Students Staff

PhD courses

AHRC funding

PhD student in library

Apply for a PhD studentship for your doctoral study funded by the Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Philosophy at Essex offers a unique environment for PhD study. Our research is ranked ninth in the UK (REF 2014), making us one of the highest rated institutions for continental philosophy.

We are internationally recognised for our expertise in critical theory, phenomenology, medical humanities and classical German philosophy.

As a philosophy doctoral student at Essex, you will be part of an active research community in which graduate students and academic staff work together in a friendly, creative and intellectually challenging environment.

We run an ongoing programme of seminars and graduate events throughout the year, as well as regular minicourses, conferences and symposia.

A variety of scholarships and funding for postgraduate study are available.

PhD routes

We offer a range of routes to our PhD in philosophy:

  • PhD Philosophy (full-time)

    The minimum duration for our full-time PhD Philosophy is three years and assessment is on the basis of a thesis (80,000 words maximum).

    We normally require a good BA honours and a Masters degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline. You need to demonstrate a capacity to conduct independent research and are required to submit a detailed research proposal. You attend regular supervisory board meetings throughout your doctoral study where the progress of your work is assessed.

  • Integrated PhD Philosophy (full-time)

    Our Integrated PhD Philosophy is a four-year doctoral programme that provides a rigorous training in philosophy. Your first year consists of an MA Philosophy combining taught modules with writing an MA dissertation, which prepares you for researching and writing a doctoral thesis over your next three years.

  • Part-time PhD study

    Our PhD Philosophy and Integrated PhD Philosophy can be taken part-time over a six-year and eight-year period respectively.

A research degree in philosophy allows you to conduct original research on a subject of your choice. We accept PhD students in all areas in which our academic staff are researching.

  • Supervision areas

    Our supervision areas include:

    • Frankfurt School and critical theory
    • Phenomenology
    • Classical German philosophy
    • Philosophy and psychoanalysis
    • Philosophy and psychiatry
    • Philosophy and religion
    • Kierkegaard
    • Contemporary French philosophy
    • Philosophy and human rights
    • Philosophical aesthetics, philosophy of art and literature
    • Ethics, including applied ethics
    • Philosophy and public policy
    • Social and political philosophy
    • Ancient philosophy
    Current PhD theses

    Our list of current PhD theses shows the wide range of research being carried out at Essex.

  • Other research degrees

    • MPhil Philosophy full-time (two years)
    • MA Philosophy by dissertation full-time (one year)*
    • MA Philosophy by dissertation part-time (two years)*

    Our MA Philosophy by dissertation and MPhil Philosophy are assessed on the basis of a thesis (30,000 words maximum for the MA, 50,000 words maximum for the MPhil). Their minimum duration is usually one or two years respectively. We normally require a good BA in philosophy (or in a joint honours degree including philosophy). You must demonstrate your capacity to conduct independent research and submit a detailed research proposal. Both our MA Philosophy and MPhil Philosophy can be taken part-time over a two year and four year period respectively.

    *Admission to our MA by dissertation is normally restricted to candidates whose circumstances make the taught MA unsuitable, and whose background is sufficient to indicate an ability to undertake a first research-only degree.

AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership

The University of Essex is a member of CHASE: Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England, which has over 375 fully-funded PhD studentships to award over the next five years funded by the Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC) and the seven CHASE partner institutions. Applicants for doctoral study in philosophy at Essex can apply to CHASE for AHRC studentships through our department and we will work closely with you on your application.

Professional teaching experience

We employ many of our research students as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA). These paid positions are valuable opportunities for professional development and give you experience of teaching and marking essays at undergraduate level, a significant advantage when it comes to applying for academic positions.

Professional skills development

Our University’s Proficio scheme helps to develop your skills and knowledge and to increase your employability potential for careers in academia and industry by providing funding for specialist training across a range of areas, including researching and managing your PhD, presenting your work and getting published.

Post-doctoral employment

Many of our former doctoral students succeed in gaining employment in academic positions around the world after completing their PhD at Essex.


Mini courses

Every year we invite distinguished philosophers from around the world to give minicourses to our students at Essex.

PG events

Book a place at a postgraduate event to find out about studying at a top 20 UK research university. Staff will be available to answer your questions and you can speak to students about life at Essex.

Our academic staff

Wayne Martin

Our academic staff are internationally recognised for their expertise across a wide range of philosophical areas.

Doctoral training


Proficio is our innovative doctoral training scheme. Our University gives you funding to spend on a variety of courses, from research skills to personal development and career management.