Your complete guide to a PhD in Philosophy

Everything you need to know about studying a PhD in Philosophy

part of Humanities

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about existence, reality, knowledge, values, reason, and more. It encourages critical thinking, logical reasoning, and ethical consideration, equipping students with skills for a range of career paths.

Philosophy Specialisations

Philosophy offers various areas for students to specialise in. The most common specialisation in Philosophy includes:

  • Ethics,
  • Metaphysics,
  • Epistemology,
  • Logic,
  • Philosophy of Mind.

These specialisations are found at both the Bachelor's and Master's level, offering a deeper exploration of philosophical thought and theory.

What will you learn during a Philosophy programme?

During a Philosophy programme, you'll explore profound questions and sharpen your critical thinking skills. Here's what you'll learn:

  • detailed understanding of philosophical theories and systems of thought,
  • ability to critically analyse, evaluate, and create arguments,
  • insight into ethical considerations and moral philosophy,
  • understanding of logic and reasoning,
  • exploration of concepts like reality, existence, knowledge, and consciousness.

Courses you'll likely take include:

  • Introduction to Philosophy: An overview of major philosophical concepts and thinkers.
  • Ethics: Exploring moral philosophy and ethical theories.
  • Logic: Understanding principles of sound reasoning and argumentation.
  • Metaphysics: Examining the nature of reality and existence.
  • Philosophy of Mind: Analysing the nature of consciousness and mental phenomena.

Philosophy is a good degree for those interested in tackling deep, fundamental questions about the world and our place in it. The skills you get from Philosophy courses, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and ethical reasoning, are highly valued in many fields.

Skills required for a degree in Philosophy

The Philosophy degree requirements include strong critical thinking skills, logical reasoning, the ability to abstract and solve problems, and excellent written and oral communication skills.

What can you do with a Philosophy degree?

A Philosophy degree opens up a wide array of career possibilities. The jobs you can get with a Philosophy degree include:

  • Lawyer,
  • Consultant,
  • Writer or Journalist,
  • Ethics Officer,
  • Philosophy Professor.

A Bachelor's degree in Philosophy can lead to roles in various sectors like business, law, or journalism. A Master's in Philosophy could pave the way to academic positions or more specialised roles in ethics and philosophy. So, is a Philosophy degree worth it? Absolutely! If you enjoy exploring deep questions and developing your critical thinking, a degree in Philosophy can be incredibly rewarding.

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View all PhDs in Philosophy. Keep in mind you can also study an online PhDs in Philosophy.

