Philosophical Studies MPhil Stud
The MPhil Stud in Philosophy at UCL is one of the pre-eminent research Master's in philosophy in the UK. Over a period of two years students complete coursework across a specified range of areas, and produce a substantial research thesis. Students who have completed the MPhil Stud will have gained sufficient depth and breadth of knowledge to progress to the PhD.
- Key Information
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.Location: London, Bloomsbury
A first-class UK Bachelor's degree in Philosophy or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. All applicants for research degrees must submit two short pieces of work, of about 2,000 words each, with their application.
English Language Requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:International equivalencies
- Degree Information
In their first year, students take the following three compulsory courses (worth 15 credits each):
- Recent Philosophical Writings
A three-term fortnightly seminar for all research students, run by two members of staff. This seminar focuses on the recent philosophical literature. Students give presentations and it is expected that each MPhil Stud student will give a senior seminar presentation during their two years on the course.
- Practical Criticism I
Close reading of a classic philosophical text, for first year MPhil Stud students only (Term 1).
- Practical Criticism II
Close reading of a classic philosophical text, for first year MPhil Stud students only (Term 2).
In addition, students must take seven optional courses (worth 15 credits each), usually distributed as follows:
- Term 1 (three courses)
- Term 2 (three courses)
- Term 3 (one course)
These courses can either be MPhil Stud courses covering some region of philosophy in depth, or Research Seminars in which faculty members present their latest research.
In the third term, students work on their dissertation with their supervisor.
In their second year, students must take the following two compulsory courses:
- Recent Philosophical Writings
A three-term fortnightly seminar for all research students focusing on recent philosophical literature and run by two members of staff.
Students give presentations and it is expected that each MPhil Stud student will give a senior seminar presentation during their two years on the course. (15 credits)
- Thesis Preparation
A weekly seminar in which students present work in progress from their theses (30 credits).
In addition, students must take three optional courses in Term 1 (worth 15 credits each). In their second term, students receive individual supervision on their thesis project, and the third term is spent entirely working on the thesis.
Rules governing choice of optional courses:
Students must take SEVEN optional courses in their first year, and THREE in their second year.
Students’ choices among optional courses are constrained as follows:
- They must take at least SIX dedicated graduate courses over the two years.
- They must take at least TWO courses from each of categories A, B and C.
The A, B and C lists correspond to a rough division of philosophical topics into:
- A - 'Theoretical' (epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind and language, logic etc.)
- B - 'Practical' (in the Kantian sense) and/or 'evaluative'/'normative' (ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics)
- C - History of philosophy.
The department has a set of funds to offer awards to research students which are allocated on the basis of merit and need. These include the Follett Scholarship, a one-year award of £13,000; the S V Keeling Scholarship, a three-year scholarship to support research in philosophy, principally in ancient philosophy, worth £7,500 per year; Ayer, Dawes Hicks, Jacobsen, Melhuish, J S Mill Scholarships, each worth £500–£1,000.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Recent graduates have gained prestigious fellowships as well as postdoctoral placements in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Others have gone on to lectureships in the UK.
The breadth and quantity of pre-doctoral graduate-level modules required by the UCL MPhil Stud programme is unmatched by any other UK Philosophy department, ensuring that our research students enter specialist doctoral work with a deep general understanding of the discipline.
The department has an outstanding job placement record in a highly competitive market that values a range of areas of teaching competence in addition to an area of specialisation. Students also receive training in transferable presentational skills, interview practice and teaching methods.
The department has links with US universities (Berkeley, Columbia and Yale). Academic staff are involved in the running of the Aristotelian Society, which is the main philosophy society in the UK.
- Why study this degree at UCL?
The course is designed to give students both breadth and depth of study in the field at an advanced level, as well as the opportunity to develop independent research ideas in a sustained piece of original work.
