The St Andrews and Stirling Graduate Programme in Philosophy (SASP) is taught by the Philosophy departments in the Universities of St Andrews and Stirling. The philosophy graduate programmes of St Andrews and Stirling are now fully merged for all postgraduate degrees and together form Scotland’s premier centre for philosophy and one of the top philosophy institutions in the United Kingdom.
The programme maintains a staff of authoritative researchers that is large enough to teach a comprehensive and flexible range of graduate courses, and to supervise research projects. It offers graduate teaching at a level that matches the best graduate programmes elsewhere in the world, in a wide range of areas, including the history of philosophy.
The taught MLitt provides the foundation year of the programme. Modules are offered in three fundamental areas of philosophy: logic and metaphysics, moral and political philosophy, and history of philosophy. The degree is primarily designed as a preparatory year for entry to postgraduate work in philosophy. It aims to provide a firm foundation of general understanding and skills in philosophy which will serve as a basis for sound philosophical research. Graduate students are taught in dedicated graduate classes.
Applicants for the MLitt should normally have a good first degree in philosophy: a UK upper second class Honours degree or its equivalent (or the equivalent level of pass in the SASP Conversion Diploma). Applicants with other qualifications may be admitted on the recommendation of the Programme Director.
English language requirements
All SASP courses are taught in English. Applicants who are NOT native speakers AND whose undergraduate degree was NOT taught in English must submit a recognised English Language test. We normally require a TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based). 250 (computer-based), or 100 (internet-based). A copy of your TOEFL certificate will be sufficient. Alternatively an IELTS score of 7.00 is also acceptable/sufficient. (Ideally we prefer the IELTS exam.)
The University of St Andrews offers pre-sessional English courses - you can find out more about them on the website of the St Andrews University English Language Teaching Centre.
Appropriately qualified applicants may be sponsored by the SASP programme. Details about funding opportunities can be found here:
Information on possible sources of funding
Course start date
The administrating institution for the SASP programme is currently the University of St Andrews, whose application procedures should be followed:
MLitt Programme Director and Coordinator
MLitt St Andrews Programme Director: Dr Patrick Greenough
MLitt Stirling Co-ordinator: Dr Philip Ebert
The administrator for the programme is:
Graduate Studies Office
University of Stirling
Stirling FK9 4LA
Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467510
St Andrews Contact
University of St Andrews
Tel: +44 (0) 1334 462487
Structure and content
The programme involves a one-year taught MLitt, delivered largely in St Andrews by staff from both universities, after which you may progress to a PhD within the SASP programme. The MLitt programme lasts for one year and involves six modules over two semesters and a dissertation written over the summer. The Diploma involves a nine month taught programme and requires satisfactory completion of all taught modules. In addition to a Research Methods module and two core modules (one in each semester) on current issues in Philosophy, the programme offers a range of options in the history of Philosophy and in special areas of philosophy. The core modules are:
- Current Issues in Philosophy I (first semester) and Current Issues in Philosophy II (second semester): Over the two semesters the following four components are covered by these modules (two in each semester, not necessarily in the order given): Philosophy of Mind; Philosophy of Language; Epistemology; Ethics
- Research Methods: You take this module in semester one. It provides an introduction to the methods and practice of research in philosophy. It will be run as a book seminar, where you present and discuss chapters or sections of a major work chosen to be accessible and challenging for MLitt students. The module will provide the experience of philosophising together: vital for philosophical development but liable to take second place in standard taught modules; it will also leave you better prepared to undertake larger and more autonomous research projects, beginning with the 15,000-word MLitt dissertation
You are required to take a History module from a list of those available. Those recently available includes the following:
- Classical Philosophy
- Philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment
- Origins and History of Analytic Philosophy
Option modules recently available include the following:
- Advanced logic
- Philosophy of Mathematics
- Philosophy of Perception
- Political Philosophy
- Topics in Recent Moral Theory
- Philosophy of Mind
- Intuitions and Philosophical Methodology
- Advanced Epistemology
Delivery and assessment
The programme is taught by seminars (normally one two-hour seminar each week for each module) and individual supervision. Assessment is normally by coursework: each full module is assessed by two essays.
To gain the Diploma, you must satisfactorily complete all the taught modules. To gain the MLitt, you must satisfactorily complete the taught modules and write a dissertation of no more than 15,000 words.
Students on the MLitt have proceeded to the further study of Philosophy at PhD level. Some have remained within the SASP Graduate Programme, either at Stirling or at St Andrews, and others have gone on to leading institutions in the UK and abroad.
A large number of former MLitt students have secured permanent university teaching positions. The general training in research and analytical thinking it offers also prepares you for a wide range of careers in various areas of public policy, public administration and governance.