Our alumni follow a wide variety of career paths after leaving Essex. Read the experiences of
former philosophy at Essex students, and find out some of the careers paths our graduates followed
after leaving the University.
Robyn-Ann Forsyth, BA Philosophy (International Exchange)
Robyn Forsyth is the first Essex student to be awarded a full scholarship from the Chinese government to
study for two years at a leading university in China. Robyn travelled out of Beijing at the end of August
2010 to start her studies at Peking University, after officially receiving her award at a special reception
at the Chinese Embassy in London in July. She spent her first year learning Chinese and her second year
studying philosophy. Robyn returned to Essex to complete her final year in 2012-13. Robyn’s
‘Year in China’ blog describes her experiences.
Robyn says of her time at Essex:
“The University of Essex is extremely cosmopolitan,and has students and staff from all over the world.
When I came to visit on an open day, I was given a very warm and friendly welcome, and felt comfortable with
my surroundings straight away. I made friends quickly when I arrived, and I didn’t feel out of my depths with
the work, as I thought I might. I particularly enjoyed the module God, Death, and the Meaning of Life, as it
has been very interesting. My School was brilliant, and I am glad to have been a part of it.”
Christina Brown, BA Philosophy and Politics
“I knew even before I attended an open day, that I would love it at Essex. I was aware that the
School was world-class, because of their brilliant research programmes and the fact that they are
one of very few UK institutions in which Continental philosophy is so strong. Coming from a South
African background, I have always been interested in the theoretical debates surrounding politics
and class-based identity, and as my course progressed I was able to cultivate a more sophisticated
understanding of these issues, especially through modules on political theory, nineteenth- and
twentieth-century continental philosophy, and contemporary political philosophy.
“I loved the flexibility – you can tailor your course to your own interests (although this is not to
say you get an easy ride doing things you enjoy; the high standard of teaching means that you learn to
be a well-rounded and rigorous fledgling philosopher), and you are encouraged to develop independent
interests in relation to the core material. The teaching and administrative staff are very welcoming
and so helpful when you arrive, and do everything they can to support your development throughout your
time with them (and beyond).
“Making friends is easy when you first get here, as you get so many opportunities to mingle
with fellow students during the wide range of departmental events, and the cosmopolitan and friendly
atmosphere makes discussion easy and interesting. I loved it so much at Essex that I stayed on for
my Masters! I’ll be doing my MA Ethics, Politics and Public Policy, which straddles the divide between
philosophy and politics – much like my BA – and I look forward to engaging in my own research. I hope
to go on to do a PhD and then find an academic post somewhere in Europe, and I know that the foundation
Essex has helped me build will be valuable to me for the rest of my career.”
Robert Wayman, BA Philosophy
“I decided to study at Essex after visiting on an open day. I instantly fell in love with
Essex, and I still feel this connection now as a member of the alumni community. Whilst at University,
my experience as a student ambassador on applicant days helped me to develop my management, presentation,
and communication skills which are critical in gaining employment.
“Being actively involved in the Students' Union during my studies, and holding many positions
including philosophy rep and a trustee, gave me the opportunity to gain vital exposure to the
workings of a large charitable organisation, as well as making a difference to fellow students.
My School also gave me plenty of career opportunities through my three years with targeted career
events and talks which helped guide me in seeking employment when graduating.
“I secured employment before leaving and am now on a graduate scheme in Development and Alumni
Relations at the University of Southampton, through a national organisation called CASE and the
Higher Education Funding Council for England. I work in development as it allows me to give
something back to sector in which I gained so much and wouldn't be in the scheme without.
Universities do help create the leaders of the future and hopefully the School of Philosophy
and Art History at Essex has created a future leader in me! I think it has.”
Josh Gallagher, BA Philosophy
Read how BA Philosophy graduate Josh Gallagher developed his employability during his studies, including with
the Big Essex Award:
What made you interested in the Big Essex Award?
“I completed the award during the final year of my degree to help me get ready to look for
graduate employment - employability has been constantly at the forefront of my mind. Participating
in the Big Essex Award was the perfect opportunity to get various experiences, develop skills
and it allows me to have something to put on my University transcript to set me apart from other candidates.
