UCAS code: V500

Start dates: September 2023 / September 2024

Full time: 3 years

Part time: up to 6 years

Location: Harcourt Hill

Department(s): School of Education, Humanities and Languages

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Get to grips with the greatest questions generated by our attempt to make sense of the world and our place in it. Explore important topics like moral responsibility, social convention, and fake news. Discover the diverse career opportunities a philosophy degree unlocks in the 21st century.

Looking at how philosophy is relevant to our everyday lives is an important part of this course. You’ll explore answers to big questions like: how can it help us tackle the biggest challenges facing society? And what are the negative consequences of technological change?

You’ll have the chance to look at more modern thinking around philosophy of mind, epistemology, moral philosophy, and more. However, we offer a wide range of modules that focus on the past too. 

Outside the lecture theatre, we encourage you to make the most of opportunities on offer. Perhaps you’ll become part of our philosophy society and attend their events. Or maybe you’ll boost your CV with a work placement or by studying abroad.

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Strong student support

    We give you feedback on all draft coursework and schedule meetings every semester to help keep you on track.

  • Small class sizes

    We encourage discussion and debate to help you develop your philosophical skills.

  • Expert insight

    Listen to Royal Institute of Philosophy lectures and attend The Philosophy Zone, a fortnightly staff-student discussion event.

  • No exams

    We assess you in a variety of ways including essays, podcasts, book reviews and presentations.

  • Focus on employability

    We have a careers service specifically designed for philosophy students.

  • Free language courses

    Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

  • Study abroad

    You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Oxford Brookes. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

Course details

Course structure

Do we need to be protected from artificial intelligence? What moral responsibilities do large corporations have? Are humans capable of rational thought and action? Studying philosophy, these are just a few examples of the questions you’ll discuss and debate. 

We kickstart this course with an overview of the discipline, looking at the problems of each of the main branches of philosophy. You’ll also spend time thinking about the idea of religion, as well as ethics and human nature. 

Exploring influential figures throughout history is a key part of the course. You’ll look at their ideas on the nature of the mind, experience, and personal identity. We’ll also give you the chance to shape your studies with optional modules.  

In your final year, you’ll dig deeper into a pressing philosophical issue and pick from more modules. Medieval philosophy, moral psychology and thinking in dark times are just a few examples of areas you can explore.

Students in a lecture

Learning and teaching

You’ll learn through sharing, discussing and evaluating fundamental - and sometimes controversial - ideas. You’ll examine human nature, and our place in the world. You’ll question the status quo and analyse different opinions. You’ll evaluate the beliefs of others - and your own.

Your teaching will be a mix of:

  • group discussions
  • seminars
  • online discussions
  • podcasts
  • interactive lectures.

You’ll be part of a close-knit and supportive learning community - where everybody knows each other well. Your learning environment will be friendly and inclusive - and you’ll feel comfortable sharing your ideas. Your tutors are experts who are passionate about Philosophy - and truly care about their students. You’ll be able to get support whenever you need it.


We assess you through:

  • written coursework
  • exams
  • oral presentations.

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Introduction to Philosophy

In this module, you’ll explore philosophy and its main branches, unlocking the rich history of human thought on the biggest questions of existence. You’ll gain the core knowledge to succeed in your Philosophy degree, as you explore issues including: 

  • epistemology (the theory of knowledge)
  • philosophy of mind 
  • metaphysics 
  • ethics.

This course will give you a strong grounding in philosophy, and also serve as a key foundation for deeper study. 

Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion

Does religion always have to be about God? In this module, you’ll get to grips with the key concepts of Western Philosophy of Religion. You’ll gain core critical skills as you dissect theism (the belief that a God exists and intervenes in the universe) and its key ideas. You’ll focus on attempts to prove the existence of God, and His key characteristics. You’ll also challenge the idea that religion always involves a god or gods, unearthing new accounts of religion and new ideas of ‘God’.

Reason and Argument

In this module, you’ll accelerate your career and gain the key tools to succeed in your Philosophy degree. You’ll unlock your potential for excellence, as you gain knowledge of:

  • basic philosophical concepts
  • how to read philosophy
  • how to identify a philosophical question.

You’ll also gain the knowledge to construct and evaluate a philosophical argument using logical reasoning. These are critical and analytical skills which are vital for work.

