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    Cognitive Studies

    School of History, Philosophy and Digital Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

    Explore the cutting-edge field of cognitive science, in which philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, linguistics and anthropology come together to discover how the mind works.
    Postgraduate philosophy students sitting around coffee table

    Course description

    An opportunity to explore this cutting-edge field, where philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, linguistics and anthropology come together to discover how the mind works.

    You’ll be based in the Department of Philosophy but free to take relevant modules in the departments of psychology, linguistics, human communication sciences, archaeology and music.

    With an extensive programme of events and research seminars, excellent facilities and more than 20 expert cognitive scientists working across the University, Sheffield is an exceptional place to study this exciting field. 


    We accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies. Find out more on the Medical School's website.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core Modules:

    Cognitive Studies Seminar

    Cognitive science is a research field in which philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, computer science, and anthropology come together to discover how the mind works. This module aims to:
    1. Introduce students to major theoretical issues in cognitive science.
    2. Help students to see how empirical evidence drawn from different disciplines is relevant to key issues in cognitive science.
    3. Equip students with an understanding of the philosophical importance of cognitive science.

    30 credits

    Contact department for more information.

    60 credits

    Students are able to select modules from the Philosophy, Psychology, Linguistics, Human Communication, Archaeology and Music Departments. Below you can find descriptions of some modules frequently taken by Cognitive Studies MA students.

    Optional Modules:

    Advanced Political Philosophy

    This module aims will investigate a broad range of topics and issues in political philosophy and explore these questions in some detail. It will include both historical and foundational matters and recent state of the art research.

    30 credits
    Ancient Chinese Philosophy

    This course will introduce students to ancient Chinese philosophy through a study of some of its classical texts.

    30 credits
    Applied Music Psychology: Education, Community and Health

    This module explores the psychology of music in a variety of settings, from the everyday uses of music to music in education and in therapeutic settings. The emphasis in this module lies in two related areas: the use of music psychology to help solve the practical problems of people's lives (in terms of wellbeing, therapy, education and development) and also to explore music as a social phenomenon, that is understanding the psychology of music as a social and interactive facet of human life. 

    15 credits

    Bioethics arose in response to the moral challenges thrown up by technological advances of the twentieth century. As we move through the 21st century, new moral problems are emerging, even as old ones still concern us. How should we allocate resource for medical care and research? Are there limits to what can be done to our bodies, or does consent permit everything? In a pandemic, how should we balance concerns for liberty and protecting the vulnerable? Should we try to 'enhance' human beings, or should we be happy with the way we are? This module will introduce a range of practical bioethical problems, as well as some methods for approaching them. Our emphasis will be on doing philosophy practically, with a view to the implications of philosophical argument in the real world of healthcare, research and bioscience. 

    30 credits
    Bodies and Souls

    The course will focus on metaphysical themes of perennial interest such as parts and wholes, the nature of people, and the passage of time. Readings will be drawn mainly from recent and contemporary sources.

    30 credits
    Children's Learning

    This module promotes student skills in distance/e-learning, participating in on-line activity and use of e-resources. It presents theories of cognitive development, how these inform our understanding of children's learning and the development of educational practice, and the interaction of learning and language. The individual differences in learning abilities within children in school is considered, including those children who may have significant difficulties across all learning and those who may have specific difficulty with certain aspects of learning. Course content is delivered across a continuum to allow students to develop from their own level of existing knowledge and understanding.

    15 credits
    Communication Diversity & Difficulties: A

    This module allows students to select up to three topics in the field of children's language and communication for more detailed study. Topics may include the following: autism spectrum disorders, language and communication in the early years, literacy difficulties, developmental language disorders (DLD), language and behaviour, language and communication in adolescence, and multilingualism. Theoretical perspectives and research findings within each topic are evaluated. Implications for practice are explored. Course content is delivered across a continuum to allow students to develop from their own level of existing knowledge and understanding.

    15 credits
    Communication, Diversity & Difficulties: B

    This module allows students to select up to six topics in the field of children's language and communication for more detailed study. Topics may include the following: autism spectrum disorders, language and communication in the early years, literacy difficulties, developmental language disorders (DLD), language and behaviour, language and communication in adolescence, and multilingualism. Theoretical perspectives and research findings within each topic are evaluated. Implications for practice are explored. Course content is delivered across a continuum to allow students to develop from their own level of existing knowledge and understanding.

