Postgraduate research 

Philosophy PhD/MLitt (Research)/MPhil (Research)

City spires

Philosophy at the University of Glasgow is thriving. Our vibrant research environment includes an active community of postgraduate students and engaged staff who are internationally recognised for their contributions to a wide range of philosophical debates.

  • PhD: 3 years full-time; 5 years part-time; Thesis of 70,000-100,000 words
  • MLitt (Research): 2 years full-time; 3 years part-time; Thesis of 40,000-70,000 words
  • MPhil (Research): 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time; Thesis of 30,000-40,000 words

Overview

Our staff supervise a wide range of the core areas of philosophy, including:

  • aesthetics
  • ethics
  • epistemology
  • history of analytic and early modern philosophy
  • logic and philosophy of logic
  • metaphysics
  • philosophy of language
  • philosophy of mathematics
  • philosophy of mind
  • political philosophy.

Current areas of research, which may transcend and cut across these core areas, include:

  • affect
  • autonomy in moral and political philosophy
  • causation and explanation
  • cognitive penetration
  • consent
  • distributive justice
  • ethical intuitionism
  • end of life ethics
  • knowledge-how
  • imagination
  • mental qualities
  • moral psychology
  • pain and suffering
  • philosophy of emotion
  • philosophy of perception
  • philosophy of virtual and augmented reality
  • social choice theory
  • social epistemology
  • totality
  • virtue ethics and epistemology.

We strongly encourage applications in any of the above areas.

We have a strong track record of helping students receive AHRC/College funding. If you wish to apply, please contact Professor Fiona Macpherson (Fiona.Macpherson@glasgow.ac.uk).

Find out more

Study options

PhD

Duration: 3 years full-time / 5 years part-time

A Doctor of Philosophy may be awarded to a student whose thesis is an original work making a significant contribution to knowledge in, or understanding of, a field of study and normally containing material worthy of publication.

Thesis Length: 70,000-100,000 words, including references, bibliography and appendices (other than documentary appendices).

MLitt (Research)

Duration: 2 years full-time / 3 years part-time

Our Degree of Master of Letters (Research) requires you to undertake a postgraduate course of special study and research that represents a distinct contribution to knowledge.

Thesis length: 40,000-70,000 words (including references, bibliography and appendices).

MPhil (Research)

Duration: 1 year full-time / 2 years part-time

A Master of Philosophy (Research)requires you to undertake a postgraduate course of special study and research that represents a distinct contribution to knowledge.

Thesis length: 30,000-40,000 words (including references and bibliography).

Entry requirements

Our regular standard of admission is at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1) in philosophy, although candidates will usually also have completed or be undertaking a Masters qualification in philosophy.

Research proposal

Candidates are required to provide an outline of the proposed research subject in about 1000 words. This need not be a final thesis proposal but should include:

  • a straightforward, descriptive, and informative title
  • the question that your research will address
  • an account of why this question is important and worth investigating
  • an assessment of how your own research will engage with recent study in the subject
  • a brief account of the methodology and approach you will take
  • a discussion of the primary sources that your research will draw upon, including printed books, manuscripts, archives, libraries, or museums
  • an indicative bibliography of secondary sources that you have already consulted and/or are planning to consult

Your application, including your references and research proposal, will be passed to members of staff whose expertise and research interests most closely match the area of your proposed study.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 7.0 with no sub-test under 7.0.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:

TOEFL (ib, my best or athome)

  • 100 with minimum R 24, L 24, S 23, W 27.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

PTE (Academic)

  • 70 with minimum 70 in all subtests.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Glasgow International College English Language (and other foundation providers)

  • 65%.
  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • Undergraduate degree from English speaking country (including Canada if taught in English)
  • Undergraduate 2+2 degree from English speaking country
  • Undergraduate 2+2 TNE degree taught in English in non-English speaking country
  • Masters degree from English speaking country
  • Masters degree (equivalent on NARIC to UK masters degree) taught in English in non-English speaking country.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

Fees and funding

Fees

2021/22

  • UK: £4,500
  • International & EU: £19,350

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Re-submission by a research student £540
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,355
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £350
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £790

Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee (also known as research support costs) to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

Alumni discount

We offer a 20% discount to our alumni on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School with us. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

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2020/21 fees

  • £4,407 UK/EU
  • £18,370 outside EU

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Re-submission by a research student £525
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,315
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £340
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £765

Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee (also known as research support costs) to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

Alumni discount

We offer a 10% discount to our alumni commencing study in Academic session 2020/21, on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed a Study Abroad programme or the Erasmus Programme at the University of Glasgow. This discount can be awarded alongside other University scholarships. 

Funding for EU students

The Scottish Government has confirmed that fees for EU students commencing their studies 2020/21 will be at the same level as those for UK student.

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We have a strong track record of securing AHRC and Glasgow University College of Arts funding for our PhD students. Recent recipients of AHRC and College funding include Berta Grimau (Philosophy of Logic), Nathan Kirkwood (Anglo-American Philosophy and Quine) and Matt Linsley (Metaphysics of Change).

Potential students with 1st class results (or equivalent) are strongly encouraged to apply.

If you wish to apply for AHRC/College funding, please contact Professor Fiona Macpherson (Fiona.Macpherson@glasgow.ac.uk).

Support

Graduate School

Our College of Arts Graduate School creates a productive and interdisciplinary collegiate environment for all of our research students. We offer a range of services, courses and skills development opportunities for research students.

The College of Arts is home to a vibrant and diverse community of students enrolled on taught masters and research programmes within a stimulating intellectual and cultural environment. Across every school and subject area the college is home to world-leading and agenda-setting research.

Find out more about what is happening in the community by following us: 

You will also be part of the wider Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities, the world's first national graduate school in the Arts & Humanities. Membership includes 16 Scottish universities, four art schools & the national conservatoire, with support from the arts, culture, creative & heritage sectors. 

Philosophical community

  • a dedicated weekly postgraduate philosophy seminar to present research to other postgraduate students and receive feedback from staff
  • a dedicated weekly philosophy senior seminar series
  • frequent domestic and international focused speaker series, workshops, and conferences
  • mentored teaching development opportunities
  • an annual postgraduate reading party in the remote highlands of Scotland
  • triannual postgraduate and staff social gatherings

How to apply

Identify potential supervisors

All Postgraduate Research Students are allocated a supervisor who will act as the main source of academic support and research mentoring. You may want to identify a potential supervisor and contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply. Please note, even if you have spoken to an academic staff member about your proposal you still need to submit an online application form.

You can find relevant academic staff members with our staff research interests search.


Gather your documents

Before applying please make sure you gather the following supporting documentation:

  1. Final or current degree transcripts including grades (and an official translation, if needed) – scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  2. Degree certificates (and an official translation, if needed): scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  3. Two references on headed paper and signed by the referee. One must be academic, the other can be academic or professional. References may be uploaded as part of the application form or you may enter your referees contact details on the application form. We will then email your referee and notify you when we receive the reference.  We can also accept confidential references direct to rio-researchadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk, from the referee’s university or business email account.
  4. Research proposal, CV, samples of written work as per requirements for each subject area.

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