Philosophy

Philosophy - PhD

Overview

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 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, and explain your eligibility. For the full list of scholarships available within the School, please see our postgraduate funding page.

Think Kent video series

Responsibility is a familiar concept that we employ in a variety of everyday contexts. Yet, on reflection, many of our familiar intuitions about responsibility are difficult to reconcile. In this talk, Dr Lubomira Radoilska, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, identifies and explores four major puzzles that derive from current thinking about responsibility. She shows how they could be addressed by rethinking responsibility on the model of authorship.


Entry requirements

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 relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, international fee-paying students cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.

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.

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Course structure

Duration: 3 to 4 years full-time, 5 to 6 years part-time

Fees

The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU full-time £4407
  • International full-time £16200
  • Home/EU part-time £2204
  • International part-time £8100

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

Please see the University League Tables 2020 for more information.

Independent rankings

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.

Research areas

The Department is defined by two research clusters - Theoretical Reasoning and Practical Reasoning. 

Within these clusters, staff research covers a broad range of areas including:

  • aesthetics
  • Ancient Greek Philosophy
  • causality
  • emotions
  • agency and responsibility
  • health methodology
  • philosophical methodology
  • Kant and post-Kantian Philosophy
  • pragmatism
  • probability. 

The Department co-founded the Southern Normativity Group and founded The Reasoner, a monthly bulletin on reasoning and method.

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 David Corfield : Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

Philosophy of mathematics; philosophy of science; philosophy of medicine and psychology.

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Dr Alexandra Couto : Lecturer in Philosophy

Moral and political philosophy; forgiveness, luck, responsibility.

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Dr Graeme A Forbes : Lecturer in Philosophy

Metaphysics (especially philosophy of time), epistemology and pragmatism.

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Dr Edward Kanterian : Reader in Philosophy

Kant; Frege; Wittgenstein; metaphysics; philosophy of language; history of philosophy since Descartes; the Enlightenment; political philosophy; ethics of memory.

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Professor Simon Kirchin : Professor of Philosophy

Moral philosophy; aesthetics; particularism; moral realism; medical ethics. 

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Dr Todd Mei : Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

Existentialism, normative ethics, and the philosophy of work.

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Dr Lubomira Radoilska : Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

Philosophy of mind and action, ethics, epistemology, philosophy of mental disorder.

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Dr Lauren Ware : Lecturer in Philosophy

Philosophical reading and writing, feminist philosophy, and practical philosophy more broadly.

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Dr Michael Wilde : Research Fellow in Medical Methodology

Epistemology and philosophy of science.

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Professor Jon Williamson : Professor of Reasoning, Inference and Scientific Method

Philosophy of causality; philosophy of probability; logics and reasoning.

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Careers

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.

Study support

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.

Postgraduate resources

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.

Training

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.

Apply now

Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

PhD at Canterbury

Admissions enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

E: information@kent.ac.uk

Subject enquiries

Postgraduate Office, School of European Culture and Languages

T: +44 (0)1227 827283

E: seclpgadmin@kent.ac.uk

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk