Philosophy MPhilStud

Why choose this course?

Studies begin with a module on Kant and his legacy. You then choose five optional modules. Choices include foundational texts and thinkers of the modern European tradition (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger) and 20th- and 21st-century philosophy and critical theory, including psychoanalysis.

You will prepare your dissertation (25,000–30,000 words), working closely with a supervisor, using a method of working modelled on PhD supervision, which provides excellent preparation for PhD study. You will attend philosophical research methods seminars and participate in reading groups related to your dissertation and interests.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 2 years 2 days a week September 2024
Part time 4 years 1 day a week September 2024
Main location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • This is the only MPhilStud in continental philosophy in the UK.
  • You will be able to study in more depth and with a more intense research focus than a one-year MA.
  • You will be based at the UK's Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University and be part of a large community of philosophy postgraduates. 

The Art School Experience

As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.

Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines, enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.

Two students collaborate on a design project.

What you will study

Studies begin with a compulsory module on Kant and his legacy, though you can choose whether to focus on his first critique, The Critique of Pure Reason, or his third, The Critique of the Power of Judgement.

You will then choose five modules covering some of the foundational texts and thinkers of the modern European tradition (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger) and 20th and 21st-century philosophy and critical theory, including psychoanalysis.

You can choose from a wide range of module options, balanced by a shared central core of texts, concepts and problems.

Over two years of study full-time (or four years part-time), you'll take one core taught module worth 30 credits (either Kant and his Legacy or Kant and the Aesthetic Tradition), and then choose five other 30-credit modules from the full range of options offered by the CRMEP over two years, before preparing a substantial 25,000 to 30,000-word dissertation (worth 180 credits).


Additional year

Throughout the degree, you'll attend content-based philosophical research methods seminars, which are specific to the MPhilStud. You'll begin preparing your dissertation (25,000 - 30,000 words) in Year 2, with close support, modelled on PhD supervision. Assessment of the dissertation includes a viva voce examination.

In addition, you will be encouraged to organise and run reading groups around your own interests and on topics related to your dissertation.

Year 1: Core modules (choose one)

Kant and his Legacy

30 credits

This module provides students with a grounding in Kant's philosophy, through detailed study of the Critique of Pure Reason and its competing interpretations. The module presents Kant's critical project as an historical and conceptual basis for the understanding of subsequent European philosophy as a whole.

Kant and the Aesthetic Tradition

30 credits

This module provides an introduction to the tradition of philosophical aesthetics through a detailed study of its founding text, Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgement.

Final year: Core modules

MPhilStud in Philosophy Dissertation

180 credits

This module guides students through an intensive and detailed research-based study of their chosen topic, over a period of none months (for a full-time student) resulting in a substantial dissertation of 25,000-30,000 words, under the guidance of an appropriate supervisor. The module includes a content-based series of philosophical methods classes, peer-led reading groups and presentation seminars.

Optional modules (These vary from year to year)

Art Theory: Modernism, Avant-Garde, Contemporary

30 credits

Based on a study of artists' texts, art criticism, art history and philosophical writings on art, this module comprises a critical examination of the legacy and possibilities of modernist and avant-garde criticism in contemporary art theory. As well as introducing you to some of the major texts and ideas in these traditions of art theory and art criticism, the modules aims to enable you to reflect critically on works of contemporary art in the light of your study.

Critique, Practice, Power

30 credits

A historical and philosophical introduction to the two main 20th-century traditions of Critical Theory: the Frankfurt School and French anti-humanism. After several works devoted to Kant's conception of freedom and practical philosophy, the module focuses on competing conceptions of critique, practice and empowerment, in, for example, Marx, Lukács, Adorno and Horkheimer, Althusser, Foucault, and one or two more recent thinkers (e.g. Badiou or Rancière).

