PhD Philosophy

Year of entry: 2023

Overview

Degree awarded
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Duration
3 years
Entry requirements

Candidates MUST normally have;

  • Bachelor's (Honours) degree (or overseas equivalent) at 2:1 level or above in a cognate subject, and
  • Normally a Master's degree at 65% overall average with minimum 65% in dissertation and with no mark below 55% (or overseas equivalent) in a relevant cognate subject, preferably one with a substantial research methods component. Transcripts will be carefully scrutinised to ensure that applicants have the required background.
  • Note; due to the volume of applications received each year, and limited spaces, regrettably offers cannot be made to all applicants who satisfy the academic entry criteria.
  • All applicants who pass the initial assessment stage will be interviewed before any offer is confirmed.

Full entry requirements

How to apply

Apply online

Please ensure you include all required supporting documents at the time of submission, as incomplete applications may not be considered.

Application Deadlines

Admission to studying for a PhD is highly competitive, so please allow as much time as possible to prepare your application, browse our research pages and academics' profiles, and familiarise yourself with the application process and any important deadlines.

To be considered for external funding sources (for example, ESRC NWSSDTP), you need to apply far enough in advance of the relevant external funding deadlines, which are usually much earlier than the programme deadline listed below. For internal studentships from the School of Social Sciences, you must submit your completed application by 11 January 2023.

If you are applying for or have secured external funding (for example, from an employer or government) or are self-funding, you must submit your application before the relevant deadline to be considered. You will not be able to apply after these deadlines have passed.

  • For September 2023 entry: 30 June 2023
  • For January 2024 entry: 30 September 2023  

Programme options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
PhD Y Y N N

Programme overview

  • Become part of a lively PhD community, with weekly PGR led research seminars. 
  • Gain the opportunity to regularly present and discuss your work within your department and at conferences.
  • Benefit from access to experts in a range of philosophical research areas.

Open days

The University holds annual open days, where you will have the opportunity to find out more about our facilities and programmes.  

On this day, you will learn more about the School of Social Sciences, our Philosophy department, and our resources.  

You will also be able to meet academic and admissions staff who will be able to answer any questions that you may have. 

For more information, see open days .

Fees

Fees for entry in 2023 have not yet been set. For reference, the fees for the academic year beginning September 2022 were as follows:

  • PhD (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £4,596
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £20,500
  • PhD (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): TBA
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £10,250

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

Scholarships/sponsorships

We receive money from a range of sources to help you fund your research and have a variety of awards on offer, covering tuition fees and a generous stipend, including research council and school studentships and the  President's Doctoral Scholar award .  

Application deadlines for internal funding opportunities are often at the beginning of December for programmes starting the following September. Please check our How to Apply page for more up-to-date information.  

If you're planning to apply for a scholarship or award that is not attached to a particular project, you will normally need to hold an offer of a place from the University before applying. 

Search for current funding opportunities by country and research programme using our  funding database search tool.

Contact details

School/Faculty
School of Social Sciences
Contact name
School of Social Sciences
Telephone
Email
Website
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/philosophy
School/Faculty

Programmes in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of programmes in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

Candidates MUST normally have;

  • Bachelor's (Honours) degree (or overseas equivalent) at 2:1 level or above in a cognate subject, and
  • Normally a Master's degree at 65% overall average with minimum 65% in dissertation and with no mark below 55% (or overseas equivalent) in a relevant cognate subject, preferably one with a substantial research methods component. Transcripts will be carefully scrutinised to ensure that applicants have the required background.
  • Note; due to the volume of applications received each year, and limited spaces, regrettably offers cannot be made to all applicants who satisfy the academic entry criteria.
  • All applicants who pass the initial assessment stage will be interviewed before any offer is confirmed.

