St Patricks Pontifical University Maynooth


The principal requirement for the award of the Doctorate in Philosophy (DPhil) is a major dissertation which proves the candidate’s capacity for scientific investigation and which makes a real contribution to philosophy. Candidates may also be required to follow a specified range of qualifying courses. Candidates for the DPhil must have achieved a grade of at least Magna cum Laude / Second Class Honours, Grade I / B in the LPhil or its equivalent.

Non-EU students should contact for guidance on their application.

The DPhil is the highest academic achievement the graduate student can attain. It introduces the student to high level systematic research in philosophy, and upon completion places the student amongst academic peers who contribute in an ongoing way to perennial issues in philosophy.

The Faculty of Philosophy at St Patrick's Pontifical University has a number of high level international scholars, who are consistently publishing and engaging in philosophical discussion with thinkers around the globe.

Our research expertise extends but is not limited to:
- The History of Philosophy (ancient, medieval, and modern).
- Scholasticism (particularly the thought of Aquinas).
- Continental Philosophy.
- The History of Analytic Philosophy.
- Philosophy of Religion (as developed in all the main areas of philosophy).
- Political Philosophy.
- Phenomenology.

Applicants for the degree of DPhil at St Patrick's will have the opportunity to work within the research areas listed above and their related fields.

Subjects taught

Candidates must normally complete at least three years of study, which may include several postgraduate seminar courses and some teaching.

As the DPhil is a full time academic programme, candidates are expected to be able to dedicate 35-40 hours per week to research and study. Candidates should be available on campus as course requirements and library work require especially at the beginning of their studies. Candidates are also required to meet with their supervisor (in person or online) at least once per month to discuss their progress.

As circumstances permit, it is strongly recommended that doctoral candidates participate in important public events in the life of the faculty.

Candidates are expected to make at least two public presentations of their research prior to submission of their thesis.

If candidates do not already have some proficiency in a second academic language, they must acquire at least a reading knowledge of the same, preferably an academic language that is relevant to their area of research.

In order to show their reading knowledge, students must pass a translation examination that is recognized by the Faculty of Philosophy.

At the end of the first year, doctoral students should provide sufficient evidence of progress in the preparation of the dissertation to warrant continuance.

Candidates must provide an annual written account of the progress of their study and research that is to be submitted to the director, reader, and dean.

Candidates must have their dissertation proposal approved by a director, and subsequently submitted to the dean and faculty for their approval. Once the proposal is accepted, candidates are free to pursue their chosen topic of research.

The dissertation that is presented must show evidence of in-depth research, the ability to work independently, and must be of a sufficient standard to justify its publication in whole or in part.

The DPhil dissertation should be defended within five years of admission to the doctoral programme.

Dissertations submitted by 30th November are accepted for examination by early spring. Those submitted by 15th May are accepted for examination in early summer. Examination at any other time may be considered only in exceptional circumstances and by express leave of the Faculty.

The dissertation shall be presented to the Dean of the Faculty at least two months before the candidate may be admitted to defend it. In exceptional cases the required period may be shortened.

Three copies of the dissertation are to be submitted in the first instance, and these may be ring-bound. A hard-bound copy, incorporating any corrections which the examiners may require, must be submitted to the Library following successful defence of the work.

All dissertations shall remain the property of the Pontifical University.

Entry requirements

Applicants whose mother-tongue is not English should provide evidence of possessing the necessary level of English, both written and spoken. The requirements correspond to the standards demanded by Maynooth University.

Applicants should provide certificates to establish that they have received a Licentiate in philosophy from a recognized institution. Students who have done their philosophical studies in a civil Faculty of Philosophy can only be admitted if their preparation meets the requirements for an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy. Where a deficiency exists, certain modules must be taken to satisfy the ecclesiastical undergraduate requirement.

Applicants must normally have been awarded at least an upper second or equivalent in their Licentiate degree.

Applicants should provide a letter of recommendation showing evidence of their character and integrity. In the case of seminarians or priests, this letter should be provided by their Ordinary or College Rector; in the case of religious or consecrated persons, this should be provided by their Superior or Study Director; in the case of lay students, this should be provided by an ecclesiastical person who knows the candidate well.

Applicants should provide a personal statement accompanying their application, in which they provide reasons for applying to study for a Doctorate, the prior preparation and skills (e.g. knowledge of philosophy, organizational and critical thinking abilities, etc.) they possess, and the goals they have, including both short-terms aims for the programme, and long-term goals for their work after the proposed degree.

Applicants should undergo an interview with two members of staff, which will normally be based on the personal statement they have submitted as well as upon their academic history.

Applicants should provide evidence that they have a funding plan for their studies.

Application dates

Application Deadline: 02nd August 2024
For EU & those living on the island of Ireland (Late applications may be considered).
31st May 2024 For non EU


3 years full-time.

Enrolment dates

Course Start Date: September 2024

Post Course Info

Graduates from the doctoral programme have achieved the highest degree that a graduate student can obtain. As such, graduates tend to move into the academic world of teaching and research, and so are often employed by third level institutions around the globe. Whilst competitive, a career in academic philosophy is highly rewarding and allows the graduate to enter a form of life whereby he or she can make real and significant contributions to philosophical thought.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

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