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Study mode

Full time


3 years

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

Subject areas


Course type


Course Summary

About the course

The Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Philosophy is a three- to four-year full-time research programme whereby you undertake a doctoral level research project under the guidance of your supervisor(s). This course is not available in part-time mode of study and is not offered via distance learning.

The primary aim of the faculty’s DPhil in Philosophy is to prepare you for an academic career in philosophy. Each year, the Faculty of Philosophy welcomes students from a range of courses who have already completed substantial graduate work in philosophy. Typically, students who are successfully admitted to the DPhil course have already completed study that is equivalent or nearly equivalent to that required for Oxford’s BPhil in Philosophy course. The faculty’s Graduate Studies Committee recommends progression from Oxford's BPhil in Philosophy to the DPhil course, considering the BPhil offers the opportunity to study a wide range of philosophical topics over two years as well as to focus on a narrower field of research interest (unlike most one-year masters in a specialised subject, as offered elsewhere).

Course Outcomes

As a DPhil student, you will research, summarise, present and defend an argument with some of the best scholars in their subject, under the direction of an experienced researcher, and will extend your skills and experiences.

During the DPhil you will learn new or hone existing intellectual, practical and transferable skills, as follows.

  • analyse and clarify an abstract question, grasp and critically compare different approaches to answering it, and develop an approach of your own
  • put complex arguments together for and against a position and take them apart
  • interpret difficult historical texts produced within a historical context
  • construct extensive pieces of writing that provide a clear overview of a subject and a sustained independent argument about it, presented in a lucid, objective and scholarly manner
  • demonstrate excellent oral presentation
  • have effective time organisation (since you must produce extensive pieces of written work at regular intervals and to tight deadlines)
  • sustain intensive work to a deadline over an extended period
  • make effective use of libraries, information technology and other sources of information


You will initially be enrolled as a Probationary Research Student (PRS), unless you have previously completed the BPhil course at Oxford (see below). Normally in the third term after enrolment onto the DPhil as a PRS student, you are required to complete a transfer of status from PRS to full DPhil student status. Two appointed examiners will interview you on.

your two-page thesis outline, which explains the intended line of argument or contribution to the subject;
a 5,000-word piece of written work in the area and philosophical style of the proposed thesis which is typically, though not necessarily, a draft chapter of the thesis.

Graduate destinations

The DPhil in Philosophy's primary aim is to prepare students for an academic career in philosophy. Most DPhil graduates do indeed secure academic posts, as witnessed by the faculty's placement record.

The faculty provides a placement scheme to help students seeking jobs within philosophy. Users of the placement scheme may ask their referees to send reference letters directly to the faculty where they will be held on file and sent out to universities or other academic institutions at the student’s request. The placement scheme is normally available to alumni until they have secured a tenured post.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)


International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

For this course (per year)


Entry requirements

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications: the BPhil in Philosophy from the University of Oxford with a distinction or near-distinction grade, or an equivalent national or international qualification; and a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in philosophy or a closely-related degree which involved substantial engagement with philosophy. However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent. For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0. However, most successful applicants have a GPA of 3.7 or above.