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Philosophy PhD

Sheffield is a great place to do a PhD.  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 (mainly student-led); 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 organization that brings philosophy into local schools and homeless shelters. We have a strong placement record for our graduates.  And our building in Victoria Street has plenty of study space, as well as a kitchen for postgraduates.

Programme Length

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

Entry Requirements

You will need a 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

Overall IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students


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.

Staff and current PhD students

Meet our current academic staff and a selection of PhD students.

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

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 Jimmy Lenman with any questions.

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.

Your application must consist of:

  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. If applying for PhD, 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. Academic transcripts of your academic performance at undergraduate and Masters level.
  5. Documentation of English language qualifications if you are not a native speaker.

Apply now


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.

Contact us

For more information, email: or call: +44 (0) 114 222 0587.