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. You can study in traditional PhD format, or through our PhD by Papers option.

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

Dr. Jonathan Parry, Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics

Dr. Jonathan Parry, Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics

“The Centre for the Study of the Global Ethics is home to a team of world-leading researchers, working on topics such as: health and wellbeing, climate change and the environment, human rights and global justice, war and intervention, bioethics, and gender justice. We take an interdisciplinary approach to ethics and international affairs, drawing on expertise from across the university, in order to equip our students with the skills needed to critically analyse complex issues in a globalised world. ”

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

PhD by Papers

As an alternative to the standard thesis, we now also offer you the choice of writing a thesis which consists of three or four self-standing academic articles on different aspects of a single topic. Birmingham is one of the first philosophy departments in the UK to offer you this option of a “PhD by Papers”. 

Rather than writing a single book-like thesis examining a single topic, you may instead write a thesis comprising three or four separate (though thematically unified) papers, in the style of philosophy journal articles. Although this style of PhD thesis is very popular at top US departments, and offers many advantages for students, it is rare in the UK. The advantages of this option include:

  • Ideas don’t always come in book-shaped packages. Our PhD by Papers format recognizes that, allowing you greater scope to follow your interests.
  • If you would like to become an academic philosopher, you will need to publish in philosophical journals, preferably before finishing your PhD. Our PhD by Papers means your work towards publishable papers is always work towards the PhD thesis, improving your academic job prospects along the way.

The PhD by Papers format is an option for all Birmingham Global Ethics PhD students, not a separate course of study. So if you are interested, please simply apply for the Global Ethics PhD as normal.

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 most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise, with almost 50% of our research judged to be top rated as ‘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 2017/18:

  • Home/EU: £4,195 full-time; £2,098 part-time
  • Overseas: £15,210 full-time

Please note: the fee is the same whether studying on campus or by distance learning. The fee for the distance learning programme also includes a fully-funded annual visit to campus for each full year of your programme (every two years for part-time students).

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.

Fee status

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

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in 2017-18 or 2018-19 academic years will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

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

Funding opportunities

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate funding database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

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.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent).

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.

Please note: Postgraduate research can start at any time during the year, but it is important to allow time for us to review your application and communicate a decision. If you wish to start in September, we would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by the end of June.

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: Professor 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: Dr 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: Dr 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: Professor 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: Dr Jeremy Williams
    Email: j.s.williams@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: Dr Hanna Pickard
    Email: pickardh@adf.bham.ac.uk
  • Gender justice, bioethics, race justice, relational autonomy, and conflict.
    Contact: Dr Herjeet Marway
    Email: h.marway@bham.ac.uk
  • Normative ethics; applied ethics (especially the ethics of war); political philosophy.
    Contact: Dr Jonathan Parry
    Email: j.parry.3@bham.ac.uk
  • Global ethics; political philosophy; normative approaches to the internet.
    Contact: Dr Merten Reglitz
    Email: m.reglitz@bham.ac.uk
  • Political philosophy; global (bio)ethics; climate change; environment sustainability; intersubjective ethics.
    Contact: Dr Wouter Peeters 
    Email: w.peeters@bham.ac.uk

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive 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.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Philosophy

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 94% 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 teaching and lecturing to publishing. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: BBC; Friends of the Earth; Birmingham Children?s Hospital; Highways England; and University of Birmingham.

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.