School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics


What is Philosophy?

In a broad sense, philosophy is an activity people undertake when they seek to understand the world and humanity's place in it. Those who study philosophy are perpetually engaged in asking, answering, and arguing for their answers to life’s most basic questions. As an academic discipline, Philosophy pursues questions that have been of perennial interest to everyone, such as: what is the nature of happiness?  Is the future predetermined?  Is democracy the best form of government?  Is the mind anything more than the brain?

But, contrary to popular myth, the virtues of a Philosophy degree are not only theoretical but practical too.  Through careful and accessible supervision, it teaches students how to think, write and speak with exactness, clarity and imagination, and it helps them to see themselves and the world around them in terms of many different perspectives or points of view. 

Why Study Philosophy at Queen's?

Philosophy at Queen’s offers education, research and scholarship of the highest quality in the major fields of philosophy, aiming to be a centre of philosophical excellence and to provide a friendly and supportive learning environment.  

Our existing degree pathways include:

  • single-honours Philosophy
  • Philosophy and Politics
  • Philosophy and English
  • Philosophy and History
  • Philosophy and Theology 

We are also offer an interdisciplinary programme in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.  Within philosophy, we have strengths from the history of philosophy to the latest philosophical problems, and study opportunities are available in the traditions of analytical philosophy and scholastic philosophy.

Our undergraduate degree includes a wealth of different subject areas and topics.  Amongst these are the ideas and arguments of some of the major philosophers in the history of the subject, encountered in their own writings; some central theories and arguments in the fields of Logic, Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind; some central theories and arguments in the fields of Moral Philosophy; and an awareness of major issues currently at the frontiers of philosophical debate and research.   All our modules are “research-led”, and offer discussion of current major philosophical issues. 

Philosophy at Queen’s has developed a number of international links that allow students - both undergraduate and postgraduate - to study abroad. In particular it has important links to a number of philosophy departments in universities in China.

Fast Facts and Further Information

Degree Awarded:  BA (Hons) Philosophy

Duration: 3 years   

Entry requirement: BBB   

Tuition Fees: Relevant details concerning tuition fees are provided here.

Undergraduate - How to Apply

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3 year(s)




Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences








Politics, International Studies and Philosophy

*Indicative Only. Please see the Course Entry Requirements section for details on subject specific or GCSE requirements.

Joint Undergraduate Degree Courses

English and Philosophy Go to Course
History and Philosophy Go to Course
Philosophy and Politics Go to Course
Theology and Philosophy Go to Course

Postgraduate Research (PHD AND MPHIL)

The School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics welcomes enquiries from students who wish to continue their studies in these subjects with a view to obtaining a higher degree. A graduate may pursue research, on a full-time or part-time basis, and submit a thesis for the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Our School has more postgraduate research students than any other Humanities or Social Sciences subject at Queen's. In recent years many new members of staff have been appointed, substantially increasing the range of research supervision available within the School. All members of staff are qualified to supervise research students. Currently, there are research students dealing with topics on Irish and British history and politics, international relations, European integration, gender, political theory and popular culture, electoral systems and parties, comparative ethnic conflict, the Middle East, and many other areas.

A friendly and supportive atmosphere exists among the postgraduates in the School. Each student is given a primary and a secondary supervisor and is encouraged to consult the members of staff working in his/her area of research. Every year the School runs a series of public lectures with many prominent speakers from academia and practical politics. There also exists a lively postgraduate research seminar series.

The Graduate School

All Postgraduate students will benefit from access to the newly open Graduate School. The Graduate School offers a unique facility for postgraduate students, providing a range of support  ‌servicesincluding training, learning workshops and events to maximise the postgraduate experience here at Queen's. The Graduate School aims to support postgraduates in the development of transferable skills to assist in the succesful completion of their studies and also for use in their future careers. Visit the Graduate School website

PGR Scholarships

Funding opportunities for postgraduate research students

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The school has expertise in a number of areas including Governance and Public Policy, International Relations, Ethnic Conflict, Contemporary Irish History, Political Theory and Philosophy. You are STRONGLY encouraged to familiarize yourself with staff members working in your area of interest in advance of submitting a proposal. Access to the research interests and supervisory areas of the School’s members of staff can be accessed here.