English language

Candidates whose first language is not English require one of the following:

  • IELTS test minimum scores - 7 overall, 7 in writing and with no further score below 6.5;
  • TOEFL IBT minimum scores - 103 overall, 28 in writing and no further score below 25;
  • To demonstrate that you have taken an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in a majority English speaking nation within the last 5 years.
  • Other tests may be considered - please contact us for advice.

Please note:

  • All non-native English speaking students are required to do the English language assessment when they register in September.
  • Any non-native English speaking student going away for fieldwork in an overseas, non-English speaking country are required to re-take the English assessment when they come back to Manchester.
  • All non UK non-native English speaking applicants must have obtained the minimum IELTS or TOEFL score in order to obtain a CAS for their visa.
  • Scores are valid for 2 years.

Please note that CAS statements are issued only when all conditions of the offer have been satisfied, a PDF copy of your passport received and the offer accepted.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Application and selection

How to apply

Apply online

Please ensure you include all required supporting documents at the time of submission, as incomplete applications may not be considered.

Application Deadlines

Admission to studying for a PhD is highly competitive, so please allow as much time as possible to prepare your application, browse our research pages and academics' profiles, and familiarise yourself with the application process and any important deadlines.

To be considered for external funding sources (for example, ESRC NWSSDTP), you need to apply far enough in advance of the relevant external funding deadlines, which are usually much earlier than the programme deadline listed below. For internal studentships from the School of Social Sciences, you must submit your completed application by 11 January 2023.

If you are applying for or have secured external funding (for example, from an employer or government) or are self-funding, you must submit your application before the relevant deadline to be considered. You will not be able to apply after these deadlines have passed.

  • For September 2023 entry: 30 June 2023
  • For January 2024 entry: 30 September 2023  

Advice to applicants

Required Supporting Documents

  • A 1,500 word PhD research proposal and 500 word supporting statement summarising your motivation for PhD study, outlining any research experience you have and why you want to do a postgraduate research degree at Manchester. Please upload the 2000 word document as a single file.
  • Copies of the academic transcript and certificate from both your undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. If your postgraduate degree is pending, please provide an interim transcript;
  • An up to date academic CV;
  • You must nominate two academic referees (including one from your most recent institution). Your referees will be contacted directly via the Referee Portal following submission of your application form. You may wish to contact your referees to request they submit your reference in a reasonable time as this forms part of the review process;
  • If you are not from a majority English speaking country, you must additionally provide English Language evidence (e.g IELTS).

For further guidance in writing your research proposal, watch our recorded webinar.

Finding a supervisor

Your supervisor will be an important part of your PhD programme. It's a close relationship over many years, through which you develop your ideas, skills, thinking and research. Your supervisor's research interests should therefore closely align with yours.

If you aren't applying for a specific project, you'll need to find potential supervisors who will support your research. Details on recent publications, ongoing projects and particular research interests are all available on our academics' profiles.

Your potential supervisor should be able to give you advice on developing your research proposal as well as critical feedback to help make your proposal strong and competitive when it comes to applying for funding. If you'd like us to match you to a suitable supervisor, providing clear details of your research area within your application will make it easier for us to identify suitable opportunities for you. Include any details in section six of your application form under `Proposed programme of study'.

Although guarantees cannot be made, we'll do our best to match your area of research to the most suitable supervisors.

Interview requirements

As part of the offer making process applicants will be required to undertake an interview assessment. This may be in the form of an in-person interview, telephone or video call.

The interview is designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of the broad topic area, the viability of your proposed research and its intellectual contribution, alongside the fit of your project with the supervisory team.

Re-applications

If you applied in a previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard programme entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen programme.

Programme details

Programme description

Our PhD in Philosophy is a 3 year full-time programme. You will undertake substantial original research, which will form a thesis of approximately 70,000 words. 

Throughout, you will work closely with an expert supervisor, with further guidance from at least one extra supervisor. 

