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

Full-time annual tuition fee 2020/21:
UK/EU: £4,380
International: £17,880
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.

AHRC funding for UK/EU PhD students

The University of Birmingham is part of the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C DTP), offering Arts and Humanities Research Council PhD studentships for campus-based programmes across the eight M4C DTP partners. These include a number of Collaborative Doctoral Award opportunities. Each studentship includes full research fees, a substantial maintenance grant and additional research training support. Applications are open until 12 noon, 14 January 2020.

Find out more

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.

If you are interested in our postgraduate research programmes in Philosophy, please have a look at our research areas and contact the departmental Director of Research Admissions, Dr Nicholas Jones (n.k.jones@bham.ac.uk) for advice on formulating your research proposal.

You can study both programmes on campus or by distance learning. Our distance learning website contains useful information, including frequently asked questions, student experiences and details of the funded visit to Birmingham.

At Birmingham, you also have the opportunity to learn graduate academic languages free of charge, to support your research activity.

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.


Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

  • UK/EU: £4,380 full-time; £2,190 part-time*
  • International: £17,880 full-time; £8,940 part-time

The same fees apply to both campus-based and distance learning study. The distance learning programme fee also includes a fully-funded visit to campus for each full year of the programme.

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/EU 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 2020.

Fee status

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


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

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.

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, we would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by 1 July 2020.

Distance learning students will 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 2020. 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.

Before you make your application

Full details of our requirements can be found on our Applications page.

As part of the application for admission onto our MJur, MPhil and PhD programmes, you must prepare a research proposal outlining your proposed area of study. For more information, please see our guidance on how to write a research proposal.

Please also see our 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

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 also hosts the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics and the John Hick Centre for Philosophy of Religion.

Find a supervisor and see our research in:

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).