Jack Gosling is an undergraduate BA Philosophy student. Here he tells us his five favourite things about studying the Philosophy programme at the University of Birmingham. 

Written by Jack Gosling

Portrait of student Jack

1. The diverse areas you can explore and study

Philosophy at UoB is anything but boring! One of the great advantages of studying philosophy is that since it is less of a subject area and more of a method of approaching questions, you are able to get stuck into a wide range of issues. Philosophy so far has allowed me to delve into art, science, the nature of reality, politics, medicine, psychology, love and much more. At Birmingham particularly the course has been designed to offer you an incredible breadth of subject areas, ranging from mental health to maths and even time travel! I love the chance to explore such a diverse set of topics and issues.

2. The impact it makes on your personal outlook

One of the elements I adore about philosophy is how poignant and valuable it has been to how I approach my life. The wisdom that I have access to in the course, not only from the philsophers I study but the lecturers and professors that teach me, has greatly opened my eyes to new thoughts and perspectives. It is not just a case of studying my course and then putting it to one side when I go about the rest of my day – with philosophy every lecture and seminar I take can be carried into my everyday life, creating profound changes to how I view my life and the people in it. Though some find the deep nature of philosophy to be intense or overwhelming, I feel that anyone with even a mild enjoyment for pondering life’s big questions would find philosophy at UoB a truly worthwhile course.

3. The skills it develops

The way we learn and apply philosophy at UoB has led me to improve a range of important skills. Our regular seminars, as well as the essay assessments I write, have led me to become adept arguing my case in effective ways both verbally and in text. I have improved my public speaking by asking questions and expressing my views in front of others during seminars, and I have become better at analysing arguments and seeing through manipulative techniques in language thanks to the focus on textual analysis the course has. The study of philosophy at the university leads you to become a more well-rounded individual.

4. The social aspects

One of the best parts of university life is meeting new people and enjoying the company of others, and the course makes this super easy! The Philosophy Society connected to the course offers fun events and meet-ups where you can discuss philosophy with other students, or just grab a drink! Also, due to the way philosophy thrives on discussion, I have been fortunate to make many friends on the course just through seminars, where we get a chance to discuss and express our opinions to each other. My lectures and seminars always have a supportive and informal atmosphere, which makes it easy to feel comfortable in being who you are and saying what you think, and this makes meeting like-minded people a breeze!

5. The interesting perspectives and knowledge you get access to

The course provides me with a unique opportunity to read the direct texts of some of history's greatest thinkers, covering centuries of history. Being able to compare the thoughts and arguments of different philsophers across time gives me an appreciation for each philsopher, and what led them to their views. I also thoroughly enjoy hearing the different views of my fellow students and the department members in my course. Everyone has fresh ideas and perspectives that I hear in seminars and study groups, and not only can they greatly improve your essays and general competency at philosophy, but they also change my perspective on life as a whole.