Postgraduate research students in Philosophy have an opportunity to develop original philosophical ideas, working alongside leading scholars with extensive professional experience.
The Philosophy Department offers both an MPhil and a PhD by research. Students are supported by a primary and secondary supervisor, and have access to other members of our active and friendly department. There is also a sizeable and welcoming cohort of other postgraduate students.
Postgraduate students in our program also undertake professional development activities through the University’s CaRST program to develop diverse skills for the academic and non-academic workplace. During their candidature, students contribute to our annual postgraduate colloquium and participate in our departmental seminar series.
Our handbooks are currently under revision. For further advice and information you should contact the postgraduate coordinator for philosophy.
You can see what some of our former MPhil and PhD students are doing now on our postgraduate destinations page.
- Our Postgraduate Offerings
The standard pathway into postgraduate research is through the MPhil. This is a two-year research only degree, assessed by the production of a thesis (of 30–40,000 words) demonstrating thorough understanding of a research question and the capacity to critically evaluate answers to that question. It is the ideal capstone to an undergraduate career, allowing students to conduct in-depth and sustained investigation of a philosophical issue that is not generally possible during an undergraduate coursework degree.
The MPhil is also a robust base for further original research in a PhD. Most students are not prepared to go straight into a doctorate at the completion of their undergraduate degree, and the MPhil provides an opportunity to hone research skills, develop an appropriate topic, and get a better idea of the realities of postgraduate research.
The PhD is our flagship postgraduate research degree. This is a three–four year research only degree, assessed by a a thesis of up to 80,000 words. It must demonstrate the same qualities of understanding and capcity for critical evaluation as a MPhil thesis, but must also be a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
- Information for Prospective Students
Students who wish to enter the MPhil need to have completed a Bachelor degree (with or without Honours) at a distinction average or higher. Prospective MPhil students will typically have a strong undergraduate background in philosophy, such as a major in philosophy or HPS. The department also welcomes students with other disciplinary backgrounds who wish to work on foundational questions in those disciplines. Students who don’t meet these conditions, but whose average in philosophy subjects is distinction or higher, are encouraged to apply.
Our preference is that students who wish to enter the PhD program should have completed an MPhil or equivalent research degree. It is also possible to enter the PhD from an honours degree.
Forms and information concerning the University’s admissions requirements can be found at the Adelaide Graduate Centre.
The Admissions Process
The admissions process in philosophy is a little different than other fields at the University. You do not need to have the agreement of a supervisor before submitting an application. The discipline will consider any complete application submitted by the due date, and will determine whether there is an available supervisor at that point.
Whether applying for the MPhil or PhD, all prospective students need to complete a research proposal outlining their intended research question and background. This enables the department to establish whether appropriate supervision can be found. The university supplies a template for the research proposal.
To avoid wasted effort, prospective students are advised to consult the discipline website to identify areas of research strength and possible supervisors. You may also consult our page of current postgraduate students, which lists their thesis topics. If your area of research interest does not match the research interests and expertise of academic staff within the discipline, it is extremely unlikely you will be offered admission. You should mention any potential supervisor you have identified in your research proposal and in the application form.