Master of Studies in Philosophy of Physics

  • 1. Every candidate must follow for at least three terms a course of instruction in Philosophy of Physics. Candidates will, when they enter for the examination, be required to produce from their society a certificate that they are following such a course.

  • 2. Every candidate shall be required to offer the following subjects:

    • (i) Philosophy of Physics.

    • (ii) Philosophy of Science.

    • (iii) One further subject chosen from the following list: Metaphysics and the Theory of Knowledge; Philosophy of Mind and Action; Philosophical Logic and the Philosophy of Language; Philosophy of Mathematics.

  • 3. The choice of subjects must be notified on the entry form for the examination, to be submitted to the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford by Friday of Week 7 of Hilary Term.

  • 4. Candidates will be examined by submitting:

    • (i) Two essays of no more than 5,000 words each on topics within the philosophy of physics. At most one essay may fall under each of the following subjects: (a) the philosophy of quantum theory; (b) the philosophy of space, time and symmetry; (c) the philosophy of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics; (d) other topics in the philosophy of physics.

    • (ii) One essay of no more than 5,000 words on a topic in the philosophy of science (to be understood as excluding topics specifically in the philosophy of physics as specified under 4. (i) above).

    • (iii) One essay of no more than 5,000 words, falling under one of the following subjects: (a) Metaphysics and the Theory of Knowledge; (b) Philosophy of Mind and Action; (c) Philosophical Logic and the Philosophy of Language; (d) Philosophy of Mathematics.

  • 5. [For students starting before MT 2017: Topics for all essays will be chosen by the candidates.] [For students starting from MT 2017: Topics for the two Philosophy of Physics essays will be prescribed by the examiners and topics for the Philosophy of Science and the elective subject will be chosen by the candidates.]

  • 6. Two printed copies of each of the essays in Philosophy of Physics must be delivered to the Examinations Schools, High Street, Oxford OX1 4BG, by 10am on Wednesday of Week 0 of Trinity Term in the year that the examination is to be taken. Two printed copies of the Philosophy of Science essay must be delivered to the same address by 10am on Friday of Week 9 of Trinity Term in the year that the examination is to be taken. Two printed copies of the last essay (for Metaphysics and the Theory of Knowledge; Philosophy of Mind and Action; Philosophical Logic and the Philosophy of Language; or Philosophy of Mathematics) must be delivered to the same address by 10am on Monday of Week 10 of Trinity Term in the year that the examination is to be taken. Essays must be typed or printed.

  • 7. Candidates who have not delivered essays as prescribed by the due dates above shall, unless they show exceptional cause to the examiners, be deemed to have withdrawn from the examination.

  • 8. The examiners may award a distinction for excellence in the whole examination.

  • 9. A candidate will be deemed to have passed the examination if they obtain a passing mark on all four essays. In addition, a mark for the Philosophy of Science or elective paper (but not both) judged to be narrowly below passing quality may be compensated for by strong performance on the Philosophy of Physics papers, provided that the candidate’s average performance remains above the level judged sufficient for a pass by the Examiners.

  • 10. A candidate who fails one element of the examination (i.e. one of the four essays), which has not been compensated in line with the provisions made under paragraph 9., may apply to retake that element either in the September immediately following the examination, or in the year immediately following the failed examination, in line with the normal assessment submission timetable for the course. A candidate who fails two or more elements may retake the examination in the year immediately following the failed examination. It is necessary for a candidate to retake only the failed elements of the examination. No resubmitted essay can receive a mark of more than 60.

  • 11. In the case of candidates whose formal application to transfer to the second year of the B.Phil in Philosophy has been conditionally approved by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Faculty, the Board of Examiners for the M.St in Philosophy of Physics shall assess whether the candidate’s overall performance meets the level of performance specified in the Graduate Student Handbook as a condition for entrance to the B.Phil in Philosophy. If so, the candidate shall be deemed to have withdrawn from the examination for the M.St in Philosophy of Physics, and their MSt essays shall be deemed to have been submitted for the B.Phil in Philosophy.