Postgraduate Opportunities in Philosophy

This online chat event is designed to inform prospective postgraduate students, applicants and offer-holders about study opportunities in Philosophy.

The Department of Philosophy is home to a dynamic and friendly community of staff and students, pursuing original research on a wide range of topics. The Department offers a variety of forward-thinking postgraduate programmes and research opportunities:

Helen Ryland (a current PhD student in Philosophy) and Richard Swain (part of the postgraduate recruitment team in the College of Arts and Law) are available from 12:00 – 13:00 to answer any questions you might have about the courses and studying in the department.

A number of our postgraduate mentors have studied in the department of Philosophy. You are welcome to ask them any questions you have about what it’s like to study in the Department through our online portal.

More information about postgraduate study in the Department of Philosophy

View related Virtual Tour

Speaker profiles

  • Helen Ryland

    Helen is currently studying a PhD in Philosophy in the College of Arts and Law. (Live Q&A 12:00-13:00)

  • Richard Swain

    Richard is part of the Postgraduate Recruitment Team for the College of Arts and Law. (Live Q&A 12:00-13:00)

Q&A Archive

These were the questions asked during the Postgraduate Opportunities in Philosophy live event.
Bernardo Vargas asked:

Do you know if any of you peers are researching a topic in aesthetics?

Helen Ryland replied:

As far as I know, there are no current PhDs researching aesthetics.

We’ve come to the end of our Q&A session today. Thank you very much to everyone who took part – I hope we managed to be of assistance and provide the information that you were looking for.

We will hold many more of these online chat events over the coming months so please check www.pg.bham.ac.uk now and again to see what we’ve got lined up for the future. If you’d like to visit our campus (in real life!), our next Postgraduate Open Day will take place on 23 November 2019. We also run bespoke campus tours throughout term time and Cafés at which you can meet current students.

Bernardo Vargas asked:

In regards to my previous question about approaching your research, how do your advisors help you with your research? For example, do they guide your reading? Thanks!

Helen Ryland replied:

I have a supervisory team (1 lead supervisor and 2 co-supervisors) and I meet with at least one of them on a monthly basis. For each supervision meeting, I produce a section of work which my supervisors will read and comment on, and in their commentary they may suggest further readings or approaches that it might be useful to consider.

However, at PhD level, it is assumed that the PhD researcher will be more independent, so will find their own readings etc. So, supervisors will look at the research ideas/ reading lists etc that you have independently devised, and comment on these, but they will not (generally) give you a reading list etc.

Bernardo Vargas asked:

How did you pick your an advisor?

Richard Swain replied:

Once you have identified the subject area that you want to research, we recommend that you contact a member of staff with appropriate expertise to discuss your proposed research. You can view our Philosophy supervisors’ research interests here – this will take you to a list of staff profiles and their contact details.

Please contact only one member of staff in the first instance. If necessary, we will redirect your email to a member of staff with expertise more directly relevant to your proposed research. If you are unsure which member of staff to approach, please contact the programme’s Admissions Tutor (Dr Nicholas Jones) for advice.

Bernardo Vargas asked:

What are the pros and cons of doing the PhD by papers and vice versa for PhD Thesis? (Which route are you currently pursuing?)

Helen Ryland replied:

I am doing a standard PhD thesis (though I know students who are doing the PhD by papers). There are no cons to pursuing either option. Which route you opt for is really down to your preference, research style, how you want to approach your research topic, and what format fits best with your research topic/research ideas. I chose the standard PhD thesis because, to generate my new argument, I needed to discuss and challenge existing accounts, and this seemed to work better (on stylistic grounds) across a singe, large thesis. Others have chosen to do the PhD by papers because they want to examine different aspects of a single topic, and this can be done very well via a series of papers.