Hegel and his Legacy

30 credits

Through our reading of the Phenomenology of Spirit, we will focus on the issue of understanding, more specifically of philosophical understanding. In the Preface, Hegel states that "philosophical writings" "have to be read over and over before they can be understood" (§63). Which specific mental, cognitive and affective operations does such a rereading imply? According to Hegel, our understanding (Verstand) is not, as a faculty, able to give us access to the "concept" (Begriff). What is it that our understanding does not understand? Through despair, doubt, skepticism and pain produced by the resistance of the philosophical statement, something appears — spirit. "Spirit that appears", such is the meaning of the title Phenomenology of Spirit, such is also the name of the proper philosophical understanding: revelation.

German Critical Theory

30 credits

This module involves guided study of two or three major works of twentieth-century German critical theory or philosophy, focusing each year on the work of two or more related thinkers, such as Benjamin, Adorno, Horkheimer, Habermas, Sloterdijk. Indicative topics include: critique of enlightenment, philosophy of history, the non-identical, dialectics, materialism, reification, freedom, communicative reason and the philosophical response to the Shoah.

Nietzsche and Heidegger

30 credits

This module offers students an opportunity to study major works by Nietzsche and Heidegger. In particular it considers the relationship between Nietzsche's critique of metaphysics as the manifestation of an ascetic 'will to truth' and Heidegger's project of 'dismantling' and 'overcoming' metaphysics in light of a renewal of the question of being.

Philosophy and Psychoanalysis

30 credits

Each year this module focusses on a study of a different selection of Freud's major and minor works, mining them for their philosophical significance and reflecting on the implications of psychoanalysis for philosophy, particularly in relation to the philosophical notion of the subject. Where appropriate the module will discuss the critical development of this theoretical framework by psychoanalysts such as Jacques Lacan and Jean Laplanche, its reception and deployment in the tradition of Freudo-Marxist critical theory, and the theoretical transformation and political critique of Freudian theory in feminist and queer theory.

Plasticity and Form

30 credits

This module aims to investigate, via the concept of plasticity, the relations between 'thought' and 'form, that have structured certain central aspects of nineteenth and twentieth-century 'continental' philosophy. Each year, these relations are studied from a different point of view, and in relation to different thinkers. Thinkers covered might include Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault and Derrida. Each year the locus of study might include broad areas such as 'writing' (in Derrida's sense), 'literature' (Dichtung), 'habit', and 'trace'.

Political Philosophy

30 credits

This module involves guided study of one or more major works of modern political philosophy. Texts and themes vary from year to year, but possible topics include: power, class, the state, sovereignty, government, organisation, institution, constitution, representation, democracy, ideology, property, mode of production, capitalism, colonialism, slavery, violence, subjection, nature, citizenship, law, rights, difference, justice, legitimacy, insurrection, insurgency, revolution, resistance, and so on. Approaches to the material will be filtered through contemporary debates in European philosophy and critical theory, with reference to figures like Agamben, Foucault, Negri or Rancière; primary texts may include canonical works by Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, as well as material associated with major political sequences like the revolutions in France, the Americas, Russia, Cuba, and so on, or with more recent sequences like the anti-colonial struggles, May 68, or social mobilisations around questions of race, sex, class, debt, etc. 

Recent French Philosophy

30 credits

This module involves guided study of two or three major works of twentieth-century French philosophy, focusing each year on the work of two related thinkers. Possible topics include: Sartre or de Beauvoir's existentialism, Levinasian ethics, Merleau-Ponty's theory of embodied perception, Foucault's theory of power, Derrida's practice of deconstruction, Deleuze's conception of difference, Badiou's concepts of the subject and truth.

Recent Italian Philosophy

30 credits

This module involves guided study of a selection of major works of post-war Italian philosophy, focusing each year on the work of two or more related thinkers. The module will explore the tension in Italian philosophy between the claims of theology and radical politics, one expressed in the turn to bio-philosophy and bio-politics during the 1990s. Thinkers studied include Agamben, Cacciari, Negri  and Esposito. Topics will include: the place of contemporary Italian philosophy with respect to the history of philosophy, its place with respect to French and German philosophy, political theology, time, bio-philosophy and bio-politics. 

