PhD study

Information on PhD study in the philosophy department, including how to apply, supervision and tuition.

Philosophy students.

We have a large and friendly postgraduate community, with students from across the globe. There is a vibrant research culture: our staff offer expertise in a wide range of areas; there are up to a dozen reading groups going at any given time, the majority of which are student-led, and students present work in progress at weekly postgraduate seminars and at the annual reading weekend.

There are special events for women in philosophy and lots of conferences and other events. Many PhD students are involved in Philosophy in the City, a student-run organisation that brings philosophy into local schools and homeless shelters. We have a strong placement record for our graduates. Our building in Victoria Street has plenty of study space, as well as a kitchen for postgraduates.

About our Philosophy PhD programme

Programme length

Full-time: The length of the full-time programme varies between 3-4 years depending on the funding body. Individual time limits will be confirmed in the offer letter you receive from the Admissions Team.

Part-time: The length of the part-time programme varies between 6-8 years depending on the funding body. Individual time limits will be confirmed in the offer letter you receive from the Admissions Team.

Entry requirements

You will need an MA at Distinction level from a UK University or equivalent grade from overseas. Contact us on if you have any questions about your qualifications.

Admissions decisions are based mainly on:

  • What your referees say about you
  • Your writing sample
  • Your record of academic achievement

English language requirements for 2021 entry

Overall IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students

Tuition fees and funding

The University of Sheffield offers scholarships to PhD students to support their studies and you can also apply for British government (AHRC) funding via the White Rose Consortium (WRoCAH) of which Sheffield is a part. Our funding page gives more details, and you can contact our Funding Advisor, Jummy Lenman with any questions:

Information on tuition fees

Tuition fee 'look-up' tool

Disabled applicants

We welcome disabled students. We're committed to responding effectively and appropriately to individual support needs. We take all practicable steps to ensure that disabled students can participate in their studies without disadvantage, and can make full use of the University's academic and support services. Information for disabled applicants

Contact us

For more information, email: or call: +44 114 222 0571

How to apply

You are welcome to contact the department to discuss your application, but for formal consideration, you must complete the University's application form.

Application contents
  1. The completed application form.
  2. Reference letters from two referees, who should each send their references to the Department directly ( or by post). Your referees should be people able to address the issue of your academic abilities and performance. Ideally, they should be professional academic philosophers with experience of teaching you and knowledge of your work. Other things being equal, the more they know about you the better.
  3. A writing sample in English of 3,000-6,000 words. You could send one long essay or two short ones - though a single one is better. This can be on any philosophical topic.
  4. A research proposal with details of the area of research you want to pursue. The proposal should be about 500–1000 words in length. Guidance on writing a proposal is available on the University research webpages: Writing a proposal
  5. Academic transcripts of your academic performance at undergraduate and Masters level.
  6. Documentation of English language qualifications if you are not a native speaker.

There are no deadlines as such, however there will be deadlines for the applications you may want to make to the various sources of funding available.

Apply now


The department makes every effort to ensure that students receive full support and guidance throughout their studies. You will meet monthly with your primary research supervisor.  Each student is also assigned a secondary supervisor, with whom you will meet less frequently, to give you the benefit of a broader range of advice.

Current academic staff

Our research

The department has a lively research culture. Find out more about our research activities.

Staff research areas

Teacher training

We offer our own in-house Philosophy Tutor Training programme for postgraduate research students in the Philosophy Department. This can count towards your Doctoral Development Programme requirements.

The University also offers a range of different DDP modules that include some teacher training.

Tutoring in the department is a great opportunity not just to learn how to teach philosophy, but to develop your own philosophical skills as well. Learning how to facilitate philosophical discussion is an integral part of being a good philosopher.

Ashley Pennington

PhD 2017

Philosophy tutoring

One possible teaching opportunity for PGR students is as a tutor on the department’s first year modules. We aim to offer this opportunity to all PhD students registered in the Philosophy Department from the second or third semester of their PhD.

The teaching involves facilitating discussion in the tutorial groups that run alongside and complement lectures. Usually preparation guidance and discussion questions for these tutorials are provided by lecturers, but room is also left for the facilitator’s initiative. Tutors are paid both for preparation time and contact time, and can expect to teach 2-4 groups per week.

