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Scotland Study Group

University of St. Andrews
Director Spring 2015: Associate Professor Edward Witherspoon, Department of Philosophy
Founded in 1413, the University of St. Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland, and one of the premier institutions of higher learning in Britain. The university draws over a fifth of its 5,700 undergraduates from overseas, representing some 75 different nationalities.
The town of St. Andrews — also known as the "home of golf" — is a beautiful burgh of about 15,000 people on the rugged east coast of Scotland. It has a vibrant town center filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants (plus the impressive ruins of the ancient cathedral).

There is reliable train and bus service to nearby larger cities, such as Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Stirling. Edinburgh's international airport offers daily budget flights to European destinations.

Academic Program

Participants register as students at the University of St. Andrews and have the same access to all of its facilities as regular students do. In order to earn the equivalent of four Colgate credits, each student takes the course offered by the study group director and two to three courses from the St. Andrews curriculum.


In 2015 the Director’s course will be “Skepticism Ancient and Modern”. This course traces the history of philosophical skepticism, with special attention to its connections to the intellectual and religious ferment of the Reformation and to the rise of modern science.   We will examine skepticism’s ancient origin as a way of life in opposition to doctrinal philosophical schools such as those of the Epicureans and the Stoics.  We will then consider the renaissance of skepticism in the theological disputes between Protestant reformers and defenders of Catholic orthodoxy. Finally, we will study specifically modern forms of skepticism and the complicated connections between modern skepticism and religious belief.  This course will connect students to the Scottish intellectual tradition through the study of David Hume, who freely employed skeptical argumentation while maintaining a deliberately ambiguous relationship to skepticism itself. This class is required for all study group participants. 

Course Approval Form
St. Andrew's Course Information Sheet

Living Arrangements

Students share a meal as a large group.Study group participants live with St. Andrews students in the university's halls of residence. There are options to choose from (single or double, en suite or not, catered or not, etc.).Colgate students enter the university's housing lottery along with everyone else.

Extracurricular Activities

There will  be two group excursions:   a weekend  in Edinburgh,  and a trip to York, Oxford, and London during the first week of the two-week spring break. Both trips feature guided city and museum tours, concerts, plays, and invited talks by British scholars.  Travel arrangements are made by the Study Group Director.

Independent Travel

Students interested in pursuing independent travel within Britain or Continental Europe have an opportunity to do so after the end of final examinations, and during the second week of the Spring Vacation.


Start of Classes:   26 January 2015
Edinburgh Weekend:  early February 2015
Spring Vacation:  14-29 March 2015
Revision period:  27 April—8 May 2015
Examinations:  11-29 May 2015
Please see


Ideally, students should have taken at least three religion or philosophy courses by the time they arrive in St. Andrews. In order to be admitted to St. Andrews, students need to have at least a 3.2 grade point average.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheets.


The deadline for applications to the Spring 2015 Scotland Study Group is Friday, November 8th, 2013.  Applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study/International Programs website and are submitted online.  Student notification of selections will be completed in early January 2014.  Written confirmation of participation is expected by January 10th, 2014.

Passports and Visas

Scenic of a city in ScotlandYou must confirm that your passport is valid through December 2015. All students participating on the Spring 2015 Scotland Study Group will be required to obtain a U.K. student visa. With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with U.K. visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study/International Programs, 101 Lathrop, and International Student Services, 103C Lathrop, to learn as much as you can about the regulations. For all students there are significant visa requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Program Dates

The Departments of Philosophy and Religion Program at St. Andrews University program dates: end of January–May 29, 2015.

Informational Sessions


More Information

Students pose as a group near a stone wallFor more information contact Edward Witherspoon at