What have you achieved through the Big Essex Award?
“I did many forms of volunteering as part of the Award. They were all in areas which I find enjoyable.
It gave me a chance to have this present on my University Transcript as an accredited award, not just some separate
activities that I could put on my CV.
What types of projects have you been involved in?
“I was spending around five hours per week as a volunteer three separate projects –
I was working with the mental health charity ‘Mind’, teaching English to Japanese
students on campus and also working with refugees to improve their living quarters. This
allowed me to cover a wide variety of skills and gave me the opportunity to experience a
variety of cultures and appreciate diversity, which is really sought after by employers,
especially in the teaching industry which I am interested in going in to.
How was your experience?
“I really enjoyed taking part in the Big Essex Award. I deliberately chose
volunteering options which I would like, which meant that it seldom felt as though
I was doing anything extra or ‘out of my way’.
What skills have you developed with the award?
“I developed a number of skills such as working with a variety of people, recognising and
supporting diversity, showing empathy, as well as generally improving my communication skills and
interpersonal skills. The experience of volunteering even benefited my research for my dissertation.
Would you recommend the Big Essex Award to other students?
“I would definitely encourage students to take part in the Big Essex Award. Even if you haven’t done
so in your first or second year, it is never too late to do so - and the skills you learn are invaluable.”
David Batho, PhD Philosophy, MA Continental Philosophy and BA Philosophy
“I made the decision to come to Essex to study philosophy because of the fantastic reputation
of the School for its teaching and research qualities. Thanks to several welcoming events at the start
of the first year, I was able to settle in quickly; university life became easy and comfortable because
of the friendliness and helpfulness of members of staff. I particularly enjoyed the Wittgenstein module
because the quality of the teaching, and the richness and challenging nature of the content which made
it very interesting.”
“Having completed my Masters, I am now studying for my PhD. Coming to Essex convinced me to continue
studying because of the quality and encouragement I received from my School. My time at Essex has been
highly enjoyable, and I am happy to continue studying here and keep boosting my employability prospects.”
James Hudson, MA Continental Philosophy and BA Philosophy
“My time at Essex was amazing. I made some great friends that I will stay in contact with indefinitely.
Studying philosophy has been one the most worthwhile and fulfilling things I’ve done. The lecturers and staff
within my School are always willing to help and encourage students. From my experience, they invest a good deal
of time and energy into creating a positive atmosphere for students to study and settle into.
“My time studying at Essex (three years as an undergraduate and one year as a postgraduate) has helped in
many ways to open up any number of different career paths. After completing a CELTA teaching course, I am
currently teaching English in Taiwan for one year. So far it has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience!
“While at Essex, I made the effort to get involved in various clubs and societies which enriched my university
experience considerably. I made lots of new friends this way, and tried new things that I hadn’t had the opportunity
to do before. Overall I had a wonderful time, with memories that will always be cherished and skills that will never
Paula Krieg, MA Philosophy, Politics and Environmental Issues
“I decided to come to Essex after I, quite coincidentally, discovered the University’s MA Philosophy,
Politics and Environmental Issues which is offered as a joint degree with the Department of Government. The
outline of the course matched my interests perfectly, as it brings together practice and theory by combining
modules, in an interdisciplinary way, like Environmental Politics to Environmental Ethics and Philosophies of
Nature. We had the possibility to not only choose some of the modules, but also to sit in on other classes
which one was interested in – which is really worthwhile!
“I am doing my Masters at Essex while taking one year off my studies in political science and Arabic
studies in Germany. Before coming to Essex, my background in philosophy was thus rather restricted to political
theory, and I was concerned that I might be lacking basic knowledge and have difficulties in catching up. I found,
however, that it is not only possible to study philosophy from a non-philosophy background but it is also very
rewarding, as it broadens the views on topics one has previously learnt.
