Philosophy at the University of Birmingham has an outstanding international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. The Department of Philosophy was ranked second in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
On this programme, you will meet the great minds of history and the present day on equal terms, not just learning what they thought, but engaging with them critically. You will focus on the fundamentals of western philosophy, including its history and contemporary concerns, with modules covering topics such as History of Philosophy, Moral and Political Philosophy, and Philosophy of Science. We also provide you with training in crucial philosophical skills, with modules on reasoning and logic.
You will have the opportunity to tailor your programme so that you can focus on the areas of the discipline that interest you most. For example you can choose from modules such as:
- Philosophy of Cognitive Science
- Prejudice, Race and Gender
- Philosophy of Mathematics
- Global Bio-ethics
Overall the emphasis of our BA Philosophy course is on helping you to acquire the philosophical skills and background knowledge that will enable you to engage with some of the deepest questions human beings have ever asked.
Why study this course
- Excellent employability – 90% of our Philosophy graduates enter work, or full time study, within six months of graduation.
- 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.
- Friendly and relaxed atmosphere – staff within the Department of Philosophy know students by name and are always happy to talk about philosophical questions and provide additional feedback on academic performance.
- 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.
- Study aboard – You will have the opportunity to experience student life in a new environment. Our programme allows you to spend the third year of your degree studying Philosophy at an overseas university.
Hear from our students
Open day talk
Please be aware that the following information is intended to provide prospective students with an indicative guide of the modules offered by the School. However, our research is constantly exploring new areas and directions of study, therefore some modules may be dropped and new ones offered in their place.
In your first year we offer a thorough grounding in mainly mainstream western philosophy, with some modules based around philosophical problems (e.g. the problem of scepticism, the problem of free will, and so on), some based around important historical figures (e.g. Aristotle, Descartes, Hobbes and Rousseau), and some aimed at providing you with the skills you need to study philosophy in later years.
*Please note the range of modules on offer may differ a little from year to year, but the following are an indicative list.*
- Problems of Philosophy
- Ethics: How Should We Live?
- Epistemology: What and How do We Know?
- Philosophical Traditions
- Philosophy of Religion
- Political Philosophy: Can Power be Legitimate?
- Ethics: Issues of Life and Death
- Moral Problems: An Introduction to Applied Ethics
- Ancient Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle
You will be given far more freedom of choice, with no modules being compulsory, so that you can pursue the topics and questions that interest and inspire you.
All of the modules below carry 20 credits, so Single Honours students take either six philosophy modules or five (plus an MOMD) and Joint Honours students will normally take three(Joint Honours students may in many programmes take more credits in one of their subjects than in the other, so some Joint Honours students might take 2 or 4 modules). The range of modules on offer may differ a little from year to year, but the following are currently available.
Second year modules include:
- The Mind-Body Problem
- Elements of Logic and Metaphysics
- Feminist Philosophy
- Speaking of Things
- Logic: its Limits and Scope
- Sex, Ethics and Philosophy
- The Ethics of Killing
- The Ethics and Politics of Climate Change
- Experience and Reason: Early Modern Philosophy
- History of Analytic Philosophy
The modules on offer at this level are informed by lecturers’ research interests to a greater degree than before, and students should begin to get a real feel for philosophy at the cutting-edge. In addition to four or five modules below, Singe Honours students undertake independent research of their own, and with help from a supervisor, write a dissertation on a topic of their own choosing. Joint Honours students may do the same, but if their other subject includes a dissertation they are not obliged to do another in Philosophy.
Final year modules include:
- Minds Brains and Computers
- Topics in Philosophy of Religion
- Global Bioethics
- Prejudice, Race and Gender
- Being Good and Doing Right
- Science and Nature
- Philosophy of Language
- Experience and Reason: Topics in Epistemology
- What there is: Issues in Ontology
- Philosophy of Mathematics
- Philosophy of Time Travel
- Detailed descriptions of final year modules
Philosophy with a year abroad
Subject to satisfactory performance over your first two years, you may have the option of spending your third year studying Philosophy at an overseas university. You will then come back to Birmingham for your fourth and final year.
Fees and funding
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: AAB
Required subjects and grades: if Philosophy or Religious Studies are taken at A level, we will require at least a grade B in these subjects
General Studies: not accepted
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.
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 the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
How to apply
Joint Honours combinations
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