Philosophical problems and projects

Our postgraduate research students also have the opportunity to design and lead their own module in the latter stages of their PhD. Our Philosophical Problems modules are taught by PhD students on topics related to their research interests. Recent examples of modules designed and taught by our PhD students include "Contemporary Debates in Biology: Sex, Gender, Sexuality & Race" and "Perception, Experience and Agency". Our Philosophical Projects modules provide the opportunity to supervise undergraduate students through a guided reading project of your choosing. These opportunities are optional and subject to availability each year.


For more information on teaching opportunities in the department, contact the Director of Graduate Admissions, Jimmy Lenman (


The Philosophy Department in Sheffield welcomes international students. Many of our graduate students and many of our staff are from other European countries, Asia and America.

There is lots of information for international students on our international and EU Philosophy applicants page and our University wide EU and international students webpages.

Recent PhDs

Our PhD students have strong placement records. For those seeking academic jobs, the usual first post is as either a postdoctoral researcher or a temporary lecturer/teaching fellow, with permanent posts coming a little later. Our students have secured jobs in the UK at departments like Antwerp, Birmingham, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Kent, Kings, Leeds, LSE, Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan, Nottingham, Open University, Oxford, Roehampton, Sheffield, and UWE. And they have secured jobs in many countries around the world including Austria, Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. See below for a list of recent PhD topics.

Particular placement information for our graduates can be found by following the links to their personal websites, where available.

