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In the Department of Philosophy, 100% of our Research Environment, and 96% of our research outputs, were rated to be of international quality in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2014).

If you undertake your PhD with us you will become part of a large, inclusive and welcoming community of doctoral students across the University.


Research expertise

Our acclaimed academics are active researchers whose current interests inform our PhD programmes.

The Department’s main areas of research include moral philosophy, philosophy of language, epistemology, metaphysics, aesthetics Aquinas, Aristotle, and Wittgenstein, among others. We are able to offer supervision in a large number of areas, focusing on our staff’s research interests.

Our research covers a wide range of  topics, including investigation into current problems such as the best way to understand pain, how to explain the nature of life and its distinction from non-living things, fairness in health care resource allocation, ethics in business and finance, among others.

Find out more about research expertise and our PhD opportunities

Research community

You will join a healthy and active doctoral community within the Department of Philosophy, working alongside post-doctoral researchers and academic staff.

The Graduate Research Seminar is a weekly seminar where you will present your current research to peers and staff members. The seminars are the perfect training ground for future academic philosophers, where feedback is rigorous but always supportive and constructive, designed to improve your work as a PhD student.

Your studies are complemented by individual academic supervision, departmental training sessions on a variety of topics and opportunities to present your work and network with other researchers through our seminar programme.

In addition, you are offered the opportunity to undertake teaching activities in the Department, which is essential to developing a professional portfolio for the academic job market.

Research centres

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 across the university.

Read more about our research

Knowledge sharing activities

We run a number of events throughout the year dedicated to stimulating and fostering research. Events include:

  • a full visiting speaker programme in which leading researchers from around the world present their work to staff and students
  • a work-in-progress programme in which staff discuss their current research
  • a graduate seminar for PhD students
  • staff-student and student-organised reading groups on classic and contemporary texts
  • the highly regarded annual Ratio Conference, sponsored by the journal, which is edited by Prof. David Oderberg in the Department.

Enviable graduate employment

Our PhD alumni have been appointed to academic posts at universities including, Edinburgh, Manchester Metropolitan, Oxford, Southampton, Warwick, Stockholm, Sun Yat-Sen University, Chittagong, Rhodes, Groningen, Wollongong, Iceland and Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

Others have pursued careers in different areas such as law, management, finance, teaching and the civil service.


Life in the Department

Become an important part of a flourishing and welcoming community. You will work alongside internationally renowned academics and collaborate with colleagues from across the University.


How we support you

You'll receive support from the Department as well as the Graduate School, which is the University of Reading's hub for all doctoral activity.


Read our stories

Explore the stories behind our staff, students and alumni and learn about life in the Department of Philosophy.