Research is at the heart of the Philosophy discipline at the OU. Our full-time members of staff are all active researchers, specialising in a range of subjects across the disciplines. Staff regularly work with and consult for other institutions and multimedia broadcasters, particularly concerning value, reasons and norms (metaphysics and mind), and the history of philosophy (particularly the post-Kantian European philosophy.

Recently, members of the discipline have conducted research on a diverse range of topics, including Helene Metzger (a French philosopher of Chemistry); how our roles link to our responsibilities; ‘epiphanies’ (instant moments of insight); ethical issues connected with sport; the philosophy of Nietzsche; ethics of space exploration; ‘engineering’ our concepts so as to help us think more clearly; the capacity of art to give us knowledge; and the nature of mental states such as perception, imagination and belief, cultural evolution and the use of social categories such as race in the life sciences.

Key facts

  • Competitive Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership studentships available.
  • Annual dedicated Graduate Student research conference.
  • Frequent research talks and seminars held, including those sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy.
  • Established record of attracting research funding.
  • Philosophy’s academics are internationally renowned – they regularly publish books and research articles with top international publishers and journals, present their research at national and international conferences, and several have held visiting research positions at other universities.


Most of our full-time research students are based at our Milton Keynes campus; for details of residence requirements for different modes of study see Full-time study and Part-time study.


Being a research student at The Open University will entitle you to membership of the OU Library, which has a huge range of philosophy journals and books both online and in the library on campus.



Find your research topic

Explore specific areas of research, current and prospective projects, entry requirements, fees and funding, available supervisors, how to apply and contact details for advice.


Continental philosophy


Feminism and philosophy of sex and gender

History of philosophy

History of philosophy of science

Philosophy of mind and language

Philosophy of science

Philosophy of sport

Political philosophy