"we come to know what it means to think when we ourselves are thinking"
Postgraduate Studies - Research Degrees
Research degrees are offered in
all areas of philosophy in which staff members are actively
Philosophy - research interests
- Applied ethics
- Continental philosophy
- Ethics and practical reasoning
- Frankfurt School and critical theory
- History of philosophy
- Philosophy and psychoanalysis
- Philosophy and religion, emphasising
- Philosophy, art and literature
- Philosophy of mind, theory of knowledge
and cognitive science
- Social and political philosophy
individual members of staff
for further areas of research.
MA in Philosophy by Dissertation, MPhil and PhD
The MA (30,000 words maximum), MPhil (50,000 words maximum)
and the PhD (80,000 words maximum) are assessed on the basis
of a thesis. Their minimum duration is normally one, two
and three years respectively. Normally applicants will not be
admitted to these degrees unless they have obtained a good BA
in philosophy (or in a joint honours degree including
philosophy) and, in the case of the PhD, an MA. Candidates
must also demonstrate their capacity to conduct independent
research and will be required to submit a detailed research
proposal. (Note: Admission to the MA by Dissertation is
normally restricted to those whose circumstances make the
taught MA unsuitable and whose background is sufficient to
indicate an ability to undertake a first research-only
Research Degree with a taught component: Integrated
This 4-year doctoral programme is intended to provide a
rigorous training in philosophy, through taught modules and
the writing of an MA dissertation, and thereby prepare
students to research and write a doctoral thesis. The
first year consists of an MA in Philosophy. Programme Specifications can be found at
Programme Specifications Catalogue. Module Map to be
In the first year students will normally take six 15 credit
modules (or equivalent) from the range of
modules (indicated by '7' in the code). Other graduate
modules available on MA Courses within the Department may be
taken at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies.
The results will be considered by the June Exam Board and
students who pass the coursework then proceed to write an MA
dissertation and, if successful, will be awarded the MA by the
December Exam Board.
Students will be able to register for the second year
subject to late qualifications.
The Progress Committee will meet in mid October to consider
the provisional marks and recommend whether students should
proceed to the second year.
Students must pass the taught coursework and achieve a pass
mark of 60 or above on the dissertation (i.e. at least mid-way
between pass and distinction) to proceed to the second year. Any borderline (59) or disputed marks
will be considered by the External Examiner before the
Progress Committee meeting.
In the second year students spend the first term writing a
Project Outline (2,000 words) and Critical Literature Review
(5,000 words), in consultation with their supervisor. They
also take a further 15 credit MA module from the range available
in the Department and in collaborating departments. In the
second term of the second year they attend the second year
Doctoral Research Seminar and also take one further 15 credit MA module.
The Project Outline and Critical Literature Review are
assessed by the members of the supervisory board in week 21
and satisfactory completion is a condition of proceeding to
the third year. Students whose Critical Literature Review and
Project Outline are deemed unsatisfactory have an opportunity
to resubmit for the May/June supervisory boards.
Students must pass the second year coursework. Second year
coursework marks are confirmed by the relevant MA Exam Board
The results of the second year are considered by the
Progress Committee in June who can recommend proceed/withdraw.
Throughout the first and second years students will attend
appropriate research training and research skills seminars,
both centrally provided and from within the Department.
In the third and fourth years students conduct research
under the guidance of their supervisor leading to the writing
of the doctoral thesis. By the end of the third year,
students will be expected to have completed at least two draft
chapters of their thesis or equivalent (15,000 - 20,000 words)
and an updated Project Outline as a condition of proceeding to
the final year. There is a strong expectation that students
will complete their thesis by the end of the fourth
year. However, students who do need to go into completion will
be required to fulfil the standard criteria.
Visiting Research Students
Visiting research students are welcome here at Essex. Application to
become a visiting research student should go through the normal application
process. Please see
for how to apply. Please also see link
here to fees for visiting
Languages for All
As a University of Essex student, you can also study a language alongside your course for free as part of the Languages for All scheme. You can find full details of the available options on the Languages for All webpages.