Over the intensive two year programme, students taking the MPhil. Stud. complete 16 term length modules, 10 for credit assessed by way of a paper, and in addition, a 30,000 research thesis. The course is structured so that students take the majority of the assessed courses in the first year (typically 8-9), leaving them largely free to focus on their research in the second year. A certain amount of breadth is required of the courses taken for credit, so that although students are able to specialise to some extent in their area of research, they will write papers of significant length (4500 words) across several subject areas. Work on the thesis is begun in the summer of the first year and completed by September of the following year.
- Applications and next steps
UCL Philosophy admits graduate students to work for the degrees of MA, MPhil Stud, MPhil/PhD, and PhD.
The MPhil Stud programme has been conceived as preparation for a career in teaching philosophy and it provides a broader background and training in philosophy, before proceeding to the PhD.
Research Application Deadlines
The deadline for applications to the MPhil Stud MPhil/PhD and PhD is 10 January 2018.
All applicants for research degrees (MPhil Stud, MPhil/PhD or PhD) should submit two short pieces of work; c. 2,000 words each, with their application. When using the online admissions system there are various points where you are able to and/or required to upload certain documents. Please note that you are only able to upload documents less than 2 MB in size and in the file formats .doc, .docx, .jpg or .pdf. More information about uploads is available here.
You can upload the writing samples instead of one of the other documents requested (e.g. CV, English language certificate or Transcript).
More guidance on the writing samples can be found in here.
MPhil Stud: a first-class UK Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
MPhil/PhD: a one-year research degree in Philosophy or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
Exceptions may be made in the case of candidates with strong upper second class Honours degrees, or equivalent qualifications, supported by good references.
In exceptional circumstances, applicants for research degrees who will have completed sufficient graduate training in philosophy by the time they enrol will be considered for admission as MPhil/PhD students.
Decisions concerning eligibility for entry at this point in the programme will be made by the admissions tutor when reviewing application materials.
The preferred route to studying for a PhD in the department is by taking the two year MPhil Stud degree first. When applying online for the MPhil Stud online the course code RMPPHISING09 in the Research Subject Area / Taught Programme Title section.
The number of new research students registering each year about 10. Overall there are roughly 50 research students in the department.
Research Affiliate Applications
The department warmly welcomes graduate students who are working towards higher degrees at other universities and who would wish to do either course work or research in London for a period normally of one year.
Arrangements can be made for the award of grades or other credits that may be required by the degree-giving university.
Postdoctoral students may also be admitted for short periods, and the experience of the department is that such arrangements are highly beneficial. Finally, the department accept students who (for financial reasons etc.) wish to enrol on a part-time basis; and this lengthens their period of study.
- For more information visit Study Abroad
- Important Information about Writing Samples
- Writing samples are a crucial piece of our admissions process for the MPhil Stud.
- We ask for two pieces around 2000 words each (excluding bibliography).
- The short length is because we deal with so many applications.
- We ask for two as we do not want to make the decision on seeing only one piece of work.
- If you send in longer pieces we cannot guarantee they will be read in their entirety.
- Longer pieces with highlighted sections can be submitted although we would caution against this as it is not always possible to get a feel for an argument from a section.
- Remember you are in competition with many other applicants so it is worth taking some time to work on a piece that fulfils the requirements.
- Programme contacts
- Department Scholarships
There is a list of department scholarships of the UCL funding pages.
Dr Fiona Leigh – Graduate Tutor
“The Department of Philosophy at UCL is terrific, in terms of research, teaching, and the graduate and undergraduate communities. It is consistently ranked high in the REF, with strengths across a wide range of fields, including political philosophy, philosophy of mind, continental philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, ancient philosophy, and feminism. Our graduate community is large and flourishes through a combination of sharp intellect, breadth of interest, and collegiality. A range of formal and informal reading groups are attended or facilitated by graduate students, and UCL graduates participate in Philosophy graduate conferences twice a year with KCL, Birkbeck and LSE, as well as an annual conference with those London departments and Berkeley (held in alternate years in London and Berkeley). Meetings of the Aristotelian Society in nearby Senate House are often attended by staff and graduates alike. UCL also has connections with Yale, which sees Philosophy graduates regularly visit the Philosophy Department there.”