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What is Arché?

Arché is one of the world’s leading centres for philosophical research and education. Our work is focused on topics in epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, metaphysics and philosophy of mind.

Our goal at Arché is to give students an opportunity to be part of a community centred around common philosophical interests, collaborative research and a bustling schedule of activities.

Research at Arché

Arché currently features five research streams. Each stream is organised around a weekly seminar taking place during term time and various unique events, like workshops or conferences. Seminars feature a mix of invited speakers, talks by members of the stream and discussion of research articles of interest to seminar participants.

To ensure that students make the most of Arché, each student must participate in two research streams. In their primary stream, it is expected that students participate actively, either by presenting their work at least once a year or by helping organise the activities of the seminar. For the secondary stream, regular attendance is expected. Moreover, an Arché student typically has as their main supervisor, a member of the Arché faculty.

In addition to the research streams, Arché members often organise discussion groups or reading groups. Recently, students have led reading groups where they focused on one book, reading from start to finish. Latest reads include Angela Davis’ Women, Race and Class and Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Feminist Thought. These reading groups are an excellent way for students to explore interests that are not covered by the research streams. Moreover, staff members often also lead discussion groups on their latest work. For instance, Professor Gillian Russell recently led a reading group on her latest book Barriers to Entailment.

Each year Arché organises many major workshops and conferences and hosts many philosophers from around the world. This puts Arché students in direct and regular contact with the leading philosophers in their fields. This gives students the opportunity to meet researchers who are not based in St Andrews all year long, whether they are professorial fellows, research visitors or visiting speakers. Professorial fellows are professors at other universities, hired part-time by Arché for a period of five years, who visit St Andrews for five weeks per year. They conduct numerous seminars and reading groups and can sometimes serve as a secondary supervisor for postgraduate students.

By participating to the life of the centre, students will be able to learn about up-and-coming research, meet experts in their fields, as well as improve their own research by collaborating with other members. For instance, Arché students are able and encouraged to present their work at seminars, which enables them to gain valuable feedback from their peers, as well as senior members of staff who are not supervising them directly. This model has proved an immensely successful strategy for developing our student’s interests and skills.

Arché, the Building

Arché is not simply a research centre, it is also a building. Indeed, Arché members benefit from offices located in the Arché Centre, situated in College Street, at the centre of the old town of St Andrews. Arché students are assigned to an office, often shared with other students, which enables them to be in close contact with their peers. This contributes significantly to Arché’s close and collaborative research environment.

Moreover, the physical building boasts a stunning courtyard, perfect to grab lunch with other students and discuss ideas. There is also a shared kitchen/common lounge, as well as a community garden in the making.

By being physically all in the same place, Arché students can easily interact. Moreover, this fosters a welcoming community, where members are often found eating together or knocking on each other’s doors to grab a coffee or a drink after work together.

Arché students eating lunch together in the Arché Courtyard. Six students are seen eating around a table. In the background, there are plants, and the courtyard is enclosed by a wall made of stones.

Other Opportunities

Each year, Arché organises a reading party: a week-long excursion to the Scottish countryside. There, some of the participants give talks in an idyllic setting and all go on hikes and enjoy philosophical chats. The reading party is a great way to get to know each other better.

Arché encourages its students to participate in international exchanges: most Arché students spend one or two terms at another institution. In recent years students have visited ANU, NYU, OSU, UWO, Harvard and others.

After their degrees are finished, many Arché students manage to find jobs in Academia. You can see our placement record here: placement record.

Finally, Arché is part of the wider philosophy department at the University of St Andrews and our students can benefit from the entire faculty at St Andrews. This enables students to also benefit from the activities organised outside of Arché and to collaborate with many more researchers.

Student Testimonials

Nick Küspert (2020 cohort)

“One of the best places at Arché is its courtyard: whether it’s academic discussions, emotional support or random chit-chat you need, the courtyard delivers!”

Portrait picture of Nick Küspert


Petronella Randell (2020 cohort)

“The friends I have made working in the Arché building have been invaluable in alerting me to opportunities, building my confidence, and fending off the isolation that can come with life as a PhD student. In addition, the Arché research environment is lively and stimulating – the seminars and reading groups often inspire exciting thoughts and discussions!”

Portrait picture of Petronella Randell


Christopher Masterman (2020 cohort, Co-tutelle with the University Oslo)

“Arché is a fantastic, and welcoming, philosophical community. There’s always someone to have a chat with, or bounce an idea off, and, come 12 o’clock, there’s always a bunch of friendly fellow grad students enjoying lunch in the courtyard. It’s been a privilege to be a part of it.”

Picture of Christopher Masterman


Lara Jost (2019 cohort)

“Being an Arché student is amazing: you can learn so much from other people that you interact daily with, whether it’s about the latest philosophical articles, which conferences you should apply to, or the best coffee in town. I’ve had way too many philosophical debates in that courtyard and all these informal chats have greatly helped inform my work. Finally, being able to learn from the invited speakers and other members of Arché in the research streams has been extremely helpful and intellectually nourishing.”

Portrait picture of Lara Jost