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PhD Programmes – University of Reading

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PhD Programmes

​As a postgraduate research student in the Department of Philosophy, you will be part of a flourishing and welcoming community. You will get to work alongside internationally renowned academics and contribute to highly respected research.

We offer intensive research-training degrees, complemented by rigorous supervision in a relaxed and friendly environment. A two-way collaborative process is encouraged, as students and staff learn from each other.

“The doctoral community at Reading was essential to my learning experience – we encouraged each other to do the best work we could. I couldn't have had further support – feedback was always prompt, invaluable and honest. The Philosophy Department not only trains you to be a good philosopher; it also prepares you for what happens after your degree. I am currently an Assistant Professor at the American University in Cairo – I credit this job to my training at Reading.”


PhD in Philosophy graduate

Groundbreaking research

Our acclaimed academics are active researchers whose current interests inform our PhD programmes. The Department's main areas of research are moral philosophy, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, cognitive science, philosophy of language, metaphysics, and Wittgenstein. We are able to offer supervision in most areas of philosophy, including our staff's particular specialities.  

What we offer

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over three years and part-time over four to six years. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, or at a distance for students who live outside the UK.


Throughout your PhD you will have opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers. Our research centres host monthly seminars, workshops and conferences, while the Department's postgraduate community has its own annual workshop where students present on their research.


You will benefit from training sessions covering a variety of topics to help you get the most out of your research. For example, we offer support on applying for postdoctoral positions or gaining a book contract. In addition, the Graduate School also offer a programme of transferable skills training.


Our PhD students often go on to work in academia as postdoctoral researchers and research fellows, and now hold academic positions at a number of universities around the world, including: 

University of Oxford Kings College London
University of Edinburgh University of Southampton
University of Birmingham London School of Economics
Diakonhjemmet University College, Norway Zhongshan University, China
University of Zurich University of Stockholm

Others choose to enter professions including teaching, publishing, law and business. 

“I found the Philosophy Department at Reading to be very friendly and supportive, and I was grateful for the opportunity to teach undergraduates as a sessional lecturer, which was extremely rewarding. I am now working as a lecturer at St Mary's University in Twickenham. A job in academia is exactly what I wanted and I am immensely grateful to Reading for allowing me to get this position.”


PhD in Philosophy graduate

Research centres and resources

The Department of Philosophy is part of the University's 'Heritage and Creativity' research theme.  Our interdisciplinary approach means we regularly work with many research centres, including:

Reading Ethics and Political Philosophy (REAPP)
Bringing together the University's moral and political philosophers, REAPP acts as a hub for individual scholars to exchange ideas, develop projects and organise events and workshops.

Pervasive Context
A project aiming to create an international network of researchers to investigate the problems associated with pervasive context-sensitivity, and to explore theoretical positions which have emerged in the area.

Centre for Cognition Research (CCR)
The CCR aims to promote excellence in research concerning the understanding of human intelligence. Bringing together researchers from different disciplines, it enables cross-discipline discussion and hosts events to promote new and existing research collaborations.

Climate Justice
This five-year programme will provide funding for up to 15 doctoral students to undertake research across a range of areas related to Climate Justice.

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