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Philosophy is an intellectually challenging discipline. As a student, you will learn how to critically engage with difficult and profound questions through both individual research and group activity.

Your learning experience

Explore philosophical questions that have real-world impact: Is democracy the best form of government? Are we ever truly free? When should we censor speech? Is there a God?

Whether debating in a seminar, presenting your own research, or being introduced to a topic by one of our world-class lecturers, we always seek to engage with our students via active philosophical learning.

Shape your degree to your interests

Our flexible degrees allow you to tailor your course to your interests. In your first year, only one of your modules is compulsory - enabling you to select from a wide range of modules including those that are taught outside the Department. For example, why not learn a new language?

Structured-learning

Our degrees are structured to enable you to become a fully independent learner, capable of raising and answering difficult and important questions, whether philosophical or otherwise.

First-year modules

Modules in your first year teach you how to engage with philosophical questions. You will start by learning the core methods used in philosophy (critical thinking, argument evaluation, formal and informal logic), and then apply those methods to a wide range of topics.

You will undertake research to produce coursework essays and learn how to critically appraise what you discover.

Second-year modules

Second-year modules provide a deeper understanding of core philosophical subjects, while also focusing on writing, presentational, and research skills.

You will learn how to present and write on philosophical topics, engage in group activities, and use further academic resources relevant to your modules.

Final-year modules

In your final year, you engage with the cutting edge of philosophical research.

Modules are more focused on the research expertise of your lecturers, while you have the opportunity to construct your own research project in a dissertation or independent learning module.

You will have the opportunity to develop full mastery of the discipline of philosophy, encounter current research, and develop your own research.

In this film, Dr Nat Hansen, Associate Professor, in the Department of Philosophy, gives you a taster of the Reason and Argument module, which is a core module in all of our philosophy degrees.


Our teaching methods

Our students benefit from teaching throughout the year as there are no examinations. We teach through a variety of learning methods, including lectures, seminars and one-to-one supervisions.

Assessment methods

Students will be assessed through a system of graduated coursework that evolves during their degree to suit their needs and development.

Coursework ranges from essays to oral presentations, group work, literature reviews, extended projects and other forms of assessment.

Additional activities

We offer additional activities such as the weekly visiting speaker sessions, where philosophers from around the world are invited to give talks on their current research.

We also have an annual Philosophy Summer day, where staff and students play games and socialise (with the students usually beating the staff at some sport).

The Philosophy Society also runs a variety of events, including pub crawls, debates, movie nights and philosophical talks.

Dissertation

We recognise that our students are all individuals and have different approaches to studying, which is why we offer a variety of learning and assessment methods.

Both single and joint honours students have the choice of doing a dissertation on a topic of their choice, under one-one supervision.

As an alternative, single honours students can choose to take the independent learning module, which is shorter than a full dissertation and only runs in the Summer term of their third year.

Study Abroad

Depending on your course, you could spend two weeks, a term, or an academic year abroad.

This can be part of a standard three-year degree, an extended four-year degree, or a shorter length of time such as a summer school.

We’ll help you decide where to go and for how long, guide you through the application process, and support you when you’re abroad.

To find out more about the benefits of studying abroad, and discover where you could go, visit the Study Abroad website.

Stephanie Bankole, BA Philosophy, choose to study in the United States of America. Read about her experience

Placements

There is the opportunity to undertake a credit-bearing placement during your degree, forming all or part of an optional module. Alternatively, you could transfer to a four-year degree course and complete a year-long professional placement

Placements give you the opportunity to apply your new knowledge and skills immediately in the workplace, whilst gaining valuable experience in your chosen sector.

There are so many benefits to doing a work placement. I learnt how to manage my time more effectively, I became better organised, I developed a greater work ethic, and I furthered my writing abilities.

Evie Gavriel

BA Philosophy and English Literature

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme 

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) is an exciting scheme for second-year students to work with staff across the University on a paid summer placement.

You will have the opportunity to develop invaluable research skills and learn directly from an expert supervisor.

This project is an excellent springboard for the third-year dissertation and for postgraduate research.

Listen to Hamish, BA Philosophy Politics and Economics,  student talk about his UROP experience.

My research project was on the philosophy of technology. I could steer the research in the direction I wanted, so I ended up looking at virtual communities and being an 'authentic' person, linking this to psychosocial and mental health issues. This was a fantastic experience which showed me what professional research in philosophy would be like, and has motivated me to do my master's, and possible PhD in the future.

James Hart

BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Read our stories

Read inspiring stories from our staff and students in the Department of Philosophy.

Meet our experts

Our academic staff are experts in a wide variety of philosophical topics, with particular strengths in moral philosophy, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, Aristotle, Aquinas, Wittgenstein, and aesthetics including the philosophy of film.

Life in the Department

Join our supportive, dynamic community of students and staff, who will welcome you to the Department and encourage you to develop and succeed.