    30 credits
    Ethics and Belief

    We know things as individuals, but we also know things collectively. And what we know individually can depend on our relation to other knowers and collective knowledge. These relations are not merely epistemic, they are also practical and ethical. Knowledge can, for instance, be based on trust, while a failure to recognize someone as a knower can be a matter of injustice. Knowledge thereby has a social character and an ethical dimension. This course will introduce a broad range of topics in epistemology that explore this social and ethical turn.

    30 credits

    Feminists have famously claimed that the personal is political. This module takes up various topics with that methodological idea in mind: the family, cultural critique, language. We examine feminist methodologies - how these topics might be addressed by a feminism that is inclusive of all women - and also turn attention to social structures within which personal choices are made - capitalism, and climate crisis .

    20 credits
    Feminist and Queer Studies in Religion, Global Perspectives

    This module applies feminism, queer studies and trans philosophy in analysis of genders and sexualities in religious traditions and cultures around the world. We will examine deities and goddesses, gendered language in religions, cisheteropatriarchy, and LGBTQIA life in e.g. Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, as well as in Chinese, and Japanese cultures. We will discuss genders, rituals, spirituality, sexual practices, procreation, abstinence, and asexuality, reading a range of feminist, queer and trans philosophical works, and texts ranging from the Kama Sutra to Confucius and the Vatican documents, Scriptures, and empirical research. Assignments allow students in Philosophy, Humanities, and Social Sciences develop their expertise using their preferred methods and topics, on religions of their choice.

    30 credits
    Free Will & Religion

    This module focuses on philosophical questions about the relationship between free will and religion. Historically, theistic religions have been dogged by questions concerning the nature of human agency, for instance on account of the traditional conception of God as omniscient and hence as having full foreknowledge. The module will examine philosophical conceptions of the relationship between religious states of affairs and positions regarding the status of human action, by considering relevant historical developments within theology and philosophy.

    30 credits
    Fundamentals of Cognition

    The module provides an overview of the fundamental issues in cognitive neuroscience and its contributory disciplines. The approach taken is in terms of its development over the past 50 years, providing an overview of the key concepts in the information processing approach and in cognitive science, followed by an analysis of the advances that have been made recently using cognitive neuroscience techniques. Topics include: fundamental issues in cognition (memory, attention, learning, language); theoretical approaches including cognitive neuropsychology, symbolic and sub-symbolic modelling; and methodological issues.

    15 credits
    Fundamentals of Neuroscience

    The module provides an introduction to core aspects of contemporary neuroscience, and it will consider the current state of knowledge in the field, central theoretical issues and key practical approaches. Topics that are discussed include: neural signalling, sensation and sensory processing, movement and its central control, the 'changing brain' (development and plasticity in the nervous system) and complex brain functions.

    15 credits
    Guided Reading

    This module is intended to enable students to develop a research project of their own, in a flexible manner. Each student on the module will be assigned a supervisor, with whom they will meet for one hour every two weeks. They will also be encouraged to attend those reading groups run in the department (of which there are typically about 10 per semester) which fit with their project. The objectives of the module are (i) to identify a suitable research topic, in consultation with the supervisor (ii) to develop this project through supervisions and drafts (iii) to complete the project.

    30 credits
    Global Justice

    What are the demands of justice at the global level? On this module we will examine this question from the perspective of analytic, Anglo-American political philosophy. We will start by looking at some debates about the nature of global justice, such as whether justice demands the eradication of global inequalities. We will then turn to various questions of justice that arise at the global level, potentially including: how jurisdiction over territory might be justified; whether states have a right to exclude would-be immigrants; whether reparations are owed for past international injustices such as colonialism; and how to identify responsibilities for combating global injustice.

    30 credits

    This module introduces the ways in which archaeologists reconstruct past environments. Through a combination of different learning experiences (lectures, student-led seminars, practical classes and directed independent study) students will explore a variety of contemporary and ancient environments as well as enhance their understanding of the methods and professional standards of environmental reconstruction. Seminars and assessments will encourage students to apply the concepts and methods introduced in the module to their specific areas of interest. Emphasis is upon the most common analytical techniques. The intent is to provide a working knowledge of many techniques, and awareness of others, which require a more extensive practice to master and apply successfully.

