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MSc Philosophy of Science

About the MSc programme 

With a deep and rigorous programme of coursework and research in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, the MSc in Philosophy of Science explores both general questions about the nature of science and specific  foundational issues related to individual sciences such as physics and biology. The Department builds on the tradition established by its founder, Karl Popper, and by prominent former members such as Imre Lakatos.

The Department is regularly ranked among the top places in the world to study the philosophy of science. The Philosophical Gourmet Report ranks the Department as the number one place in the world to do graduate work in philosophy of social science, among the top five departments in the world for decision, rational choice and game theory, among the top 10 for general philosophy of science, and among the top 15 for philosophy of physics.

This programme is an exciting, deep and intensive look at the philosophy of science with some of the field's top researchers. Students can also enjoy tightly knit social groups with others of similar interests, with many departmental activities available to students throughout the year.

The MSc in Philosophy of Science recruits students from across the world, admitting a rich and diverse incoming class.

Applicants are considered only if they hold a first or upper second class honours degree or equivalent. Applicants should also express considered interest in the philosophy of science as covered by the MSc.

The MSc in Philosophy of Science courses are primarily designed to be accessible and stimulating for two main audiences: those who have studied science as undergraduates and would now like to study in depth the philosophical foundations and methodology of science, and those who have studied philosophy and would now like to study philosophy of science in greater depth.

There are no formal requirements that applicants come from any particular area of study before pursuing this degree.

Programme details

A typical examined course includes 20 hours of lectures and 30 hours of seminars, with a guarantee that no seminar will have more than 15 students. These seminars are often discursive, and provide a unique opportunity to enjoy regular one-on-one interactions with the course lecturers.

In addition, the programme includes 30 hours of teaching in a dissertation research and writing seminar, in which students develop the skills needed to write a research thesis.

Additional one-on-one meetings are available to support dissertation writing and coursework in the degree, and may be requested by the student during office hours or by appointment.

Compulsory courses

  • Either Philosophy of Science or Scientific Method and Policy. Philosophy of Science provides an overview of the major traditions and theories of the philosophy of science, including some metaphysical questions, as well as methodological questions about how science works. Scientific Method and Policy addresses questions such as the following: What counts as evidence for deciding the best policy? Are certain types of evidence (for instance, that from large-sample randomised trials) more objective and thus more telling than others? Do scientists have a responsibility to communicate policy-relevant research in a value-free way? In what sense, if any, is science a "public good", and what does this mean for how it should be governed?

The Dissertation Seminar is a non-assessed course, intended to develop the ability to construct sharp analytic philosophical arguments and to write structured philosophical essays. The Dissertation is a 10,000 word thesis, which is completed over the summer and must be submitted in early September at the assigned deadline.

Students will then be expected to choose courses to the value of one unit from a range of options.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc Philosophy of Science in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up-to-date and correct, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. You should visit the School's Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the Updated graduate course and programme information page.

Graduate destinations

This master's programme prepares students for many different possible destinations, including PhD work in philosophy or related disciplines, and employment in many non-academic fields such as science journalism, science administration and science management. For a selection of reports from graduates, see: lse.ac.uk/MScPhilosophyOfSciencePlacement



Application code: V5UG (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

Duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time

Intake/applications in 2014: 14/47

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 or first class degree, with a considered interest in the areas covered by the MSc. Most students have a science background or one in philosophy (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: UK/EU £12,504;
overseas £19,344

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support). Lakatos Memorial Scholarship – £4,000 award for a single philosophy student

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions

Notes: If your first language is not English, you must submit a writing sample of 5–10 typewritten pages