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Department of Philosophy – University of Reading

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  • Crossing disciplines

    Using a collaborative approach to achieve real-world applications

  • Going above and beyond

    Passionate lecturers and incredible support

  • Assessing and treating pain

    Exploring the relationship between the mental state of pain and body and behaviour

  • New Programme

    Learn more about our new BA Philosophy, Business and Ethics programme

Department of Philosophy

To study philosophy is to learn to think well. At Reading we open the mind with the big questions and exercise it with imagination and logical rigour. No issue is beyond the reach of philosophy. Every reasoning skill is taught by it. This makes philosophy an exhilarating basis for a wide-ranging, successful career.

Top 125 in the world for History, Philosophy and Theology (Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2022)

Like most practical activities, philosophy is easier to do than to describe. In a nutshell, philosophy is about trying to make sense of the way the world is and what is of value in it. At Reading we confront real-world issues in a clear-headed way. Is democracy the best form of government? Are we ever truly free? Is there a God? Does our climate raise ethical issues?

These are difficult questions. Whether you choose to take one of our degree courses, further your skills and experience through our postgraduate course, or contribute to our outstanding research, you will have the support required to address such questions at the University of Reading.

“The Philosophy Department invests a lot of time and energy into its students. They care deeply about students' academic success, providing plenty of opportunities for one-to-one conversations with staff and high quality feedback."

BA Philosophy

90% of leavers in work and/or study 15 months after the end of their course. *

Studying philosophy at Reading enables you to develop a wide range of transferable skills, including the ability to: formulate complex problems, to think clearly in the abstract, to consider ethical and social issues in a structured way, to engage in productive debate and to communicate ideas with clarity and precision. Highly valued by employers, your skillset will set you apart in an increasingly competitive job market.

*Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/19; First Degree, Postgraduate (Taught) and Postgraduate (Research) responders from Philosophy.

"Philosophy seminars honed my ability to debate effectively using reason and logic. This skill has enabled me to express myself clearly in everyday discussions and interviews, while writing my dissertation really developed my time-management skills and gave me confidence in taking on big projects."

BA Ethics, Value and Philosophy graduate

high quality student experience

The 2021 National Student Survey results are out and 92% of our students agreed that staff are good at explaining things in the Department of Philosophy.

Join us to learn in a dynamic research environment, guided by passionate, world-leading academics, and courses tailored to suit each individual.  We care about our students' experience, and are committed to delivering exceptional standards across all of our philosophy courses.

flexibility of interests

Our programmes are flexible and can be steered to suit your needs and interests. They stimulate you to think about a vast range of issues but also enable you to focus your interests more intensively within specific areas. Our core modules introduce you to the essential issues in philosophy and ethics. Our research-led modules then enable you to explore a broad variety of interests: from colour to climate ethics, from fairness to rational choice theory, from the history of philosophy to experimental philosophy, from the meaning of life to the nature of death.

grounded in the real world

We're proud of the diverse, connecting and relevant culture throughout our Department, which grounds our high-quality teaching and cutting-edge research in the real world. Through our interdisciplinary approach and wide range of expertise, we relate our teaching and research to current issues, viewing modern developments through a philosophical lens, such as: how to best understand and treat pain; the ethics of climate change; and the implications of artificial intelligence.

interested in studying philosophy?

Come along to our next Open Day and find out more about our philosophy courses. Explore the University's beautiful grounds and see if we're a fit for you.

*Contains HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2020. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data.

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