Graduate research studies in Philosophy
The Philosophy program in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies offers a range of postgraduate certificate and degree programs, ranging from graduate certificates (intended for people new to philosophy, who already have a degree in another discipline) to the PhD (intended for students ready to pursue a research project at a sustained level of expertise). The School is also able to offer graduate coursework and supervision in a wide range of areas, including:
- applied philosophy
- epistemology and metaphysics
- ethics and bioethics
- contemporary European philosophy
- philosophical logic, formal logic and the philosophy of mathematics
- philosophy of language, and
- social and political philosophy
For further information on staff areas of expertise see the Academic staff web page.
Which course should I apply for?
The first question to answer is your level of expertise and experience. If you do not yet have the equivalent of an honours degree in Philosophy or a very closely related discipline, your best option would be to consider enrolling in a Graduate certificate or Graduate diploma, which provide you with the equivalent of an undergraduate course of study in philosophy. The Postgraduate certificate and Postgraduate diploma provide an entry point into philosophical research, roughly at the same stage as the honours year in a four year Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree. The research degrees of the Master of Arts and PhD allow the student to engage in more sustained research.
Graduate coursework degrees
The Philosophy Program offers the Master of Arts in Professional and Applied Ethics. This coursework-based program is available to those with an honours degree in philosophy or a related area or to those who have an undergraduate degree plus at least two years relevant professional experience. Its focus is on the real world application of ethical theory; it also provides the opportunity to do a sustained research project.
Graduate research degrees
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD or Doctorate) is the highest degree offered by the University. In completing a PhD, you demonstrate a critical application of advanced knowledge and expertise in your field, and high level research and writing skills. It is a sustained piece of independent research and writing that examines a specific problem, issue or topic and, upon completion, makes a significant and new contribution to existing knowledge.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is usually undertaken over three years (full time) or six years (part time). The normal length of a PhD thesis is 80,000 words.
From 2012, all students commencing their candidature will be required to complete a small component of compulsory coursework, to enhance their first year of candidature. Successful completion of this coursework is a hurdle requirement for Confirmation of candidature, but the award of the PhD will continue to be based solely on the examination of the thesis.
For more detail on the PhD structure, and coursework offerings, consult the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences (GSHSS) Dr of Philosophy web page.
Master of Arts by thesis onlyThis is a terminal degree. It cannot be converted into a PhD. The sole requirement for this degree is a 30,000 word thesis.
Master of Arts by Advanced Seminar and Shorter Thesis
This degree can be taken out as an Master of Arts or, on meeting the relevant entry and conversion requirements, be converted into the PhD. It comprises two courses as well as a 22,000 word thesis. The two seminars are:
- Literature Review: PHIL 90007. The literature review is typically undertaken in the first semester of enrolment. An individualized course of study and assessment dates are determined in discussion with your supervisor.
- Philosophy Methods: PHIL 90024. This course runs for a full year. You begin it in the first semester of your enrolment. It is offered in both semester one and semester two.
You can find general information about the Master of Arts by Advanced Seminar and Shorter Thesis in the subject handbook.
Still not sure which course to apply for? Send a message to the graduate coordinator, Greg Restall.
When do I apply?
Places in graduate degrees - whether Master of Arts by advanced seminar and shorter thesis, Master of Arts by thesis only, or PhD - are available on a twice-yearly basis. For the first intake, available from January, applications should be received before October 31st in the previous year.
Note: for international students wishing to be considered for scholarships, the scholarship deadline is August 31st in the year before you wish to commence your studies.
For the second intake, available from July 1, applications should be received by May 31st of the same year in which you wish to commence your studies. In special circumstances, places may be available at other times of the year: contact the graduate coordinator, Greg Restall.For more information on admission deadlines, see the GSHSS application deadlines web page.
How do I apply?
3.1 The Administrative Side of Your Application
It is important to check all the requirements and eligibility criteria before applying.
3.2 The Academic Side of Your Application
3.2.1 Who might be able to offer supervision?: Decisions about the allocation of supervisors are made at the Departmental level on the basis of fit between the proposal and the supervisor's area of expertise, supervisor availability, and other Departmental needs. However, it can be useful to make contact with potential supervisors to discuss your research plans. Some staff list areas in which they are currently actively seeking research students on their homepage (see Philosophy and Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) Academic staff web page). Preliminary inquiries can be made to the graduate coordinator, Greg Restall who will be able to offer advice regarding potential supervisors.
3.2.2 Preparing a research proposal: The research proposal is an important part of your application. The quality of the research proposal is one factor taken into account in an admission decision. It is also used to match student with supervisor. Research proposals should be 2,500 words in length regardless of the course being applied for. Be sure to include a short bibliography with your research proposal.
3.3.3 A sample of your philosophical writing: It is required that you submit a writing sample of 5,000 words with your application. This can provide us with additional information useful in assessing your application and in assigning supervisors.
- Current Philosophy graduate researchers
- Study and subject resources for graduate researchers
- The University Of Melbourne Philosophy Graduate Group