphysics. The unit is examined by an essay of 5,000-6,000 words, a draft of which can be discussed with your supervisor before final submission.
- Philosophy and History of Mathematics
- Essay Unit
Taught by individual tutorials on an agreed topic of your choice. Assessed by an essay of 5,000-6,000 words.
One optional unit
- A second essay unit
Optional units can vary each year.
Satisfactory completion of semesters one and twp will allow you to progress to writing a dissertation of at most 15,000 words on an approved topic of your choice. The dissertation is your chance to produce an extended piece of philosophical research that can act as preparation for a graduate research degree.