About us

Photograph of billiard balls colliding

The Philosophy Department at Birmingham is a friendly, vibrant and exciting place to be, whether you are an undergraduate, a Masters student, a research student or a visitor. These are exciting times for us, with the University of Birmingham investing significantly in Philosophy.

Undergraduate study

At the undergraduate level, we offer all the areas of philosophy you’d expect in a BA programme: ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, political philosophy, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, history of philosophy and so on. We also have some areas of philosophy that you might not be so likely to find elsewhere, or that we consider particular areas of strength: sexual ethics, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of religion, and global ethics. 

We are currently in the process of reviewing and revamping our undergraduate curriculum for the academic year 2014-2015. The aim of the new curriculum is to create a better sense of progression and personal development through the degree and to offer students more choice. This will mean introducing new exiting modules on topics such as existentialism, climate change ethics, philosophy of mathematics and feminist philosophy. Undergraduates also benefit from a highly active Philosophy Society, which in the last two years has run an exciting programme of social events, visiting speakers, debates, and quizzes.

Postgraduate study

For Masters students, our expertise in the above areas of Philosophy is put to work in delivering a unique and intellectually stimulating range of courses. As well as an MA in Philosophy, we offer the following more tailored courses: Philosophy of Religion and Ethics; Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science and Philosophy of Health and Happiness. These courses take advantage of our strengths in philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychiatry, philosophy of health and disease, philosophy of cognitive science, and philosophy of religion. We also have a particular strength in ethics, especially in applied and global ethics, reflected in our Masters degrees in Global Ethics and in Human Values and Human Rights. 

New courses
We also have just launched recently two new interdisciplinary Masters courses. The first one of these is the MA in International Law, Ethics and Politics, which is organised in collaboration with Birmingham Law School and the Department of Political Science. The second new one is the MA in Health, Bioethics and Law, which too is organised together with Birmingham Law School. These new MAs are now open to applications.

Distance learning courses
The Department of Philosophy furthermore offers two of our Masters programmes in the Distance Learning teaching-mode: MA in Philosophy of Health and Happiness by Distance Learning and MA in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics by Distance Learning. These programmes can be studied wholly online. For more information about all our Masters programmes please contact our Head of PGT programmes, Dr Maja Spener.

Research

We have a thriving community of research students, who support each other in addition to the support they receive from the department. We currently have students researching ethics, metaphysics, the history of philosophy, philosophy of religion and more. Some examples of recent PhDs completed in the department can be found on the ‘postgraduate research’ page, and students interested in applying can find more information about the areas that we can supervise on the ‘areas of supervision’ page.  

These research projects and areas of expertise feed into the work of our research centres and clusters: ethics, philosophy of religion, health and happiness, philosophy of language, metaphysics, mind and global ethics.

All members of the Department of Philosophy are always happy to be contacted about any aspect of our teaching and research. You can find details of current and appointed staff on our staff pages.