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Philosophy Research Masters in Philosophical Studies, MphilStud

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We offer three Masters in Philosophical Studies:

-          MPhilStud in Philosophy

-          MPhilStud in Ancient Philosophy

-          MPhilStud in Philosophy of Psychology

 The Philosophy Department at King’s is one of the largest research departments in the field in the UK. We offer close personal supervision to students in a wide variety of research areas, with particular strengths in the history of philosophy (analytic and continental, Greek and Roman, Medieval, Early Modern, 18th, 19th, and 20th century); philosophy of mind, action and psychology; epistemology; metaphysics; philosophy of science, especially philosophy of physics and philosophy of medicine; ethics; political philosophy; philosophy of art; logic; and philosophy of language and logic.

For more information on our areas of expertise , our recent research projects and their impact as well as a list of recent publications by our research staff see our department web pages. 

Recent Research Projects:  recent projects include:

-          The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps

-          Philosophy and Medicine

-          Thinking with Assent: Renewing a Traditional Account of Knowledge and Belief

-          Ancient Commentators on Aristotle;

-          The Evolution of the Emotions;

-          Perception, Narrative Discourse and Conceptual Art;

-          The Boundaries of Illness;

-          Word Meaning: What it is and what it is not?;

  • Most recent REF rankings:  the department was ranked 3rd in the UK, and 1st in London, for both quality and power according to the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) rankings;  80% of research was valued as being of a world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) standard and 63% of its research scored the top rating for impact with an outstanding reach and significance.
  • Current number of research staff: 30.
  • Current number of research students: 60.

Key information

Duration Two years FT, three-four years PT.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of Philosophy



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Course detail


The Master of Philosophical Studies (MPhilStud) is a research master’s degree, aimed at students who have an undergraduate degree (typically 1st class) in which philosophy was at least a major component and who want to begin further research in the subject. The programme covers two academic years for full-time students. Part-time students spend four years completing the MPhilStud.

Programme Structure

Students choose three subject options to study and they are assessed by two essays of 5,000 words for each of these subjects (six essays in total). Students also write a thesis of up to 30,000 words. During their time on the MPhilStud, students receive regular one-on-one supervisions with members of staff on their subject options as well as their thesis.

The general MPhilStud has a wide range of topics to choose from, one of which must be historical (relating to a specific philosopher or school of philosophy).

There are also specialised MPhilStuds in Ancient Philosophy and in Philosophy of Psychology. These have a similar structure to the general MPhilStud but require some specific topic choices.

Relation between MPhilStud and PhD

Students who wish to move from the MPhilStud to the PhD programme normally do so at the end of their MPhilStud course. At the point of transition, they will be asked whether the PhD project they propose to work on is a continuation of their MPhilStud thesis project. If it is then they will be registered for a further two years. If the PhD project is not a continuation of the MPhilStud project then the student will be registered for a further three years as a PhD student. However, such a student will be admitted only provisionally to the PhD programme and will have to upgrade to full PhD status after their first year.

Course study environment

You will see your supervisor regularly for supervisions. In addition, first year research students attend the weekly First Year Research Seminar, and all other research students attend the weekly Advanced Research Seminar. These seminars are opportunities for research students to present their work, receive feedback on it, and gain exposure to a wider range of philosophical topics via discussion of the work of their peers. First year students also attend a weekly MPhil Research Seminar, where research staff present their work-in-progress or critical assessment of work by others in their areas of expertise.

The Philosophy department is broad and inclusive. Our wide range of research expertise is set within a collegiate and cooperative research community. The department runs regular reading groups, and students are welcome to set up their own. Recent reading groups have included: Gender and Philosophy; Political Philosophy; Early Modern Philosophy; Mind; Metaphysics; Philosophy of Action. Research students are encouraged to attend the regular research activities of the department’s research clusters, such as the King’s History of Philosophy Seminar, and the Formal Methods Masterclass.

The department has a computer room and a graduate common room.


King’s is set in the heart of London. Graduate students have the opportunity to attend meetings of the Aristotelian Society, and events organised by the Institute of Philosophy.

The department runs joint PhD programmes with the National University of Singapore and the Humboldt University in Berlin.

The department also has links with other departments around the world. The Norman Malcolm Fellowship pays for a King's research student to spend a semester at Cornell every second year, and for a Cornell student to come to King's in the intervening years. There is an annual KCL/Berlin graduate workshop, hosted alternate years in KCL and in Berlin. And there is a regular KCL/UNC Chapel Hill graduate workshop, hosted in KCL or in Chapel Hill.

Postgraduate training

Students in the department can take advantage of induction and training programmes offered by the Faculty Graduate Programme. The progress of all graduate students is overseen by the Department's Postgraduate and Research Committee.

Research students gain training at presenting their work to their peers through the weekly research seminars and are encouraged to attend conferences (small travel bursaries are available to support this).

The Department's Placement Officer provides training for advanced research students in preparing them for the academic job market. This includes training in publishing your work and applying for funding.

There is also the opportunity to undertake paid teaching work in the second year of the MPhilStud. This comes with many opportunities for training, including support and guidance in gaining recognition from the Higher Education Academy.

