Department of Philosophy, King's College London

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Department of Philosophy,
King's College London
Surrey Street, King's College, London.jpg
King's College buildings on Surrey Street with the Department of Philosophy on the left.
  • 1906 - Department of Philosophy and Psychology
  • 1912 - Department of Philosophy
Parent institution
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, King's College London
Head of Department Professor Bill Brewer
Academic staff
Students 450
Location Surrey Street, Westminster, London, United Kingdom
Website Department of Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy is an academic division in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at King's College London. It is one of the largest and most distinguished centres for the study of philosophy in the United Kingdom.[1][2][3][4][5]


For over half a century since the Anglican foundation of King's College in 1829, the study of philosophy was restricted to courses within the Department of Theology and the Department of English Literature. In 1906 a separate Department of Philosophy and Psychology was explicitly established, and in 1912 Philosophy split to form its own department.[6][7]

The department is located in the Philosophy Building on Surrey Street, a set of three adjacent townhouses joined through a series of corridors and forming part of the Strand Campus of King's College.[8][9][10] The vaults along the back of the building are those containing the old Roman Baths on Strand Lane.[11][12]

In 1989, Professor Richard Sorabji founded the King's College Centre for Philosophical Studies at the department with the aim of promoting philosophy to the wider public.[13][14][15]

The Head of Department is currently Bill Brewer, Susan Stebbing Professor of Philosophy at King's.[16][17]


The Department of Philosophy owns a historic bar on its premises in Surrey Street, officially the King's College Sports & Social Club Bar but referred to informally as simply the Philosophy Bar. Management of the bar was taken over by the King's College London Students' Union in 2016.[18]

Academic staff and students of the department also make an annual trip to Cumberland Lodge, a Grade II listed country house in Windsor Great Park.[19] There is a programme of lectures, communal meals and other activities, including an annual football match played between staff and students.[20]

Student life in the department is administered mainly by the King's College London Philosophy Society.[21]


The Department of Philosophy at King's ranks highly in both national and global rankings.[22][5][23]

The Philosophical Gourmet Report lists the department at 5th in the UK and 34th globally.[24]

QS World University Rankings places the department at 5th in the UK and 23rd globally in 2017.[25]

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Department of Philosophy, KCL". 
  2. ^ "Results & submissions : REF 2014 : View results and submissions by UOA". Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Philosophy - Top UK University Subject Tables and Rankings 2018". Complete University Guide. 24 May 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "King's Collections : Archive Catalogues : PHILOSOPHY: King's College London Department of Philosophy Student Records". Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  8. ^ "King's College London How to find us". King's College London. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Historic England, 33 and 34 Surrey Street". 
  12. ^ "Early C17 cistern to Old Somerset House (aka The Roman Bath), Non Civil Parish - 1237102". Historic England. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  13. ^ "McGill to bestow 11 exemplary individuals with honorary degrees at Spring Convocation | Newsroom - McGill University". Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 August 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  15. ^ "Richard Sorabji CBE". The Putney Debates 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  16. ^ "Staff profile, KCL". 
  17. ^ "Philosophy: Understanding personal identity with Professor Bill Brewer | Global". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  18. ^ "King's College London Life in the Department". King's College London. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  19. ^ "King's College, London". Cumberland Lodge. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  20. ^ "King's College London Join us for our annual residential weekend in Windsor Great Park!". King's College London. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  21. ^ "Philosophy Society". Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  22. ^ "The Complete University guide, Profile on KCL". 
  23. ^ "History of Philosophy, M.A. - at King's College London, London, United Kingdom". Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  24. ^ "The Philosophical Gourmet Report 2014 :: Overall Rankings". Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  25. ^ "Philosophy". Top Universities. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 

External links[edit]