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Pursue innovative research with experts working at the cutting-edge of their fields. Staff specialisms cover most traditional areas of Philosophy, including analytic, continental and empirical approaches and an exciting range of growing sub specialties. We have particular strengths in ethics, epistemology, philosophy of mind and the intersections between these.

Our research in moral philosophy covers normative ethics, metaethics, and applied ethics. Many of our staff have overlapping expertise in normative theory, practical reason, moral psychology and social-political philosophy, with our work in applied ethics including research on health, biobanking, nutrigenomics and sport.

Research in philosophy of mind and psychology has grown to include interdisciplinary publications on perception and the science of consciousness. We have expanded our concentration of expertise in epistemology, with several staff working on social epistemology and epistemic normativity alongside the field’s long-established topics.

We likewise have research expertise on many key figures from the history of philosophy, including Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, as well as a range of philosophers central to the more recent analytic and continental traditions. Indeed, much of our research lies at the intersection of these traditions, drawing upon the insights of each.

Programme aims

  • The research programme aims to offer knowledge and expertise to take you on to a role in Higher Education, or employment requiring high-level skills in research or advanced subject knowledge.
  • This PhD programme recruits a diverse range of Home/EU and International students who want to engage in a research environment that is characterised by the combination of expertise across both analytic and continental approaches to philosophy.

Distinctive features

  • Philosophy at Cardiff is distinctive in the ways it draws upon analytic, continental and empirically-informed approaches to the subject.
  • Our PhD students participate in weekly research seminars and training workshops, a range of regular reading groups and an annual conference and are encouraged to publish their work.
  • We offer teaching opportunities on the undergraduate degree and PhD students can undertake the School’s unique “Learning to Teach” programme, accredited by the Higher Education Academy.
  • The School makes funding available each year for PGR students who wish to attend conferences related to their research.
  • The School has a dedicated suite with computing facilities for its research students.

Positioned at the interface of different traditions, methodologies, theoretical approaches, disciplines and practices, our pioneering research engenders challenging and fascinating questions for our staff and also, through our PhD supervision and research-led teaching, for our students at all levels.

Professor Ann Heilmann Professor

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time, part-time
Qualification PhD, MPhil
Full-time duration PhD 3 years, MPhil 1 year
Part-time duration Opportunities available
Start dates January, April, October

PhD study is undertaken for three years (full-time) or five years (part-time). PhD students receive expert supervision from a primary supervisor (with co-supervision where appropriate). The programme is supported by a range of research events, professional training and teaching opportunities.

MPhil study is undertaken for one year (full-time) or two years (part-time). MPhil students receive expert supervision from a primary supervisor. The programme is supported by a range of research events and professional training.


The PhD is assessed by submission of a thesis of up to 80,000 words and a viva voce examination.

The MPhil is assessed by submission of a thesis of up to 50,000 words and a viva voce examination.

We welcome applications in staff specialist areas, such as the following:

  • Normative ethics (esp. Kantian ethics, virtue ethics, anti-theory)
  • Metaethics (including practical reason)
  • Moral psychology
  • Applied ethics (including medical ethics, ethics of sport, risk)
  • Philosophy of normativity (e.g. practical and epistemic normativity and rationality)
  • Political philosophy
  • Aesthetics
  • Philosophy of mind and psychology (including perception, consciousness, neuroscience)
  • Epistemology (including social epistemology, epistemic value and normativity)
  • Philosophy of science (including philosophy of biology)
  • Philosophy of language
  • Metaphysics
  • Feminism
  • Nietzsche
  • Wittgenstein
  • Recent continental philosophy (including French existentialism, German critical theory, Adorno, the Frankfurt School, Habermas)

Research environment

The School takes the training of its research students very seriously, providing the facilities and supervisory guidance to help them flourish intellectually and work productively. The School has a dedicated suite of PhD research rooms with excellent networked IT facilities. Each student has a conference budget and is given a contribution to photocopying costs as well as free printing facilities.

We regularly check with students what training they need and ensure that it is provided. Our PhD students can apply to get teaching experience with us and our unique “Learning to Teach” programme is accredited by the Higher Education Academy. The School holds a yearly conference to allow PhD students the opportunity to share work with their peers in a supportive and stimulating multi-disciplinary environment. The Arts and Social Studies Library is well-stocked with books and academic journals in all our subject areas, substantial electronic resources and specialist collections such as Cardiff Rare Books, a rich archive of over 14,000 items ranging from fifteenth-century incunabula to twentieth-century fine press books.

In a competitive jobs market, our students are encouraged and supported in building up the skills that will make them employable, whatever their career direction. We value the rich experience of our many overseas students, and actively attend to their specific needs in relation to their cultural context of study and the demands of writing elegantly in a second language.

Philosophy is one of the four principal areas of distinctive strength in the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Programme, of which we are a member. You can find out more information about the AHRC South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership on our website.

In recent years, students gaining PhDs in Philosophy from Cardiff have gone on to lecturing positions at Soka University, Japan and Nanyang Technological University Singapore, while others have secured posts outside Higher Education in the teaching profession.

UK government postgraduate doctoral loans

Candidates for the Professional Doctorate programme may be eligible to apply for a UK government postgraduate doctoral loan.

Find out more about UK government postgraduate doctoral loans


The School welcomes enquiries from applicants who are considering applying for funding for a PhD in Philosophy from the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership for 2018-19.

See our latest PhD studentships and projects and find out more about other funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Students from the UK

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

To find out how to apply, please take a look at our guide to the postgraduate application process.

Research proposal

Applications for research degrees should be accompanied by a research proposal of around 1,000 words maximum. This should include a draft title and establish key objectives in terms of basic research questions, hypotheses or propositions.

The proposal should additionally situate your work in relation to the wider field of existing scholarship; give an initial sense of the original contribution you hope to make and provide an indication of your intended research methodology. A preliminary bibliography of expected key sources should also be appended.

Applications should further include a 4,000-word essay on a philosophical topic of your choice. You are not expected to approach a potential supervisor prior to submitting the proposal but are welcome to indicate who you think appropriate supervisor(s) could be.

You should consult the website for staff interests before you write the proposal.

Admission process

The Director of the Postgraduate Research Programme in Philosophy assesses all applications, taking into consideration the quality and viability of the research project, as well as the capacity of staff to supervise it. This will include consultation with potential supervisors.

Applicants who pass this initial stage of assessment will then be invited for interview.

Suitable for graduates in Philosophy and closely related subjects.

A First or upper Second class UK Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent, is required and, preferably, a good postgraduate Master’s degree. Usually, at least one of these degrees should be in or involve Philosophy.

English language requirements

The School welcomes applications from students outside the United Kingdom. For non-native speakers of English, an IELTS overall score of 7.5 with at least 7.0 in each sub score is essential.

Please read our English language requirements for more details.


Administrative contact(s)

ENCAP Postgraduate Admissions

Administrative contact


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See the range of PhD studentships and projects currently available.

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