Postgraduate study

Philosophy PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Philosophy

We welcome research proposals of outstanding quality in any area of philosophy. We are one of the world’s leading philosophy departments for research, boasting 40 academic researchers. Our research covers a wide range of philosophical topics and questions, with strengths in both contemporary philosophy and the history of philosophy.

For more information of current staff interests please go to:

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.

You will meet regularly with your supervisors, who will advise you on the steps to take towards producing your thesis. In their first year, students also participate in the proseminar, which provides an opportunity to learn about a wide range of philosophical topics and to meet different academic staff members.

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

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

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

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

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • 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
  • your tuition fee 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

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 22 November End of January
2 14 March End of May

First deadline: Monday 22 November

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. This is in order to meet the external funding deadlines.

Final deadline: Monday 14 March

The outcome of these applications will be confirmed by the end of May.

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