Recent PhDs
Year of completion Thesis title Supervisors
Anna Klieber Your Silence Speaks Volumes¿: Silent Implicature and its Political Significance Saul/Keefe
Andrea Blomkvist Construction in Progress: The Cognitive Architecture of Episodic Memory and Sensory Imagination Barlassina/Gregory
Victor Wolemonwu Exploitation and the Ethics of Clinical Research Participation in Nigeria: A Kantian Perspective Bennet/Lenman
Andrew Moore Belief and cognitive science: the case for modest integrationism Botterill/Laurence
Rosa Vince Harmful and Harmless Objectification and Pornography Holroyd/Bennett
Maria Jose Pietrini Sanchez An Autonomy-Based Framework for Surrogacy Contracts Holroyd/Bennett
Radivoj Stupar Constituent solutions to relational problems: Applying the tools of constituent ontologies to problems of coincidence and persistence Olson/Keefe
William Morgan Individuals in Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Biology Olson/Clarke
Patrick Connolly Two Types of Conversation: Face-to-Face and Digital Saul/Gregory
William Hornett Familiar Paths: The Rationality of Habitual Action Romdenh-Romluc/Blomfield
Matthew Cull Engineering Genders: Pluralism, Trans Identities, and Feminist Philosophy Saul/Blomfield
Jingbo Hu Reasons-Responsiveness, Action and Control: An Event-Causal Account of Agency Holroyd/Lenman
Diego Feinmann Lexical Illusions, (Non-) Maximality, and Invisible Gaps Saul/Keefe
Simon Barker Disagreement and Deep Disagreement: Should you trust yourself? Fricker/Byerly
Robbie Morgan The Distinct Wrong of Sexual Attacks Bennett/Saul
Anthony Eagan Voracious Hermeneutics: On Kierkegaard's Concept of the Interesting Stern/Pyper
Alexandre Duval Where Am I? The Cognitive Architecture of Spatial Reorientation Laurence/Barlassina
James Lewis The practical significance of the second-person relation Stern/Faulkner/Viehoff
Lewis Jed Brooks General Arguments against Ethical Naturalism Lenman/Shemmer
Miklos Kurthy "Ought Implies Can" as a Principle of the Moral Faculty Barlassina/Laurence
Anthony Deangelis Eagan Voracious Hermeneutics: On Kierkegaard's Concept of the Interesting Stern/Pyper
Isela Gonzalez Vazquez The Role of Values in Science: Queer Feminist Values and Theories of Sexual Orientation Saul/Laurence
Björn Eriksson Omitting to emit: Moral duties to reduce emissions in global supply chains Lawford-Smith
James Huw P Lewis  The Practical Significance of the Second-Person Relation Viehoff/Faulkner
Stephen Bolton Higher-Order Vagueness Keefe/Leech/Olson
Graham Bex-Priestley Higher-Order Expressivism: The Dyadic Nature of Moral Judgement Lenman/Lawford-Smith/Shemmer
Josh Matthews The Experimental Approach to Vagueness Keefe/Williams (Leeds)
Ahmad Fattah Pragmatist Possibilities for Alasdair MacIntyre's Philosophy Stern/Bennett
Trystan Goetze Conceptual Responsibility Fricker/Faulkner
Neri Marsili You don’t say! Lying, asserting and insincerity Saul/Faulkner
Joshua Thomas Meaningfulness and Mortality Bennett/Lenman
Francesco Antilici Can Infants Reason About Beliefs? Laurence/Botterill
Andreas Bunge The Nature of Attitudes: Profiles of Situation-Specific Evaluative Response Dispositions Holroyd/Barlassina/Stafford (Psychology)
Ashley Pennington The Pragmatics of Linguistic Injustice Saul/Keefe
Damiano La Manna The Functional Role of Phenomenal Consciousness Gregory/Barlassina
Henry Cusworth The Many Relations Between Language and Thought: Three Case Studies Laurence/Keefe
Gonzalo Nuñez Erices Carving the World at its Boundaries. A Metaphysical Study Olson/Keefe
Siobhan Moriarty Ontological Categories, Existence Statements, and Metaphysical Modality. Hale/Leech/Makin
Neil Williams Realism, Individualism, and Pluralism: The Metaphysics and Ethics of William James Hookway/Stern
Philippa Read (Leeds University) 'Female Heroism in First World War France: Representations and Lived Experiences.' Hobbs (Sheffield)/Fell (Leeds)
Maria Kasmirli 'Conversational Implicature: Re-assessing the Gricean Framework' Saul/Botterill
Adriana Clavel Vazquez 'Engaging with Counter-Moral Fictions: A Contextual Approach' Gregory/Bennett
Bernardo Pino 'A Defence of the Theoretical Relevance of the Term ‘Concept’' Laurence/Botterill
Alex Baker-Graham 'Feeling Like Stories: Empathy and Narrative Engagement' Gregory/Romdenh-Romluc
Philipp Rau The Author, Not the Tale: Memory, Narrative, and the Self Botterill/Gregory
Richard Healey The Power of Consent Viehoff/Bennett
Stephen Ingram Robustness in Moral Reality: Norms, Necessity and Robust Realism Lenman/Fricker
Cristina Roadevin Blame and Forgiveness Bennett/Fricker
Katharine Jenkins Ontic Injustice Saul/Fricker
Armin Khameh The Morality of Toleration Viehoff/Stern
Joe Saunders Reason, Freedom and Morality: An Interpretation and Defence of Kant's Groundwork III Stern/Bennett
Charlotte Alderwick Freedom and Powers in Schelling's Metaphysics Stern/Olson
Pete Caven Moral Disagreement: A Psychological Account and the Political Implications Shemmer/Botterill
Simon Kittle Free will and the ability to do otherwise