Head of group/division

Professor Maria Alvarez

Contact: philosophy@kcl.ac.uk

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 1659 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Department of Philosophy: philosophy@kcl.ac.uk

Contact email


Course website


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Philosophy Research Entry Requirements
Minimum UK requirements (MPhilStud)  
  • A Bachelor's degree with 1st class honours in which philosophy was the major component.

  • Particularly strong candidates with a high 2:1 (above 65%), or equivalent classification, may also be considered.

  • Applicants who are currently undertaking a Master's degree may be expected to achieve a Distinction.

  • Strong candidates who do not strictly meet the published requirements may be admitted at the discretion of the department of Philosophy. 

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band C Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

Personal statement and supporting information

Applicants are encouraged to approach potential supervisors prior to application. To identify a supervisor please see: https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/en/

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Philosophy Research checklist
Personal Statement  Yes

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages). You can use this to describe your philosophical interests, explain why you wish to study at King's in particular, and add any additional information that you feel might support your application.

Research Proposal Yes

The proposal should explain in some detail precisely the field of study that you want to contribute to and current research gaps, what you want to do and how you propose to do it. For advice on how to write a winning application, please visit the following page.

We recognise that this will be provisional at this stage - indeed, we expect your project to develop as you study at King's - but nevertheless we request that you give some indication of your proposed research questions, how they are situated in the existing literature, and so on. You are welcome to approach a member of our academic staff to discuss this in advance of submitting your application if you wish, but you are not required to do so.

Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes One academic reference is required. A professional reference will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Writing Sample Yes One or more pieces of written work totaling around 3,000 words. Ideally, it should be a philosophical essay; try to choose something that demonstrates that you have an aptitude for philosophical study, such as an ability to handle abstract concepts, construct and evaluate an argument, and so on.
Travel Plan Yes (joint programme only) If applying for the joint programme, please include the names of your supervisors from both institutions and include a completed travel plan form.
Other Optional You may also wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application.


Course intake

MPhilStud 6FT, 1PT; PHD 8FT, 1PT

Application closing date

The deadline for applications is detailed below. Please note that funding applications deadlines may be earlier.

  • October 2020 entry – 31st July 2020 for International students and 28th August 2020 for Home/EU students

Applications for 2021/22 academic year will open from October 2020.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

UK/EU Tuition Fees 2019/20

Full time tuition fees:

£5,300 per year  (MPhilStud, Philosophy Research)

Part time tuition fees:

£2,650 per year(MPhilStud, Philosophy Research)

International Tuition Fees 2019/20

Full time tuition fees:

£19,850 per year  (MPhilStud, Philosophy Research)

Part time tuition fees:

£9,950 per year  (MPhilStud, Philosophy Research)

 UK/EU Tuition Fees 2020/21

Full time tuition fees:

£5,550 per year (MPhilStud, Philosophy Research)

Part time tuition fees:

£2,780 per year (MPhilStud, Philosophy Research)

International Tuition Fees 2020/21

Full time tuition fees:

£20,820 per year  (MPhilStud, Philosophy Research)

Part time tuition fees:

£10,410 per year (MPhilStud, Philosophy Research)

Students starting their programme in 2019/20 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2020/21.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Departmental and Other Funding

The London Arts and Humanities Partnership has up to 90 studentships per year available for postgraduate research students studying arts and humanities disciplines at King’s College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, Queen Mary University of London, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music, School of Advanced Study or University College London. This funding is not available for the first year of an MPhilStud, but it is available from the second year of MPhilStud study, with the potential for a further 2 years of PhD funding. If you apply for funding for the second year of your MPhilStud, you will not have to reapply for the two years of your PhD study, provided you proceed onto the PhD through passing the MPhilStud. For more information, including how to apply, see the LAHP website.

The department also offers a number of postgraduate bursaries available to current students.

Normal Malcolm Fellowship: This fellowship honours Professor Norman Malcolm's close association with the Philosophy Departments at both Cornell University and King's. It pays for a King's research student to spend a semester at Cornell every second year, and for a Cornell student to come to King's in the intervening years.

Sorabji Graduate Bursary: This studentship honours Richard Sorabji, Emeritus Professor of Ancient Philosophy in the Department. Each year the Department awards one or more studentships to graduate students in the Department, taking into account academic merit and financial need.

Susan Stebbing Studentship: This studentship honours Susan Stebbing, who was formerly Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Bedford College London (which merged with KCL in 1984). Each year the Department awards one or more studentships to women graduate students in the Department, taking into account academic merit and financial need.

Peter Goldie Award: This studentship honours Peter Goldie, former Reader in Philosophy in the Department, who sadly passed away in 2011. This studentship commemorates Peter and his contribution to the Department, following a generous bequest from his estate. Each year the Department awards one or more studentships to graduate students in the Department, taking into account academic merit and financial need. 

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.


Blue box with King's College London rankings. Starting with, 7th in the UK for research quality. Followed by, 6th in the UK for research power. Concluding with, 4th among multi-faculty universities for research Impact. The source is research excellence framework 2014

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