Online Philosophy Modules

with FEES SCHOLARSHIPS for teachers!

Apply by August 15th each year for September-start modules
Apply by December 15th each year for January/February-start modules
(see link to application form below)


The Philosophy Department at the University of St Andrews provides a suite of online philosophy modules designed to offer professional development for teachers of philosophy in schools.

The modules are also open to any other persons with an interest in philosophy – if you’ve ever wondered what philosophy is all about but were too afraid to ask, now is your chance to find out!

Read through the FAQs below for further information, and use the links to the application form.

What are the modules?

There are 4 modules of 20 credits each. Each module may be taken individually – no module is a prerequisite for any other.

The modules, and their availability, are as follows:

Each module will run once per year, with 2 modules running concurrently in each semester. Semesters run September-December, and January/February-May. For fuller details, click on the name of each module.

Make your application online here.

Who can do the modules?

These modules have been developed primarily to meet the Continuing Professional Development needs of teachers in Scottish primary, secondary, or further education who are (or wish to be) involved in the teaching of philosophy. Such teachers will benefit from taking these modules in a number of ways: by earning CPD hours, by gaining the credits required for GTCS registration for philosophy teaching, and – importantly – by improving their knowledge and gaining confidence in core areas of philosophy, which will impact positively upon their teaching of the subject.

Teachers in the English education system may also reap similar benefits from taking these modules, and any non-teachers interested in trying out philosophy are also welcome to apply.

Do I have to be a teacher in order to take the modules?

No. While the modules have been designed to meet teachers’ needs, they are also open to interested non-teachers who would like to explore philosophy. If you are interested in questions about what it is to be human, and about the world we live in, then philosophy will appeal to you. This suite of modules allows you to try out one course in philosophy, without having to commit yourself to an entire programme. If you enjoy your first module, you can then apply to do the others. And since these modules are credit-bearing, they may count towards any future learning-programme you might take.

What level are the modules?

The modules are at undergraduate degree level, equivalent to SCQF levels 7 and 8. Studying these modules and gaining the credits will therefore allow teachers to fulfil GTCS registration requirements for teaching philosophy.

What qualification does this lead to?

This is a suite of individual, independent modules, as opposed to a certified programme. On passing a module, you will be able to access a transcript of the credits earned from the University.

Do I enrol for one module, or all four?

You enrol for one module at a time, and may do as many as you like. Those applicants who indicate that they wish to take all four modules may be given priority.

What kind of student status will I have?

Students of these distance-learning modules will be officially enrolled and matriculated with the University, as ‘non-graduating’ students. While enrolled on a module, you will be supplied with a personalised password and given Internet access to the electronic resources via the University of St Andrews library. These resources include electronic databases of published research journals, books, e-journals, exam papers and newspapers, national and international Library catalogues, search engines and subject resources.

How are the modules delivered?

The modules will be delivered entirely online, using the e-learning vehicle Moodle. Teaching will be by text-based lectures (with some additional audio/video components) and by discussion, e.g. use of discussion threads and blogs. Required reading materials (e.g. journal articles) will be linked to Moodle.

What facilities do I need to take these modules?

You will need to have internet access, preferably broadband.

Who teaches the modules?

The individual modules will be written and delivered by a number of academic philosophy staff at the University of St Andrews. You can find information about the members of staff, and their individual philosophical interests, on our departmental staff webpage. The development of these modules has been carried out by Dr Lisa Jones, who is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, as well as Director of Teaching and of Outreach into schools. Lisa is a keen supporter of philosophy in schools and has been organising outreach events for teachers and school pupils since she arrived in St Andrews in 2004. In addition to teaching some of the modules, she will also oversee the general delivery of the distance-learning modules and will deal with the applications.

How long will each module take?

The duration of each module is one semester, i.e. 15-week period. As a rough guide, each module will require approximately 150-200 hours of study time (10-12 hours per week).

If you choose to do all four modules one-at-a-time this will take 2 years (4 semesters). When there are two modules running concurrently, you may study two at a time, and thus complete them all within 1 year. No more than 2 modules will be running at any given time.

How is the learning assessed?

Assessment for each module will be by means of coursework – essays or exercises – submitted online. Typically, a module will require 2 to 3 essays of 1500-2000 words. All coursework and assessment will take place within the 15-week semester, and grades will be reported at the January and/or May examinations boards.

How much does it cost?

Fees are charged for each individual module, at £303 per module. If you choose to do all four modules, you will pay a total of £1,212.

NB: these are UK/EU fees. For overseas applicants, fees will be considerably higher – please see the University web page on Financial Information

But look – Scholarships available!

If you are a teacher in primary, secondary, or further education in the UK you will be eligible for one of our Philosophy in Education Scholarships, which means that 75% of your module fee will be paid by the University of St Andrews. Thus, someone in receipt of the scholarship will pay only £75 per module. Check the box on the application form to apply for a scholarship.

How do I apply, and what qualifications do I need?

We expect that most of our distance-learning students will be secondary school teachers who teach/wish to teach philosophy. The modules have been designed with their needs in mind. However, since the modules are at undergraduate level, they are also suitable for teachers at primary level, who would like to learn about philosophy with a view to introducing philosophical enquiry into their classrooms, and also other interested parties with qualifications equivalent to those generally accepted for undergraduate degree study at university.

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Lisa Jones (see contact email address below).

Make your application online here.

When should I apply?

NOW!! You can apply at any time of the year – applications will be considered on a rolling basis, as they are received, and you can expect to hear a decision within 3-4 weeks of applying. There will be a “cut-off” date for applications as the start date of the relevant module approaches.

  • For modules commencing in September, applications must be received by 15th August of the same year.
  • For modules commencing in Jan/February, applications must be received by 15th December of the previous year.


The Department of Philosophy is very grateful to the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies for its support in funding the development of these distance-learning modules.