BA Mathematics and Philosophy

Since the time of the Ancient Greeks, Mathematicians and Philosophers have sought to find the truth behind the underlying workings and meanings of the universe.

Both disciplines have their own identities, but there is a close relationship between the two. This programme explores both areas, as well as the interesting areas of study that they share.

Studying Mathematics and Philosophy at the University of Birmingham will give you access to world-class talent in fields as diverse as group theory, fluid dynamics, philosophy of mathematics, epistemology, ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind and many others. You will enjoy a rich and engaging academic experience and students on this programme rate it extremely highly.

Philosophy is ranked in the Top 5 in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. This is the fourth consecutive year that we have been ranked in the Top 5.

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“The best thing about studying Maths and Philosophy is how well-matched they are; I've learnt how to incorporate mathematical analysis into my essays and the philosophy side of my course has helped me take a logical approach to problem-solving. My favourite thing about the philosophy department is the freedom over module choices, you can really tailor the course to suit you. I chose Birmingham because there is always so much to see and do, you won't regret your choice to come here!”

The Philosophy Department at the University of Birmingham has an outstanding international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Times Higher Education ranked the Department 2nd in the country in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.

Similarly, our well-equipped Department of Mathematics boasts academics who are global experts in their fields, delivering excellent teaching and conducting ground breaking research in areas such as fluid dynamics, analysis and group theory. 

In your Philosophy studies, you will explore the great minds of history and the present day, both learning what they thought and 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 philosophy of mathematics, moral and political philosophy, and science and nature. We also provide you with training in reasoning and logic.

Meanwhile, your Mathematics studies are carefully designed to give you access to as many topics as possible. You will develop skills such as the ability to formulate and tackle problems, to think logically, to use technical language and to express complex ideas clearly and accurately.

Why study this course

  • Excellent employability development – 90% of our Mathematics graduates enter work, or full time study, within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017).
  • Taught by experts – You will study alongside some of the finest minds in Philosophy and Mathematics. Times Higher Education ranked the Department of Philosophy 2nd in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise, whilst the Department of Mathematics was ranked 6th. Both departments are large enough to offer a broad spectrum of modules, but small enough to offer a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. 
  • 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.
  • Diverse extracurricular activities – By joining the Philosophy Society or MathSoc, you can make new friends who share your passion for your subjects. You can also attend interesting and diverse extra-curricular events as both societies are highly active and organise social events, guest speakers and debates throughout the academic year.
  • 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.

Open day talks

Two videos on YouTube from recent open day talks relevant to this course:


Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

In this programme, your studies are split equally in your first and second year of study. For your final year, you may choose to keep this equal weighting or study two thirds of one subject and one third of the other.

First year

Philosophy first year

Philosophy: Philosophy?s first year modules will provide you with a thorough grounding in mainly mainstream western philosophy. You will take our compulsory modules, Problems of Philosophy, Reasoning and Formal Logic, as well as 20 credits of optional modules.

See our first year Philosophy module descriptions (compulsory and optional)

Mathematics: The first two years are carefully designed to allow you as much choice as possible in your final year. In the first year, you will take three compulsory modules: 'Real Analysis and the Calculus', 'Vectors, Geometry and Linear Algebra', and 'Mechanics'.

Second year

Philosophy second year

Philosophy: In second year, you will take the compulsory module, Logic: Its Limits and its Scope, and choose 40 credits of optional modules.

See our second year Philosophy module descriptions (compulsory and optional)

Mathematics: In your second year you will take four compulsory modules: 'Multivariable and Vector Analysis', 'Linear Algebra', 'Probability and Statistics', and 'Algebra and Combinatorics 1'.

Year abroad

You can apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world. If you achieve a grade of 2.1 or above in your first year then you will be invited to apply for a Year Abroad in your second year. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year. Find out more.

Final year

Philosophy final year

Philosophy: In your final year, you take our compulsory module, Philosophy of Mathematics. You will also be expected to undertake an independent research project. You can chose to do this in either Mathematics or Philosophy. If you do a project in Mathematics you are not obliged to do another in Philosophy. Depending on whether you choose to undertake your research project in Mathematics or Philosophy, and the credit weighting of the project (20 or 40), you may be able to choose optional modules from our range of final year subjects to bring you total for the Philosophy side of your course to 60 credits.