    15 credits
    Human Evolution: Theory and Practice in Research

    This seminar module will present both historical and current issues in the study of human evolution, including new hominid fossil descriptions, debates over interpretations and explanatory models of primate and hominid palaeobiology, theoretical and philosophical topics in evolution, and practical and technological advances in early hominid fossil and archaeological interpretation. In some weeks, students will be required to prepare materials to lead the seminars, and occasional group work exercises will be introduced. The seminar topics will change from year to year to reflect new research, staff projects, guest lecturer availability, and student interests.

    15 credits
    Humans, Animals, Monsters and Machines: From Gulliver's Travels to King Kong

    This module examines imaginings of the 'human' in relation to machines and animals (and those monsters that are neither one thing nor the other) from the eighteenth century to the twentieth. We will focus mainly on fiction, its cultural contexts and on readings from the period's key thinkers of human being, alongside more recent theories of humans, posthumans and animals. The aim is to encourage critical engagement with this key issue and to facilitate a deeper appreciation of the period's literature, culture and politics, including the relationship of discourses of technology and species to discourses of class, gender and race.

    30 credits
    Language and Communication

    This module describes children's development of language and communication, including aspects of social and emotional development, as well as spoken language. The analysis of different components of language will be explored. Individual differences in language and communication skills are discussed. Theoretical perspectives and research findings about children's language and communication difficulties will be evaluated. Implications for practice are explored, including intervention strategies. Course content is delivered across a continuum to allow students to develop from their own level of existing knowledge and understanding.

    15 credits
    Literacy : Difficulties and Intervention

    This module is designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore how and why individuals struggle to learn to read and write with fluency and confidence. It will take a developmental perspective and examine pre-cursors to reading difficulties, issues in the early years, as well as the types of difficulty that persist into secondary school and beyond. We will cover both widely-discussed diagnoses such as dyslexia, as well as reading difficulties that do not fit so neatly into a single category. The module will discuss the behaviour associated with literacy difficulties, as well as what we know about evidence-based intervention.

    15 credits
    Memory and Trauma in Contemporary Literature

    This module examines a variety of representations of memory and trauma in contemporary narrative. The texts range widely both generically (from memoir to fiction and the graphic novel) and thematically (to include both personal and collective histories, memories and traumas). Texts by Julian Barnes, Annie Ernaux, Kazuo Ishiguro, Herta Muller or Yoko Ogawa will be studied in relation to classic, contemporary and decolonial theories of memory and trauma, such as those of Sigmund Freud, Cathy Caruth, Stef Craps and Michael Rothberg. We will discuss how narrative form is affected by such factors as historical events, memory loss, delayed recovery and childhood recall. You will gain and develop skills in close analysis, the application of theory, contextual reading, and researching and writing on important, influential and challenging texts.

    30 credits
    Moral Theory and Moral Psychology

    This course examines the relationship of moral theory and moral psychology. We discuss the relationship of science and ethics, examine the nature of self-interest, altruism, sympathy, the will, and moral intuitions, explore psychological arguments for and against familiar moral theories including utilitarianism, virtue ethics, deontology and relativism, and confront the proposal that understanding the origins of moral thought 'debunks' the authority of ethics. In doing so, we will engage with readings from historical philosophers, including Hobbes, Butler, Hume, Smith, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche and Moore, as well as contemporary authors in philosophy and empirical psychology.

    30 credits
    Neural Dynamics and Computation

    This module starts with a primer on neuroscience and the role of computational neuroscience. The module will cover various modelling approaches, from classic biologically plausible to abstract-level models of neurons. The module will then move to higher levels of modelling approaches, such as neural networks and reinforcement learning. While the module emphasises methodological issues and how models can be built, tested and validated at each level, we will also draw connections to specific brain regions to motivate and illustrate the models.

    15 credits
    Neuroimaging 1

    This module provides an overview of neuroimaging techniques and fundamental data analysis methodologies. Specifically, it will focus on the functional imaging techniques of electrophysiology, optical methods and calcium imaging, each of which will be introduced in the lecture component of the module. In the associated lab classes, students will gain first-hand experience of analysing and processing data sets arising from these techniques.