The normal entry requirement consists of the following:

  • AN UNDERGRADUATE DEGREEThe school normally requires an Undergraduate degree of a high 2:2 standard or above, or a 3.3 CGPA or equivalent. The UG degree can be in any area of Politics, International Studies, European Studies or Philosophy, any cognate or related subject area, or any interdisciplinary field crossing any of these relevant areas.
  • A MASTERS DEGREEThe school normally requires a successfully completed taught postgraduate degree (MA), or for candidates to be in the process of completing an MA at the time of application. The MA degree can be in any area of Politics, International Studies, European Studies or Philosophy, any cognate or related subject area, or any interdisciplinary field crossing any of these relevant areas.
  • TWO ACADEMIC REFERENCES: The School requires two good references from academics indicating that the candidate has the intellectual, professional and academic ability to undertake doctoral research.
  • A RESEARCH PROPOSALThe School requires a high quality, viable and original research proposal that will be submitted with the application form. Please note that this is a particularly important part of your application, and will decisively influence the decision about your admission.  If you have consulted with any members of staff within the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, please mention this in your proposal outline as well. The research proposal will be assessed by independent subject-specialists within the School who will comment not only on its quality and originality, but also on the scope of the project and its potential to be completed within the relevant time limit for full-time or part-time students respectively. The research proposal should be 1500 - 2000 words (not including the bibliography) and it should address the following:
    • Research Question: Include a clear statement about your topic and why it is important to study. Different ways to phrase this statement include a research question, a hypothesis to be proven / disproven, a proposition, a problem to be solved, or a research puzzle. Whatever approach you take, you must be absolutely clear about your topic and research area.
    • Research Context & Justification: Include a clear justification as to why this topic is important to study in the general areas of Politics, International Studies or Philosophy, or alongside any interdisciplinary areas your topic covers. This will include a discussion of the research context of your topic, and a statement about one or more of the following: why you think the research is worth doing, what difference you think your research will make, what ‘added value’ your project will bring, and/or why this research excites you.
    • Relevant Literature: Include a brief critical assessment of the existing literature on your topic, covering its strengths and weaknesses. This must show your knowledge and understanding of the key debates, but more importantly, demonstrate an independent view about them. This is where you can identify a ‘gap’ in the existing research (which your project intends to fill) by asking how your work supports or contests the work of others, how it might re-conceptualize the literature, and how this relates to the expertise within the School.
    • Methodology: Include a statement about how you will go about conducting your research. This section will vary significantly depending on the type of project you are working on, for example, more empirical projects may include details about data collection, measurement and analysis (e.g. quantitative or qualitative research methods), whereas more conceptual, theoretical or philosophical projects may include more detail on specific thinkers, traditions or epistemologies. Whatever your project, you must address issues of research design and methodology.
    • Time-Line: Include a brief indication of how you intend to complete the research within the allotted time. You should consider what you will be doing in each year of the project, and separate that into distinct stages (e.g. refining the proposal, literature, research training, field work, analysis, writing up)
    • Bibliography: Include an academic bibliography that supports your claims in the research proposal and demonstrates knowledge of the appropriate field.
  • IELTS SCORE OR 6.5 (where appropriate): All MPhil and PhD candidates must be fully proficient in written and spoken English. Where English is not the primary language, applicants will have to provide an IELTS score of 6.5 to be considered.
  • ACADEMIC FIT: The project must fit within the research expertise of the School so we can provide appropriate, available and suitably qualified staff to supervise the research project (i.e. at least one specialist in the chosen field). In the absence of such staff the application will be rejected for not having the required ‘academic fit’.

For more details on how to apply for a PhD programme click here

For further information, see the University admissions information website .