See our final year Philosophy module descriptions (compulsory and optional)

Mathematics: As you will have gained a thorough grounding in many aspects of Mathematics during Years 1 and 2, you will be able to choose from an incredibly wide range of final year modules. Modules may include topics such as 'Research Skills in Mathematics', 'Mathematical Finance', 'Differential Equations' and 'Computability and Logic'.

Joint Honours Flexibility for Programmes involving Mathematics

Every degree programme at the University is divided into 120 credits of study for each year of the programme. In the first year and second year of a Joint Honours programme with Mathematics, you will study 60 credits in each subject as you learn the core elements of your disciplines. We recognise that students on Joint Honours programmes might come to favour one subject slightly more than another. To account for this, we have added more flexibility into the final year of our programmes involving Mathematics. In your third year, you can stick with the 60-60 split between the two subjects or shift to a 80-40 credit weighting, effectively a major/minor combination.

Fees and funding

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,250
  • Overseas: £17,640

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
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

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:
Required subjects and grades:
A level Maths grade A.

Additional information:

IB Diploma:
6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM, plus an A at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus an A at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A-level, including an A in the required A-level subject/s mentioned above.

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry 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

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 advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Wellbeing officers - We have dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
  • 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.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

Interactive classes are offered in modules which don't feature separate seminars. Here, lecturing time and discussion time are part of the same session and the structure of the classes can be very flexible.

Contact hours

On the Philosophy side of your degree, you can expect approximately 4 contact hours each week throughout the course of your programme. Contact hours will vary across the years of the programme depending on the optional modules you take and as independent study becomes more of a focus. Contact hours will be a combination of lectures and seminars and the independent research that you conduct in your final year will be supported by 1 to 1 supervision meetings with a lecturer.

In Maths, you can expect around 6 hours of lectures, 1 hour of an exercise class / tutorial, 2 hours in computer labs and 1 hour feedback with a personal tutor.

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.

Each module is assessed independently by exams, essays or other forms of written assignment. Some modules are completely assessed by coursework. Most first-year modules are assessed by both an essay written during the year and an exam at the end of the year, with each given equal weight. The assessment for second- and third-year modules also varies. Many modules are assessed by two essays, while some are assessed by an essay and an exam.

90% of our Mathematics graduates enter work, or full time study, within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017).

Philosophy and Mathematics graduates have a range of knowledge and skills that are highly prized by graduate employers, such as:

  • 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
  • Analytic thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Report writing
  • Generally thinking for yourself
  • Critical thinking skills, alongside the ability to research, analyse and interpret the information that you have gathered
  • Handling complex information, including complex statistics
  • The ability to form concise and articulate arguments
  • Managing your time effectively and prioritising your workload

Our graduates go on to pursue highly successful careers in professions such as Law, Journalism, Teaching, Management consultancy, Local and Central government, Publishing and Marketing. They have even gone on to be comedians, MPs, writers, Chief Rabbi and Blue Peter presenters.

Example employers include:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Central London Youth Development
  • Step on Stage Academy
  • Thames Valley Police
  • Town Hall & Symphony Hall Birmingham
  • CMT Learning
  • Brightedge
  • Barclays Aero Engine Controls
  • BAE Systems Detica
  • Ernst and Young
  • KPMG
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • N Power
  • PWC
  • Qinetiq
  • Santander
  • Towers Watson

Some graduates choose to progress to further study, not just in Maths or Philosophy but in Politics, International Development, Sociology and other areas.

Examples of further studies programmes include:

  • MA Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science
  • MA Global Ethics
  • MA Philosophy
  • MA International Security & Development
  • PGCE/PGDipEd (QTS) Secondary Education
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • Chartered Financial Analyst
  • Cima - Management Accounting
  • MA International Liaison and Communication
  • MRes Statistics and Operational Research
  • MSc Actuarial Science
  • MSc Medical Statistics
  • PGCE Secondary Mathematics
  • PGDipEd Secondary Education Mathematics
  • PhD Applied Mathematics
  • PhD Pure Mathematics

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.