BA Philosophy and Sociology

When studied together, Philosophy and Sociology offer a deeper insight into human behaviour, morality and society.

This combined degree allows you to explore human life as both a philosopher and a social scientist, offering a challenging but unique perspective.

At the University of Birmingham, you will have access to world-class Philosophy talent in fields as diverse as Metaphysics, Philosophy of Psychiatry, Epistemology, Ethics, Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Mind. Meanwhile, the Sociology side of your course will allow you to explore the dynamic, unprecedented social changes reshaping the world today and help you understand how social relations and structures influence all aspects of our lives.

Jemma Allen

Jemma Allen

“I would really recommend this course - the lecturers are experts in their fields, it is delivered well and sets you up for the future, teaching skills such as independent thought and how to develop your own arguments. Philosophy is very interesting, but it can also be intense and puzzling so it is good to be brought down to earth by Sociology. A Joint Honours degree allows you to gather a wide range of knowledge and introduces you to lots of opportunities.”

Our Philosophy department has an outstanding international reputation for excellence in teaching and research and is ranked second in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Sociology offers an equally high-quality teaching experience, having received an overall satisfaction rating of 93% in the latest National Student Survey.

With this combined degree, you will have the opportunity to tailor your programme by choosing from a wide range of Philosophy and Sociology modules - from History of Philosophy and Ethics of Killing to Globalisation and Impact of the Media, for example.

We provide you with training in crucial philosophical skills, with modules on reasoning and logic. There is also a strong emphasis on developing social science research skills – strongly valued by employers – with research methods training in each year.

Ultimately, BA Philosophy and Sociology allows you to both critically engage with some of the deepest questions human beings have asked across history, while at the same time understand the challenges and opportunities of contemporary society.

Why study this course

  • Excellent employability – 90% of our Philosophy graduates enter work, or full time study, within six months of graduation.
  • Great reputation – Sociology is a department that consistently scores highly in the National Student Survey and was ranked 6th in the Guardian University Guide 2016.
  • Taught by experts – you will study alongside some of the finest minds in Philosophy. We are ranked second among all Philosophy departments in the UK in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  • Extra-Curricular activities – you will get the chance to take part in a range of in-house Sociology activities, designed to complement your curriculum. In the past, these have included student conferences, research visits and the Research Assistance Scheme.
  • Flexibility – the variety of modules on offer will allow you to specialise more as you progress so that you can study areas of the discipline which interest you the most. Almost all of our assessments are now based on coursework.

Open day talks


The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

For this combined degree, you study half of your modules in Philosophy and half in Sociology.

First year

Philosophy: First year modules include Knowledge and Reality, History of Philosophy and The Individual and Society.

There are also two seminar-only modules: Philosophical Texts I, where you learn how to analyse and criticise some texts on a variety of topics, and Independent Study I, where you learn essay-writing and research skills and apply them by writing an essay on a philosophical topic of your choice.

Read more about first year Philosophy modules

Sociology: In your first year you will be introduced to degree level sociology through Social Worlds and the Sociological Imagination, gain an understanding of stratification through Social Divisions, and learn the basics of research design and methods. 

Second year

Philosophy: In the second year, all students are given some freedom of choice, so you can pursue the topics and questions that interest and inspire you. Second year modules currently on offer include Thought and Language, Topics in the History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind and Meta-ethics.

There is also Philosophical Texts II, where you focus on a single classic book by a particular author from a range of available texts, and Independent Study II, which gives you the opportunity to further hone your essay-writing skills by writing an essay on a question of your own devising.

Read more about second year Philosophy modules

Sociology: The second year builds on the first year by developing your understanding of Modern Sociological Theory, and introducing debates about the nature of Global Societies. You can choose a specialist option in either Gender and Sexuality or Ethnic Relations, and receive more advanced methods training in data analysis and preparation for your final year dissertation.

Third year

Philosophy: In the final year there is even more choice of modules. Some areas, like ethics and metaphysics, will be familiar to you, but will be studied at a more advanced level. Others modules, like the philosophy of Schopenhauer, will be new to you.

Another option is the Philosophical Project module, for which you research and write a dissertation with the help of a supervisor who advises you and generally guides you through the process.

Read more about third year Philosophy modules

Sociology: Your training in key sociological ideas is completed with a module on Contemporary Social Theory, and you can then specialise in the areas of the discipline that interest you most. Our teaching staff, who are active researchers, run options in their own specialist fields including.

Most importantly, you will research and write an independent, supervised dissertation, or extended essay, which brings together your research skills on a project defined by you. This can be focused on Philosophy, Sociology or a topic that bridges both disciplines.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,000
  • Overseas: £13,860

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee; for 2016/17 this will be £1,350
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee; for 2016/17 this will be £6,930

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:

International baccalaureate update

Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma requirements.

International students:

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates


You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and welfare advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Transition review - you will undergo a formal transition review during your first year with an academic member of staff. They will see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.
  • Academic Skills Centre - the centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

Assessment methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

By studying a Philosophy and Sociology degree at the University of Birmingham, you will acquire skills highly sought after by employers within the graduate job market:

  • Understanding complex information
  • Writing clearly and effectively
  • Building a case to critically assess a particular point of view
  • Respecting the views of others even if they disagree with you
  • Independent thought
  • Ability to communicate, and knowledge of, social issues in private and public sectors
  • Strong and evidenced training in research methods

The University of Birmingham has been ranked number one in the UK for graduate employment in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016. Our graduates have excellent employment prospects with 93% of Philosophy graduates and 90% of Sociology graduates entering work or further study, within six months of graduation.

Philosophy and Sociology graduates go on to pursue highly successful careers in professions such as:

  • Law
  • Journalism
  • Teaching
  • Management consultancy
  • Local government
  • Publishing
  • Marketing
  • Social Research
  • Media
  • Policy Development
  • Charity

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

Student Experience Officers

Our Student Experience Officers will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.


Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.

International students

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.

We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.