MPhil / PhD

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.

Exceptional research diversity in a small, friendly department

In the last REF we were particularly praised by the Philosophy sub-panel for the ‘large number of monographs assessed to be world-leading across many areas of philosophy’. This reflects our commitment to combining the highest research standards across a wide range of philosophical areas with the friendliness allowed by being a relatively small department where everyone knows everyone else.

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
  • 26.7%

    of publications ranked 'world-leading' in the REF (2014).

  • 10

    current staff supervise research students.

  • 15

    current PhD students, (7 with funding).

Research at Liverpool

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.

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.

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.


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


The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) can be thought of as a shorter version of the PhD. It requires the same research skills, training, planning, and project management. It can be a way to assess whether you wish to undertake doctoral research - or it can be taken for its own sake.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 4-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

A doctoral degree is awarded to students that have demonstrated the ability to conceptualise, design, and implement a substantial research project that results in new knowledge, applications, or understanding in their field of study. During your research, you can expect to draw on direct clinical and observational experience to produce an original thesis of 80,000-100,000 words. You'll be part of a research group which matches your research interests. Research groups offer opportunities for cross-disciplinary research collaboration, as well as support and expertise for your research.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 4-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

The Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a doctoral degree open to medical practitioners (technically, anyone holding a medical qualification registrable with the General Medical Council). It is equivalent in requirements and format to the PhD.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 2-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

Entry requirements

Eligibility and entry qualifications

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

To apply for this research degree, you must have reached a minimum standard of English. You need to be able to provide evidence of this.  See our English language requirements for international students for guidance on the different English language qualifications and evidence that you can provide. 

International qualifications

We welcome applications from within the EU and from around the world. You should ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those which are required to study for this research degree.  See our guidance on international qualifications.

Additional requirements

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal.  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

Find a supervisor

Your supervisor is your main source of academic support and mentoring. You'll need to find a supervisor before you start your research degree. It's helpful to identify a supervisor and discuss your research proposal before you apply.

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