Research Degrees in Philosophy

  • [Until MT 2015: 1.Admission as Probationer Research Student

    Candidates for admission are required to submit with their application one piece of written work of between 4,500 and 5,000 words, on a subject related to the proposed research topic. The piece must be typed and in English, unless by special permission.

  • 2.Admission to M.Litt. or D.Phil. status

    Applications from Probationer Research Students for transfer to the status of Student for the Degree of Master of Letters or Doctor of Philosophy will not normally be considered before the beginning of the candidate's third term as a Probationer Research Student. The board regards the third term as the normal time for this application to be made and expects applications to be made by the end of the second week of the third term.

    Applications should be accompanied by a thesis outline of about two pages and a piece of written work of approximately 5,000 words in the area and philosophical style of the proposed thesis. The board will appoint two assessors, who will read the submissions and conduct an interview with the candidate.

  • Candidates admitted as Probationer Research Students after completing the Master of Studies degree in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Oxford must complete all of the following requirements by the end of Week 8 of their third term as a Probationer Research Student:

    • (a) Attend two graduate classes with at least one from the following subject areas: moral philosophy; metaphysics; theory of knowledge; philosophical logic and philosophy of language; philosophy of mind and action.

    • (b) Submit one 5,000 word essay on a topic of the student’s choice for one of the above listed classes, the pass mark for which is 68.

    • (c) Submit a thesis outline of about two pages.

    • (d) Submit a piece of written work of approximately 5,000 words in the area and philosophical style of the proposed thesis.

  • The board will appoint two assessors, who will read the submissions and conduct an interview with the candidate. If the mark for the essay mentioned in (b) above is between 60 and 67 (inclusive) then the assessors may, depending on the quality of the candidate’s other submitted work, recommend approval or refusal of the Transfer of Status application.

  • The Philosophy Graduate Studies Committee may, depending on the student’s prior experience and education, waive requirements (a) and/or (b). If it waives both requirements then the student must complete the requirements by the end of Week 2 of their third term as a Probationer Research Student.

  • Candidates admitted as Probationer Research Students after completing the Master of Studies degree in Philosophy of Physics at the University of Oxford must complete the following requirements by the end of the Week 0 before the start of their fourth term as a Probationer Research Student:

    • (a) Attend two graduate classes (which cannot be in the subject area of their MSt in Philosophy of Physics elective option, Philosophy of Physics or Philosophy of Science) with at least one from the following subject areas: moral philosophy; metaphysics; theory of knowledge; philosophical logic and philosophy of language; philosophy of mind and action.

    • (b) Submit one 5,000 word essay on a topic of the student’s choice for one of the above listed classes, the pass mark for which is 68.

    • (c) Submit a thesis outline of about two pages.

    • (d) Submit a 20,000 word dissertation on a topic of their choice, preferably in the area and philosophical style of their thesis.

  • The board will appoint two assessors, who will read the submissions and conduct an interview with the candidate. If the mark for the essay mentioned in (b) above is between 60 and 67 (inclusive) then the assessors may, depending on the quality of the candidate’s other submitted work, recommend approval or refusal of the Transfer of Status application.

  • The Philosophy Graduate Studies Committee may, depending on the student’s prior experience and education, waive requirements (a) and/or (b), and it has the power to replace requirement (d) by requirement

    • (e) Submit a piece of written work of approximately 5,000 words in the area and philosophical style of the proposed thesis.

  • If it waives (a) and (b) and replaces (d) by (e) then the student must complete the requirements by the end of Week 2 of their third term as a Probationer Research Student.

  • 3.Confirmation of D.Phil. status

    Applications from Students for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy for confirmation of status will not normally be considered before the beginning of the candidate's third term after transfer to D.Phil. status. The board regards the third term after transfer as the normal time for this application to be made and expects applications to be made by the end of the second week of the third term. It also expects that students should normally have their D.Phil. status confirmed at least one year before the submission of their thesis.

    Applications should be accompanied by a thesis outline of about two pages and a piece of written work of approximately 5,000 words, intended as a part of the thesis, in final or near-final draft. The board will appoint two assessors. The application will be considered, in the first instance, by the first assessor. If the first assessor is satisfied that the application should be approved, then he or she will interview with the candidate and recommend approval to the board. If the first assessor is not satisfied that the application should be approved, the application will be sent to the second assessor. Both assessors will interview the candidate and a joint recommendation will be made. The assessors may not recommend that the application be refused unless they have first interviewed the candidate.

