About us

Keywords: philosophy, continental, european, masters, distance learning, online, MA, PhD, postgraduate, graduate school, doctorate, england, britain, united kingdom, program, Kant, Nietzsche, phenomenology, Bachelard, Foucault, Serres, hermeneutics, science, politics, aesthetics.
We are a small, research-intensive philosophy department, specialising in modern Continental (European) philosophy. We no longer offer undergraduate study, but we now have more than 50 postgraduate students working with us in philosophy. Staffordshire University is a fully accredited part of the United Kingdom higher education system, and thus its degrees are accepted and respected around the world.
Philosophy has as its core staff Prof Douglas Burnham and Prof David Webb, who work closely with colleagues from across the humanities and social sciences.
We offer:
  1. The distance learning Masters in Continental Philosophy (click here for more details). In a 2017 poll, 100% of our students would recommend this course to a friend, and again in both ’18 and ’19! You can now register for this course either part- or full-time.
  2. We also offer PhD supervision in Continental philosophy, both by attendance and by distance learning (see PhD information page).
There are only a limited number of places on the doctoral programme, and we  particularly welcome applications in the following areas where we possess particular research strength:
  • Kant in relation to more recent European thought
  • Nietzsche
  • Phenomenology (especially Heidegger) or hermeneutics
  • Foucault (archaeology, genealogy, philosophy and history, politics, ethics)
  • French epistemology and philosophy of science, including Bachelard and Michel Serres
  • Aesthetics (especially visual arts, literature or wine, all with a Continental emphasis)
  • Ethics (phenomenology of, virtue, or some themes in medical ethics), politics (including Marx and Marxism), gender, and theories of subjectivity, again with a Continental emphasis.
  • Time, space.
  • The Department also has a specialisation in theory/practice PhD projects, where we supervise in conjunction with colleagues from fine art or other practice-based subjects.
You can follow David Webb at academia.edu, where you can also find several of his publications.
Where are we?
The University campus is in the middle of the City of Stoke on Trent, the largest urban area in the County of Staffordshire. Stoke on Trent is home to the ceramics industry, with such household names as Spode and Wedgwood (and more recent famous brands such as Portmeirion, Moorcroft and Emma Bridgewater), and to Stoke City FC, the second oldest professional football team in the world. Reginald Mitchell the inventor of the Spitfire fighter plane; T. E. Hulme, philosopher and one of the founders of modernist poetry; Oliver Lodge, who invented the spark plug; Arnold Bennett, one of the best-selling novelists of the early 20th Century; and Edward Smith the captain of the Titanic — all were all born here. H. G. Wells lived in the city for a formative period in his early career, while Rousseau wrote the first half of his Confessions at Wootton in Staffordshire. Philip Astley, 18th Century showman and inventor of the modern circus, was born in Staffordshire; as were Elias Ashmole, 17th Century polymath and founder of the famous Ashmolean museum, Vera Brittain, author of the famous memoirs Testament of Youth, and Samuel Johnson (‘Dr. Johnson’), he of Dictionary fame. Charles Darwin had two eminent grandfathers: Josiah Wedgwood (great Stoke industrialist and enlightenment figure) and Erasmus Darwin (medical doctor in our county, and himself a pioneering naturalist). Indeed, the Wedgwoods helped finance Charles’ voyages. Speaking of grandparents, Jorge-Luis Borges’ grandmother was born and lived in the City and his story ‘The Garden of Forking Paths’ is set here.
Other staff associated with philosophy — that is, colleagues who teach or can supervise postgraduate students — include Paul Christie, Dr. Mike Ball, Professor Ian Brown, Dr. Mark Brown, Dr. Martin Jesinghausen, Professor Peter Kevern, Dr. Lisa Mansell, Dr. Peter Lamb and Dr. Em Temple-Malt. You will find profiles of these staff, and their specific research interests, on the main University website.
An excellent choice. Actually coming back home after work and sitting down with the study material is one of the few meaningful activities during the day.” — C. Lamprou
“I studied philosophy at Lancaster University more than ten years ago, and I have long hoped to pursue a postgraduate degree in the subject. The only catch is: it has to be incredibly flexible. I am a small business owner with a young family, which means that my schedule has to remain adaptable, and my time is precious. I also live on Guernsey – a small island without a local university – which means any degree I pursue has to be mostly-or-wholly distance based and online. Finding a postgrad course that fulfils these criteria is hard enough – but add provisions that the course should be credible and interesting, and it becomes almost impossible. I am very grateful to Staffordshire (and to Professors Douglas Burnham and David Webb) for providing such a course. For me, it represents the fulfilment of a decade-long aspiration.”  — T Leworthy
The combination of well-chosen readings, ongoing commentary and criticism from the professor, and an open forum to exchange perspectives and ask questions, created a similar experience of a classroom, but with better results. For example, all the students took great care to compose their blackboard posts as opposed to often less-developed thinking that can occur in a more traditional setting. In the end, a worthwhile and valuable experience.” — D. Weinberg
My experiences so far have been overwhelmingly positive. The tutors are very helpful, the modules generally well designed, and the literature interesting and intellectually stimulating. I’ve benefitted from other students’ insights, too, who, along with the tutors, have helped me gain traction on issues in continental philosophy. Philosophy at Staffs promotes a very convivial atmosphere for learning.” — D Monroe
Great module, erudite, patient, and kind tutor. I learnt a lot.” — S. Blaney
Having spent a year of distance learning studying analytical philosophy at another university, I wanted to get a solid grounding in European philosophy so I transferred to do my second year of the MA with Staffs. I am delighted that I did so, not least because of the quality of tuition and the participation of the other students on the lively discussion forums but also because you are challenged and encouraged at every stage to develop your thinking. It was demanding, of course, and the academic standard is very high but having just finished, I am now confident that I have the skills and knowledge to continue in philosophy whenever I decide to.  Thoroughly recommended.” — R Lloyd
(Please note that although Gradschools.com kindly allow us to maintain a listing on their site, we are no longer able to receive enquiries through them. You will have to contact us directly.)

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