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Philosophy

BA, DipHE, CertHE

For thousands of years, people have asked fundamental questions about the world, their place in it, and their relation to each other. These questions, and the attempts to answer them, define the subject matter of philosophy. Our degree is a profound intellectual negotiation of this exciting and fundamental enterprise.

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Study Philosophy with academic direction from Birkbeck, University of London, wherever you are in the world.

By studying this course, you will:

  • Challenge yourself and improve your powers of reasoning and argument.
  • Improve your ability to analyse complex ideas, your understanding of people, and your capacity for original thought.
  • Discover historical and contemporary issues in the subject and make connections between the ideas and arguments that inform philosophical debates.
  • Study a range of philosophical works from the classical past to present day. Our subjects include existence and reality; knowledge and belief; mind, thought, reason and logic; truth and meaning; and the ethical and aesthetic values of goodness and beauty.

Course details

BA: four modules from level 4, four modules from level 5 and four modules from level 6 including a dissertation.

DipHE: four modules from level 4 and four modules from level 5.

CertHE: four courses from level 4. 

View Modules

Independent study

Distance learning offers you the flexibility to balance your studies with your existing commitments. We supply learning materials which are specially designed for independent study. You will also have access to a significant range of online resources, including a fully supported Virtual Learning Environment and online library.

Study materials

We provide the core study materials you need to complete the programme. These include a Programme Handbook of practical information (such as how to enter exams), a subject guide for each course you choose, and past exam papers and commentaries, which give you valuable tips for performing well in exams.

Online support

When you register, we will give you access to your Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and two other key resources:

  • The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Here, you can access electronic copies of all printed study materials, resources including audio-visual and revision guides, and forums to discuss course material and work collaboratively with others.
  • The Online Library holds thousands of journal articles which you can access free of charge. A dedicated helpdesk is available if you have any difficulties in finding what you need.

Assessment

  • All Level 4 and Level 5 courses are assessed by a two-hour written exam.
  • Level 6 courses are assessed by a three-hour written exam,
  • The dissertation is assessed by a thesis of 7,500 words.

More about exams.

What qualifications do you need?

For access to the BA Philosophy and DipHE Philosophy, you will usually meet the following criteria:

For access to the CertHE Philosophy:

  • Age 18+ by 01 September in the year of registration.
  • Three GCSEs (at Grade C) or equivalent.

For access to individual courses (Introduction to Philosophy):

  • Age 18+ by 01 September in the year of registration.
  • Passing this course with 50% will normally admit you to the CertHE.

Even if you don’t meet the standard requirements, we will consider each application on its own merits. Our Admissions Panel will consider whether any alternative/incomplete qualifications or work experience you have are suitable for entry to the programme.

I don’t meet the entry requirements. What can I do?

English Language requirements

You need to demonstrate a good level of English to be admitted to our programmes. We accept a range of evidence, including proficiency test scores. If you don’t have evidence but believe you can meet the standard, we may consider your case.

Do I meet the language requirements?

We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly. For this degree, you will also need Adobe Flash Player to view video material and a media player (such as VLC) to play video files.

More about computer requirements.

Can I transfer credits from other awards?

If you have studied material as part of a previous qualification that is comparable in content and standard, you might be exempted from the equivalent course of our degree. This is known as Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL), Credit Transfer or Exemption. This is available for the BA degree only.

More about Accreditation of Prior Learning.

The fees below relate to the 2017-2018 session. These are subject to annual review.

Academic year2017-2018
Application fee (non-refundable)£ 88
Initial registration fee£ 875
Continuing registration fee£ 472
Examination fee per course£ 262
Individual course application fee£ 88
Individual course composite fee£ 481
Indicative total: BA Philosophy£ 6,570
Indicative total: DipHE Philosophy£ 4,460
Indicative total: CertHE Philosophy£ 2,456

These totals reflect average fee increases and assume that you complete the qualification within the minimum time (without resits).

Additional Costs

You will also need to budget for:

  • Textbooks (could extend to around £300 per year)
  • Exam centre fees, which are paid directly to the venues where you sit your exams.

We accept most traditional payment methods, including debit/credit card, international money order, and Western Union.

How to pay your fees.

The BA Philosophy degree will prepare you for many careers, including public service, teaching and research, media and journalism. While not a vocational subject, the study of philosophy is renowned as excellent preparation for success in fields such as law, administration, and business.

What do employers think of our graduates?

The programme is developed by the Department of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London. Birkbeck is ranked among the leading UK University institutions for its levels of national and international excellence in research in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

Programme Director

Dr Florian Steinberger was educated at the University of Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne, and the University of Cambridge. He became Assistant Professor in Logic and Philosophy of Language at the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, and the Munich Centre for Mathematical Philosophy, before joining Birkbeck in 2015.

Without the cost of moving to London, studying for your University of London degree anywhere in the world represents excellent value for money. However, there are additional sources of support depending on where you live and how you choose to study.

More on funding your study.

Steve Mah BA Philosophy, Canada

Philosophy student Steve Mah, Canada

"Philosophy builds invaluable critical thinking skills, as it calls even our most basic assumptions into question".