    15 credits
    Neuroimaging 2

    This module provides an overview of neuroimaging techniques and fundamental data analysis methodologies employed, specifically those based around functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The two aspects of neuroimaging (techniques and data analysis) will be taught over the semester. For neuroimaging techniques, after introducing the physical principles underlying fMRI, a description of fMRI-based methods for mapping brain structure and function will follow. For neuroimaging data analysis, the general linear model methodology will be introduced based on the software SPM (Statistical Parametric Mapping), which is one of the most widely used packages for fMRI data analysis. Issues concerning fMRI experimental de-sign and efficiency will also be discussed and taught in depth.

    15 credits
    Neurocognitive Modelling

    This module concerns inferring and modelling neural and cognitive processes underlying human behaviour using computational means. One part of the module will cover normative models, which allow us to solve problems optimally along with their neural or cognitive representations. The other part of the module will focus on cognitive models, which involve fitting models to behavioural data to estimate latent parameters that are assumed to underlie the data and allow us to make inferences about their properties.

    15 credits
    Pain, Pleasure, and Emotions

    In this module, we will discuss the nature of affective states like pleasures, pains, and emotions. We will focus on three problems: (1) The constitution problem: What all and only affective states have in common? E.g., what makes pains and joys, but not visual experiences, affective states? (2) The distinction problem: What makes each type of affective state the particular type it is? E.g., what makes an orgasm a sensory pleasure and fear an emotion? (3)The problem of affective phenomenology: Some affective states feel good, others feel bad. In virtue of what affective states have this distinctive phenomenal character?

    30 credits
    PhD Proposal

    To provide both general and subject-specific research training for those intending to pursue research in philosophy or political theory. There is a short course dealing with topics such as study and writing skills, choosing and planning a research project; conducting a literature search, delivering a seminar presentation and chairing a discussion. Students also meet with their research supervisor to plan and produce a detailed PhD proposal and annotated bibliography (6,000 to 8,000 words), outlining their proposed project and locating it in relation to established positions in the discipline.

    30 credits
    Philosophical Foundations

    This module will introduce students to key ideas and arguments in philosophy, across a wide range of debates such as moral and political philosophy, logic, metaphysics, and epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. Students keen to consolidate their foundational understandings in Philosophy are strongly advised to take this module.

    30 credits
    Political Philosophy Research Seminar

    Students on this module will attend a two-hour seminar every week (except reading week). The objectives of the module are to: (i) read and discuss certain key texts in political philosophy; and (ii) have each student develop a writing project, on which they will be evaluated. The selection of texts will reflect the expertise of the staff involved. The seminars will be discussion orientated and students will on occasion be expected to deliver informal presentations. Students are entitled to advisory tutorials with the staff members involved, depending on which topic they want to focus on in their writing assignment.

    30 credits
    Philosophy of the Arts

    This module introduces students to a broad range of issues in the philosophy of art. The first half asks 'What is art?'. It examines three approaches: expression theories, institutional accounts, and the cluster account. This is followed by two critiques focusing on the lack of women in the canon and problems surrounding 'primitive' art. The evolutionary approach to art is discussed, and two borderline cases: craft and pornography. The second half examines four issues: cultural appropriation of art, pictorial representation, aesthetic experience and the everyday, and the supposed link between artistic creativity and madness.

    30 credits
    Philosophy of Law

    Law is a pervasive feature of modern societies and governs most aspects of our lives. This module is about some of the philosophical questions raised by life under a legal system. The first part of the module investigates the nature of law. Is law simply a method of social control? For example, the group calling itself Islamic State issued commands over a defined territory and backed up these commands with deadly force. Was that a legal system? Or is law necessarily concerned with justice? Do legal systems contain only rules or do they also contain underlying principles? Is 'international law' really law?
    The second part of the module investigates the relationship between law and individual rights. What kinds of laws should we have? Do we have the moral right to break the law through acts of civil disobedience? What is the justification of punishment? Is there any justification for capital punishment? Are we right to legally differentiate between intended crimes (like murder) and unintended crimes (like manslaughter), or does this involve the unjustified punishment of 'thought crime'? Are we right to legally differentiate between murder and attempted murder, despite the fact that both crimes involve the same intent to kill?

