Joint PhD program offers global research opportunities for philosophy student

Joint PhD student, Thomas Ryan

Joint PhD student, Thomas Ryan

Thomas Ryan is the first Monash University student to study at the University of Warwick as part of the Monash Warwick Alliance joint PhD program.

The four-year program offers students the opportunity to undertake research of global importance at the two research-intensive universities, engaging with established areas of Alliance research collaboration, while being guided by a supervisor at each location.

Thomas, who is researching the ethics of European philosopher Nietzsche as part of his PhD Practical Philosophy: a Therapeutic Revival, says the joint PhD program has offered him a range of opportunities.

“I am now part of the philosophy departments at Monash and Warwick and am able to interact with a whole new cohort of fellow graduate students and faculty, which has been really beneficial to my research.

Top UK and European philosophers who would rarely travel to Australia regularly visit the department, and because I’m working on a figure in European philosophy, there’s a long history of discussion and interpretation in which I can participate,” Thomas said.

Being based in the UK also allows Thomas the opportunity to attend conferences and workshops that will benefit his research:

“This academic year the Warwick Philosophy Department is hosting the Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, the largest meeting of philosophers in the UK. Being based in the UK, I’ll also be able to attend the Friedrich Nietzsche Society Conference, which is the most important conference in the study of Nietzsche,” Thomas said.

While in the UK, Thomas is also organising a conference, The Modern Appraisals of the Hellenistic Legacy, to be held in Prato, Italy later this year.

The conference is part of the project Prospects for an Ethics of Self-Cultivation, funded by the Monash Warwick Alliance Student led Activity fund.

The conference will be held in conjunction with Reinventing Philosophy as a Way of Life, an ARC-funded workshop convened by his supervisors Dr Michael Ure (Monash) and Professor Keith Ansell-Pearson (Warwick).

Thomas moved to the UK late last year and will be studying at Warwick for at least 12 months before heading back to Melbourne to finish his thesis. The move has given him another perspective on university life:

“It has been quite a change moving from Melbourne to a small town set in the Warwickshire countryside. Because of the quiet surrounds, campus life is much more active than I’m used to, but the philosophy department has been incredibly welcoming, which has helped with the transition,” he said.

Formed in early 2012, the Monash Warwick Alliance represents an innovation in higher education and research and aims to accelerate the exchange of people, ideas and information between Monash and Warwick Universities.