“Alongside my studies, I have been working in organisations engaged in development cooperation, mainly
in the environmental sector, and I find that one is constantly confronted with deeper questions, so I was curious
to learn more about the ethical foundations of policy decisions or the theoretical background of many of the
contemporary political discussions. I am thoroughly enjoyed my Masters at Essex; all of the modules are very
interesting, the teaching very engaged and the discussion groups are small, which created a very personal and
“In the first term, a workshop was offered to help improve academic writing, and I experienced great support
in writing essays and my dissertation throughout the whole year. Staff were very supportive and the friendly
climate made one feel at ease from the beginning. After completing my course, I will go on to do an internship
with the United Nations in Geneva – my application for this was strongly supported by my School. All in all,
this last year has been a great experience, and I spent a wonderful time studying in Essex.”
Matthew Bennet, PhD Philosophy and MA Continental Philosophy
“I’ve been working with Philosophy at Essex for over five years now as an MA student, PhD student,
and now as a lecturer. The research environment here is incredibly engaging and I’ve been very impressed
with the level of commitment, talent, and inclusivity that I see in the graduate community.
“As a PhD student I was overwhelmed with the range of opportunities to both present and develop
my own work and learn about the interesting stuff others are doing. At Essex I have always had the privilege
of a superabundance of academic activities to choose from. Often there are so many seminars, workshops,
conferences, mini-courses, colloquia, and reading groups that it can seem that there is little time left for the PhD!
“My own PhD research was on Nietzsche, specifically whether and how his account of self-legislation
might show us what it would be to achieve a normative identity without relying on the recognition of our
community to establish that normativity. My PhD was supervised by
David McNeill, who has extensive
expertise in Nietzsche and Plato (among many other things), and whose MA course in Nietzsche convinced me
to study Nietzsche for my PhD.
“Those interested in Nietzsche will find that most of the faculty are familiar with him, but will find
conversations with Béatrice Han-Pile
and Fiona Hughes particularly helpful.
Moreover, all members of faculty are very generous with their time and will happily spend whole afternoons talking
with students about their work.
“My favourite thing about Essex has to be its combined commitment to the themes of continental philosophy
and a serious, honest, and rigorous approach to thinking about those themes. All members of the community
here are doing work that is both very interesting and subject to a high level of scrutiny. This work is
challenging but ultimately incredibly rewarding. I couldn’t imagine a better PhD experience at another University.”
Our former PhD students
Our PhD students have an excellent record of gaining employment in academic positions in universities in the UK and across the world.
Former PhD students in academic posts
- Nathan Fretwell, Lecturer in Education and Early Childhood Studies, School of Health and Education, Middlesex University, UK
- David Batho, Research Officer,
The Ethics of Powerlessness: the Theological Virtues Today, project funded by the Arts and Humanities
Research Council (AHRC), School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex, UK
- Dan Swain, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Social Sciences at the Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic
Timothy Secret, lecturer, Department of Theology, Religion and Philosophy, University of Winchester, UK
- Naomi van Steenbergen, NEC International Fellow, New Europe College, Bucharest
- Jeffrey Byrnes, assistant professor at Grand Valley State University, Michigan, USA
- Rebecca Pitt, research assistant, Institute of Educational Technology, Open University, UK
- Steven Gormley, lecturer, School of Philosophy and Art History,
University of Essex, UK
- Katerina Hadjimatheou, research fellow, University of Warwick, UK
- Mario Solís Umaña, lecturer,
Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, University of Costa Rica
- Joel Madore, Professor of Philosophy, Dominican University College, Ottawa, Canada
- Tony Fisher, senior lecturer and course leader,
Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, UK
- Joo-Whee Kim, assistant professor (ethics education), Korea National University of Education
- James Rodwell, Junior Research Fellow, School
of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex, UK
- James Corby, lecturer (literature and cultural criticism), University of Malta
- Rajiv Kaushik,
tenure track assistant professor (philosophy), Brock University, Canada
- Sharon Krishek, postdoctoral research Fellow, Department of Philosophy, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
- Clive Zammit Department of Cognitive Science, University of Malta
- Cinara Nahra lecturer (philosophy),
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
- Nicholas Joll, lecturer, Essex Pathways Department, University of Essex, UK
- Nicola Foster, senior lecturer (photography), University Campus Suffolk
- Christian Skirke, Assistant Professor in Philosophy, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Diarmuid Costello, associate professor (philosophy),
University of Warwick, UK
- Sally Sheldon, casual lecturer (law), Queensland University
of Technology, Australia
- Tristan Moyle, lecturer (philosophy),
Anglia Ruskin University, UK
- Andrew Fagan, Deputy Director (Human Rights), University of Essex, UK
- Lucy Huskinson, lecturer (philosophy of religion) University of Wales,
Bangor; visiting fellow, Monash University and La Trobe University (Australia); visiting fellow (psychoanalytic studies), University of Essex.
