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Philosophy at Essex: critical, existential, real... and unique

Philosophy at the University of Essex has never been quite like philosophy anywhere else.

Essex Philosophy has long been the place to go if you suspect that something has gone fundamentally wrong in modern life – and to figure out what makes life modern anyway.

If you want to read Marx seriously..., if you want to read sacred texts critically..., if you want to apply lessons from Hegel and Heidegger to questions about psychiatric coercion and human rights..., then Essex is the place for you.

Philosophers at Essex use the tools of philosophy and the study of its history to engage with the most pressing issues of our time: climate change, capitalism & inequality, gender & justice, and the epidemic of mental illness.

At Essex, philosophy has never been boxed in by the usual reading lists or disciplinary boundaries. We've never been afraid to read the books or think the thoughts that others dismiss.

We are 7th in the UK for research impact in philosophy (Grade Point Average, REF2021) and 9th for philosophy for overall positivity score (National Student Survey 2023, English Broad Discipline Institutions).

Why study here?
  • We are critical. As the UK’s leading centre for CriticalTheory, we use multi-disciplinary analysis to ask hard questions aboutpower and ideology in the contemporary world.
  • We are existential. Our courses tackle the hard questions about Death, God and the Meaning of Life.
  • We are real. Plato thought that the ultimateconcern of philosophy was with a world of abstract ideas. We love Plato, and we love ideas, but EssexPhilosophy begins and ends in the real world.
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What is Continental Philosophy?

We offer the only BA in Continental Philosophy in the entire UK. Find out what it is, and why you should study it at Essex.

Find out more
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Attend an Open Day

Essex Open Days are a chance for you to see where you might be calling home. Chat with students and staff, tour our campuses and accommodation, listen to talks from academics and join a taster lecture.

Book your place
At Essex we are world-renowned for our combination of Continental and Anglo-American philosophy.

We study real-world problems, both political and existential, to gain a critical perspective on the personal, political, and socio-economic challenges we face today. Join our tight-knit school that is praised for its collaborative and supportive ethos and teaching environment.

We're 9th for philosophy for overall positivity score (National Student Survey 2023, English Broad Discipline Institutions).

Why study here?
  • We're 7th in the UK for research impact in philosophy (Grade Point Average, REF2021).
  • We have the largest concentration of philosophers working on critical social theory in the UK.
  • We have two major funded projects: the Ethics of Powerlessness, and the Essex Autonomy Project which was highly commended in the Timers Higher Education Awards.
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Comedy and politics

What can comedy teach us about political action? Dr Birte Loschenkohl is working on a research project aiming to show how comedy can help advance a realist perspective within political philosophy.

Read all about it
Philosophy at Essex offers a unique environment for PhD study. 

We have two major funded research projects: The Ethics of Powerlessness and The Essex Autonomy Project. 

That's not all though. We have expertise in all sorts of philosophical themes and many of our academics are open to supervision.  

 Use our research finder to find a topic and a supervisor to suit you, or find out more about our School of Philosophy and Art History.

Why study here?
  • We are internationally recognised for our expertise in critical theory, phenomenology, medical humanities and classical German philosophy.
  • Be part of a active research community where students and staff work together in a friendly, creative and intellectually challenging environment.
  • We run seminars and graduate events throughout the year, as well as regular minicourses, conferences and symposia.

Our research clusters

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Explore our research

Discover cutting edge research from the University of Essex. Browse our site to find relevant publications, projects, groups, centres, postgraduate opportunities for research supervision and wider areas of interest. Simply search our site to find information relating to your subject.

Search our research
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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.