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PhD in Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy at UCC has a reputation for high-quality research across the subject. The Department has 9 full-time faculty (academic staff), offering a wide variety of expertise.  See the list of staff and their expertise below, and on the Staff pages.

We have an active postgraduate community and internationally renowned staff who set the agenda and break new ground in their respective fields. Teaching and supervision are informed by the latest research, and we are proud of the contributions made by our postgraduates to the department's vibrant research culture.  PhD students are expected to take an active part in our departmental life, and we provide guided seminars and other mentoring opportunities to develop research, publishing, career-development, and teaching skills. The department has been able to provide partial funding to help students travel to conferences where they are presenting, or to perform similar kinds of professional-development activities.

Our annual event line-up includes an exciting seminar/colloquium and conference programme, and we have regular seminars in political philosophy, moral psychology, philosophy and health, philosophy of mind, applied philosophy and philosophy of economics. Our funded research projects provide students with an opportunity to gain experience in a wider research context:

  • Philosophy in Schools and related joint project with The Collaborative (Canada) 
  • Political Philosophy Looks to Antarctica – Territorial Rights, Climate Change and International Legal Theory applied to the ocean and landmasses of the Antarctic. Funded by the Norwegian Research Council, 2017-2020. 
  • Students who have or who develop competence with statistical model coding and estimation in r or Stata have participated in experimental / behavioural research funded by the Center for Economic Analysis of Risk (CEAR) (Georgia State University) and CEAR Africa (University of Cape Town)
  • C.D. Broad's Philosophy of Mind – a project intended both to outline and defend Broad’s theory of “emergence” in philosophy of mind, and more generally to reinvigorate and disseminate his lamentably neglected work. Funded by the University of Cambridge and the Templeton Foundation, 2016-2017.
  • Territory and Rivers – Territorial rights and global justice theories applied to international rivers. Funded by the IRC, 2014-2015.


Course Structure

The PhD takes a minimum of three years, and the typical student takes four years to complete.  It culminates in the production of a high quality research dissertation.

For full details, see the PhD Philosophy Handbook 2023-24


How to Apply

The Department welcomes applications from all well–qualified applicants. Admission to the programme is highly competitive. A successful applicant will have a strong background and demonstrated track record of excellence in philosophy. Applicants must secure the approval of a supervisor whose research interests coincide with the proposed PhD project.

For full details on the application procedure, see the PhD Philosophy Handbook 2023-24

Dr. Bengt Autzen - Philosophy of science, particularly the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of medicine; formal epistemology.

Dr. Vittorio Bufacchi - Political philosophy, especially human rights, social justice, structural injustice, theories of violence, just war theory; Applied ethics. 

Dr. Jason Dockstader - History of philosophy; Comparative philosophy; Metaethics; Moral psychology 

Dr. Adam Loughnane -  Comparative philosophy, especially phenomenological and aesthetic European (Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger) and Asian traditions (Nishida, Dōgen, Buddhism, Daoism); Artistic/linguistic expression; Faith; Apophasis; Non-duality; Motor-perception; Intercultural philosophical methodology. 

Dr. Kian Mintz-Woo - Applied ethics (especially climate and medical ethics, such as climate policy in the context of COVID-19); metaethics (especially moral ontology); philosophy of science (especially philosophy of economics and climate science); political philosophy (especially the role of moral experts in society, public communication and political philosophy methodology).

Prof. Don Ross - Philosophy of economics; Economic experiments; Risk; Addiction; Evolution of sociality and selfhood in humans and other animals; Scientific metaphysics. 

Dr. Alessandro Salice - Philosophy of Mind, especially collective intentionality, emotion theory, psychopathology, social cognition; Phenomenology, especially early phenomenology and the Brentano School; 

Dr. Joel Walmsley - Philosophy of cognitive science, especially Artificial Intelligence, Dynamical Systems Theory and 4E cognition; Philosophy of science, especially the concept of explanation; Philosophy of mind, especially emergence, reductionism and the "extended mind" hypothesis; C.D. Broad, and cognitive biases in motive attribution.


The Philosophy Department strives to support its students with different kinds of funding opportunities. Many students are supported throughout their PhD experience through studentships paying part or all of their tuition and fees.  However, all funding is competitive, and the department cannot guarantee funding.

There a number of internal and external funding opportunities available. For more information, see PhD Philosophy Handbook 2023-24

Department of Philosophy

2,3 & 4 Elderwood, College Road, Cork