Philosophy PhD / MPhil

The Department of Philosophy seeks to maintain the highest standard in research excellence while pursuing fruitful civic engagements, collaborative relationships and opportunities for knowledge exchange and research impact.

Why study with us?

Liverpool is a wonderful place to pursue a PhD in Philosophy. The faculty here are dedicated and immensely knowledgeable with a wide range of research specialisms; there is a thriving postgraduate community; and there are plenty of research seminars, conferences, and colloquia on hand to help you to develop as a student, philosopher, and researcher.

Robert Booth - Philosophy PhD student
  • 4th

    in the sector for outstanding research impact in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)

  • 10

    current staff supervise research students.

  • 15

    current PhD students, (7 with funding).


Our work encompasses a wide range of philosophical topics and traditions grouped in three principal areas:

Members of the Metaphysics, Language and Mind group have research interests spanning general metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of logic. The topics staff currently work on include consciousness, space and time, modality, nominalism, the self, philosophy of action, linguistic idealism, and the nature of the proposition. 

The Religion, Ethics and Practical Philosophy group carries forward a strong Liverpool tradition of producing world class, practical philosophy research that draws on expertise in many traditions. The philosophical interests of this group are diverse, encompassing ethics, philosophy of religion, environmental philosophy, political philosophy, feminism and women in philosophy, Indian philosophy and history of philosophy, but share a focus on practical import.

Aesthetics, Art and Literature is a distinctly interdisciplinary group that takes advantage of the fact that Liverpool has the highest density of art galleries and museums outside London. As well as working on more traditional topics in aesthetics and philosophy of literature, it enables researchers from different academic disciplines to exchange ideas and methods, to collaborate across traditional boundaries, and to work closely with other institutions and the community on issues of intellectual and cultural importance. The research interests of this group include: aesthetics and art theory, philosophy and literature, history of art, creativity, engaging with museum collections, archiving, and science fiction.

Staff in the department have senior editorial roles in leading journals within their research areas. For example, Professor Thomas Schramme is co-editor in chief of Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Professor Simon Hailwood is Managing Editor of Environmental Values.

Our work involves collaboration with colleagues in a wide variety of national and international universities and partner organisations. For instance, we ran a project with colleagues in the Universities of Dortmund, Münster and Potsdam exploring new ways to understand the concept of alienation. We also collaborate regularly with a wide range of faith groups and others, including legal practitioners, as well as scholars of religion, to bring philosophy into close contact with religious practice. Recent projects in this area include the Philosophy and Religious Practices network and work on Religious Symbols and Discrimination.

Further recent or ongoing partnerships and collaborations include the Global Institute for Advanced Studies (New York University), the European Union’s Creative Research Adaptive Roadmap Project, the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical and Theological Research, Tate Liverpool, the Bluecoat Gallery, Budapest Central European University and the Universities of Durham, Exeter, Konstanz, Mannheim, Münster, Rochester, Rome and Tromsø.

Our thriving community of energetic postgraduate researchers both benefits greatly from this research environment and makes an in important active contribution to it. For example, they recently organised and hosted the British Postgraduate Philosophy Association Masterclass on Alain Badiou’s philosophy.

Our research interests

  • Aesthetics
  • Philosophy of action
  • Anscombe, Foot, Midgley and Murdoch
  • Death and Meaning
  • Enhancement and transhumanism
  • Environmental philosophy
  • Ethics, including bioethics
  • Feminist philosophy
  • Indian philosophy
  • Philosophy of language
  • Philosophy of literature
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Plotinus
  • Political philosophy
  • Philosophy of religion
  • The self
  • Philosophy of time and space.

Research themes

Our research themes are:

  • Philosophy of mind
  • Aesthetics
  • Indian philosophy
  • Environmental philosophy
  • Moral philosophy
  • Feminist philosophy
  • Political philosophy
  • Medical ethics
  • Philosophy of religion
  • Philosophy of language
  • Metaphysics
  • Plotinus
  • Enhancement and Transhumanism.


PhD students have access to dedicated desk space and networked pcs. They are entitled to apply to the School of Arts for support funding for conference presentations and for organising their own workshops and events. PhD students have regular work in progress discussions with fellow students and staff. They are encouraged to be involved in undergraduate teaching and marking and given training and support in this.

Research groups

  • Metaphysics, Language and Mind
  • Religion, Ethics and Practical Philosophy
  • Aesthetics, Art and Literature

Study options and fees

MPhil / PhD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,712
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £27,800 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £27,800 (Band A)^ or £21,850 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £21,850 (Band B)
Part time 4-6 years £2,356
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £13,900 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £13,900 (Band A)^ or £10,925 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £10,925 (Band B)

The fees stated in the table above exclude potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees’. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

* Please note that if you are undertaking a PhD within the Faculty of Science and Engineering the fee you pay, Band A or Band B, will reflect the nature of your research project. Some research projects incur a higher fee than others e.g. if you are required to undertake laboratory work. You will be informed of the fee for your programme in your offer letter.

^ Self-funded, full-time international students studying a PhD programme classified as Band A will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

Entry requirements

Applications are welcomed and will be considered in our highly competitive programme from well qualified graduates who would typically hold a UK first degree or equivalent in the first or 2:1 class, in a relevant subject.

MPhil/PhD programmes require that you submit a research proposal detailing a research topic in an area in which the Department can provide expert supervision.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic requirement - SELT and non-SELT Overall 7.0 no band below 6.5
TOEFL iBT requirement Minimum 100 overall with L 21 R 21 W 21 and S 23
C1 Advanced CAE requirement Overall 185 with no less than 176 in any paper
PTE Academic requirement69 with minimum scores of 61 in each component
Trinity College London, Integrated Skills in English (ISE II)ISE II with an overall pass with merit in components
Cambridge IGCSE as a First LanguageGrade C
Cambridge IGCSE as a Second LanguageGrade B
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Proficiency)Overall 185 with 176 in components
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 185 with 176 in components
Cambridge English Level 2 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 185 with 176 in components

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

More about applying for research degrees

Apply online

Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal

Related studentships: self-funded and funded PhD projects

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Doctoral Training Partnerships support future researchers with funding and a rewarding learning environment where you can collaborate with leading researchers.

Find a scholarship

We offer a range of scholarships to help you meet the costs of studying a research degree.

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