Building on the tradition of Karl Popper and Imre Lakatos, the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method offers a Masters programme in Philosophy of Science that has a unique orientation. We stand for a type of philosophy of science that is continuous with the actual practice of the sciences, resolutely interdisciplinary, and socially relevant. The Department is ranked joint 2nd in the world for Philosophy of Science by the Philosophical Gourmet Report 2009. This master programme prepares you for Ph.D. work in philosophy or related disciplines as well as for employment in such fields as science journalism and science administration.
The Department offers a wide range of courses taught by internationally leading philosophers. You can learn about both general philosophical problems raised by the sciences and particular philosophical-foundational problems that emerge in specific sciences. In addition, you benefit from a wealth of resources at the Department and at the LSE generally such as the LSE Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences, which is one of the major international centres of the discipline and attracts many eminent visitors.
General philosophical problems raised by the sciences include issues such as: What, if anything, makes science and the methods of science special? Can we maintain realism in the sciences in view of the fact that many entities once thought to be real have been abandoned in the course of the history of science? Can we achieve certainty through science? If not, is it at least highly probable that our current best theories are true? What is probability? How do scientists confirm their theories? How exactly does, and should, evidence relate to theoretical claims in science? What constitutes a scientific explanation or causation in science? How do the facts about theory-change in science ("scientific revolutions") impinge on these general philosophical issues?
Depending on your course choices you make, this master programme allows you to learn about fascinating conceptual and methodological issues that arise within specific sciences. In addition to our long-standing courses in Philosophical Foundations of Physics, Philosophy of Economics, and Philosophy of Social Science, we now offer new courses in the fast developing field of Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Science and a new foundational course in Set Theory and Further Logic, reflecting the research interests and expertise of new staff members.
In Philosophical Foundations of Physics you study questions such as: What is chaos? What is quantum teleportation? Is the theory of special relativity compatible with quantum theory? Does statistical mechanics explain the irreversibility of physical processes? In Philosophy of Economics you learn about issues such as: Are economic theories testable? Is Rational Choice Theory a plausible account of human decision making? What are the aims of Welfare Economics, and how well does the theory fulfil these aims? Questions discussed in Philosophy of Social Science include: How do we establish causes in the social sciences? Can we give a game-theoretic account of justice? In Philosophy of Biology you learn about problems such as: Is it groups, individuals or genes that are operated on by natural selection? Does genuine evolutionary altruism exist, and if so, how is this possible? How can we find out about how different organisms are related and what does this tell us about the nature of evolution and evolutionary biology? In Philosophy of Cognitive Science you study questions such as: Is the mind a computational system? Can psychology be reduced to neuroscience? How modular is the mind? In Set Theory and Further Logic you focus on questions such as: Can you count infinities? Is there a largest or a smallest infinite? Can the consistency of mathematics be proved?
* Philosophy of Science or Evidence, Objectivity and Policy
* Dissertation Seminar: Philosophy of Science (non assessed)
You will also complete a 10,000 word dissertation which is completed over the summer and must be submitted in mid-September.
Courses to the value of two full units from:
* Philosophy of Science
* Scientific Revolutions: Philosophical and Historical Issues
* Either Philosophy of the Social Sciences or Philosophy of Economics
* Philosophical Foundations of Physics
* Philosophy of Biological and Cognitive Sciences
* Set Theory and Further Logic
* Evidence, Objectivity and Policy
* Rationality and Choice
You will sit written examinations for your taught courses in June.
If not taken as a core course
Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).
Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.
All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.
Fee reductions and rewards
LSE undergraduates starting taught postgraduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction in the region of ten per cent of the fee. These reductions are available for UK, EU and non-EU students. The School offers a range of rewards for early payment of fees for all self-financed students.
Scholarships for study at LSE
LSE makes available over £12 million annually in financial support for its students via a range of scholarships, bursaries and award schemes, details of which can be found on these pages. LSE's world class programmes attract a consistently high calibre of applicants, many of whom seek financial support from the School, so there is always much competition for our awards. Securing the necessary funds to attend LSE can be a difficult and time consuming process so you should start to think about it as early as possible. Please be aware that the School will be unable to offer you any financial assistance if you knowingly register under funded. The relevant link on the left will take you to the awards available for your chosen level of study.
The School would like to thank the many donors who have contributed to the New Futures Fund, which provides funds for a number of discretionary scholarships.
Diploma, LLM, MA, MSc and MSc (Research) programmes
There are a range of awards available for study at this level. Approximately 19% of taught masters offer holders are successful in obtaining some form of financial support from the School. The value of support ranges in value from 10% of the tuition fee to a full fees and maintenance award.
Graduate Support Scheme
LSE's major financial support scheme for study at taught masters level is the Graduate Support Scheme (GSS). This scheme is open to all applicants, with the exception of those undertaking specific modular or executive programmes such as the MSc in Finance (Part time) or the MSc in Health Economics, Policy and Management. Around £2 million is available annually in the form of awards from the Graduate Support Scheme. The Scheme is designed to help students who do not have sufficient funds to meet all their costs of study. GSS awards range in value from £3,000 to a maximum of £10,000, and have an average value of £6,000. Application to the Graduate Support Scheme is via the LSE Graduate Financial Support Application form. This form will be made available to you once you have submitted an application for admission to the School. The form will then be available until 27 April 2011.
If you complete the LSE Graduate Financial Support Application form, and are made an offer of admission by 27 April 2011, you will also be automatically considered for any other awards being offered by LSE, for which you are eligible, with the exception of Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding where there are separate, department led processes in place. AHRC and ESRC funding is relevant to Home UK and Home EU applicants only, and there are also subject restrictions in place. We offer a range of awards based on different criteria such as a specific programme of study, nationality, or country of permanent domicile. In addition, a number of external organisations offer funding to support postgraduate study. We recommend that applicants follow up as many avenues as possible to find funding. Please be aware that if you accept funding from an external source, it is your responsibility to check the terms of the award. Some awards are accompanied by specific terms and conditions which you should be sure you able to meet before accepting the award. Information about other Awards offered by LSE or external organisations. Please take some time to look at all the other awards available to support your study at LSE. The details of these awards are updated each October, but new LSE awards may become available during the course of the admissions cycle. We will only write to successful applicants for these awards. Selection for these awards will take place between May and July 2011 and all successful applicants will be notified by 31 July 2011.