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1. Check our entry requirements

To be accepted on our PhD programme, you will need a master's degree or equivalent, in a course with a substantial element of philosophy. 

If you are from outside of the UK, you will also need an IELTS score of 7.0, or above, with at least 6.0 in the four sub-sections, or equivalent.

For more information on entry requirements, visit our Graduate School website.

2. Select a topic

Please contact the Department before applying for a place, whether or not you are applying for any kind of funding as well. Let us know your proposed research topic and we will advise you as to its suitability for our programme. We encourage you to contact us at least two months before the application deadline, usually in the early autumn.

Please contact Dr Luke Elson, the Department's Director of Postgraduate Research Studies by emailing luke.elson@reading.ac.uk.

You will need to consider whether your proposed research project is suitable for study at PhD level. Your project must be achievable within the equivalent of three years of full-time study. You should be aiming to take your topic in new directions, contributing substantially to existing research. Most importantly, your topic must be of great interest to you, the researcher - motivating you to work intensively for several years. The Department will advise you on all aspects of your application.

See our PhD Opportunities page for some of the research areas in which we currently offer PhD supervision. See also our staff page for further information about our research expertise.

3. Identify a Supervisor

If you have an idea of the supervisor you would like to work with, please feel free to contact them directly, as well as speaking to Dr Luke Elson, our Director of Postgraduate Research Studies.

You will, if accepted onto the programme, also be given a co-supervisor for balance and variety. Further, if you are applying for funding from the AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, then they will need to identify a supervisor here at Reading, but you will, if successful, also have a second supervisor from elsewhere in our DTP consortium.

(We are part of the South, West & Wales Doctoral Training Consortium with Bristol, Bath Spa, Aberystwyth, Cardiff, Cranfield, Exeter, Southampton and UWE).

4. Make an application

Once you have identified a research area of interest with a potential supervisor, please apply using the PhD and professional doctorate online application programme. This allows you to complete the necessary information and attach copies of relevant documents, including the details of two appropriate referees. Proposals should be 1-2 A4 pages and relate to an area of expertise in the Department.

Although you will be working within a specific department or with a particular supervisor, all PhD applications have to be made centrally. We will acknowledge your application and then pass it on to the Department.

Although most new students join the PhD programme in October, it is possible to start your studies at any point during the academic year.