Research course


University of Essex · School of Philosophy and Art History
PhDMPhilMA by research

Entry requirements

Good first degree (upper second class honours or higher, or equivalent) and a good performance in a taught Masters course. A well developed research proposal in an area where we are able to provide supervision and evidence of research capability is also essential.

PhD, MPhil, MA by dissertation.

Months of entry

January, April, October

Course content

For our PhD Philosophy, we offer supervision in a wide range of fields: applied ethics, continental philosophy, history of philosophy, and social and political philosophy. We have an established international reputation and a strong tradition of postgraduate education, particularly in the specialist area of continental philosophy and - more recently - in the emerging middle-ground between continental and analytic philosophy. Moral and political philosophy is another notable area of research concentration.

Philosophers with a PhD from Essex now teach at many UK universities, including Bolton, Manchester Metropolitan, Keele, Reading, Sussex, and Oxford, and also at numerous institutions abroad. Our other philosophy graduates have gone into careers in law, the media, local administration, HM Revenue and Customs, and top jobs in the Civil Service.

We also offer an MPhil and a Masters by dissertation in this subject and part-time research study is also available.

Our School of Philosophy and Art History is widely regarded as one of the best in the UK, internationally renowned for our strengths in philosophy and continental philosophy, and in art theory and in modern and contemporary art. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, December 2008), our research placed us among the top ten departments in the UK for both subject areas.

Our research and teaching in philosophy is unusual in the British context for its pluralistic outlook, so you can study the variety of philosophical traditions which have developed on the continent of Europe, as well as Anglo-American or 'analytical' philosophy. Our acknowledged research strengths mean we are home to the journal Inquiry, and also to the Essex Autonomy Project, a major interdisciplinary project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which aims to investigate the role of autonomous judgment in many aspects of human life.

Department specialisms

Applied ethics and practical reasoning; continental philosophy; Frankfurt School and critical theory; history of philosophy; philosophy and psychoanalysis or religion or art and literature; philsophy of mind, theory of knowledge and cognitive science; social and political philosophy.

Information for international students


Fees and funding

AHRC, some University of Essex studentships.

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months
part time
72 months


full time
24 months
part time
48 months

MA by research

full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Graduate Administrator
+44 (0)1206 872 705