Research Degrees (MPhil, PhD)

Quick links: How to Apply; Our Current Students; PhD Graduate Placement (Employment) Record -- PDF

Reading offers intensive research-training degrees, which prepare students for careers as professional philosophers.

The MPhil requires at least two years of full-time study and involves writing a thesis that shows a thorough understanding of the published work on a philosophical problem or figure.

The PhD requires at least three years of full-time study and involves writing a thesis containing advanced and original research.


Our staff are able to supervise students in nearly all areas of philosophy, but many of our staff have particular specialities:

For a sense of what people doing philosophy PhD's at Reading specalise in, please see:

Our Current Students

Placement (Employment)

Reading Philosophy PhDs have been appointed to permanent academic posts at Edinburgh, York, Liverpool, Manchester Met, Leeds, Keele, Birmingham, Oxford, Reading, Birkbeck, Heythrop, Kent, Southampton, Oxford Brookes, and many universities abroad including Stockholm, La Trobe, and Wollongong. Others have been appointed to fixed-term academic posts at many of the universities listed above plus Sheffield, Cardiff, LSE, Ohio State, Zurich, Tartu, and Zhongshan. For more details, please see our:

PhD Graduate Placement (Employment) Record -- PDF

We take pride in our placement record, and we (especially our Postgraduate Placement Officer) will offer students every assistance before, during, and after the 'job market'.

During their studies, our students have:

  • won the Philosophical Quarterly Essay Prize.
  • won the Philosophical Books prize for best review.
  • published in, for example, the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Ethics, Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophy, Utilitas, Social Theory and Practice, The Journal of Applied Philosophy, and many edited collections.
  • presented in the graduate section of the Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and Mind Association, the Oxford Graduate Conference, and various other conferences.

Life as a PhD student at Reading

As a student with us you will become an important part of both the department and the School of Humanities.

Intensive individual supervisions are the heart of the programme. You will frequently meet with your supervisors to discuss your work.

Thursday is 'PhD day', when other central elements of the programme take place:

  • At the Graduate Research Seminar (GRS), students present and critique each other's work in detail. The session is chaired by a member of staff, and other academic staff often attend.
  • The Graduate Class is akin to the GRS, except that it's our research staff who are presenting work in progress, perhaps a paper or book draft.
  • During the Graduate Reading Group, PhD students and other interested parties will engage in focused reading of a book or series or articles over the course of the term.

We also have a vibrant visiting speaker programme, most Tuesdays during term time. Titles and abstracts are normally posted on the department's Facebook page, on Mondays during term.

You will be helped to settle in during the Postgraduate welcome week events. We offer a high number of successful programmes and attract a large number of students each year, in turn this offers an excellent opportunity to make many new friends and meet new people. You will be encouraged to participate in social evenings, seminars and events as you widen your social and academic community, both within your subject area and within both the School of Humanities and the Graduate School for Arts and Humanities.

There is a healthy student community which is a vital part of the School and during your time with us, you will be able to take part in the Staff/Student Committees within each subject area and provide the School with valuable feedback.

Admissions, Fees, and Funding

How to Apply

All prospective research students must have completed an MA in Philosophy before starting an MPhil or PhD at Reading.

There are several primary sources of funding for our incoming PhD students:

Applicants interested in pursuing research in political philosophy are encouraged to contact the Reading Ethics and Political Philosophy (REAPP) Centre, which brings together moral and political philosophers from the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Politics & International Relations.

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