Postgraduate taught 

Philosophy (Conversion) MSc

Liberalism PHIL5072

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

In this course, we will explore and understand the different ways that we might conceive of liberalism as a political philosophy. We will do this by analysing disagreements about the correct political morality of liberalism, and also by drawing out the consequences of these foundational disagreements for liberal theories of institutions.


2 lectures per week for 9 weeks, plus 4 seminars. The course may not run every year. Options running this year are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Two essays, equally weighted, each with a word limit of 2500 words.

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ explore the range of philosophical accounts of the foundations and nature of liberalism;

■ analyse key debates over the role of value judgements in politics;

■ investigate contemporary theories of legitimacy and neutrality;

■ explore the application of theories to contemporary political problems of culture and community.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Explain and evaluate the main theories about the nature of neutrality and its role in liberalism;

■ Critically discuss the debate between comprehensive and political liberals;

■ Explain and assess philosophical theories about the nature and value of cultures and communities;

■ Apply these theories to real-world political and economic policies and institutions;

■ Communicate their own political philosophical ideas and arguments clearly and effectively.


Assessment for this course is at Masters Level.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.