PhD program

The Research School of Social Sciences is home to one of the best Philosophy programs in the world. It is currently ranked 1st in Oceania and 5th worldwide

It offers both Master’s and PhD studies in a wide range of areas of philosophy. In both cases, the principal focus of graduate training in the School of Philosophy is on training students to engage in original philosophical research.

Students typically arrive with a strong grounding in philosophy overall, and they leave with a thesis which establishes them as an expert. Master’s students may go on to pursue PhD studies at ANU or elsewhere. And our PhD students typically go on to careers as academic researchers, though many also pursue non-academic careers. 

The Master of Philosophy degree is up to 2 years full-time or 4 years part-time and culminates with a thesis of up to 60,000 words. The PhD takes up to 4 years full-time or 8 years part-time. Master’s students work under the direction of a primary supervisor and at least one associate supervisor, while PhD students have a primary supervisor and at least two associate supervisors.

Philosophy HDR students take eight 6-week Foundations seminar modules over the course of 2 years. This coursework provides students with deep knowledge of major philosophical debates and helps introduce them to research methods in philosophy. 

Higher degree research (HDR) students thrive in ANU’s unique culture of collegiality and collaboration. Outside of supervision, they talk philosophy with world-leading scholars and fellow HDR students at twice-daily teatimes, regular reading groups, and weekly research talks. In this way, ANU Philosophy HDR students develop not only into experts on their thesis topics, but also into philosophers of great breadth and scope.



Students should begin by considering our areas of research and possible supervisors. They can contact potential supervisors directly or contact the HDR convener to recommend suitable supervisors.

To apply, students must secure the agreement of a primary supervisor and write a 2-5 page thesis proposal. The proposal should include the main research question, the significance of the topic, the background of the debate, and the approach that will be taken in the thesis. A student’s thesis may change in ways both small and large during the course of their degree, but a strong initial thesis proposal provides a firm foundation on which to build.

Information about applications and scholarships can be found here

Postgraduate Research Top-Up Scholarship for Advancing Women in Philosophy

The School of Philosophy is offering a supplementary stipend scholarship ($4,000 p.a. for three years maximum) to an outstanding woman commencing PhD studies in the School.

No separate application is required as all eligible students in any given PhD admission round will be automatically considered.



Updated:  18 August 2023/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications