MRes Philosophy

"My time as an Mres student in philosophy exceeded my expectations. The faculty was outstanding and in equal measure academically stimulating and supportive"

In their words

Hoskuldur Olafsson, MRes graduate

Based on tailor-made study programmes and one-to-one supervision, this course provides a bespoke gateway to philosophical research. In consultation with tutors, you will design your programme of study; you may specialise in an area that you hope to continue at PhD level, or range across a variety of fields within philosophy and at its borders with adjacent disciplines.

In the autumn you will take a seminar module exploring methodology and epistemology in relation to a variety of philosophical traditions. You will take three other modules of research-based essay work, with one-on-one guidance and tutorials. These allow you to explore topics that interest you and investigate potential areas for your dissertation.

A year-long programme of workshops shared with the PhD students allows you to develop your skills in presenting your research, and help you grasp what it is like to work on a PhD. You will finish by writing a dissertation in which you can develop an original idea.


The MRes Philosophy degree is a 12-month taught programme tailored to developing your talents as an individual researcher, and building your relations with existing research staff and research groups in philosophy. In all areas of our distinctive research profile, we can offer supervision by established or emerging research leaders in the field.

Philosophy at UEA is a dynamic and friendly department with a distinctive research profile. We will provide an ideal environment in which your philosophical research can be nurtured and your philosophical voice can emerge. The MRes degree enables you to work on taught essay modules with more than one member of staff and to sample different areas of our work – guided always by your own interests and enthusiasms – before choosing a topic for your dissertation.

Our particular research strengths are varied and catholic they include work in philosophy of mind and language, political philosophy and philosophy of the social sciences, ethics, environmental philosophy and a range of methodological issues to do with different styles and approaches to the philosophical task. We encourage interdisciplinary work: at UEA we have a large concentration of experts working on the links between philosophy and literature and film, and on the borders of philosophy and linguistics, political science, environmental science, mathematics and economics, and classical studies/ancient science.

We enjoy excellent relationships with world-leading departments in these related areas (including literature and creative writing, politics and environmental sciences). As well as ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, phenomenology and the history of analytic philosophy, we are a leading centre of excellence for research on Wittgenstein.

We host a rich programme of research seminars, including distinguished visiting speakers, a weekly graduate research workshop, and various specialist reading groups. These add to the vibrancy of Philosophy at UEA and make it easy for newcomers to blend into the research community, forming easy relations with the PhD students and postdoctoral researchers as well as academic staff.

Course structure

The Master of Research is a taught programme, featuring four modules plus a workshop and a dissertation. That is, it is not a ‘Master’s by Research’, but a preparation for research, with a focus on training in good research habits. The aim is to prepare you for future independent research, and to give you the time and space to find a topic for further research, especially with a view to applying for the PhD.

During the autumn, a compulsory module explores different approaches and methodologies that figure in the various traditions of Western philosophy. The other modules are guided study and essay-writing with a supervisor. These involve matching your interests as far as possible with an available expert in the department, with whom you will agree on a sequence of tutorial deadlines. The typical procedure is that your tutor agrees an essay topic with you, then you research and write your essay for a deadline two weeks later. After you submit the essay, you will attend a tutorial to receive feedback, discuss and agree the next assignment, and so on (much like the Oxbridge teaching system).

In the first term you work with one tutor, and in the second term with two, working on two different areas or topics. For assessment you submit two of the essays you have written for each module, after revisions in light of the tutor’s comments.

In addition to the four taught modules, you will take part in a year-long research training workshop, where you and other students will give presentations and discuss your ideas with the PhD students and the taught MA students. From May to September, you write a substantial dissertation on a topic of your choice, agreed in consultation with the Course Director and under the guidance of a supervisor.

It is possible to replace a supervised study module with an appropriate taught MA module, or to work with your tutor on language training along with your essay work (for example, developing your ability in ancient Greek or German).

Skills and experience

As part of this course you will benefit from a rich programme of frequent research events, from the Wittgenstein workshop and specialist reading groups on topics ranging from ancient philosophy to philosophy of mathematics, to the regular Thursday seminar at which visiting academics deliver papers in all branches of philosophy, after which graduates can meet the speaker in the bar or over dinner. A highlight of the week is the postgraduate workshop, a friendly and supportive forum for developing embryonic ideas and testing polished work.


Your result will be based on your marks in all the components of the programme. You will be assessed on your four taught modules, which are 20 credits each, and the research training workshop and the dissertation module, which together comprise 100 credits. So, just over half of the final mark will rest on the workshop and dissertation. For the dissertation module you prepare a 12,000–15,000-word dissertation over the summer under the guidance of a supervisor, on a subject approved by the Course Director. You must pass all the components of the course separately.

Course tutors and research interests

Our teaching is informed by cutting-edge research and practice and we believe that active researchers make the best lecturers. Our lecturers’ specialised research is made the central focus of all of our postgraduate modules, which means that you benefit from a direct insight into some of the liveliest philosophical issues and debates. We offer a distinctive research environment, with an interdisciplinary outlook and a focus on methodological and metaphilosophical reflection.

We are a leading centre for research on Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Research interests of our staff include: philosophy of language and linguistics; philosophy and social science; environmental philosophy; metaphilosophy; philosophy of literature, film and the arts; Wittgenstein and the Wittgensteinian tradition; and ancient philosophy.

