Studying for an MPhil provides you with the opportunity to engage in focused research at masters level under close individual supervision. You will gain advanced expertise on your chosen range of topics in Philosophy, as well as carry out your own research project. The skills and subject knowledge your will gain will prepare you ideally for independent academic research.
Our MPhil is designed to cover the first two years of a ‘2+2’ programme (i.e. two year Masters plus two years PhD, or equivalent part-time study) towards completion of a doctorate. However, you are also welcome to undertake the 2-year course as a stand alone Masters-level degree, after which you may wish to apply for PhD study.
You will be required to study, and will receive supervisions in, three main areas of philosophy, chosen from two lists (see right hand column).
One list covers historical areas including key figures such as Plato, Descartes, Kant, Husserl and Wittgenstein, and the other covers topic areas including Moral and Political Philosophy, Aesthetics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind. We want to give you both a solid grounding in the historical tradition and the key skills to engage with debates in contemporary philosophy. In each of your three chosen areas, you will write two 5,000 word assessed essays, one due at the end of your first year, the other due at the end of the first term of the second year.
In the remainder of your second year, you will undertake and submit a research thesis of approximately 30,000 words. Completion of year two will earn you the degree MPhil in Philosophy. After this, you then have the opportunity to develop your research into a thesis of doctoral length and standard in years three and four of the programme (the PhD component). The programme as a whole can be tailored to your particular interests, reflecting our department’s research strengths. On completion of this programme, you should have sufficient depth in the relevant areas of Philosophy to be qualified to teach them at university level.
The primary means of study is by fortnightly supervisions, with at least one term of the first year devoted to each of the three areas of study you have chosen. You will be assigned a specialist supervisor for each area, who will agree with you topics for formative essays which you will produce for each supervision. In addition, you will be encouraged to attend appropriate graduate classes to support your supervisory preparation. Graduate classes may be taken from amongst those offered on our Masters programmes, or be research led classes put on for the benefit specifically of MPhil students and PhD students.
Lists of MPhil papers*
- (a) Plato & Aristotle;
- (b) Medieval Philosophers;
- (c) Early Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Reid;
- (d) Kant;
- (e) 19th Century Continental Philosophy;
- (f) Frege & Russell;
- (g) Wittgenstein;
- (h) The Original Authorities for the Rise of Modern Logic;
- (i) The Phenomenological Tradition;
- (j) Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy;
- (k) The Rationalists.
- (a) Moral Philosophy;
- (b) Metaphysics and Theory of Knowledge;
- (c) Political Philosophy and Philosophy of Law;
- (d) Philosophy of Religion;
- (e) Philosophical Logic and Philosophy of Language;
- (f) Mathematical Logic and Set Theory;
- (g) Philosophy of Science;
- (h) Philosophy of Art;
- (i) Philosophy of Mind and Action;
- (j) Philosophy of Mathematics;
- (k) Philosophy of Psychology, including Philosophy of Linguistics;
- (l) Philosophy of Social Science.
* Subject to availability of a suitable supervisor.