    30 credits
    Philosophical Problems I: People, Organisations and Technology

    Much of moral and political philosophy is devoted to the study of people's relations to other people, or to political entities such as the state. Yet people also stand in morally significant relations mediated by other entities, such as charitable organisations, business corporations, and the products of information technology, including 'artificial intelligence'. This module introduces the student to some of the most important questions currently faced by human beings in our relation to artificial agents, whether in the guise of organisations or advanced technologies.

    Questions discussed in the module will include: are organisations or machines capable of moral agency, and if so, are they candidates for the same kinds of responsibility as individual human beings? Do moral norms that apply to the relations between humans, such as truthfulness or integrity, apply equally to organisations or information technology? To what extent do our relationships with organisations and technology undermine individual freedom or autonomy and our sense who we are? Does the development of large-scale organisations or the technological advances promised by artificial intelligence represent an opportunity for ecological preservation and control, or is it an existential threat to existing ecosystems and human life as we know it?

    In this module, these and similar questions are addressed by the application of philosophical theory to real world examples.

    30 credits

    This module introduces students to Phenomenology - a philosophical tradition in continental European philosophy, which is closely related to Existentialism. Phenomenology seeks to understand the human condition. Its starting-point is everyday experience, where this includes both mundane and less ordinary forms of experience such as those typically associated with conditions such as schizophrenia. Whilst Phenomenology encompasses a diverse range of thinkers and ideas, there tends to be a focus on consciousness as embodied, situated in a particular physical, social, and cultural environment, essentially related to other people, and existing in time. (This is in contrast to the disembodied, universal, and isolated notion of the subject that comes largely from the Cartesian tradition.) There is a corresponding emphasis on the world we inhabit as a distinctively human environment that depends in certain ways on us for its character and existence. Some of the central topics addressed by Phenomenology include: embodiment; ageing and death; the lived experience of oppression; human freedom; our relations with and knowledge of, other people; the experience of time; and the nature of the world. In this module, we will discuss a selection of these and related topics, examining them through the work of key figures in the Phenomenological Movement, such as Edmund Husserl, Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Frantz Fanon, and Edith Stein.

    30 credits
    Plato's Symposium

    The Symposium is a vivid, funny and moving dramatic dialogue in which a wide variety of characters - orators, doctor, comic poet, tragic poet, soldier-cum-statesman, philosopher and others - give widely differing accounts of the nature of erotic love (eros) at a banquet. Students should be willing to engage in close textual study, although no previous knowledge of either ancient philosophy or ancient Greek is required. We will be exploring the origins, definition, aims, objects and effects of eros, and asking whether it is viewed as a predominantly beneficial or harmful force. Are some manifestations of eros better than others? Is re-channelling either possible or desirable, and if so, how and in what contexts? What happens to eros if it is consummated? We will in addition explore the issues that the dialogue raises about relations between philosophy and literature, and the influence it has had on Western thought (e.g. Freud). The edition we will use is Rowe, C. J., 1998, Plato Symposium. Oxford: Aris and Phillips Classical texts.

    30 credits
    Qualitative Data Collection

    This module provides a research training in qualitative research data collection relevant to the study of musical behaviour. The module consists of teaching and learning of qualitative research design techniques, including ethical consideration and evaluation of methods through pilot studies and critique of existing research. The module is assessed through a portfolio of qualitative data collection tools, including questionnaires and interview schedules, which the student has designed, piloted and evaluated.

    15 credits
    Quantitative Research Techniques

    This module provides a research training in quantitative research techniques relevant to the study of musical behaviour. The module consists of teaching and learning of statistical techniques in a computer-lab setting, plus a group project in which an empirical study is partially designed and fully executed and analysed. The project is assessed by means of an individual report of 6,000 words.

    30 credits
    Society and Culture in the Later Middle Ages

    This module provides an introduction of the archaeology of later medieval Europe(c. AD 1100-1500), focusing on the regions of north-western Europe, but occasionally drawing on material from the lands around the Mediterranean. It explores many of the important theoretical issues relevant to early medieval archaeology, and also a range of problem-solving strategies within the discipline. The module consists of two elements: a series of lectures introducing important themes and debates within the medieval archaeology, and series of seminars that consider specific case-studies and key sites.

