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Philosophy MPhil/PhD

The Philosophy MPhil/PhD at UCL is a three to four year research programme. It requires students to take graduate modules assessed by several papers in their first year, and, on successful upgrade to the PhD, to produce a thesis of original research under the guidance of their supervisor(s). Students who have completed the MPhil Stud undertake a two to three year programme, also producing a research thesis, examined by a viva voce.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 3 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£4,770 (FT) £2,385 (PT)
£17,190 (FT) £8,755 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Close: 4 January 2016
Fees note: All fees quoted are for new students only for 2016 entry. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase by approximately 3-5%.

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:


UCL Philosophy is well placed to supervise graduate students conducting research within a number of sub-disciplines, which can be represented by way of three broadly constructed areas.
  • Mind, metaphysics & epistemology, language and action
  • Political and moral philosophy, and philosophy of ethics
  • History of philosophy, particularly ancient, german, and french philosophy

Research areas

  • 19th-century German philosophy
  • 19th- and 20th-century continental philosophy
  • Ancient philosophy
  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • History of 20th-century philosophy
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of language
  • Philosophy of mathematics
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Political philosophy


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. In addition 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; one or two S V Keeling Scholarships 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); as well as Ayer, Dawes Hicks, Jacobsen, Melhuish, and J S Mill Scholarships, each worth £200-£4,500.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

AJ Ayer Scholarship in Philosophy

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

AJ Ayer-Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship

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

Dawes Hicks Postgraduate Scholarship

Up to £5,000 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas students
Based on academic merit

Downing Postgraduate Scholarship

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

Follett Scholarship

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

George Melhuish Postgraduate Scholarship

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

Jacobsen Scholarship

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

John Stuart Mill Scholarship in Philosophy of Mind and Logic

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

Keeling Scholarship

£7,500 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas students
Based on academic merit

More scholarships are listed on 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 All Souls College, Oxford Prize Fellow, University of London Jacobsen Fellowships, and postdoctoral positions at Cambridge University, Sheffield University, University of Oxford, University of Antwerp and the Institute of Philosophy, UNAM, Mexico). Others have gone on to lectureships in the UK (e.g. 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.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Junior Research Fellow, University of Oxford
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Leeds University
  • Lectureship, University of Southampton
  • Robin Geffin Research Fellow and Tutor, University of Oxford
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, UNAM (Universidad National Autonoma de Mexico)
  • Temporary Lectureship, University of Oxford
  • Lectureship, University of Cape Town
  • Junior Research Fellow, University of Cambridge


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 areas of teaching competence, which is provided 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, as well as 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, which is the main philosophy society in the UK. Others are involved in running the Institute of Classical Studies lecture series, and the Keeling Colloquium and annual Keeling Lecture 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, are open to our graduate students.

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.

Student / staff ratios › 19 staff › 37 taught students › 67 research students

Department: Philosophy

Degree reviews

Alumni review

"The university is also a gateway for accessing a broader philosophy scene in London, such as the Aristotelian Society and the Institute of Philosophy."

Craig French

Philosophy PhD ()
Junior Research Fellow, Trinity Hall, Cambridge University
Alumni review

"UCL Philosophy combines the intimacy that you get with academic staff numbers of around 15, as well as breadth and depth of expertise, as it is part of the wider London philosophical scene."

Lee Walters

Philosophy MA, MPhil, PhD (2011)
Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Southampton
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

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
4 January 2016
The MPhil/PhD and PhD start date is September each year. For 2016 entry, applications open in October 2015, and are due by January 4 2016. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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