Philosophy MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

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.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

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.

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. International Preparation Courses

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

Our research is consistently ranked among the best in the country (REF 2021). 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.

Who this course is for

The PhD in Philosophy is for applicants who have completed a period of post-graduate training that included with a large research component who now seek to develop an advanced critical analysis in a specific area of Philosophy. For the areas we can offer supervision in please see:

What this course will give you

The doctoral programme at UCL provides students with the opportunity to conduct original research in philosophy in one of the 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 MPhil/PhD or the 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.

The foundation of your career

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.


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, University of Toronto, University of Dublin and Leipzig University). 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.


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

The PhD degree is awarded on the basis of a thesis between around 60,000 - 80,000 words.
The candidate is also given a viva voce examination. 

Research areas and structure

  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • History of 20th-Century Philosophy
  • Metaphysics
  • Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy 
  • Nineteenth Century German Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Perception
  • Political Philosophy

Research environment

UCL Philosophy is consistently ranked among the best in the country (REF 2021 60% of our overall profile received the top grade (4*) the highest of any UK philosophy department). As a research student you will join the department's lively and flourishing postgraduate community. The department is located in the centre of the rich philosophical life of Bloomsbury and we have collaborative connections with other London universities, as well as the nearby activities of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, the University of London Institute of Philosophy and the Aristotelian Society. Students run work in progress seminars and reading groups as well as organising events for faculty and external speakers. 

The doctoral programme provides you with the opportunity to conduct original research in philosophy in one of UK's top philosophy departments. You may be supervised by prominent academics in your field of research. The PhD programme is designed to prepare you for an academic career, by ensuring that you receive grounding across a range of topics as well as producing a research thesis. During the course of the programme, you will receive training in presentational skills, interview practice and teaching methods, and are encouraged to present your research at the department's Work in Progress seminars, and at graduate and academic conferences in the UK and overseas.

Our staff cover a broad range of specialisms including 19th-century German Philosophy, Ancient Philosophy, Epistemology, Ethics, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind and Political Philosophy.

The length of registration for the MPhil/PhD in Philosophy is 3 years for full-time and 5 years for part-time at UCL. It requires students to take graduate courses assessed by way of several papers in their first year, and, provided successful upgrade to the PhD, to produce a thesis of original research under the guidance of their supervisor(s). You will receive supervision each term from either a member of your supervision team or other members of staff in the department who have expertise relevant to your research. The PhD degree is awarded on the basis of the thesis and a viva voce examination.


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

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £5,860 £2,930
Tuition fees (2023/24) £26,200 £13,100

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

MPhil/PhD and PhD candidates can apply for AHRC funding through the LAHP (London Arts & Humanities Partnership), whose members are UCL, King's College London, Queen Mary University of London, the London School of Economics & Political Science, the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, Royal College of Art, and Royal College of Music. Other scholarships and sources of funding may be available; please check the UCL Scholarships and Funding website. You should take note of funding application deadlines as these can differ from programme application deadlines.

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 Jacobsen Scholarship (one-year award of £9,000) and one or two S V Keeling Scholarships in ancient philosophy (covering UK/EU fees and maintenance matching AHRC funding). There are also the Ayer, Dawes Hicks, Melhuish and JS Mill Scholarships, each worth £200 to £4,500.

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

Next steps

The MPhil/PhD and PhD start date is September each year. Please attach two samples of your written work (2,000 words each) in addition to your research proposal. 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.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Year of entry: 2022-2023

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