For our PhD in Philosophy, we offer supervision in a wide range of fields including: continental philosophy, history of philosophy, social and political philosophy, and medical humanities. We have an established international reputation and a strong tradition of postgraduate education, particularly in the specialist area of continental philosophy and - more recently - in the middle-ground between continental and analytic philosophy. Moral and political philosophy is another notable area of research concentration. We are also very active in the emerging field of medical humanities.
Duration: typically 3 years
We also offer an MPhil and Masters by dissertation.Please note that part-time research study is also available.
PGR students are allocated a supervisor whose role is to guide the student through the different stages of the research degree. In some cases, students may have joint supervision by two members of staff.
Initially, supervisors help with the development of the research topic and plan. Students have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on research.
By studying in the School of Philosophy and Art History, you will have access to a range of outstanding facilities to aid your learning and research.
We have a large well-equipped room for use by our research students. There are desks and computers, a sprinter/fax machine and some comfortable seating, so our students use this room for meetings and reading groups, as well as private study. There are two additional rooms with desks and chairs for the use of research students, including one which overlooks a quiet courtyard.
Many of our graduates have progressed successfully to further research and an academic career. Philosophers with a PhD from Essex now teach at many UK universities, including Warwick, Oxford, Sussex, Reading, Bolton, Manchester Metropolitan, and Keele, and also at numerous institutions abroad (such as University College Dublin, the University of Malta, and Grand Valley State University, USA). Our other Philosophy graduates have gone into careers in law, the media, local administration, HM Revenue and Customs, and top jobs in the Civil Service.
You will need a good honours degree and a Masters degree, or equivalent, in a related subject. A well-developed research proposal is also essential.
You will normally be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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A research degree doesn't have a taught structure, giving you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.
We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.
Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.
Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.
|Status||What this means|
||You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
|Core with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.|
||You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
|Compulsory with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.
Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.
In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.
Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:
The department or school the module will be taught by.
In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.
|The module number.||
The UK academic level of the module.
A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.
A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.
A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.
The term the module will be taught in.
Within the School of Philosophy and Art History, students invest time mainly working on their thesis with the help of the PGR Supervisor
Twice a year, students have a supervisory panel meeting, which provides a formal opportunity to discuss progress with both the student’s supervisor and another member of the faculty. The purpose of the Supervisory Panels is to form an overview of the student's work and to monitor progress, taking into account both academic and personal issues.
During their first Supervisory Panel in January, new PGR students are required to submit material in a specific form: a 5,000-word Critical Literature Review (i.e. an evaluative account of a selection from the most relevant scholarly literature in their area of research), and a 2,000-word detailed Project Outline. The Project Outline should locate the student’s research in the field described in the Critical Literature Review. In the case of PhD students, this material – coupled with a substantial piece of research toward the PhD (10,000 words) will form the basis of the Confirmation Panel’s assessment of the student's progress in June, and, subsequently, of the Progress Committee's recommendation to the Graduate School concerning the continuation of the student's studies after the first year. At subsequent Supervisory Panels students are expected to submit draft chapters of their thesis totaling no more than 10,000 words in length.
PhD students are also required to present their work to the Departmental Research Colloquium at least once in the student’s PGR career. The Colloquium allows three research students to present their current work (a 30 minute presentation followed by 30 minutes of questions). Both staff and students are in attendance and the format is informal. The Colloquium allows research students to improve their confidence, and to gain experience of defending their ideas in discussion.
We also encourage our PGR students to attend training courses whenever their research requires acquiring new skills and to take part in our many research seminars, reading groups and mini-courses.
You can enter into completion if, by the end of your third year, you have a complete draft of all thesis chapters (excluding introduction and conclusions) and these are of good quality.
Examiners look for evidence of training in the appropriate methods, for knowledge of relevant literature concerning the topic in question, and for general competence in background related to the topic. In the case of a PhD thesis, in particular, examiners look for evidence of originality. A doctoral thesis must show evidence of being a significant contribution to knowledge and of the capacity of the candidate to pursue further research without supervision.
The maximum length for a PhD thesis, whether by research or as part of the Integrated PhD, is 80,000 words; for the MPhil it is 50,000 words; and for the MA by Dissertation it is 30,000 words.
We hold open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.
We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
Set within the 200-acre award-winning beautiful parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.
Whether you are planning to visit us at one of our Open Days, or coming to an Applicant day. Our campus conveniently located and easy to reach by car, train or bus.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.
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