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Philosophy MPhil/PhD

The Philosophy MPhil/PhD at UCL provides a route for students to produce a thesis of original research under the guidance of their supervisor(s). Those who have not already completed the MPhil Stud (or equivalent) are required to take graduate modules assessed by several papers in their first year to upgrade to PhD status. Students who have completed the MPhil Stud undertake a two to three year PhD programme, also producing a research thesis examined by a viva voce.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Tuition fees (2017/18)

£4,915 (FT) £2,455 (PT)
£19,010 (FT) £9,560 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Close: 3 January 2017

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

Entry requirements

The usual prerequisite for the MPhil/PhD is a one-year research degree in Philosophy or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Direct admission to the PhD requires the MPhil Stud (or equivalent). 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.

International students

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:


Our research is consistently ranked among the best in the country. The department has a lively and flourishing postgraduate community, and advanced research students are offered opportunities to gain teaching experience. We enjoy collaborative connections with other London universities, and the activities of the nearby Royal Institute of Philosophy, the Aristotelian Society, and the University of London Institute of Philosophy.

Research areas

  • 19th-century German philosophy
  • 19th- and 20th-century continental philosophy
  • Ancient philosophy
  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • Feminist philosophy
  • History of 20th-century philosophy
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of language
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Political philosophy
More information can be found on the department website: Philosophy MPhil/PhD


MPhil/PhD and PhD candidates will be considered for AHRC funding through the LAHP (London Arts & Humanities Partnership), whose members are UCL, King's College London, and the School of Advanced Study at the University of London.

Funds awarded on the basis of merit and need include: the Follett Scholarship, a one-year award of £13,000; the Jacobsen Scholarship, a one-year award of £9,000, and one or two S V Keeling Scholarships in philosophy or in ancient philosophy, covering UK/EU fees and maintenance matching AHRC funding for either two years (MPhil Stud) or for up to three years (MPhil/PhD or PhD – ancient philosophy only); as well as the Ayer, Dawes Hicks, Melhuish and JS Scholarships, each worth £200 to £4,500.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

AJ Ayer-Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship

Up to £800 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas
Based on both academic merit and financial need

Follett Scholarship

Up to £13,000 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas
Based on academic merit

Jacobsen Scholarship

Up to £9,500 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas
Based on academic merit

AJ Ayer Scholarship in Philosophy

Up to £3,500 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas
Based on both academic merit and financial need

Downing Postgraduate Scholarship

Up to £250 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas
Based on academic merit

George Melhuish Postgraduate Scholarship

Up to £3,700 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas
Based on academic merit

John Stuart Mill Scholarship in Philosophy of Mind and Logic

Up to £1,400 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas
Based on academic merit

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 with a PhD in philosophy from UCL have gained prestigious academic fellowships as well as postdoctoral placements in the UK and elsewhere in Europe (for example at the University of Oxford, the University of London, University of Cambridge, Sheffield University, University of Antwerp, and the Institute of Philosophy, UNAM, Mexico). Others have gone on to lectureships in the UK (for example at the University of Oxford, University of York, LSE) and overseas at the University of Cape Town and the University of Melbourne.

Those who have not pursued an academic career have entered a variety of professions, including law, public policy, and publishing.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Associate Researcher, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Antwerp
  • The Robin Geffen Research Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy, University of Oxford
  • Philosophy Lecturer, University of Cape Town


The department has an outstanding job placement record in a highly competitive academic market. The most successful candidates in this market are valued for their range of teaching competence, provided for by the taught elements of the MPhil/PhD programme, as well as for their particular area of specialisation, determined by the research topic of the doctoral thesis.

During the course of the programme, students receive training in presentational skills, interview practice and teaching methods, and are encouraged to present their research at the department's Work in Progress seminars, and at graduate and academic conferences in the UK and overseas.


The department has links with US universities (Berkeley, Columbia and Yale). Academic staff are involved in the running of the Aristotelian Society, the main philosophy society in the UK. Others are involved in running the Institute of Classical Studies lecture series, and the Keeling Colloquia and Lectures in ancient philosophy. Philosophy graduate students host a philosophy conference at the start of every year, and co-organise an annual graduate philosophy conference with graduate students at Berkeley. Finally, the Royal Institute of Philosophy lecture series, co-ordinated by the Institute of Philosophy at Senate House, is open to our graduate students.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The doctoral programme at UCL provides students with the opportunity to conduct original research in philosophy in one of UK's top philosophy departments, under the supervision of prominent academics in the field. The PhD programme is designed to prepare students for an academic career, whether it be via the three-year (minimum) MPhil/PhD or the two-year (minimum) PhD following on from the MPhil Stud (or equivalent), by ensuring that students receive grounding across a range of topics as well as producing a research thesis.

Department: Philosophy

Student / staff numbers › 20 staff
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Philosophy
75% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

What our students and staff say

Staff review

"UCL has one of the best philosophy departments in the world. With the other London universities there are interesting talks, workshops, and conferences taking place all the time. Most of my work is on causation, laws of nature, and probability, and the relationship between these three things. Work on probability and causation is a cross-disciplinary venture, involving philosophers, computer scientists, statisticians, and psychologists, among others."

Professor Luke Fenton-Glynn

Philosophy MA, Philosophy MPhil/PhD
UCL Philosophy
Student review

"UCL provides numerous networking opportunities. I have attended conferences within the University of London, the University of Essex, the John Felice Rome Center of Loyola University Chicago. I have presented papers at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy 2015 Conference, along with attending frequent philosophy talks at the nearby Aristotelian Society and Royal Institute of Philosophy."

Helena Cicmil


Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Application deadlines

All applicants
3 January 2017

The MPhil/PhD and PhD start date is September each year. For 2017 entry, applications open in October 2016, and are due by January 3 2017. Please attach two samples of your written work (2000 words each). For more information see our How to apply page.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

Contact information

Page last modified on 17 August 2017 by UCL Student Recruitment Marketing


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