Elianna Fetterolf Remorse: A Prospective Genealogy Fricker/Bennett
Paniel Reyes Cardenas The Place of Scholastic Realism in Peirce's Pragmatic Philosophy Hookway/Makin
Stephen Wright The nature of testimonial justification Faulkner/Fricker
Carl Fox Party to the Hypothetical Contract: Obligation, Legitimacy, and Autonomy Lenman/Viehoff
Jonathan Parry Authority and Harm in War Viehoff/Lenman
Frank Arthurs Free Will, Determinism, and Moral Responsibility Shemmer/Olson
Jack Wadham Representation Rectified Hopkins/Gregory
Joseph Kisolo-Ssonko On Collective Action: Underpinning the Plural Subject with a Model of Planning Agency Faulkner/Keefe
Natasha McKeever Romantic Love and Monogamy: A Philosophical Exploration Bennett/Saul
Jan Kandiyali Karl Marx's Individualistic Conception of the Good Life Bennett/Stern
Ivar Hannikainnen Evaluative Focus: A Dual-Process View of Moral Judgment Laurence/Lenman
Bernardo Aguilera Mindedness: On the Minimal Conditions for Possessing a Mind Laurence/Gregory
Jessica Begon Policy Without Paternalism: A Capability Approach to Legitimate State Action Viehoff/Bennett
Inga Vermeulen Words Matter: A Pragmatist View on the Study of Words in First-order Philosophy Laurence/Keefe
Joshua Forstenzer John Dewey's Experimentalism and the Problem of Method in Political Philosophy Stern/Hookway
Paul Giladi Hegel's Critique and Development of Kant Stern/Hookway
Josh Fedorko Kant and Hegel on Things in Themselves Stern/Hookway
Jonathan Payne Expansionist Abstraction Hale/Keefe
Angela Pepper Feminism and Global Justice Saul/G. Brown (Politics)
Naoki Usui Innateness and the Mind Laurence/Faulkner
Lindsey Porter The Moral Status of Babies and our Obligations to Them Bennett/Laurence
Kathy Puddifoot Psychology and the Goals of Epistemology Laurence/Hookway
Peter Oxtoby Dualist Intuitions and Phenomenal Consciousness Olson/Hopkins
David Ekstrand Reciprocity and the State: A Liberal Theory of Legitimacy Lenman/Sleat/Shemmer
Laura Beeby Communicative Injustice Saul/Hookway
Matt Jones Semantic Scepticism: Normativity and Naturalism Hale/Hookway
Tatjana von Solodkoff Grounding Fiction Olson/Gregory
Graeme Forbes The Times They Are A-Changin': Rehabilitating the Growing Block Theory of Time Makin/Olson
Victor Cantero Flores The Source of Broadly Logical Necessity Hale/Gregory
Robin Scaife Agency and Freedom of the Will: the Challenge from Psychology Botterill/Laurence
Heather Arnold Taking the Abolition of the Family Seriously Saul/Lenman
Jessica Leech The Varieties of Modality: Kantian Prospects for a Relativist Account Hale (Sheffield)/Correia (Geneva)
Daniel Herbert Kant, Pierce and the Transcendental Deduction Stern/Hookway
Suilin Lavelle Understanding Folk Psychology, Theory, Understanding and Explanation in Social Cognition Botterill/Hopkins
Tom O'Shea Autonomy and the Foundations of Normativity Stern/Hookway
Katie Harrington Responding to the Scandal of Scepticism: Kant's Fourth Paralogism and the Refutation of Idealism Stern/Hopkins
Julien Murzi Intuitionism and logical revisionism Hale / Gregory
Megan Kime Theories of global justice: relational and non-relational approaches Bennett / Stern
Sean Cordell Virtue ethics in the contemporary social and political realm Bennett / Stern
Jonathan Smith Atheism and moral scepticism Lenman / Shemmer
Giles Banning-Lover Davidson and scepticism Hookway / Hopkins
Cristina Carestiato A transcendental argument from externalism Stern / Hopkins
Andrew Thomas Truth-making and Deflationism Keefe / Hale
Leonardo Ribeiro Desires, Agency and Self-Determination Botterill / Owens
Jose E Gonzalez Varela Quinean scepticism about de re modalizing and non-cognitivism Hale / Makin
Davide Rizza Applicability, Idealization, and Mathematization Hale / Keefe
Jules Holroyd Autonomy Saul / Lenman
Paul Sludds Hedonism, Wellbeing and Death Lenman / Shemmer
Suzanne Lock Content, Causation and Relational Properties Laurence / Botterill
Stellios Tavoularis Hegel, Plotinus and Jacobi: Idealism and Two Varieties of Mysticism Stern / Makin
Lina Papadaki Sexual Objectification: from Kant to Contemporary Feminism Saul / Wenar
Joe Morrison The Evidence of Holism Faulkner / Hookway
Andre Abath Challenging Conceptualism About Perceptual Experience Laurence / Hopkins
Andrew Howat Pragmatism and Response Dependence Hookway / Hopkins
Anna Wilkinson Issues in Ethical Naturalism: Motivation, Explanation and Semantics Bennett / Lenman
Esa Diaz-Leon Consciousness, Conceivability and Concepts Laurence / Keefe
Richard Woodward The Case of the Moral Fictionalist Divers / Gregory
Kathryn Wilkinson Hegel, The Sacrifice of Personality and Marriage Stern / Hookway
Naomi Rosenberg Moore's Paradox and the Conditions of Honest Assertion Keefe / Bell
Simon Fitzpatrick Simplicity, Science and Mind Laurence / Faulkner

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