Bachelor of Philosophy

The regulations made by the Board of the Faculty of Philosophy are as follows:

  • 1. Candidates will be required to attend the B.Phil Pro-seminar in the first year of their studies (i.e. the year in which their names are first entered on the Register of B.Phil students). In addition, candidates will be required to attend two graduate classes in each of the first four terms of their studies.

  • 2. Candidates will be examined by submitting:

    • (A) Six essays of no more than 5,000 words each, in conformity with the following distribution requirement. Each essay will be assigned to a subject; the six essays must cover at least five subjects. One essay must be on a subject from Group 1 (Theoretical Philosophy), one on a subject from Group 2 (Practical Philosophy) and two on a subject or subjects from Group 3 (History of Philosophy), of which at least one must be concerned with philosophy written before 1800. The remaining  two essays may be assigned to subjects in any of the three Groups, provided that the distribution requirement above is met. The list of approved subjects in each Group will be published at the beginning of each academic year in the Graduate Student Handbook. In exceptional circumstances, students may request to have one or more elements of the distribution requirement waived. Candidates wishing to do this must seek approval from the Graduate Studies Committee in Philosophy as soon as they decide they would like to do so, and in any case no later than the Friday of the noughth week of the Michaelmas Term of their second year of study. Any such application must be supported by the relevant B.Phil Course Coordinator.

    • (B) A thesis of no more than 30,000 words, exclusive of bibliographical references, on a subject proposed by the candidate in consultation with his or her supervisor, and approved by the Graduate Studies Committee in Philosophy.

  • 3. Topics for the essays will be chosen by the candidates. Candidates may offer up to two essays on at most one subject not included in the list of approved subjects in the Graduate Student Handbook, provided that the distribution requirement above is met. Candidates wishing to offer an essay or essays on a subject not on the prescribed list must seek approval for the proposed subject from the Graduate Studies Committee in Philosophy as soon as they decide they would like to offer it, and in any case no later than Friday of the fifth week of the Trinity Term of the first year of their studies. Any such application must be supported by the relevant B.Phil Course Coordinator. Where a subject is approved by the Graduate Studies Committee in Philosophy, the Committee will assign it to one of Groups 1-3.

  • 4. Candidates must inform the Graduate Studies Committee in Philosophy of their thesis title and abstract as soon as they have made their decisions and in any case no later than Friday of the eighth week of Trinity Term of the first year of their studies. Requests for permission to change the thesis title must be submitted for approval, with the support of the candidate's supervisor, to the Director of Graduate Studies in Philosophy as soon as the candidate has decided to seek such permission.

  • 5. Two printed copies of each essay must be delivered to the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford OX1 4BG, by 10 a.m. on the Wednesdays of the following weeks. In the first year of study two essays are due in noughth week of Trinity Term. In the second year of study, two essays are due in each of the noughth weeks of Michaelmas and Hilary Terms. Candidates must give notice of the subject of each essay and the Group to which it will be assigned in accordance with the procedures and deadlines specified in the Graduate Student Handbook.

  • 6. The thesis must be delivered to the Examination Schools, at the above address, by 10 a.m. on Wednesday of the eighth week of Trinity Term in the second year of study. The thesis must be accompanied by a brief abstract and a statement of the number of words it contains (exclusive of bibliographical references). A penalty may be imposed on any thesis that exceeds the word limit. Successful candidates will be required to deposit one copy of the thesis in the Bodleian Library.

  • 7. The examiners may award a distinction for excellence in the whole examination.

  • 8. Candidates who fail up to two essays will be permitted to resubmit those essays at any of the subsequent essay submission dates during the first or second year of their studies, or at the thesis submission date in their second year. A resubmitted essay may be on a new topic, and may be on a new subject, provided that the distribution requirement is met. Candidates who fail the thesis but who receive passing marks on all their essays will be permitted to resubmit an amended or different thesis by 10 a.m. on Wednesday of noughth week of the Hilary Term of the year following the whole examination. Candidates who fail three or more essays or two or more essays and the thesis will be permitted to resubmit work for the failed elements of the examination in the following academic year (or over four terms for candidates who fail more than five essays or more than four essays and the thesis). Candidates need only resubmit work for those elements of the Examination that they failed, but no resubmitted essay or thesis can receive a mark of more than 60. Candidates who fail to satisfy the examiners a second time in any part of the examination may not resubmit work for any part of the examination on any subsequent occasion.

  • 9. Candidates for the MSt in Philosophy of Physics may apply to transfer to the second year of the B.Phil in Philosophy. A formal application must be made by Friday of fourth week of the Trinity Term preceding the Michaelmas Term in which they wish to transfer to the B.Phil. Admission of those whose application is approved by the Philosophy Faculty’s Graduate Studies Committee shall always be conditional on a level of performance in the examination for the MSt in Philosophy of Physics, as specified in the Graduate Student Handbook.

  • 10. Candidates for the MSt in Philosophy of Physics who have successfully transferred to the second year of the B.Phil in Philosophy shall be deemed to have completed the first year of the B.Phil in Philosophy and the four essays submitted for their MSt examination shall be deemed to replace the first four essays required of candidates for the B.Phil. In the second year of study, such candidates will be required to submit two 5,000-word essays by 10 a.m. on Wednesday of noughth week of Hilary Term and a 30,000-word thesis by 10 a.m. on Wednesday of eighth week of Trinity Term, in line with the B.Phil assessments schedule specified under paragraphs 5. and 6. above.

  • 11. Candidates for the MSt in Philosophy of Physics who have successfully transferred to the second year of the B.Phil in Philosophy, may apply for the award of MSt in Philosophy of Physics only if they fail or withdraw from the second year of the B.Phil in Philosophy.

  • 12. Candidates who fail or withdraw from the B.Phil but have completed the requirements for the MSt in Philosophy may be permitted to supplicate for that degree.