Our staff are experts, many internationally renowned, in a variety of key areas of Philosophy. We provide a wealth of opportunities for postgraduate researchers. Some of our main areas of research strength are: 

You will become part of a lively PhD community of around 30 PGRs working on a variety of topics including: 

  • the nature of love;
  • environmental ethics;
  • meaning in art;
  • perception;
  • metaontology;
  • religious faith. 

Our weekly PhD research seminar, run by PGRs for PGRs, will give you the opportunity to present your work and discuss it with your peers. In your final year, you will also be encouraged to present your work at the Philosophy department's research seminar. 

You will have a dedicated working space alongside other Philosophy PGRs.

Teaching and learning

When you become a postgraduate researcher, you will join a diverse and vibrant community of doctoral students from nearly 100 different countries, all studying within the Faculty of Humanities.    

You will be able to work with a specific research grouping that complements your research interests and have access to a variety of interdisciplinary research institutes.   

Our working environments are often spacious and open plan, giving you plenty of opportunities to communicate with colleagues and staff within the School, and you will have your own desk space as well as access to our fantastic range of libraries on campus.   

All of our academic supervisors are research active and will support you to work on challenging research problems and develop rigorous, creative and original research.   

You can expect to meet with your supervisor at least once a month to discuss progress on your project.   

You will have access to a large and diverse community of internationally recognised academic experts offering an environment that will stimulate intellectual debate and development.   

We provide additional financial support for a number of activities related to your PhD, including:  

  • presenting at international conferences; 
  • attending workshops that provide relevant professional opportunities;  
  • conducting fieldwork in the UK and overseas.  

You can also get hands-on, paid teaching experience as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Graduate Teaching Assistants in the School of Social Sciences are considered to be valued members of the teaching team. As such, we take pride in the opportunities provided for the professional development of graduate teaching assistants.    

Our training includes preparation for application to the Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. This brings a range of benefits as follows: 

  • consolidates your personal development and emphasises your professional practice in HE;  
  • entitlement to use post-nominal letters - AFHEA;  
  • provides a valuable measure of success and is increasingly sought by employers across the education sector as a condition of appointment and promotion;  
  • recognised and valued by a growing number of international institutions.   

For more information, see the  Associate Fellowship HEA .

Coursework and assessment

Satisfactory evaluation of PGRs' work at annual reviews is required for progress on the programme.

Programme unit list

The programme unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this programme of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Philosophy PhD Seminar PHIL60290 0 Mandatory

What our students say

See the profiles of our current cohort of PGRs in Philosophy.

Facilities

The Philosophy Department is based in the Humanities Bridgeford Street Building which allows 24/7 access and has an ample and well-equipped study space for postgraduates.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk

Careers

Career opportunities

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a PGR and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help support you with your goals for the future .    

As a postgraduate researcher, you'll have access to a dedicated Researcher Development Team who will support your professional development throughout your PhD journey and beyond.    

Our researcher development programme will enable you to become more aware of your developing researcher identity, equipping you with the skills you need during your PhD and prepare you to integrate into the researcher community.    

We offer training sessions to build your skills and confidence in writing and presenting, with specific sessions on viva preparation, thesis submission and preparing for your Review Panel.    

You will also have access to a range of workshops, covering areas such as:

  • increasing research impact through blog posts; 
  • making the most of social media;  
  • publishing in journals; applying for fellowships; 
  • designing academic posters; 
  • improving time and self-management.      

Methods@manchester , meanwhile, is an initiative that gives you the chance to learn from the very best in research methods expertise at Manchester and beyond. Regular talks, workshops and other methods-related events are organised throughout the academic year.     

Finally, taking a placement provides a great opportunity to engage in knowledge exchange and to develop professional networking opportunities for your future career development.   

We have established Postgraduate Researcher Exchange programmes with a small number of institutions around the world, offering you the opportunity to visit another institution, access research resources and experience another academic culture as well as build professional networks.   

Successful applicants will receive some funding towards travel expenses, accommodation, subsistence, education materials and/or other education-related costs.  

 For more information, see training and development .