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V5K022 Philosophy GDip Postgraduate Taught  2018


Degree GDip
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 9 months FT / 18 months PT
Start Date 02-10-2018
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 6553

Course Summary


The Graduate Diploma in Philosophy is a one-year conversion course (two years part-time), designed for those who already have a degree and wish to pursue an interest in philosophy. No formal training in philosophy is required. The programme provides an ideal learning environment if you are interested in progressing to an MA in Philosophy, or simply want the opportunity to learn about philosophy.

Course structure

The Diploma has two main components:

  1. Four undergraduate modules. At least two of these must be at Level 3 and no more than one should be at Level 1.
  2. A dissertation of 12,000 words (double module).

You can choose from a wide range of modules, which in the past have included:

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course Learning and Teaching

Students in the Graduate Diploma programme receive an average of eight timetabled contact hours per week over the course of the programme. The contact hours come in the form of lectures, tutorials and seminars, depending on the four modules chosen by the student. In addition, students are offered six hours of one-to-one dissertation supervision with an expert in their chosen research area.

Philosophical development involves not only familiarizing oneself with a body of knowledge but also acquiring skills in critical reasoning and argumentation. Thus, in addition to introducing students to key works in philosophy, the programme offers many opportunities for dialogical interaction. Lecture sessions include time for questions, tutorials consist mainly of structured, critical dialogue in a supportive environment, and seminars provide opportunities for extended discussion. Dissertation supervision meetings give guidance on suitable reading, critical discussion of relevant sources, detailed advice on how to write a 12,000 word piece of research, and intensive critical engagement with the student’s philosophical position and argument.

Timetabled contact is only a part of the learning process; its aim is to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to navigate the relevant literature themselves and to pursue independent learning. Lectures and accompanying documents contextualise material and introduce students to topics, positions and debates. At least four hours of additional study per week are recommended for each lecture or seminar, which includes reading and the completion of assignments. Having completed the reading, students engage in discussion in seminars or return to lecture topics in small group tutorials. These help students to refine their understanding of material and to develop the reasoning skills needed to formulate, present, defend and criticise philosophical positions.

Graduate Diploma students also can benefit from a range of other activities in the department, including the department’s postgraduate philosophy society (EIDOS), weekly research seminars and reading groups, and occasional conferences, workshops and Royal Institute of Philosophy lectures. The programme director remains in contact with students throughout the year and is always available to discuss any issues that might arise, whether personal or academic.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

The entry requirements for this programme have been designed to encourage applications from as wide a range of interested and able people as possible, including mature students, who may have been away from university for a long time, and international students. As an applicant for our Graduate Diploma, you will usually have achieved a 2.1 or equivalent in a previous degree but this is not a strict requirement and decisions are made on a case by case basis. 

English Language Requirements

We welcome applications from overseas students. Because instruction is in English, you will need to be proficient in written and spoken English. From a Departmental perspective we look for our applicants to have achieved an overall band score of at least 7.0 in the IELTS test (with no element below 6.5) or another acceptable English Language Proficiency Test. Further details can be found here.

Our General Departmental Level English Language Proficiency data can be accessed here. In all cases the relevant certificate should have been issued within two years of the programme start date.

Additional Requirements 

At least one example of written work on a philosophical theme (up to 5,000 words).

How to Apply

Find further information on how to apply here

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £5,100.00 per year
Home Student £5,100.00 per year
Island Student £5,100.00 per year
International non-EU Student £12,000.00 per year

Part Time Fees

EU Student £2,900.00 per year
Home Student £2,900.00 per year
Island Student £2,900.00 per year
International non-EU Student £6,600.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

Department of Philosophy

For information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please click here.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


Department Information

Department of Philosophy


The Department provides a welcoming, supportive, friendly and stimulating research environment for all our students, which stresses the diversity, openness and interdisciplinarity of our approaches to philosophy. Postgraduate students participate in reading groups, research seminars, working groups, Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures, and conferences organised by the Department and its associated research centres. We also run a postgraduate philosophy society, Eidos, the journal Philosophical Writings, and frequently organise conferences.

Departmental research is organised in five clusters: Aesthetics, Applied Phenomenology, Ethics, History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine and Mind, Language and Metaphysics. The diversity of our staff research expertise allows our taught and research postgraduate students considerable flexibility in the topics they work on. Complementing the Department’s academic strengths is our location: occupying two charming former townhouses and surrounded by cafés, pubs and restaurants and just a few minutes’ walk from the scenic banks of the River Wear.

The Department provides our postgraduate students with comprehensive training, designed to support their research and professional development, which is integrated into its broader research environment. Students are assigned to a research cluster and a supervisory team.

Our students participate in bi-annual research group workshops, where they give presentations on their ongoing research and receive detailed feedback and advice from academic staff with relevant expertise. In some areas of research there are weekly research group with staff participation, or reading group meetings. These serve to create collaboration among PhD students as well as opportunities for co-authored publications. They also present their work at conferences in the UK and abroad, with financial support from the Department.

This supportive environment ensures that our graduates are well placed for academic employment, and our placement record is correspondingly strong, with many of our PhD students going on to lectureships and postdoctoral fellowships in the UK and abroad.