Planetary Aesthetics

30 credits

This module studies the emergence of a planetary aesthetic in contemporary art theory and practice. Including a critical assessment of the concepts of 'nature', 'earth', 'globe' and 'planet', it addresses both conservationist and interventionist aesthetic theories and art practices in both environmental art and activism. In this module students assess the extent to which planetary aesthetics poses a coherent and reasoned challenge to received understandings of the art object, artistic subjectivity and environmental art.

Modes of Subjection

30 credits

Beginning with John Locke and Immanuel Kant, this module investigates the philosophical genealogy of the concept of the subject and its related terms, including subjection, subjectivity and subjectivation. We then study various twentieth- and twenty-first-century articulations of some historical modes of ‘subjection' and ‘subjectivation', especially in their racial and sexual configurations. Thinkers studied include W.E.B. Du Bois, Michel Foucault, Frantz Fanon, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Sylvia Wynter, Judith Butler and Simone de Beauvoir.

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the work placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's Student Route visa.

Invoicing on the placement courses is split into two stages. The standard course fee is payable in Year 1 with the placement fee invoiced in Year 2. This amount will only be charged to your account after you find a placement and are enrolled on the module. You will not be charged this fee if you do not manage to secure a work placement.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Please note

Optional modules only run if there is enough demand. If we have an insufficient number of students interested in an optional module, that module will not be offered for this course.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

A 2:2 or above honours degree in Philosophy.

Applicants with academic qualifications in other subjects, or relevant work experience, will be considered on an individual basis.


All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each element. Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.

Applicants from one of the recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Teaching and assessment

The course is delivered through relatively small seminars, which involve a mixture of structured lectures or presentations, textual analysis, and group discussion.

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

Type of teaching and learning

  • Year 1: 9% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Year 1

Year 1
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 326 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1274 hours

Please note: the above breakdowns are a guide calculated on core modules only. Depending on optional modules chosen, this breakdown may change.

How you will be assessed

You'll be assessed through short exercises, essays, independent study, and a 25,000-word dissertation.

For this course you will be assessed almost entirely on submitted coursework (i.e. there are no exams, and no assessed oral presentations or practical components, apart from the viva voce exam that follows submission of your dissertation).

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 100%

Please note: the above breakdowns are a guide calculated on core modules only. Depending on optional modules chosen, this breakdown may change.

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this challenging course normally enrols 6 to 8 students and module group sizes are normally 8 to 15 (plus other students who might be sitting in). However this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

This course is taught by leading specialists at the internationally renowned Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy. Postgraduate students may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Since its inception in 1994, the CRMEP has developed a national and international reputation for teaching and research in the field of post-Kantian European philosophy, characterised by a strong emphasis on broad cultural and intellectual contexts and a distinctive sense of social and political engagement.

In each of the last two research assessment exercises, RAE 2008 and REF2014, 65% of the research activities of the CRMEP were judged 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent', with 25% of its outputs for REF2014 judged 'world-leading'.

Fees for this course

2025/26 fees for this course

Home 2025/26

  • MPhilStud full time £10,300
  • MPhilStud part time £5,665

International 2025/26

  • MPhilStud full time £18,700
  • MPhilStud part time £10,285

2024/25 fees for this course

Home 2024/25

  • MPhilStud full time £9,900
  • MPhilStud part time £5,445

International 2024/25

  • MPhilStud full time £17,900
  • MPhilStud part time £9,845

Tuition fee information for future course years

If you start your second year straight after Year 1, you will pay the same fee for both years.

If you take a break before starting your second year, or if you repeat modules from Year 1 in Year 2, the fee for your second year may increase.

Funding and bursaries

The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) is pleased to announce a special CRMEP MA scholarship for a full-time student for the academic year 2020-2021.

The award is to the value of £9,900 (equivalent to UK/EU fees + £3,000 expenses). It is open to applicants to all of our postgraduate programmes.

Application is via the standard process, with the addition of a Statement in Support of Application for the Scholarship.

All applicants are also welcome to apply for one of Kingston's Annual Fund Scholarships, worth £3,000.