    15 credits
    Scientific programming in computational and cognitive neuroscience

    This module develops practical skills in scientific programming in the context of computational and cognitive neuroscience. The course begins with an introduction to basic programming concepts and visualisation techniques. The rest of the module covers advanced skills relevant to contemporary computational and cognitive neuroscience, such as analysis of neural data and running simulations. Techniques introduced include probabilistic methods, dimensionality reduction, classification, and time series analysis. Emphasis is placed on practical skills developed during lab classes.

    15 credits
    Spoken and Written Language

    This module focuses on the nature of spoken and written language development and difficulties. The relationship between speech, language and literacy is explored. Topics include speech and literacy development, phonological awareness, reading and reading comprehension, writing, spelling and cross-linguistic issues. Theoretical models and practical applications to supporting literacy development in pre and school age children will be studied. Students can choose to either follow introductory units in phonetics and speech development if new to these topics or extend their existing knowledge of phonetics and examine connected speech and prosody.

    15 credits
    Statistics in Music Psychology

    This module provides a research training in quantitative research techniques relevant to the study of musical behaviour. The module consists of teaching and learning of statistical techniques in a computer-lab setting. The learning is assessed by means of a portfolio of coursework of 3000 words.

    15 credits
    The Science of Consciousness

    Our memories of our personal past (i.e. our episodic memories) play animportant role in our lives. They help us perform mundane tasks like finding our keys, butthey arguably also form the foundation of our sense of self and personal identity. They let usknow who we are by recording what we've done and experienced. In this module we will tryto better understand what episodic memory is and to what extent it grounds our understandingof the self. This module will introduce students to the cognitive science of memory and tocore issues in the philosophical foundations of cognitive science.In the first part of the module, we will look at methodological issues that arise when weattempt to describe the mind's structure within philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. Inthe second part of the module, we will look towards the cognitive sciences to betterunderstand what sort of thing episodic memory is. In the final part of the module, we willconsider the relationship between episodic memory and our sense of the self.This is an interdisciplinary module. Understanding how the mind is structured is a complexproject. In order to make progress we need to appeal to both empirical and philosophicalwork (and work that blurs this distinction). We'll read scientific and philosophical papers;however, no prior knowledge of cognitive science (or neuroscience) will be presumed.

    30 credits
    Topics in Social Philosophy

    This module will introduce students to some contemporary issues in social philosophy

    30 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    • 1 year full-time
    • 2 years part-time


    You’ll learn through lectures, seminars and tutorials.


    Assessment varies depending on modules. For philosophy modules, you’ll write a long essay for each module. You will also write a final dissertation. If you’re going on to a PhD, you may choose to write a PhD proposal.


    School of History, Philosophy and Digital Humanities

    In the School of History, Philosophy and Digital Humanities, we interrogate some of the most significant and pressing aspects of human life, offering new perspectives and tackling globally significant issues.

    As a postgraduate Philosophy student you’ll be taught by philosophers who engage in cutting-edge research across a wide range of philosophical disciplines including epistemology, ethics, social, political and environmental philosophy, metaphysics and philosophy of the mind among others.

    The diversity of our research expertise allows us to offer programmes which are truly interdisciplinary and flexible and create a thriving research community where students and staff come together to discuss topics, explore new ideas and expand their knowledge in a supportive environment.

    We’ll also provide you with opportunities to use your philosophical knowledge to engage with real world problems and make a difference in the community through projects like our award-winning Philosophy in the City programme, which enables students to teach philosophy in the local community to audiences of all ages.

    Our Centre for Engaged Philosophy pursues research into questions of fundamental political and social importance, from criminal justice and social inclusion to climate ethics, all topics that are covered in our teaching. Their events are open to all students and there are opportunities to get involved in event planning and delivery.   


    Our students get to make the most of the University's facilities across campus. Explore some of the teaching, library and social spaces you'll be able to visit as an arts and humanities student.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in an arts and humanities or social sciences subject.

    We also welcome applications from applicants with other degree subjects. You can contact us at phi-pgadmissions@sheffield.ac.uk to discuss whether your previous degree and experience would be acceptable.

    We also accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Fees and funding

    If you qualify, you may be able to get financial support through the University's studentships and fee waivers, and the AHRC Block Grant Partnership.

    Department's Postgraduate funding opportunities page


    You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now


    +44 114 222 0587

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.