We are one of the world’s leading philosophy departments for research boasting 40 academic researchers covering a wide range of research areas in philosophy.
Philosophy is rated 4th in the UK by Times Higher Education for the quality and breadth of the research using the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).
The department has close links with other subject areas within the University, such as psychology, linguistics, informatics, jurisprudence, politics and classics.
This programme offers the opportunity to focus in detail on an area of your choosing, while still being able to take some taught courses. It is intended for those who already have a good background in philosophy, typically from undergraduate study or a previous taught postgraduate degree.
The main focus of the programme will be writing a dissertation, and you should have an proposal for the topic that you would like to write about when you apply. You will be supported in developing this topic during the year by your supervisor and by dedicated training in research methodology.
Students are also advised to take two taught courses (further courses may also be attended, but not for credit), which are available from the wide range of subjects taught at Masters level within Philosophy.
Teaching will typically be in small groups, and supervision is organised on the basis of one-to-one contact with one or a small number of expert supervisors.
Find out more about our community
The School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences is home to a large, supportive and active student community, hosting events and activities throughout the year which you can join. As a postgraduate student you will have access to a range of research resources, state of the art facilities, research seminars and reading groups.
Your research proposal will be used to consider whether supervision can be provided for the research that you propose, so it is important that your basic aims and area of investigation are clear. For MSc by Research applications we are looking for a short proposal of around 500 words.
We do not expect substantial detail, but you should explain the area which you plan to research in as much detail as possible. The MSc by Research degrees are in part intended to provide any research training that you might need in order to be able to carry out higher level research.
If you know that you have specific research training needs, you can explain this in your proposal. If you plan to continue to study for a PhD after an MSc by Research, you could also briefly explain how you hope that your MSc work will prepare you for PhD research.
Our research interests
Before making your application it is a good idea to look at our research interests in order to check whether your proposed topic fits with our research expertise.
As part of your application, you will be asked to provide a sample of your written academic work in English from the last two years on a relevant topic of your choice to demonstrate your suitability to the MSc programme.
If you don’t have an existing piece of academic work that would be suitable, you should provide a short essay, approximately 2000 words, analysing a piece of philosophy you have found interesting. This could be an analysis of a book chapter, or a philosophy paper.
These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.
A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject.
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.
- C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.
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, Trinity ISE or PTE, 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 (non-MESC).
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:
There are a number of highly competitive scholarships and funding options available to MSc students.
Deadlines for funding applications vary for each funding source. Please make sure to check the specific deadlines for the funding opportunities you wish to apply for and make sure that you submit your application in good time.
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:
This programme is not currently accepting applications. Applications for the next intake usually open in October.
Start date: September
Applications are held for processing over two deadlines:
|Round||Application deadline||Places awarded|
|1||14 November||27 January|
|2||13 March||15 May|
We operate a gathered field approach to applications for the MSc by Research. This means that all complete applications that satisfy our minimum entry requirements will be held until the nearest deadline and the admissions panel will meet to consider all applications received together after that date.
To be considered as having met the deadline, your application must include transcripts and an academic reference.
Applications must include all supporting documentation to be passed on for consideration. This includes references. Please ensure that you inform referees of any deadline you wish to meet.