  • 4.Theses

    M.Litt. theses should not exceed 50,000 words, and D.Phil. theses should not exceed 75,000 words, exclusive of bibliographical references, unless the candidate has, with the support of his or her supervisor, secured the leave of the board to exceed this limit.

    All candidates when they submit their theses must state the approximate number of words therein both (a) including citations and, if they have been granted permission to count citations separately, (b) excluding citations. Theses exceeding the limit are liable to be returned unexamined for reduction to the proper length. Candidates who have submitted in their final term may be allowed a maximum period of two terms to effect the necessary reduction.]

  • [From MT 2015: 1. Admission as a Probationer Research Student

    Candidates may apply for admission as Probationer Research Student, or directly to D.Phil. status, on a full-time basis

    2. Transfer to M.Litt. or D.Phil. status

    Applications should be accompanied by a thesis outline of about two pages and a piece of written work of approximately 5,000 words in the area and philosophical style of the proposed thesis.

    Candidates admitted as Probationer Research Students after completing the Master of Studies degree in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Oxford must complete all of the following requirements by the end of Week 8 of their third term as a Probationer Research Student:

    • (a) Attend two graduate classes with at least one from the following subject areas: moral philosophy; metaphysics; theory of knowledge; philosophical logic and philosophy of language; philosophy of mind and action.

      (b) Submit one 5,000 word essay on a topic of the student’s choice for one of the above listed classes, the pass mark for which is 6.

      (c) Submit a thesis outline of about two pages.

      (d) Submit a piece of written work of approximately 5,000 words in the area and philosophical style of the proposed thesis.

  • The board will appoint two assessors, who will read the submissions and conduct an interview with the candidate. If the mark for the essay mentioned in (b) above is between 60 and 67 (inclusive) then the assessors may, depending on the quality of the candidate’s other submitted work, recommend approval or refusal of the Transfer of Status application.

    The Philosophy Graduate Studies Committee may, depending on the student’s prior experience and education, waive requirements (a) and/or (b). If it waives both requirements then the student must complete the requirements by the end of Week 2 of their third term as a Probationer Research Student.

    Candidates admitted as Probationer Research Students after completing the Master of Studies degree in Philosophy of Physics at the University of Oxford must complete the following requirements by the end of the Week 0 before the start of their fourth term as a Probationer Research Student:

    • (a) Attend two graduate classes (which cannot be in the subject area of their MSt in Philosophy of Physics elective option, Philosophy of Physics or Philosophy of Science) with at least one from the following subject areas: moral philosophy; metaphysics; theory of knowledge; philosophical logic and philosophy of language; philosophy of mind and action.

      (b) Submit one 5,000 word essay on a topic of the student’s choice for one of the above listed classes, the pass mark for which is 68.

      (c) Submit a thesis outline of about two pages.

      (d) Submit a 20,000 word dissertation on a topic of their choice, preferably in the area and philosophical style of their thesis.

  • The board will appoint two assessors, who will read the submissions and conduct an interview with the candidate. If the mark for the essay mentioned in (b) above is between 60 and 67 (inclusive) then the assessors may, depending on the quality of the candidate’s other submitted work, recommend approval or refusal of the Transfer of Status application.

    The Philosophy Graduate Studies Committee may, depending on the student’s prior experience and education, waive requirements (a) and/or (b), and it has the power to replace requirement (d) by requirement

    • (e) Submit a piece of written work of approximately 5,000 words in the area and philosophical style of the proposed thesis.

  • If it waives (a) and (b) and replaces (d) by (e) then the student must complete the requirements by the end of Week 2 of their third term as a Probationer Research Student.

    3. Confirmation of D.Phil. status

    Applications should be accompanied by a thesis outline of about two pages and a piece of written work of approximately 5,000 words, intended as a part of the thesis, in final or near-final draft.

    4. Theses

    M.Litt. theses should not exceed 50,000 words, and D.Phil. theses should not exceed 75,000 words, exclusive of bibliographical references, unless the candidate has, with the support of his or her supervisor, secured the leave of the board to exceed this limit. All candidates when they submit their theses must state the approximate number of words therein both (a) including citations and, if they have been granted permission to count citations separately, (b) excluding citations. Theses exceeding the limit are liable to be returned unexamined for reduction to the proper length. Candidates who have submitted in their final term may be allowed a maximum period of two terms to effect the necessary reduction.]