Triangle

Research overview

An exciting mix of established and emerging areas.

We have particular strength in:

  • Applied, Feminist and Social Philosophy
  • Metaphysics and Mind
  • Logic and Language
  • Philosophy of Science
  • History of Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Epistemology
  • Moral Philosophy

Other areas in which expert supervision can be offered are:

  • formal and philosophical logic
  • political and legal philosophy
  • history of philosophy
  • philosophy of science (including the philosophy of medicine)

This list is not exhaustive. Contact us to discuss your particular interests.

Get a feel for our current work – see our active staff research projects.

Current PhD research

  • Theories of desert
  • Aristotelian ethics
  • Humean ethics
  • Cyber-ethics
  • Philosophy of disability
  • Ethics of care
  • Philosophy of education
  • Social epistemology
  • Perception
  • Philosophical semantics
  • Mereology

Find out more about our current PhD students.

Find out more about what it's like to study and research with us on the Department of Philosophy website.

Course content

You will complete a written thesis of around 80,000 words, with expert support and advice from your academic supervisors.

You will also take a verbal examination called a viva voce where you explain your project in depth to an examination panel.

 

You will be encouraged to take advantage of the faculty-wide Mastering the Arts: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Research module. This gives you a strong foundation in the skills and techniques necessary for effective research.

This module introduces you to the wide range of interdisciplinary research happening in the Faculty of Arts. We invite you to ‘think outside the box’ in relation to your own research, while learning key research techniques and methods.The module aims to:

  • introduce the ideas, practices, complexities, and opportunities of interdisciplinary research in the arts
  • enable you to practice critical self-reflexivity about the conventions and expectations of your own disciplines in relation to those of others
  • train you in core research skills necessary for graduate-level study
  • develop your confidence in communicating research findings to non-specialist audiences

You will build on your existing research skills gained from your university career to date. Furthermore, you will develop a more nuanced understanding of your own research practice, inspiring you to explore different approaches questions.In addition, you will develop an understanding of professional practice in areas such as:

  • academic publishing
  • knowledge exchange
  • dissertation planning and writing
  • professional communication

This module is worth 20 credits.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

QualificationPhD
Degree

MA with merit in philosophy or related subject.

QualificationPhD
Degree

MA with merit in philosophy or related subject.

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTS7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.

Applying

Your application should include a 1000-3000 word research proposal.

We encourage you to get in touch with Dr Michael Hannon about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support in finding funding.

Supervisors

You will have a minimum of two supervisors who will offer expert guidance, support and feedback throughout your research. 

Supervisors and research specialisms

Midlands4Cities (M4C)

Supervision and collaboration is available from partner universities and organisations for Midlands4Cities funded students.

You must apply for a place at Nottingham before submitting your M4C application.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply

Fees

QualificationPhD
Home / UK£4,496 per year
International£19,000 per year

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for 'home' fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Funding

Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Programme

The Midlands4Cities programme provides funding, enhanced support, expert supervision and excellent networking opportunities for PhD candidates.

M4C logo

Apply to become an M4C student at the University of Notitngham

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Support

You can expect to be made to feel at home in a department with a strong and supportive research culture.

Weekly research seminar

Involves both members of the department and outside speakers. In recent years this has included:

  • Helen Beebee
  • Jeff McMahan
  • Antony Duff
  • Katherine Hawley
  • Brad Hooker
  • Helen Yetter-Chappell

Postgraduate seminars

Run by postgraduate students this allows you to present your ongoing research in a constructive and supportive atmosphere.

Open door policy

You are very welcome to drop in and discuss your current work with any available member of staff.

Workshops, conferences, and reading groups

These often run in the department, and postgraduate students are encouraged to participate. For current details see the Department of Philosophy website.

Publishing support

We actively encourage postgraduate students to be published in major journals. Recent postgrad articles have appeared in:

  • Mind
  • Australasian Journal of Philosophy
  • Philosophical Studies
  • Analysis
  • Oxford Studies in Metaphysics
  • Ratio

A publication records equips you well for the philosophy job market. It also provides evidence of commitment and excellence for those considering career routes outside of academia.

Midlands4Cities students

If you are funded through the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership you will complete a portfolio of research training, devised in consultation with your supervisors and Head of Postgraduate Studies.

Language learning

You can make full use of the Language Centre facilities for both research-specific learning and personal interest.

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

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Where you will learn

University Park Campus

University Park Campus covers 300 acres, with green spaces, wildlife, period buildings and modern facilities. It is one of the UK's most beautiful and sustainable campuses, winning a national Green Flag award every year since 2003.

Most schools and departments are based here. You will have access to libraries, shops, cafes, the Students’ Union, sports village and a health centre.

You can walk or cycle around campus. Free hopper buses connect you to our other campuses. Nottingham city centre is 15 minutes away by public bus or tram.

Careers

Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Philosophy doesn’t lead to a single specific career - it leads into a huge range of professions!

Our graduates go on to many different sectors including:

  • business and finance
  • commercial, industrial and public sector management and marketing
  • sales and advertising
  • academic research

The average annual salary for postgraduates from the School of Humanities was £25,563*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Portrait of Neil Sinclair looking direct at the camera
I’m interested in human beings, particularly their ethics or morality. As a philosopher I encourage my students to develop a systematic and general understanding of human beings and their world, and to test their ideas through rigorous argument. Philosophy is really no more than the search for a theory of human beings and is therefore vital in understanding the challenges those beings face.
Dr Neil Sinclair, Associate Professor in Philosophy

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • 69% of the department's research activity is classed as being ‘world leading’, or ‘internationally excellent’
  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 23 March 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.