Philosophical Studies MPhil Stud

London, Bloomsbury

Immerse yourself in the world of academic philosophy through this programme designed to give you a rigorous understanding of the discipline. The Philosophical Studies MPhil Stud is one of the most esteemed research Master’s degrees in the UK, giving you valuable academic skills and a solid foundation to progress to future PhD research. Delivered at UCL, you’ll also benefit from access to renowned academics and renowned philosophy institutions.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
All applicants: 16 Oct 2023 – 10 Jan 2024

Applications closed

Entry requirements

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.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

In REF 2021 our research activity was assessed as among the best in the country: 60% of our activity was assessed as world-leading (4*). The department has a lively and flourishing postgraduate community, and enjoys 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.

Who this course is for

This programme has been specifically designed for Philosophy graduates who wish to develop a career in academic philosophy. The diverse range of modules and specialised compulsory research elements ensure a breadth and depth of study that enables our research students who enter doctoral work do so with a deep general understanding of the discipline.

What this course will give you

The MPhil Stud degree is a rigorous training programme for two years which includes a 30,000 word thesis examined by viva with external examiners. The programme has been devised to better prepare students for doctoral work. This is achieved by giving a breath of study before future specialization, providing specialised compulsory research modules and the undertaking of a significant research project in Philosophy. 
By providing students with this breadth and depth of study we ensure that our research students who enter doctoral work do so with a deep general understanding of the discipline.

The foundation of your career

The range of pre-doctoral graduate-level modules included in UCL's MPhil Stud programme is exceptional when compared to UK philosophy departments. This ensures that our research students who go on to enter doctoral work do so with a deep general understanding of the discipline. The department has an outstanding job placement record in a highly competitive academic market that values a range of areas of competence in addition to an area of specialisation. UCL PhD graduates in philosophy have secured lectureships, fellowships and postdoctoral placements in the UK and elsewhere (University of Oxford, University of Toronto, University College Dublin, York University, Southampton University, Cambridge University, Sheffield University, University of Antwerp and the Institute of Philosophy, UNAM, Mexico).


Of the students we admit to the MPhilStud each year, around half progress to study a PhD. Some are offered full fees and maintenance grants (e.g. at UCL, Oxford, Cambridge, and other UK and US universities). Students who do not continue to academic work beyond the MPhilStud enter a range of professions including law, public policy, and publishing.


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.

Teaching and learning

Over the two years of the MPhil Stud students complete coursework across a range of areas, and produce a substantial research thesis. The programme as a whole has been devised to better prepare students for doctoral work in the subject. This is achieved by:

• Giving a breath of study as a foundation before future specialization

• Providing specialised compulsory research modules in both years of the course (Practical Criticism / Recent Philosophical Writings & Thesis Preparation)

• Undertaking a significant research project in Philosophy with the 30,000 word thesis which begins in term three of the first year.

By providing students with this breadth and depth of study we ensure that our research students who enter doctoral work do so with a deep general understanding of the discipline.

The programme is taught through a combination of seminars and supervisions. Your performance is assessed through presentations, coursework, supervision and the thesis.

Each research training module has a two-hour seminar each week. Students should plan to put aside at least eight hours per week excluding the seminar time for each research training module being taken.

Research areas and structure

Research areas:

  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • History of Twentieth Century Philosophy
  • Metaphysics
  • Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy 
  • Nineteenth Century German Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Perception
  • Political Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Science

Research environment

The Philosophy MPhilStud is one of the pre-eminent UK research Master's degrees in philosophy. Over two years you complete research training modules (similar to coursework) across a range of areas, and produce a substantial research thesis. When you have successfully completed the MPhil Stud you will have sufficient depth and breadth of knowledge to progress to the two-year (minimum) PhD.

When you study the MPhilStud you will take five compulsory modules and ten optional modules during your two-year programme.

The ten optional modules are subject to a breadth requirement: all optional modules available to you are classified as falling into one of three broad philosophical areas

(A)     Theoretical (metaphysics, language, epistemology etc.)

(B)     Practical (in the Kantian sense; ethics, politics, aesthetics) and

(C)    Historical (ancient, continental, early modern, early analytic etc.)

You must take at least two courses from each of these three areas.

In the first year, you will take two compulsory modules plus eight optional modules. You will receive supervision on your thesis in term three.
In the second year, you will take the remaining compulsory modules plus the other two optional modules. Your supervision continues throughout the year. You will submit your thesis in early September.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £6,035
Tuition fees (2024/25) £28,100

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

The department strives to keep additional costs low. Books and journal articles are usually available via the UCL library (hard copies or via e-journal subscriptions).

The wealth of departmental seminars / colloquiums / symposiums and student organised work in progress sessions give ample opportunities to present research, receive feedback and participate in discussion.
Furthermore, the department’s membership to the University of London’s Institute of Philosophy enables participation in intercollegiate conferences and workshops where the above opportunities can be experienced with a wider audience.

Lastly, the department has some funds which can be applied for to help offset the cost of travel to conferences in the UK or overseas.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

The department has a set of funds to offer awards to research students which are allocated on the basis of academic merit. These include the Jacobsen Scholarship, a one-year award of £9,000 & one or two S V Keeling Scholarships each year in philosophy or ancient philosophy, covering UK/EU fees and maintenance matching AHRC funding for both years of the MPhil Stud.

There are also the Ayer, Dawes Hicks, Melhuish and JS Mill Scholarships, each worth £200 to £4,500. Other scholarships and sources of funding may be available; please check our Scholarships and Funding website. You should take note of funding application deadlines as these will differ from programme application deadlines.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Quirk PhD Scholarship

Deadline: 26 January 2024
Value: Fees and maintenance (3yrs)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

The MPhil Stud start date is September each year. Applications close on 10th January each year and early submission is recommended. Please include two samples of your written work (2,000 words each). There is no need for a research proposal for MPhil Stud applications as the thesis work does not begin until the end of the first year. For more information see our How to apply page.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Got questions? Get in touch

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