Philosophy (MPhil / PhD)

In London

£ 2,187 + VAT
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Programme overview We offer research-based teaching in a wide range of philosophical subjects. We foster our students' professional development. A proportion of our recent PhD graduates have permanent academic posts in leading universities. The MPhil/PhD is the direct route to the PhD and is suitable for students who are ready to start writing a PhD thesis. Find out more about the research degree and about studying philosophy at Birkbeck.




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Malet Street, WC1E 7HX


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What you'll learn on the course

  • Political Philosophy
  • Philosophy
  • Ethics
  • Epistemology
  • Metaphysics
  • Logic
  • Part Time
  • Full Time
  • Professor Training
  • Aesthetics

Course programme

What to do before you apply

Our research degrees

We offer the MPhilStud, the MPhil and the PhD (although relatively few students take the degree of MPhil - see below).

Most students who plan to do a PhD begin with the MPhilStud. Although the MPhilStud contains a significant element of guided tuition, it provides a deeper grounding in philosophy than the MA. It is a good basis for further research, allowing time to think about a PhD topic. Students who pass the MPhilStud can apply directly for the PhD which ordinarily then takes 1 year less than for students without an MPhilStud.

Those who have a strong Master's qualification in philosophy and a robust thesis proposal may apply directly for the MPhil/PhD at the entry stage. Students who have embarked on the MPhilStud and who have a good doctoral thesis proposal may apply to transfer to the PhD.

The PhD is examined solely by thesis, which must be of no more than 75,000 words. It must be submitted by full-time students within 10 terms (39 months) of their date of initial registration, and by part-time students within 15 terms. Students admitted for the PhD who do not have the equivalent of an MPhilStud are initially registered on the MPhil, from which they apply for upgrade to the PhD, usually at the end of the third term for full-time students (fourth or fifth term for part-time students).

The thesis required for the MPhil is around 45,000 words, and it can be less ambitious than that required for a PhD. Those admitted for the MPhil/PhD whose application for upgrade to PhD is unsuccessful may submit a thesis for the MPhil. It is also possible, although unusual, to apply just for the MPhil (i.e. without intending to apply for upgrade to the PhD). This can be the optimal course to take for those who want to study part-time and have a definite thesis topic.

If you are considering applying for a research degree in any of these areas, you are advised to contact the Department of Philosophy about your research plan before making an application.

Find out more about how to apply for an MPhil/PhD/MPhilStud.

How to apply

You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link below. Please note that online application will open in October 2016.

Finding a supervisor

  • Cristian Constantinescu, BA, MA, BPhil: moral philosophy; philosophy of language and logic; metaphysics.
  • Professor Dorothy Edgington, BA, BPhil: logic, philosophy of language, metaphysics and epistemology, especially conditionals, vagueness, modality, probabilistic reasoning.
  • Stacie Friend, BA, PhD: aesthetics; philosophy of language; philosophy of mind (especially issues about fiction and imagination).
  • Michael Garnett, BPhil, DPhil: moral and political philosophy.
  • Professor Ken Gemes, BA, PhD: philosophy of science; philosophical logic; Nietzsche; epistemology; Freud.
  • Professor Jennifer Hornsby, BA, MPhil, PhD: philosophy of mind and action; philosophy of language; feminist philosophy.
  • Keith Hossack, MA, DPhil: philosophical logic; philosophy of language; philosophy of mathematics.
  • Andrew Huddleston, AB, PhD: aesthetics; ethics; Nietzsche; nineteenth century German philosophy.
  • Professor Susan James, BA, PhD: early modern philosophy; political philosophy; feminist philosophy.
  • Professor Hallvard Lillehammer, BA, MPhil, PhD: ethics, metaethics, history of ethical thought, political philosophy, aesthetics.
  • Robert Northcott, BA, MSc, PhD: philosophy of science; metaphysics; philosophy of biology.
  • Sarah Patterson, BA, PhD: philosophy of mind; philosophy of psychology; early modern philosophy.
  • Professor Anthony Price, BA, BPhil: ethics; Greek philosophy.
  • Florian Steinberger, MPhil, PhD: epistemology; philosophical logic; philosophy of language; philosophy of mathematics.

For further details of our academic staff and their research interests, please see our staff pages.

Your research topic

Recent research topics have included:

  • Authority and the individual
  • Independence: freedom as non-domination and recognition
  • On judgement: a multiple relation
  • Subjectivity and objectivity in Spinoza's ethical philosophy
  • The epistemology of logical laws.

Application deadlines and interviews

Those seeking studentships must submit their application by certain deadlines (dates to be announced, see website for details). Otherwise there is no deadline, but we prefer to receive applications by 1 May.

Online application

Philosophy (MPhil / PhD) (Part-time)

Philosophy (MPhil / PhD) (Full-time)

Additional information

Teaching and assessment Assessment For the PhD, you will write a thesis of up to 75,000 words. Students enrolled for the MPhil/PhD are upgraded to the PhD once they have progressed sufficiently. MPhil/PhD students who fail to upgrade to the PhD may submit a shorter thesis and receive the MPhil degree.
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