International students can also apply for an International Scholarship, worth £2,000.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.


Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.


Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.


The campus at Penrhyn Road is a hive of activity, housing the main student restaurant, the extensive library, learning resources centre and a host of teaching rooms and lecture theatres.

The library, in our fantastic new Town House, provides books, journals, computers and a range of learning environments organised into silent, quiet and group study zones. It has long opening hours with 24-hour opening during key teaching weeks (October to June). The large Learning Cafe on the top floor serves light snacks and drinks.

At the heart of Penrhyn Road campus is the John Galsworthy building, a six-storey complex that brings together lecture theatres, flexible teaching space and information technology suites around a landscaped courtyard.

After you graduate

Graduates often progress to research degrees in European philosophy and critical theory or to careers in media, journalism, publishing, the arts, education and public policy.

What our students say

I am not a typical Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) student. I began my course of part-time study on the Modern European Philosophy MPhilStud in 2015 following retirement from a long career in teaching. My original degree at Cambridge was History/Social and Political Science. Since then I have developed an interest in continental philosophy. Retirement gave me the time and opportunity to study the subject more seriously.

I chose to study at Kingston because the syllabus suited my particular interests. A strong emphasis on Kant and Hegel combined with the opportunity to cover a wide range of C20 (and even C21) philosophy was a big plus. I was also aware that CRMEP enjoys a reputation as the leading centre for European Philosophy in the UK and one of the leading centres internationally. This is reflected in the diversity of the student body who are drawn from across Europe and the world.

The main reason for this success is undoubtedly the excellent teaching. Teaching staff are internationally recognised leaders in their areas of philosophical research. They also take their teaching responsibilities very seriously. The approach to classes – two-and-a-half-hour sessions combining lectures, discussion and questions – is one that suits me particularly well. In addition, individual tutorials support students with termly essay assignments. The support that is provided to each class by an attached PhD student is also valuable, as are the additional research support classes and the ambitious programme of public lectures.

The approach to postgraduate philosophical study at Kingston is rigorous, challenging and demanding, which is exactly what I was looking for. For any student with a similar approach the rewards and the opportunities are great. The student group is not only diverse in terms of background and nationality, but also welcoming, intellectually both knowledgeable and very able (sometimes frighteningly so for me!) and committed.

Henry Jones

Links with business, industry and the research environment

The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) organises regular research seminars, conferences or workshops each year.

Research seminars are usually held every fortnight during term time; recent speakers have included:

  • Giorgio Agamben (University of Paris 8);
  • Andrew Benjamin (Monash University);
  • Barbara Cassin (CNRS);
  • Donna Haraway (University of California, Santa Cruz);
  • Stephen Houlgate (University of Warwick);
  • Kojin Karatani (Columbia University);
  • Quentin Meillassoux (École Normale Supérieure);
  • Isabelle Stengers (Université Libre de Bruxelles); and
  • Slavoj Zizek (Institute for Social Studies Ljubljana).

Research areas

This Philosophy MPhilStud course is taught by internationally recognised specialists at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), which has a national and international reputation for teaching and research in the field of post-Kantian European philosophy.

In each of the last two research assessment exercises, RAE 2008 and REF2014, 65% of the research activities of the CRMEP were judged 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent', with 25% of its outputs for REF2014 judged 'world-leading'.

Our research areas include:

  • modern European philosophy from the late eighteenth century to the present;
  • Kant, Hegel, and German Idealism;
  • Marx and Marxism;
  • Frankfurt School critical theory;
  • philosophies of time and history;
  • critical philosophy of race;
  • conceptions of transdisciplinarity;
  • aesthetics, art theory and cultural theory;
  • philosophical and political approaches to contemporary art;
  • philosophy and the visual arts;
  • recent and contemporary French philosophy;
  • recent Italian political philosophy;
  • globalisation, post-colonial theory, contemporary politics;
  • contemporary philosophies of sex and gender;
  • feminist philosophy; and
  • philosophical approaches to psychoanalysis.

Course changes and regulations

The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.

Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.

Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.