Philosophy PhD (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

Start date
Flexible – September or January encouraged
Duration
3 years full-time; 6 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Distance learning, Doctoral research
Fees

Annual tuition fee 2022 entry:
UK: £4,565 full-time, £2,283 part-time
International: £19,800 full-time; £9,900 part-time (distance learning only)
More detail.

By pursuing research in Philosophy at Birmingham, you will joining a vibrant and dynamic research community thanks to the Department’s diverse research interests and approaches.

Our expert supervision spans a wide range of areas, including: Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science; Philosophy of Language; Philosophy of Logic; Philosophy of Mathematics; Moral Philosophy (theoretical and practical); Metaphysics and Epistemology; and Philosophy of Religion.

You can study in traditional PhD format, or through our PhD by Papers option. Rather than writing a single book-like thesis examining a single topic, a PhD by Papers gives you the choice of writing a thesis comprising of several separate (though thematically unified) papers, in the style of philosophy journal articles.

Birmingham is one of the first philosophy departments in the UK to offer a PhD by Papers option and, 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 include:

  • Ideas don’t always come in book-shaped packages. Our PhD by Papers format recognises 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 Philosophy PhD students and is not a separate course of study. Simply apply for the Philosophy PhD as normal.

You can study our Philosophy PhD full-time or part-time, on campus or by distance learning. The College of Arts and Law is experienced in delivering high-quality distance learning to students all over the world. Find out more on our distance learning website.

Academically, you are given the trust and freedom to discover your own voice, while my supervisors have been very supportive. The postgraduate community at our department is friendly and constructive, with the postgraduate seminars being a wonderful place to receive feedback on your work.

Kash

Why study this course?

  • World-leading research: Times Higher Education ranked the Department of Philosophy second in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise, with 49% of our research judged to be ‘world-leading’.
  • Employability skills: 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.
  • Staff expertise: The Department is home to an expanding, energetic and friendly community of philosophers. Our staff produce world-leading research in all core areas of contemporary philosophy and a number of speciality areas.
  • Postgraduate community: Our postgraduate students play a very active role in the life of the Department and the atmosphere among students and staff is lively, friendly and supportive. They are important contributors to our on-going research activities, including our research seminars and events, such as our weekly speaker series and various workshops and conferences throughout the year.

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience.

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Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022 entry are as follows:

  • UK: £4,565 full-time; £2,283 part-time
  • International: £19,800 full-time; £9,900 part-time (distance learning only)

The same fees apply to both campus-based and distance learning study.

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

* For UK postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2022.

Fee status

Eligibility for UK or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Paying your fees

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

How To Apply

Application deadlines

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 2022, we would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by 1 July 2022.

If the programme has a Distance learning option then students will usually attend a residential visit in September or January, and those students wishing to attend the September residential are also encouraged to apply by 1 July 2022. The visit will take place at the end of September/beginning of October and you will receive further details once you have accepted your offer.

Six easy steps to apply for a postgraduate research course in the College of Arts and Law

Six steps to apply for our Postgraduate Research courses

Do you have an idea for an interesting research project? You can follow our six easy steps to apply to study for our postgraduate research courses. These include guidance on identifying funding opportunities and writing your research proposal.

Please also see our additional guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.

Please note: While our PhD programmes are normally studied in three years full-time or six years part-time, and Masters-level research programmes one year full-time or two years part-time, many programmes have a longer length listed in course or funding applications. This is because the course length is defined as the maximum period of registration, which includes a period of supervised study plus a thesis awaited period. The maximum period of registration for a full-time PhD is four years (three years supervision plus one year thesis awaited). For a full-time Masters-level research programme, it is two years (one year supervision plus one year thesis awaited). For part-time programmes, the periods are double the full-time equivalent.

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

Our Standard Requirements

If you are applying for a PhD then you will usually need to hold a good Masters qualification in Philosophy or in a relevant subject. 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 Requirements


The Department of Philosophy combines research excellence in all core areas of philosophy, with distinction in number of specialty and interdisciplinary areas, including epistemology and philosophy of mind, ethics and philosophy of religion, metaphysics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mathematics. The Department hosts the John Hick Centre for Philosophy of Religion.

Find a supervisor and see our research in:

PhD research focus: a selection of our current PhD students talk about their research.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 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, and the ability to analyse and construct sound arguments.

Due to the transferable nature of these skills, Philosophy postgraduates traditionally enter a wide range of employment areas, from teaching and lecturing to social work. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include BBC, Friends of the Earth, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Highways England, Ministry of Justice and University of Birmingham. Over the past 5 years, 82% of Arts and Law postgraduates were in work and/or further study 6 months after graduation (DLHE 2012 - 2017).

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