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The University of Southampton
HumanitiesPostgraduate study

PhD Philosophy Research Programmes (V500)

The PhD gives you the opportunity to pursue a substantial, independent research project supervised by one of the leading lights in the field. With a graduate community of around 30 students, you will be part of an exciting and vibrant research culture.

Introducing your degree

In addition to one-to-one supervisions, you will have the opportunity to present your work at the weekly postgraduate research seminar, led by a member of the philosophy department. You will take part in staff-led graduate classes, participate in staff-postgraduate reading groups, and benefit from other exciting events, such as visiting speaker seminars, workshops, conferences and masterclasses. In recent years we have held grants on a variety of topics, most notably a €1.2+ million ERC grant on the metaphysics of persons, pregnancy and motherhood, as well as grants on repeatable artworks, Nietzsche, the nature of normativity, and more. We have hosted numerous major conferences, such as the British Society for Ethical theory annual conference, the British Postgraduate Philosophical Association annual conference, the British Wittgenstein Society Annual Conference and the British Society for Aesthetics graduate conference. Students are encouraged to take part in all of the above as well as to organize conferences and workshops themselves.

The Philosophy Department at Southampton is a vibrant and welcoming place to do research, boasting a wide range of specialisms. In the last REF (national ranking of research institutions), Southampton was ranked 4th in the UK for producing research which was world-leading or internationally excellent. Among the many subjects we offer PhD supervision in are the following: History of Philosophy (especially 19th Century German Philosophy); Aesthetics; Wittgenstein and Early Analytic Philosophy; Ethics; Epistemology; and Metaphysics.

In addition to specialist seminars and guided tutorials, students will have access to such topics as academic writing and conference organisation. If students have gaps in their knowledge at the outset of the research programme, they can gain additional grounding by joining one of the taught Masters programmes.

Career opportunities are wide ranging and varied. A PhD in Philosophy from Southampton is an excellent preparation for an academic career. The transferable skills, such as critical awareness; cultural awareness; communication and presentational abilities; deadline and project management are highly valuable for a wide range of professions which include teaching, arts administration, journalism and local and national government administration.

Postgraduate Admissions Tutor

Professor Genia Schoenbaumsfeld


View the doctoral programme profile for this course

To Apply

Application process and required supporting documents

  • University online application including a personal statement
  • Research proposal
  • Transcript
  • 2 references
  • English language certification (if relevant)
  • 2 samples of work: applicants should supply two pieces of written work of between 3,000 and 7,000 words, at least one which must be on a topic closely related to their proposed PhD topic

Candidates are advised to contact prospective supervisors with the subject of their proposed research prior to application.

Contact for postgraduate enquiries:
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 7433

Key facts

Duration: Up to 4 years (full time); up to 7 years (part time)

Assessment: Thesis (max. 75,000 words), viva voce

Intake: Normally September and January each year

Closing date: 3 months before start date (also dependent on funding body deadlines); an application decision cannot be guaranteed in time for programme commencement unless a complete application is received in good time - students requiring a visa to study should also allow extra time for visa processes; informal enquiries welcome at any time

Typical entry requirements

Academic entry requirements: First or upper second class honours degree and normally Masters at Merit* level, or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University in Philosophy or a cognate discipline.

(*Merit 60%-69%, Distinction 70%+)

English language entry requirements: IELTS 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.5 in all components, or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Selection process

Selection process: Online application and interview

Applications will be assessed under the following

  • Evidence of general academic aptitude
  • Preparedness or promise for doctoral research
  • Quality of the research project proposal
  • Fit with Southampton's research expertise

Applicant Quality: Your application will be judged against the following criteria:

  • it provides evidence that you meet our entry requirements
  • it demonstrates your personal suitability and commitment to undertake Doctoral study
  • it provides supportive references that indicate your suitability to undertake a PhD
  • it presents a well-focused and high quality research proposal which indicates potential to contribute original research to the discipline
  • it demonstrates critical awareness of the scholarly field to which the research will contribute, and appropriate methods to carry out this work
  • it may strengthen your application if you can demonstrate genuine interest in working with a named academic in the department 

Personal Statement: Use your Personal Statement to provide additional information relevant to your application. This should include the following:

  • outline your reasons for wishing to conduct postgraduate research in your chosen area
  • explain how your proposed research matches the research environment and supervisory expertise offered by Philosophy at Southampton
  • reflect on how your education, skills, and experience will equip you for PhD study and to undertake your planned research
  • indicate details of any other achievements/interests
  • indicate any special circumstances pertaining to the academic record
  • tell us what you hope to get from the programme

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Typical course content

The PhD is a research-oriented programme in which students conduct original research under the guidance of supervisors. Additionally, students are expected to attend the weekly postgraduate seminar and the graduate classes taught by a member of staff. Students also have the opportunity to attend postgraduate/staff reading groups and to participate in all other research activities of the department.

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate research degrees vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

List of tuition fees for this course and it's variations
Course TitleAwardYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
Philosophy (distance learning)PhD2022Full-time£4,596£18,000
Philosophy (distance learning)PhD2022Part-time£2,298£9,000
View the full list of course fees

Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Study locations

Avenue campus

Avenue campus

Only a few minutes walk from Highfield Campus, Avenue provides a purpo...Find out more

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