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Postgraduate Study

About the Faculty of Philosophy

Philosophy has a long tradition in the University, with the Moral Sciences Tripos (renamed 'Philosophy' in 1970) being taught since 1852. Cambridge was the birthplace of 'analytic' philosophy, and the philosophical home of Russell, Moore, Ramsey, Wittgenstein and Anscombe, as well as many other distinguished contributers to the philosophy of the twentieth century. Today the Faculty continues to be a world-class centre for philosophical research. The Philosophy Faculty admits about 15 students a year for the MPhil. They join 20-25 students studying for the PhD and MLitt to form a lively graduate community. A wide range of seminars and informal gatherings ensures that students get to know each other, making the Faculty a friendly, informal and congenial place to work. The Faculty has been extraordinarily successful in placing students in academic jobs and former students have teaching posts in universities throughout the UK and beyond (see Faculty Placement Record).

The Faculty is situated on Sidgwick Avenue, close to many of the Faculties with which is has close links, and the University Library is only 500m away. The Faculty's accommodation includes a Graduate Centre and Common Room, as well as our own Library, holding some 16,000 books and three dozen current journals.

4 courses offered in the Faculty of Philosophy

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is rapidly developing and is increasingly being applied across sectors, posing significant ethical and societal challenges. There is therefore a national and global need to  adequately equip future leaders and decision-makers to address these challenges.

The Masters of Studies in AI Ethics and Society addresses this need. The MSt is an academically rigorous part-time programme aimed at professionals from business, public, and social sectors working with AI. The programme will provide students with the critical skills, knowledge and analytical abilities needed to identify and address ethical challenges as they arise in practice from the application of AI. The MSt will engage with the ethical and societal challenges of AI  and is thoroughly informed by the knowledge, theories and methods of established academic disciplines from philosophy to computer science.

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The MPhil in Ethics of AI, Data and Algorithms is a full-time 9-month course run by the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence. It equips students from a range of backgrounds with the research skills and specialist knowledge to engage critically and constructively with debates on the ethical and societal impacts of AI and other digital technologies, and provides the opportunity to carry out focused research under close supervision by domain experts at the University. Those intending to go on to doctoral work learn the research skills needed to help them prepare a well-planned and focused PhD proposal.

In addition to individual supervisions that support work on essays and dissertation, the taught elements of the course consist of core seminars, which introduce the central topics in AI and data ethics, a range of elective modules covering specialist topics, and work in progress seminars, in which students gain experience in presenting their own work and discussing the issues that arise from it with an audience of their peers and senior members of staff. Students also have the opportunity to attend lectures, research seminars and reading groups across the Centre and the wider University.

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The MPhil in Philosophy is a full-time course, introducing students to the skills needed in philosophical research. Students work with supervisors to write two research essays: the first of up to 4,000 words, the second of up to 8,000 words; and a dissertation of up to 12,000 words. Students also take part as a group in a collaborative weekly seminar, run during Michaelmas and Lent Terms, in which they learn presentation and discussion skills by presenting their own research and by discussing presentations by other students.

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The PhD degree is awarded for an extended thesis which makes a substantial original contribution to learning.

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1 course also advertised in the Faculty of Philosophy

From the Institute of Continuing Education

The post graduate Certificate in Philosophy is a part-time Postgraduate Certificate equivalent to 60 credits at FHEQ level 7. It is undertaken over one year. Students are taught a range of general and subject-specific skills and techniques.


Delivery of the course is via three Units. The Units are structured chronologically—spanning philosophical thought, ancient to modern. The Units are also developmental—discussions in subsequent Units build on and respond to themes discussed in previous Units. The units cover the following three topics:  Ancient Greek Philosophy, Early Modern Philosophy and Existentialism. 

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Department Members

Professor Rae Langton
Chair of Faculty Board

Professor Richard Holton
Director of Postgraduate Studies

  • 13 Academic Staff
  • 13 Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 49 Graduate Students
  • 159 Undergraduates

Research Areas