The University of Southampton
HumanitiesPostgraduate study

V500 PhD Philosophy Research Programmes (4 years)

A PhD in Philosophy at Southampton allows students to take their academic careers to the highest possible point. The PhD Philosophy programme offers multiple specialisms, meaning each graduate experiences a programme of study tailored to their interests.

Introducing your degree

Explore the philosophers of the past and the questions that have been debated for centuries in more depth with the PhD Philosophy Research Programme at the University of Southampton. Conduct independent research into a topic of your choice and debate with other like-minded students on philosophical topics. You will develop your philosophical knowledge throughout this PhD research programme, through a wealth of resources, either from the Broadland Archives or the Hartley Library. You will also receive professional supervision, guiding you during the programme towards writing your 75,000 word thesis.


Our staff offer research supervision on a broad range of philosophical topics. For full details, please consult our Research pages.

Postgraduate Research Co-ordinator (Admissions):

Dr Alex Gregory

Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 9396


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 8062

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

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

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 7.0 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in writing, 6.5 in reading, listening and speaking, or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

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 by Research programme has no modules per semester. Instead it is an entirely research-oriented programme in which students conduct original research under the guidance of their supervisors.

Year 1

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

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

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

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Learning & Assessment

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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