Interesting programmes for you

Best Universities for Philosophy on PhDPortal

Universities Location TopUniversities Ranking (2018)
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, United States 1
University of Oxford Oxford, United Kingdom 2
New York University New York City, United States 3
Rutgers University New Brunswick, United States 4
Harvard University Cambridge, United States 5
University of Cambridge Cambridge, United Kingdom 6
Princeton University Princeton, United States 7
University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, United States 8
London School of Economics and Political Science London, United Kingdom 9
Yale University New Haven, United States 10
Stanford University Stanford, United States 11
Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich München, Germany 12
University of Notre Dame South Bend, United States 13
Columbia University New York City, United States 14
Humboldt University Berlin Berlin, Germany 14
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Cambridge, United States 16
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, United States 16
University of Toronto Pickering, Canada 18
University of St Andrews St Andrews, United Kingdom 19
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Los Angeles, United States 20
Australian National University Canberra, Australia 21
University of Chicago Chicago, United States 22
King's College London London, United Kingdom 23
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, United States 24
University of Helsinki Helsinki, Finland 25
Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) Paris, France 26
The City University of New York New York City, United States 27
Frankfurt University of Applied Science Frankfurt am Main, Germany 27
University of Copenhagen Copenhagen, Denmark 29
KU Leuven Brussels, Belgium 30
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shatin, Hong Kong (SAR) 30
University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada 30
UCLouvain Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium 33
University of Sydney Sydney, Australia 34
McGill University Montréal, Canada 35
Heidelberg University Heidelberg, Germany 35
Boston University Boston, United States 37
University of Geneva Genève, Switzerland 37
Peking University Beijing, China 39
The University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, United Kingdom 40
University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands 41
Panthéon-Sorbonne University Paris, France 42
University of Barcelona Barcelona, Spain 42
Freie Universität Berlin Berlin Steglitz, Germany 44
Cornell University Ithaca, United States 45
National Autonomous University of Mexico Coyoacán, Mexico 46
Ecole normale supérieure (ENS) Paris, France 47
University of California, San Diego San Diego, United States 47
University of Western Ontario London, Canada 47
Renmin University of China Beijing, China 50
Aarhus University Aarhus, Denmark 101
Arizona State University Tempe, United States 101
Autonomous University of Barcelona Barcelona, Spain 101
Beijing Normal University Beijing, China 101
California Institute of Technology - Caltech Pasadena, United States 101
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, United States 101
Charles University Prague, Czech Republic 101
Dalhousie University Halifax, Canada 101
Deakin University  Burwood, Australia 101
Durham University Durham, United Kingdom 101
Erasmus University Rotterdam Rotterdam, Netherlands 101
Fordham University Manhattan, United States 101
Fudan University Shanghai, China 101
Ghent University Ledeberg, Belgium 101
Jagiellonian University Kraków, Poland 101
Melbourne Business School Melbourne, Australia 101
Michigan State University East Lansing, United States 101
Northwestern University Evanston, United States 101
The Ohio State University Upper Arlington, United States 101
Osaka University Osaka-shi, Japan 101
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 101
Queen's University Kingston, Canada 101
Ruhr University Bochum Bochum, Germany 101
Saint-Petersburg University Saint Petersburg, Russia 101
Sapienza University of Rome Roma, Italy 101
Shandong University Jinan, China 101
Sungkyunkwan University Seoul, South Korea 101
Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv Yaffo, Israel 101
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Jerusalem, Israel 101
The University of Manchester Manchester, United Kingdom 101
Tsinghua University Beijing, China 101
University of Calgary Calgary, Canada 101
University of California, Davis Davis, United States 101
University of California, Irvine Extension Irvine, United States 101
University of California, Riverside Riverside, United States 101
University of Colorado at Boulder Boulder, United States 101
University of Glasgow Glasgow, United Kingdom 101
University of Konstanz Konstanz, Germany 101
University of Padua Padua, Italy 101
University of Queensland Saint Lucia, Australia 101
Roma Tre University Roma, Italy 101
University of Southern California Los Angeles, United States 101
University of Tartu Tartu, Estonia 101
University of the Andes Bogotá, Colombia 101
University of Tübingen Tübingen, Germany 101
University of Vienna Vienna, Austria 101
University of Warsaw Warsaw, Poland 101
Utrecht University Utrecht, Netherlands 101
Wuhan University Wuhan, China 101
York University Toronto, Canada 101
Zhejiang University Hangzhou, China 101
American University of Beirut Beirut, Lebanon 151
Autonomous University of Madrid Alcobendas, Spain 151
Bielefeld University Bielefeld, Germany 151
Federal University of Minas Gerais Belo Horizonte, Brazil 151
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul Porto Alegre, Brazil 151
George Washington University Washington, D. C., United States 151
Hong Kong Baptist University Kowloon, Hong Kong (SAR) 151
La Trobe University Melbourne, Australia 151
Leiden University Leiden, Netherlands 151
Lingnan University Tuen Mun, Hong Kong (SAR) 151
Loyola University Chicago Evanston, United States 151
Nanyang Technological University Singapore, Singapore 151
HSE University Moscow, Russia 151
Novosibirsk State University Akademgorodok, Russia 151
Oxford Brookes University Oxford, United Kingdom 151
Pennsylvania State University State College, United States 151
Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona, Spain 151
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Jamundí, Colombia 151
Rice University Houston, United States 151
Simon Fraser University Burnaby, Canada 151
Sun Yat-sen University Guangzhou, China 151
The University of Exeter Exeter, United Kingdom 151
The University of Western Australia Perth, Australia 151
Tufts University Medford, United States 151
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Milano, Italy 151
University of Fribourg Fribourg, Switzerland 151
University of Münster Münster, Germany 151
University of Aberdeen Aberdeen, United Kingdom 151
University of Birmingham Birmingham, United Kingdom 151
University of Bonn Bonn, Germany 151
University of Cologne Köln, Germany 151
University of Hamburg Hamburg, Germany 151
University of Kent Canterbury, United Kingdom 151
University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, United States 151
University of Miami Coral Gables, United States 151
University of Otago Dunedin, New Zealand 151
University of Quebec Québec, Canada 151
University of Salamanca Salamanca, Spain 151
University of Stirling Stirling, United Kingdom 151
University of Twente (UT) Enschede, Netherlands 151
University of Victoria Victoria, Canada 151
University of Waterloo Waterloo, Canada 151
University of Zurich Zürich, Switzerland 151
Victoria University of Wellington Wellington, New Zealand 151
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands 151
Yonsei University Seoul, South Korea 151
Birkbeck, University of London London, United Kingdom 51
Bologna Business School Bologna, Italy 51
Boston College Newton, United States 51
Brown University Providence, United States 51
Central European University (CEU) Vienna, Austria 51
Duke University Durham, United States 51
Emory University Atlanta, United States 51
Georgetown University Washington, D. C., United States 51
Indiana University Bloomington Bloomington, United States 51
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, United States 51
Kyoto University Kyoto, Japan 51
Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) Moscow, Russia 51
Macquarie University Sydney, Australia 51
McMaster University Hamilton, Canada 51
Monash University Clayton, Australia 51
National Taiwan University Taipei, Taiwan 51
National University of Singapore Singapore, Singapore 51
Pontifical Catholic University of Chile Villa Presidente Frei, Ñuñoa, Santiago, Chile, Chile 51
Seoul National University Anyang, South Korea 51
Stockholm University Stockholm, Sweden 51
University of Hertfordshire Hatfield, United Kingdom 51
The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong, Hong Kong (SAR) 51
The University of Milan Sesto San Giovanni, Italy 51
The University of Tokyo Tokyo, Japan 51
UNICAMP - University of Campinas Campinas, Brazil 51
Complutense University of Madrid Madrid, Spain 51
University College Dublin Dublin, Ireland 51
UCL London, United Kingdom 51
University of Adelaide Adelaide, Australia 51
University of Alberta Edmonton, Canada 51
The University of Arizona Tucson, United States 51
University of Auckland Auckland, New Zealand 51
University of Bristol Bristol, United Kingdom 51
University of Buenos Aires Buenos Aires, Argentina 51
University of Freiburg Freiburg, Germany 51
University of Groningen Groningen, Netherlands 51
University of Leeds Leeds, United Kingdom 51
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, United States 51
University of Montreal Montréal, Canada 51
University of Navarra Pamplona, Spain 51
University of New South Wales Sydney, Australia 51
University of Oslo Oslo, Norway 51
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, United States 51
University of Sao Paulo São Paulo, Brazil 51
University of Sheffield Sheffield, United Kingdom 51
University of Texas at Austin Austin, United States 51
University of Warwick Coventry, United Kingdom 51
University of Washington Seattle, United States 51
University of Wisconsin Madison Madison, United States 51
Washington University in St. Louis Saint Louis, United States 51
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