PhD Philosophy

About the course

A University of Hertfordshire research degree is an internationally recognised degree signifying high levels of achievement in research. It develops extensive subject expertise and independent research skills which are honed over an extended period, depending on the level of the award. You would undertake a substantial, original research project for the duration of the degree, under the supervision and guidance of two or more academic members of staff. Your supervisory team provides guidance both in the selection of a research topic and in the conduct of the research. You are also supported by attendance at postgraduate seminar series to develop subject specific knowledge and research skills relevant to your field of research. The degree is assessed solely on the basis of the final research output, in the form of a substantial written thesis which must be defended in a viva. During the course of the degree, you would be encouraged to present your work at major conferences and in refereed research publications.

Read more about Philosophy staff and areas of supervision

How to apply

Before making your formal application, we recommend that you discuss your proposed research with the appropriate member of staff in the School of Creative Arts, and the Research Tutor, Dr. Saskia Kersten

Please include an outline research proposal with your application. Members of academic staff will advise on the length and scope of the proposal.

Download an application form

Applications should be returned to

Teaching methods

The research interests of individual philosophy staff members are diverse and wide ranging, and are not limited to a single philosophical tradition, school or period of philosophy. The topics they pursue often drive them to engage in research that is highly interdisciplinary. The department has several major areas of concentration and strength. These include: 

  • Ethics, broadly construed, including the relation between narrative, literature and ethics; Kantian ethics; virtue ethics; philosophical and religious aspects of love and friendship; the moral status of animals and the environment; moral agency; moral psychology.
  • Metaphysics, with strengths in time, perception, consciousness, idealism and structural realism.
  • Philosophy and Ethics of Information.
  • Philosophy of mind, psychology and cognitive science, especially, on topics relating to information; representation; perception; consciousness; phenomenal consciousness; intersubjectivity; folk psychology and enactive, embodied, extended approaches to the mind, philosophy of AI. Research on these topics is both philosophically and empirically informed and focused.
  • The work of specific thinkers, including Kierkegaard, Sellars, and Wittgenstein.

The philosophical research culture at UH is sustained by regular activities: fortnightly research seminars, delivered by prominent external speakers, both national, international and regular staff/postgraduate reading groups.

Course experts

Dr Brendan Larvor

Find out more about Dr Brendan Larvor

Dr Craig Bourne

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Dr Erin Plunkett

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Dr Sam Coleman

Find out more about Dr Sam Coleman

What’s next for my career?

  • An internationally recognised research qualification.
  • Developing advanced subject expertise at postgraduate level.
  • Develop research skills through practice and extensive research experience.
  • Employers are looking for high calibre graduates with advanced skills who can demonstrate independence through research.

See the latest information about fees and funding for research degrees



Start DateEnd DateLink
01/02/202431/07/2024Apply online (Full Time)
01/02/202431/07/2024Apply online (Part Time)


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01/10/202431/07/2025Apply online (Full Time)
01/02/202531/07/2025Apply online (Full Time)
01/10/202431/07/2025Apply online (Part Time)
01/02/202531/07/2025Apply online (Part Time)
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