Why UCL Philosophy?


Philosophy was from the very foundation of UCL always intended to play a large and important part in the curriculum.

This was in keeping with the idea of philosophy as a means of liberal education held by such members of the original council as James Mill, Henry Brougham and George Grote.

In the first statement, issued in 1827, concerning the nature and objectives of the college's foundation, it states:

"As the Physical Sciences aim at ascertaining the most general facts observed by sense in the things which are the object of thought, so the Mental Sciences seek to determine the most general facts relating to thought or feeling, which are made known to the being who thinks by his own consciousness".

The department has notable strengths in:

  • Philosophy of Mind and Language
  • Political and Moral Philosophy
  • Metaphysics and Epistemology
  • History of Philosophy

Graduate Testimonies

Thomas Smith - PhD (2007)

“For me, UCL was a place that you looked forward to going to each day. You looked forward to the seminars, the supervisions, the reading groups and the evenings in the pub, because they were fun, because the people were interesting and unpretentious, and because you learned something from them. London is a terrific place to philosophise: there are so many excellent people working or visiting there at any time, and so much going on, formally and informally, that even if one never read a single thing, one would have a sense of immunity from ignorance of the latest ideas.”

Hong Yu Wong - MPhil Stud (2006)

“The programme is unique in training its students rigorously but with a personal touch. The class is small and this allows for one to receive adequate attention from faculty members and interact with all of one's peers. I found the compulsory practical criticism class especially useful for honing my skills in reading closely and critically. The tutorial system allows for great flexibility in pursuing one's interests in depth and also acquiring a broad education in philosophy. Studying philosophy at UCL combines the advantages of being in an intimate college atmosphere and being in a large research environment, since there are several other excellent philosophy departments in London and a thriving philosophy scene.”

MM – Philosophy MA (2006)

“Having shopped around a little I chose to apply for the philosophy MA at UCL. It seemed a good option: a one year commitment at a top-rated philosophy department (not to mention the MA's inter-collegiate nature, giving access to philosophers throughout London), and a chance to try out a fairly wide range of subjects. The year went well and I was able to work closely in tutorials with a number of the UCL philosophers. I'm now a little clearer, having dabbled in a number of subjects in the course of the MA, as to which areas I now want to focus on. I'm starting the MPhil Stud at UCL this coming year, and looking forward to it immensely.”

Keith Allen - PhD (2005)

“I chose to come to UCL primarily because of the strength of the department. As one of the leading centres in the philosophy of perception, it was an obvious choice. Intellectually, my time at UCL was as stimulating and challenging as I had hoped it would be and immensely enjoyable. The department is down-to-earth, friendly, and very sociable. My time there was an incredibly rewarding experience. I started on the two-year MPhil Stud, which was excellent preparation for my further research. Not only did it allow me to develop a thesis that formed the foundation of my PhD, but it enabled me to both broaden and deepen my range of philosophical interests."


Compare UCL Philosophy programmes with others:

Page last modified on 26 nov 13 17:06