Global Ethics PhD/ PhD by Distance Learning

Within the Department of Philosophy, we offer promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research and explore the leading ethical issues of our time in a dynamic and reflective way.

Our research interests cover a wide variety of topics; including ethics and global public health; ethics, war and terror; poverty and financial exclusion; and ethics of borders and immigration.

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Dr Scott Wisor

Dr Scott Wisor

“The Centre for the Study of the Global Ethics is the oldest centre of its kind in the UK, and home to ground breaking research in areas including health and the environment, global development and justice, conflict and security, and gender justice. Our interdisciplinary approach to ethics and international affairs gives students the tools they need to critically analyse complex issues in a globalized world. ”

The PhD – the most advanced research degree – requires you to undertake independent research (under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff) that leads to a dissertation of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice.

Distance learning

You can study an MA by Research or PhD programme on campus or by distance learning. Please note that if you are studying with us by distance learning, the programme includes a fully-funded annual visit to campus for each full year of your programme (every two years for part-time students).

For more information on distance learning including answers to frequently asked questions, student experiences and funding opportunities, please see our distance learning website

At Birmingham you also have the option of studying languages, free of charge. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn the intense graduate academic language skills which you may need to pursue your research.

Profiles of our current Philosophy doctoral researchers

Why study this course

  • Philosophy at the University of Birmingham was ranked second among all Philosophy departments in the country in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework exercise, with almost 50% of our research judged to be ‘world-leading’.
  • Birmingham’s Philosophy postgraduates develop a range of skills that are highly desirable in the job market, including: articulacy; precise analytical thought; clarity; rigour in formulating complex problems; and the ability to analyse and construct sound arguments.
  • The Department includes the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics, which was founded in 2001, and was the first of its kind in the UK. The Centre was set up to address the practical and theoretical issues raised by globalisation. Global Ethics has natural affinities with Political Science and International Relations, as well as the Institute of Applied Social Studies.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17:

  • Home / EU £4,121 full-time; £2,061 part-time
  • Overseas: £13,680 full-time

The above fee quoted is for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Entry requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK.
  • If you are applying for a PhD then you will usually also need to hold a good Masters qualification.

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas.

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Additional Guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.

Making your application

 

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Research interests of staff include:

  • Ethical issues raised by biomedical research and clinical practice, psychiatric disorders, philosophy of mind and psychology, applied ethics, philosophy of science
    Contact: Lisa Bortolotti
    Email: l.bortolotti@bham.ac.uk
  • Moral theory – utilitarianism, Kantianism, Virtue ethics.  Consent, autonomy and free will.  Wellbeing and happiness.  Philosophy of medicine: health, illness and disease.
    Contact: Iain Law
    Email: i.law@bham.ac.uk
  • Moral theories, population ethics, global warming, happiness and wellbeing, morality and poverty, global distributive justice, multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism.
    Contact: Jussi Suikkanen
    Email: j.v.suikkanen@bham.ac.uk
  • Global ethics; global justice; bioethics and public health; commodification of the body; ethics of sex and beauty; women's rights; reproductive rights; ethics of war and terror; communication across value-frameworks and belief systems; and all aspects of virtue ethics and moral theory.
    Contact: Heather Widdows
    Email: h.widdows@bham.ac.uk
  • Moral and political philosophy, and applied ethics, especially bioethics, the ethics of killing (including the ethics of war), theories of rights, justice, legitimacy, and public justification.
    Contact: Jeremy Williams
    Email: j.s.williams@bham.ac.uk
  • Moral, social, and political philosophy, especially global ethics and global justice. Global poverty, development ethics, gender and development ethics, natural resource ethics, international trade justice, gender and global justice, climate ethics, just war and the ethics of civil resistance, the measurement of social progress, ethics of NGOs. Contact: Scott Wisor; Email: s.l.wisor@bham.ac.uk
  • Philosophy of mind and psychiatry; clinical ethics; addiction; mental health and criminal justice; moral psychology; agency and responsibility; decision-making capacity; placebos; violence.
    Contact: Hanna Pickard: pickardh@adf.bham.ac.uk

The University has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

In addition, the global edition of The New York Times has ranked the University 60th in the world and 9th in UK for post-qualification employability. The rankings illustrate the top 150 universities most frequently selected by global employers and are the result of a survey by French consulting firm Emerging and German consulting firm Trendence.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

University of the Year for employability

Birmingham's Philosophy postgraduates develop a range of skills that are highly desirable in the job market, including: articulacy; precise analytical thought; clarity; rigour in formulating complex problems; and the ability to analyse and construct sound arguments.

Over the past five years, over 93% of Philosophy postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Due to the transferable nature of their skills, Philosophy postgraduates traditionally enter a wide range of employment areas, from the Civil Service to finance. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Afrikids (child rights organisation); Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust; Muslim Scout Fellowship; Rights and Humanity; University of Birmingham; and University of Edinburgh.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.

Accommodation

Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

Support in your studies

We offer an Academic Writing Advisory Service, which aims to help your transition to postgraduate research. The service offers guidance on organising your ideas and structuring an argument, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, being clear and coherent and editing your work for academic style and linguistic accuracy. Individual support is provided by a professional academic writing advisor via tutorials or email, as well as through the provision of online materials.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.