Postgraduate study

Philosophy PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Philosophy

We are one of the world’s leading philosophy departments for research.

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), Philosophy research at Edinburgh is ranked 2nd in Scotland and joint 7th in the UK (Times Higher Education, Rank order by GPA).

The department has close links with other subject areas within the University, such as psychology, linguistics, informatics, jurisprudence, politics and classics.

We are also home to EIDYN, a philosophical research centre that hosts multiple international conferences, workshops and visiting scholars every year.

Our research and teaching spans most areas of philosophy, but we have particular expertise in the following research areas:

Epistemology

Our world-leading group of epistemologists have research interests in scepticism (including its history), epistemic value, contextualism, social epistemology, epistemic responsibility, perceptual knowledge, rationality, the nature of cognitive processes, and virtue epistemology.

Ethics

Our internationally renowned Ethics research cluster has particular research strengths in ethical theory, meta-ethics, normative theory and political philosophy.

History of Philosophy

The research interests of our ancient philosophy faculty include ancient metaphysics and ethics, ancient and medieval philosophy and science, the Presocratics, Plato and Aristotle.

Several of our faculty have research expertise in the core period of early modern philosophy (Hobbes to Kant) and subsequent developments from the German Romantics to British Hegelians. Within these periods, faculty have particular research interests in issues in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind and language, philosophy of science.

Logic and Language

The department has growing research strengths in Logic, Language and related topics, with faculty members working on Godel's results, theories of truth deflationism, semantic paradoxes, the applicability of mathematics, proof theory, theoretical syntax, pragmatics, proof theory, and non-classical logic.

Mind and Cognition

Our research team ranks among the world leaders in this fast-moving area, and specialises in the study of embodiment, consciousness, perception, action, and situated reason. Our researchers benefit from close links with the University's world-leading informatics, linguistics and psychology departments.

Philosophy of Science

Philosophy of science at the University of Edinburgh specialises in the philosophy of the natural sciences, and the philosophy of cognitive sciences. Topics we cover include: laws, causation, realism, time, models, explanation, measurement and fictionalism.

You will meet regularly with your supervisors, who will advise you on the steps to take towards producing your thesis.

All doctoral students are encouraged to participate in a weekly postgraduate work-in-progress research seminar, and to take advantage of regular professional development and research training seminars.

Most PhD and MPhil students will gain undergraduate teaching experience, for which you will be given training and mentoring.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in philosophy.

Your application will also be considered if you have a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in another subject and a postgraduate masters level degree in philosophy.

Your academic achievements will be assessed by a panel of academics along with the research proposal submitted as part of your application.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 23 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD
Programme start date Application deadline
13 September 2021 15 March 2021

We operate a gathered field approach to PhD applications.

This means that all complete applications which satisfy our minimum entry requirements will be held until the nearest deadline. The admissions panel will meet to consider all applications received together after that date.

Applications are held for processing over two deadlines:

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 23 November 2020 Mid-January 2021
2 15 March 2021 Mid-May 2021

First deadline: Monday 23 November 2020

In order to ensure full consideration of your application we ask that you submit your complete application including all supporting documentation by this date.

The outcome of applications will be confirmed by mid-January 2021. This is in order to meet the external funding deadlines.

Final deadline: Monday 15 March 2021

The outcome of these applications will be confirmed by mid-May 2021.

You must submit two references with your application.

References

You will be asked to add contact details for your referees. We will email them with information on how to upload their reference directly to your online application. Alternatively, they can email their comments to:

Research proposal

You should attach your research proposal to your application for consideration. Your proposal will be used by the Admissions Panel to consider whether supervision can be provided for your project.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD