Research course


Open University · Department of Philosophy

Entry requirements

PhD: Entry requirements vary according to the research topic and/or specific studentships. The normal minimum entrance requirement is an upper second class honours degree or masters degree, relevant to the proposed area of study, from a recognised higher education institution in the UK. You should also have experience of academic research in the previous four years, normally in the form of either a masters degree in research methods, an undergraduate degree with a research element in the final year, or work-related experience with evidence through research reports. If you have a qualification from outside the UK, or you are not sure if you meet the entry requirements, please contact us by email before applying. MPhil: Applicants should normally hold, or be expecting to obtain, a bachelors degree with at least first or upper-second class honours, or an equivalent qualification. However, entry requirements differ between academic areas, and sometimes a taught masters degree is also required. The research topic pages (in the menu on the right of our Research areas page) give details of specific entry requirements, and provide contact details to discuss your suitability for the MPhil with a member of academic staff.

Mind, meaning and rationality; Value

Months of entry


Course content

Research is at the heart of the Philosophy Department at the OU. Our full-time members of staff are all active researchers, specialising in a range of subjects across the disciplines. The department hosts the innovative Open University Ethics Centre, and staff regularly work with and consult for other institutions and multimedia broadcasters, particularly concerning ethics, morality, aesthetics and metaphysics. Recent themes of research include making good decisions, bioethics, knowing and deciding, and justice. In addition to research under the headings of ‘value’ and ‘mind, meaning and rationality’, we welcome applications in modern French philosophy and political philosophy.

Key facts
  • Competitive Faculty of Arts studentships available.
  • Annual dedicated Graduate Student research conference.
  • Frequent research talks and seminars held, recently sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy.
  • Established record of attracting research funding.
  • Philosophy’s academics are internationally renowned – having been individually invited to Sci Foo 2010 ‘un-conference’ at Googleplex, collaborating with museums and galleries, leading the world in podcasting (regularly in iTunes top 20 downloads), and consulting for leading media broadcasters.

The department hosts the Open University Ethics Centre, which seeks to clarify our understanding of the key ethical concepts we all use, develops imaginative teaching methods and innovative eresources to spread ethical understanding as widely as possible, and promotes public debate at national and international levels about the pressing moral problems faced by society.

Department specialisms

Mind, meaning and rationality; Value

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website for more information.

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
variable months
part time
72 months
full time
36 months


distance learning
variable months
part time
24 months
full time
15 months

Course contact details

Professor Sophie Grace Chappell
+44 (0)1908 659214