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Philosophy Research MPhilStud & MPhil/PhD, option of joint PhD with NUS or Humboldt

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We offer close personal supervision to students in a wide variety of areas, with particular strengths in the history of philosophy, philosophy of mind and psychology, metaphysics and philosophy of science, ethics and politics, and philosophy of language and linguistics.

  • 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.

  • Research income: £3 million in last six years (supporting projects including: Ancient Commentators on Aristotle; The Evolution of the Emotions; Human-Machine Interaction; Perception, Narrative Discourse and Conceptual Art; Towards an Aesthetic Psychology; Statistical Models of Grammaticality; Meaning for the Brain and Meaning for the Person; The Boundaries of Illness; Word Meaning: What it is and what it is not?; Self-Control and the Person: An Interdisciplinary Account)

  • Recent publications by staff:

  • David Papineau, Knowing the Score
  • Tom Pink, Free Will: A Very Short Introduction
  • Bill Brewer, The Nature of Ordinary Objects 
  • Sacha Golob, Heidegger on Concepts, Freedom and Normativity
  • Maria Rosa Antognazza, The Oxford Handbook of Leibniz
  • Michael Beaney, Analytic Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
  • Sarah Fine, Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership
  • Eliot Michaelson, Lying, Language, Knowledge, Ethics and Politics
  • Weekly research seminars/reading groups: Weekly research seminar for all research students (first-year and advanced). Weekly student-run reading groups include:
  • Gender and Philosophy
  • Political Philosophy
  • Wittgenstein
  • Early Modern Philosophy
  • Mind
  • Kant
  • Ethics 
  • Metaphysics
  • Nietzsche.
  • Joint PhDs available: Exciting opportunities to gain a joint PhD with the National University of Singapore and the Humboldt University in Berlin.

Key information

Duration MPhilStud two years FT, three-four years PT. PhD two-three years FT, four-six years PT.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London/King's and NUS/Humboldt for joint programme

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of Philosophy



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Course detail


We offer close personal supervision to students in a wide variety of areas, with particular strengths in the history of philosophy, philosophy of mind and psychology, metaphysics and philosophy of science, ethics and politics, and philosophy of language and linguistics. Philosophy postgraduates are normally supervised within the philosophy department. Students wishing to work with someone at King's who is not a member of the Philosophy department are urged to apply directly to the relevant department for admission as a graduate student.

There are two kind of research degrees offered by this Department: Master of Philosophical Studies (MPhilStud) and PhD. The MPhilStud is a two-year structured research degree incorporating work on specific topics as well as a dissertation, giving the opportunity to acquire broad expertise at an advanced level. 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. We offer PhDs in Philosophy and Linguistics. Students admitted to the PhD programme will already have a Master's degree.

Joint PhD programme

The Department of Philosophy at King's is delighted to be able to offer research students two exciting options for joint-PhD study. The programmes offered provide candidates with the opportunity to divide their PhD study between two prestigious universities, enjoying full supervision at both. The programme builds on an extensive network of existing institutional links, joint teaching experience and collaborative graduate programmes between King’s and the partners universities.

The Department of Philosophy at the Humboldt University has strengths in the following research areas: Classical German Philosophy, especially Kant, Early Modern Philosophy, especially Leibniz and Locke, Philosophy of Mind (Berlin School of Mind and Brain), Ancient Philosophy (Graduate School of Ancient Philosophy) and Analytic Metaphysics. These areas complement the research in King’s in the history of philosophy, in ancient philosophy, modern philosophy, philosophy of mind and metaphysics. We encourage applications from students who intend to write a PhD in one of these areas. The joint PhD offers the opportunity to do some graduate work in German. Hence, it should be of interest to PhD students who want to work on a German speaking philosopher.

The Department of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore is a thriving community with 16 full-time tenured or tenure track faculty members. In addition, there are more than thirty graduate students pursuing the PhD and Masters in philosophy. Its faculty members engage in research in a wide range of fields, including Moral and Practical philosophy, Continental European, Buddhist, Indian, Chinese and Comparative Philosophy. It thus offers a range of study options for potential PhD students that complement well King's own research strengths in, for example, ancient philosophy, modern philosophy, philosophy of mind and metaphysics. Students would spend a significant portion of their time in Singapore, thereby enabling them to access expertise in fields of philosophy where King's alone would not be able to offer supervision.

FAQs about joint PhDs can be found on the King's Worldwide web pages.

Course study environment

All first-year research students attend the first-year research seminar once a week. All other research students attend a weekly thesis-reading/advanced-research-methods seminar. The department has a computer room and a graduate common room.

Postgraduate training

Students in the department participate fully in the 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.

Head of group/division

Professor Maria Alvarez

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 1649 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

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. 

Minimum UK requirements (MPhil/PhD)  
  • Master's degree in Philosophy (or in Linguistics for those intending to complete Linguistics research) with Distinction (or equivalent) is normally expected but particularly strong candidates with a Merit classification are also eligible.

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.

Application procedure

PhD applicants are normally registered MPhil/PhD initially, but are expected to transfer to the PhD after the first year if their work is satisfactory.

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 of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required. 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

Joint PhDs - Application advice

Applicants for the Joint PhD programme must contact the relevant departments at both universities before submitting an application in order to discuss the suitability of their topic for the joint programme and to locate potential supervisors. Applications should initially be submitted to the proposed home institution only, ie where the student will start and finish their programme. Students should note that acceptance onto the programme may take slightly longer than for single-institution PhDs because of the additional steps involved. Further details, including FAQs, can be found on the King's Worldwide web pages.

Applicants who choose King’s as their home institution should apply through the online system, selecting the appropriate Joint PhD option from the drop-down list. In addition to the standard supporting documentation, applicants should submit a Travel Plan form indicating how they intend to divide their time between the two partner institutions. Students must spend a specified amount of time in each institution, details of which can be found in the ‘Notes’ section of the Travel plan form.

It is recommended that students submit applications for the Joint PhD programme by the end of March to begin the following September.

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  (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research)

 £5,300 per year  (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research with National University of Singapore or Humboldt University)

Part time tuition fees:

£2,650 per year(MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research)

£2,650 per year (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research with Humboldt University)

International Tuition Fees 2019/20

Full time tuition fees:

£19,850 per year  (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research)

£19,850 per year (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research with Humboldt University)

Part time tuition fees:

£9,950 per year  (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research)

£9,950 per year (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research with Humboldt University)


UK/EU Tuition Fees 2020/21

Full time tuition fees:

£5,550 per year (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research)

£5,550 per year (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research with National University of Singapore or Humboldt University)

Part time tuition fees:

£2,780 per year (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research)

£2,780 per year (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research with Humboldt University)

International Tuition Fees 2020/21

Full time tuition fees:

£20,820 per year  (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research)

£20,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research with National University of Singapore or Humboldt University)

Part time tuition fees:

£10,410 per year (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research)

£10,410 per yea (MPhil/PhD, Philosophy Research with Humboldt University)


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.


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.


Next steps

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