Much of our research integrates topical and historical research, and engages with influential contributions from all key periods of Western philosophy. You are welcome to discuss your research plans with academic staff. For contact details and research interests go to:

Where next?

Since the programme is particularly geared to developing your independence, initiative, personal time management and ability to work with a mentor, it also provides an excellent preparation for many kinds of careers and training schemes.

You will develop many intellectual skills on this course, including the ability to express yourself clearly and articulately, structure an argument, conduct rigorous reasoning and analysis, be aware of critical distance, interpret texts carefully, and empathise with different ways of thinking.

Our graduates go on to work in professions including higher education, computing, politics, teaching, journalism and the media. As a research student, you will be offered a variety of workshops and sessions focused on career development, including opportunities for teaching and attending conferences.

Course Modules 2017/8

Students must study the following modules for 180 credits:

Name Code Credits


The module provides commencing graduate students with the methodological foundations for independent philosophical research. Consideration will be given to traditional and contemporary issues and the ways of approaching them that are characteristic of various traditions and styles and genres of philosophy. We shall also consider questions about the nature and scope of philosophy, its role in solving or diagnosing puzzles/confusions in its own and other disciplines, the place of literature and literary examples in philosophical argument, and questions about its relation to empirical sciences. The module is taught in a weekly seminar. The two 3000-word essays are on individually assigned topics reflecting the needs or interests of each student. The summative assessment is on the basis of a single package, comprising these two essays revised, in the light of feedback, for the final submission. This module is geared to the needs of students on the MRes in Philosophy and on the MA in Philosophy and Literature. Students on other MA/MSc programmes are welcome, but please consult the module organiser, since you will need some prior experience in philosophy (ideally a first degree in the subject, preferably including both analytic and continental approaches) or a serious commitment to mastering a range of diverse approaches in contemporary philosophy, some of them quite technical.




This is the dissertation component of the MRes degree in Philosophy, together with a preliminary weekly workshop which guides students towards the research skills required for doing well at independent work in philosophy. Students participate in the workshop during the two teaching semesters, presenting and discussing each other's work and engaging in the collaborative tasks associated with becoming a critical and collegial member of the research community. They then complete a dissertation proposal at the end of the Spring semester, with a view to being accepted to work with their chosen supervisor on a dissertation topic of their choice. Students complete the dissertation of 12,000 to 15,000 words over the summer.




This module is taken as the second supervised study module, by students who are taking two such modules in the Spring semester, either in the same year or in successive years. It provides for supervised study on the same model as Supervised Study module 1, or it may also include (wholly or partly) training in language skills for original research (e.g. Ancient Greek, German), in which case language exercises and/or translation tasks may replace some or all of the essay work. Training in logic may also take this form.




The module is designed to train the student in research techniques in philosophy and to develop advanced knowledge and understanding in some clearly defined area of the discipline which may or may not have been studied before, eg. at BA level. The student is assigned to work with a tutor with research expertise in the chosen area. The topics covered, and the manner in which they are covered, will be tailored to the student's prior experience in the field. Three essay questions, with bibliographical research, will be set for work during the semester, to be submitted as formative work to set deadlines (one essay to be submitted prior to each tutorial). Assessment is by submission of revised versions of two out of the three formative essays.




The module is designed to train the student in research techniques in philosophy and to develop advanced knowledge and understanding in some clearly defined area of the discipline which may or may not have been studied before, eg. at BA level. The student is assigned to work with a tutor with research expertise in the chosen area. The topics covered, and the manner in which they are covered, will be tailored to the student's prior experience in the field. Three essay questions, with bibliographical research, will be set for work during the semester, to be submitted as formative work to set deadlines (one essay to be submitted prior to each tutorial). Assessment is by submission of revised versions of two out of the three formative essays. MRes students must take this as the first module in the Spring semester of the programme.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

  • Power of Thought

    Philosopher Dr Eugen Fischer and psychologist Dr Paul Engelhardt are pioneering the use of psycholinguistic methods in philosophy.

    Read it Power of Thought
  • Are Some Risks Too Big To Take?

    As human capability reaches the point where we think we can remould the fundamentals of nature itself, what's guiding us – and how can we avoid becoming the architects of our own extinction?

    Read it Are Some Risks Too Big To Take?

    Your University questions, answered

    Read it #ASKUEA

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Philosophy or a related subject
  • Degree Classification UK BA (Hons) 2.1 or equivalent
  • Special Entry Requirements A 3000 word essay from your previous degree should be uploaded to your online application.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

 We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum 6.0 listening, 6.0 speaking, 7.0 writing and 6.0 reading)
  • PTE (Pearson): 68 (minimum 55 listening, 55 speaking, 68 writing and 55 reading)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact


This course's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact university directly for further information.


All applications for postgraduate study are processed through the Faculty Admissions Office and then forwarded to the relevant School of Study for consideration. If you are currently completing your first degree or have not yet taken a required English language test, any offer of a place will be conditional upon you achieving this before you arrive.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2018/19 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,550
  • International Students: £15,800

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.

Scholarships and Awards:

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has a number of Scholarships and Awards. For further information relevant to Philosophy, please click here.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

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    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515