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Research Degrees

The Department of Philosophy has a large and thriving community of postgraduate researchers. We have expertise in an exceptionally broad range of areas, from phenomenology to feminism and from metaphysics to the philosophy of economics. We are, moreover, home to the Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society (CHESS). Our postgraduate students take part in a wide range of activities, including reading groups, research seminars and meetings of Eidos, our highly active postgraduate philosophy society. Every year, we host numerous events, including workshops, major conferences and talks by leading figures such as Noam Chomsky, Kit Fine and Peter Singer. There is a constant stream of visitors to the Department, and a vibrant atmosphere for teaching and research. Our departmental staff list, research cluster pages and list of current students will give you an idea of topics and potential supervisors.

The department provides its research 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 co-supervised by at least two staff members. This environment ensures that our PhD 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. Former PhD students have taken up posts at several prestigious institutions, including the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the University of London, MIT, Harvard University, Caltech, Emory University, Cornell University, the University of Notre Dame, Rhodes University (South Africa), University of Canterbury (New Zealand) and Trinity College, Dublin.


Please ensure that there is a suitable supervisor at Durham before applying. Ideally, the intended supervisor should be an expert on the topic area of the planned research project. It is sensible to say something about the intended supervision team in your Personal Statement.

We will be pleased to discuss your application. For further information contact:

Learning and Teaching Administrator: +44 (0) 191 3346553 Email: 

Directors of Postgraduate Research: Dr Peter Vickers & Dr Clare Mac-Cumhaill

DegreeTimescaleMaximum Thesis Length
MA 1 yr FT / 2 yrs PT 50,000 words (suggested target length of 35,000)
PhD 3 yrs FT / 6 yrs PT 100,000 words