As the study of fundamental questions connected to reality, existence, the mind, language and thought, Philosophy at Kent is designed to develop your ideas, independent thought and problem-solving skills.
A PhD in Philosophy enables you to undertake a substantial piece of supervised research in the subject that makes an original contribution to knowledge and is worthy of publication.
A PhD, also known as a doctorate, is a requirement for a career as an academic or researcher. In addition, it has become a qualification valued by many employers who recognise the skills and commitment a PhD requires. Employers also recognise that a PhD indicates excellent research capabilities, discipline and communication skills.
Over the duration of the PhD, you produce an original piece of research of up to 100,000 words. Recent research theses have included ‘Evolutionary Ethics Without the Error: How Care Ethics Can Vindicate Moral Realism’, ‘Morality as Ideology: Marx, Materialism and Ideology-Critique’, ‘Causality in Complex Systems: An Inferentialist Proposal’, ‘Moral Epistemology, Particularism and Generalism’, ‘Intelligence, Relevance, Action and Perception’, ‘The Story of My Life: Virtue, Character and Narrative’, ‘Reasoning, Objectivity and Interdisciplinarity: Making the Links’, and ‘Vulnerability in Bioethics: Humans and Animals’.
The Department of Philosophy offers supervision from world-class academics with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, able to support and guide you through your research. Your progress is carefully monitored to ensure that you are on track to produce a thesis valued by the academic community. Throughout your programme, you are able to attend and contribute to research seminars, workshops, and research and transferable skills training courses.
You may be eligible for a fully-funded PhD scholarship to support your studies with us. The PhD in Philosophy at Kent can be funded through the Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) scheme, or through the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) collaborative doctoral partnerships. Please indicate in your application if you want to be considered for any of these programmes, and explain your eligibility for the chosen scheme. For the full list of scholarships available within the School, please see our postgraduate scholarship page.
For the full list of ongoing and completed projects in the department, see our postgraduate research page.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, philosophy was ranked 12th for research impact in the UK. We were also ranked 16th for research intensity and in the top 20 for research power.
An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 97% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
A PhD in philosophy is a valuable and flexible qualification, which allows you to develop skills in logical thinking, critical evaluation, persuasion, writing and independent thought.
Graduates have gone on to positions in journalism, administration in the civil service, education, advertising and a range of managerial positions. Some go on to pursue research in the area, many continuing with PhDs at Kent or other higher education institutions.
About the Department of Philosophy
Philosophy at Kent prides itself on the flexibility of its programmes. Students are able to negotiate their own paths of study through a full range of mixed-level modules and specialist seminars that reflect the research interests of members of staff.
We offer a wide variety of topics and modules, in all areas of philosophy. Our department is a place of academic brilliance, friendly exchange, intellectual excitement and diversity. In our weekly departmental research seminar, colleagues and philosophers from other universities present their current work, and in our thriving student-run graduate seminar, students discuss their ideas with peers and members of staff. We host a Centre for Reasoning and are connected to the Aesthetics Research Centre, both offering their own weekly research seminars.
Philosophy is part of the School of European Culture and Languages (SECL), which embraces eight other disciplines: classical & archaeological studies; comparative literature; English language and linguistics; French; German; Hispanic studies; Italian; and religious studies. This means that students enrolled on a postgraduate programme in Philosophy can draw on the excellent resources of a diverse team of teachers with expertise in many key areas of European culture.
SECL has extensive facilities to support research, and the Templeman Library has excellent holdings in all of our areas of research interest. The University of Kent’s location is the best in Britain for students who need to visit not only the British Library in London, but also the major libraries and research centres on the continent. The School also provides excellent IT facilities.
We hold a general postgraduate seminar in philosophy once a week in term-time. Active collaboration between departments within the School also ensures that we have a vigorous and lively research culture, with numerous research seminars and lectures, plus conferences organised around the research interests of our staff.
All postgraduate students in SECL receive support and guidance within their departments and from the Graduate School. Within SECL, in addition to the research culture of your department, our research centres combine overlapping interests to foster interdisciplinary support and dialogue, while the Graduate School provides a Researcher Development Programme to equip you with a full range of skills that will improve your effectiveness as a researcher. Research students gain further academic experience by giving research talks, and attending national and international conferences.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: The Journal of Philosophy; Philosophical Studies; Philosophers’ Imprint; Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society; and Journal of Applied Philosophy.
The Department of Philosophy’s Centre for Reasoning publishes a monthly gazette, The Reasoner, which features exciting new research on reasoning, inference and method. This gazette, available at www.thereasoner.org, acts as a forum for the global community of researchers in this area. A typical issue will contain an interview with a leading figure in the field, several short peer-reviewed features, news items, monthly columns and announcements of conferences, jobs and studentships.
Researcher Development Programme
Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.
A first or upper-second class BA honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, and a distinction or merit in an MA programme or equivalent in a relevant subject.
International applicants for whom English is not their first language must have IELTS overall 7.0 with at least 6.5 for each component.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Need help with English?
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
The main research interests of the staff are in moral and political philosophy, philosophy of language and logic, causality and probability, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of Wittgenstein, epistemology (including social and formal epistemology), ancient philosophy, modern European philosophy and the philosophy of mind.
Staff research interests
Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Dr Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij: Senior Lecturer in Philosophy
Epistemic normativity and social epistemology, including its intersection with political philosophy and empirical psychology.View Profile
Dr David Corfield: Senior Lecturer in Philosophy
Philosophy of mathematics; philosophy of science; philosophy of psychology.View Profile
Dr Graeme A Forbes: Lecturer in Philosophy
Metaphysics (especially philosophy of time), epistemology and pragmatism.View Profile
Dr Edward Kanterian: Senior Lecturer in Philosophy
Kant; Frege; Wittgenstein; metaphysics; philosophy of language; history of philosophy since Descartes; the Enlightenment; political philosophy; ethics of memory.View Profile
Dr Simon Kirchin: Reader in Philosophy
Moral philosophy; aesthetics; particularism; moral realism; medical ethics.View Profile
Dr Lubomira Radoilska: Lecturer in Philosophy
Metaethics, philosophy of mind, ethics and political philosophy.View Profile
Professor Jon Williamson: Professor of Reasoning, Inference and Scientific Method
Philosophy of causality; philosophy of probability; logics and reasoning.View Profile
Dr Camillia Kong: Lecturer in Philosophy
Moral and political philosophy, feminist philosophy, normative ethics and hermeneutics.View Profile
Dr Todd Mei: Lecturer in Philosophy
Existentialism, normative ethics, and the philosophy of work.View Profile
Dr Jason Konek: Lecturer in Philosophy
Formal epistemology, decision theory, philosophy of cognitive science and artificial intelligence.View Profile
Professor Jeremy Carrette: Professor of Religion and Culture
Michel Foucault; William James; critical psychology and religion; globalisation, social theory and religion; politics of spirituality; capitalism and religion; theology and economics; Christian ethics; gender, sexuality and theology.View Profile
Dr Alexandra Couto: Lecturer in Philosophy
Political philosophy, ethics and applied ethics.View Profile
Dr Lauren Ware: Lecturer in Philosophy
Philosophical reading and writing, feminist philosophy, and practical philosophy more broadly.View Profile
The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for Home/EU PG Research programmes have not yet been set by the Research Councils UK. This is ordinarily announced in March.
General additional costs
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: