Up to four years full-time or seven years part-time
Regular meetings with your supervisor(s)
Other entry years for this course2018
The MPhil/PhD in Philosophy is an opportunity to undertake a major piece of research under the supervision of someone with academic expertise in your field. We offer supervision in a wide range of philosophical subjects and foster our students' professional development. A number of our recent PhD graduates have permanent academic posts in leading universities.
Most students who plan to do a PhD begin with the MRes. The MRes offers research-based training in philosophy at post-Master's level and serves as a foundation for starting an individual PhD project. Students who pass the MRes can apply directly for the PhD, which ordinarily then takes one year less than for students without an MRes.
Students who are ready to start writing a PhD thesis of up to 75,000 words may apply directly for the MPhil/PhD. Students admitted to the MPhil/PhD are initially enrolled on the MPhil and upgraded to the PhD once they have made sufficient progress.
- Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
- The Department of Philosophy enjoys an international reputation for research. The department has a flourishing community of research students, and is committed to providing them with a first-rate philosophical training.
- Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
- In the 2014 REF, Philosophy at Birkbeck was ranked 15th in the UK, with a research environment judged conducive to producing internationally excellent research.
- In the Philosophical Gourmet Report 2014-2015, Philosophy at Birkbeck was ranked among the strongest in the UK, and was highly ranked in philosophy of action, philosophy of art, seventeenth-century philosophy and feminist philosophy.
- The department has been highly ranked for the standard of its research across a broad range, and especially our research and teaching in the area of feminist philosophy.
- Watch videos of our students discussing their experience of studying and researching at Birkbeck.
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
An appropriate Master's-level qualification.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Fees and finance
We are committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies.
FeesPart-time home/EU students: £ 2226 pa
Full-time home/EU students: £ 4195 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 6050 pa
Full-time overseas students: £ 11995 pa
Fees and finance
Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.
Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.
Our School attracts funding for studentships that ensure researchers of the highest standard can pursue their research with us. We offer a limited number of fully funded research opportunities, find out more here.
Our Research Culture
Birkbeck is a world-leading research university with a vibrant, interdisciplinary research culture and a welcoming, supportive community of researchers.
Our Research Culture
Our Department of Philosophy is internationally renowned for research excellence, encompassing a range of areas within the discipline, namely ancient philosophy, history of early modern philosophy, Kant, Nietzsche, history of analytic philosophy, logic, language, metaphysics, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, philosophy of psychology, ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, social and feminist philosophy, epistemology, and philosophy of science.
Library resources include the Birkbeck Library, the University of London Library and the British Library, and the department has its own small Ruby Meager Library.
Each year, the department provides a number of teaching opportunities for research students. We strongly encourage students who are considering a career in philosophy, and who are sufficiently well prepared, to take advantage of the opportunity to teach undergraduates.
Read more about our vibrant research culture.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
All applications for the MPhil/PhD must be made online and we recommend that you follow the pre-application procedure before you apply.
MPhil/PhD applicants should submit a written research proposal of a maximum of 1000 words and a writing sample of no more than 5000 words, along with their application.
These work samples should be uploaded to the application form along with the completed application form, the two references, and any relevant certificates.
The College's application form asks you to supply one reference from a member of the Department of Philosophy. This condition need not apply. Please feel free to send two references from people who already know you and your work. If in doubt please consult the Admissions Tutor for Research Students, Susan James.
Application deadlines and interviews
We advise that applications should reach the College by 1 June. We also accept later applications, but it can be harder to set up interviews during the long vacation.
Finding a supervisor
Finding the right supervisor for your research is important: we offer supervision in over 40 subject areas and in interdisciplinary combinations.
Finding a supervisor
A critical factor when applying for postgraduate study in philosophy is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors within the department.
Find out more about the research interests of our academic staff:
- 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.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
Evening study explained
Birkbeck is London’s only specialist provider of evening higher education. With classes held 6pm-9pm, your days are free to study, work, volunteer, or just do your own thing.
Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities. Discover more about our vibrant, intellectually challenging and exciting research culture.
Birkbeck is committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies. Find out about what is available, how to apply and the advice and support we provide.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
Careers and employability
Our free Careers and Employability Service provides comprehensive careers advice, events and information services for current students, both in person and online, and for recent Birkbeck graduates.
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Birkbeck Graduate Research School (BGRS)
The Birkbeck Graduate Research School (BGRS) offers support, training and a warm welcome to Birkbeck's vibrant community of MPhil/PhD researchers.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
Professor Jennifer Hornsby elected to British Academy
Fellows of the British Academy represent the very best of humanities and social sciences research, in the UK and internationally. Hornsby has been a Professor at Birkbeck since 1995, and her research is primarily concerned with the philosophies of mind, action, language and feminist philosophy.
Prejudice and Pride – new book brings LGBTQ histories to light
New National Trust guide book, co-authored by Professor Cook, explores places that have been shaped by the sexuality of their inhabitants, workers, owners and guests
Birkbeck sees increase in undergraduate applications – in contrast to national trend
Birkbeck undergraduate applications for 2017 have increased 19% compared to last year, while UCAS has reported a 4% decrease nationally
Performing under pressure
PhD student Emmanuel Ducrocq on his research about attentional control in sporting performance.
Public research funding
Is it still necessary? Dr Federica Rossi and Professor Aldo Geuna discuss.
A day in the life
of Birkbeck scientist Dr Emma Meaburn.