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.

History of philosophy; Reasons and norms; Value

Months of entry


Course content

Research is at the heart of the Philosophy discipline at the OU. Our full-time members of staff are all active researchers, specialising in a range of subjects across the disciplines. Staff regularly work with and consult for other institutions and multimedia broadcasters, particularly concerning value, reasons and norms (metaphysics and mind), and the history of philosophy (particularly the post-Kantian European philosophy). Recent themes of research include making good decisions, bioethics, knowing and deciding, and justice.

Key facts

  • Competitive Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences studentships available
  • Annual dedicated Graduate Student research conference
  • Frequent research talks and seminars held, including those sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy
  • Established record of attracting research funding
  • Philosophy’s academics are internationally renowned – they regularly present their research at national and international conferences, and several have held visiting research positions at other universities.


Being a research student at The Open University will entitle you to membership of the OU Library, which has a huge range of philosophy journals and books both online and in the library on campus.

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

Discipline Convenor
+44 (0)1908 654472