- Jon Trigg, visiting assistant professor (philosophy), University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA
- Adrian Samuel, Head of Religious Studies, Richmond Upon Thames College, UK
- Havi Carel, senior lecturer (philosophy),
University of the West of England; senior lecturer, philosophy, University of Bristol, UK
- Kit Barton, lecturer (business ethics), American Intercontinental University London, UK; pathway leader, Faculty of Humanities,
Arts and Social Sciences, Webster Graduate School, Regent’s University London, UK
- Angeliki Kontou, adjunct lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Crete, Greece
- Dorte Andersen, research fellow (International Centre for Business and Politics),
Copenhagen Business School (Denmark); reader, Syddansk Universitet, Denmark
- Tim Hall, senior lecturer, School of Law and Social Sciences,
University of East London, UK
- Gerasimos Kakoliris, lecturer in philosophy, National and
Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
- James Luchte Deputy Head of
Department and lecturer, philosophy, University of Wales Lampeter; lecturer, School of Cultural Studies, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
- Andrea Zhok, senior lecturer, philosophy, University of Milan, Italy
- John Lippitt,
Professor of Philosophy, University of Hertfordshire, UK
- Joseph Gaie, senior lecturer, philosophy, University of Botswana
- Stale Finke, Professor of Philosophy, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
- Iain Macdonald associate professor, philosophy, University of
- Tim Mooney, senior lecturer, philosophy, University College Dublin, Ireland
- Stella Sandford, principal lecturer , philosophy, Middlesex
University (UK); reader, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University London, UK
- Katerina Deligiorgi, senior lecturer in philosophy
and literature, University of Sussex, UK
- Jason Gaiger, Head of Department, The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts, UK
- Lilian Alweiss, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
- Katrin Flikschuh, Professor of Political Theory, London School of Economics, UK
- Giuseppina d’Oro, reader in philosophy, Keele University, UK
- Jill Marsden, senior lecturer, University of Bolton, UK
- Herman Siemens, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Leiden,
- William Large, senior lecturer in philosophy, University of Gloucestershire, UK
- Philip Stratton-Lake, Professor of Philosophy, University of Reading, UK
- Jim Urpeth, senior lecturer in philosophy,
University of Greenwich, UK
- Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy, New School of Social Research, New York, USA
Former PhD students working in non-academic careers
Many of our PhD students go onto to work in a wide variety of positions beyond academia, including:
- Curatoring public events at Tate Modern
- Curatoring education and public programmes at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- Civil Service
- Teaching at various universities
- Investment banking
Our former MA students
Former Masters students’ career paths
Our Masters students follow many different career paths, including PhD study and further training,
as well as finding work in a wide range of fields.
- Further postgraduate study at PhD, MPhil and MA level at universities including the University of Essex,
Birkbeck, King’s College London, Kingston, Goldsmiths, University of East Anglia, Newcastle University,
New School for Social Research in New York, and University of California at Santa Cruz
- Research roles at Parliament, the Democratic Audit, National Audit Office, Ofsted, London Metropolitan University, and University Campus Suffolk
- Internships and traineeships at the United Nations and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training
- Managerial roles, including at Ofsted and the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia
- Law and law conversion training
- Teaching and teacher training
- Teaching English as a foreign language
- Policy roles, including at Kingston Council
- University counselling services
More humanities graduate profiles
Read more profiles about successful graduates from our Faculty of Humanities.