Introduction to Ethics

What makes an action good or bad? Are morals absolute, or is morality just a matter of social convention? Can we judge members of a different society through our own moral rules?  

In this module, you’ll explore the views of the great thinkers of the past, such as Aristotle, Kant and Mill. You’ll reflect on what their theories mean for questions such as whether we should give to beggars on the streets of Oxford, or if we should do more for refugees. 

Human Nature

What does it mean to be human? Are humans the same as other animals? How do race and gender relate to human nature? In this module, you’ll explore some of the biggest questions facing humanity, and join philosophers throughout the ages in exploring human nature. You’ll gain core critical skills as you debate how best to study our nature. You’ll ask whether, if we’re products of evolution, human nature even exists. You’ll develop excellent analytical skills as you explore these ideas through cutting-edge work in philosophy, as well as:

  • feminist theory
  • cognitive science
  • evolutionary biology.

Theory of Knowledge

What does it mean to know something? Is knowledge different from mere belief? And is knowledge actually possible?

In this module, you’ll get to know the great thinkers of the past, and explore what they say about knowledge. You’ll explore the minds of:

  • Plato 
  • Descartes
  • Hume
  • Locke
  • Berkeley.

You also focus on key debates about knowledge today. You’ll gain fantastic analytical skills as you consider:

  • the meaning of perception 
  • if we can know something through hearsay 
  • if we can know the world beyond our minds 
  • if there can be a scientific account of knowledge.

Optional modules

Death, Disease and Doctors: Medicine and Society

You’ll examine the history of sickness and healing in society. You’ll look at how people have viewed medicine and disease, from 1650 to 2000. In seminars, we’ll investigate issues such as:

  • quackery
  • war and medicine 
  • forensic medicine
  • disease control
  • public health
  • madness and society
  • sexual health
  • the patient’s view.

Eastern Religious Philosophies

What can philosophies and religions teach us about being human? In this module, you’ll immerse yourself in key themes of Eastern religions, including the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. You’ll gain a core understanding of the philosophical foundations of different religious traditions. 

Foundations of Social Theory

In this module, you’ll explore the key themes of social theory. You’ll investigate the works of  influential sociological theorists, including Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. And you'll investigate how their work has shaped sociology and its different traditions. 

You'll immerse yourself in current debates, developments and approaches to social theory. And you'll explore how these affect our social relations today. 

Politics in Comparative Perspective

In this module, you’ll investigate politics - and the struggle for power - across the nations. You’ll gain a clear introduction to how and why political systems differ in our world today. You’ll examine case studies from a wide range of states, and gain a strong insight into how different regimes function – from the democratic to the totalitarian.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Ancient Greek Philosophy

Meet the two greatest philosophers of ancient Greece, Plato and Aristotle. You’ll explore the key themes in Plato’s Republic and Artistotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, uncovering vital ethical and political issues. You’ll understand why these fascinating texts have influenced the history of philosophy. 

Early Modern Philosophy

Does anything exist outside our minds? Are our thoughts just a product of our senses? In this module, you’ll get to grips with early modern philosophy, and its core texts and ideas. In part 1, you’ll dive into Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy, and gain core analytical skills as you examine his attempts to provide a firm basis for knowledge. In part 2, you’ll dig into Hume’s Treatise on Human Nature and his Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, examining his attempts to construct a theory of the workings of the human mind. You’ll also explore the Immanual Kant’s views of space and time as developed in his book The Critique of Pure Reason

Ethics for the 21st Century

You'll explore recent social and technological developments such as:  

  • globalisation
  • social media and the internet
  • medical and scientific advances
  • mass migration 

Looking at the new ethical challenges they present that are prominent in public debate and a source of conflict and division in society. You'll analyze some of these ethical issues from a philosophical perspective. 

You'll consider whether corporations have moral responsibilities and what is the best way to combat racism? Also how are epistemic vices such as close-mindedness, intellectual arrogance and dogmatism fostered by the prevalence of conspiracy theories, fake news, and testimonial injustice?

Are we right to assume that democracy is the only morally-defensible way to govern a country? Can technology and science help us to improve ourselves?


Optional modules

Continental Philosophy of Religion

In this module, you’ll investigate the philosophy of religion, and how it was shaped by key thinkers in the Continental European tradition of the 19th and 20th centuries. You’ll gain valuable critical skills to succeed in your degree, as you critique the concept of God, and explore Feuerbach’s idea that God is nothing more than an expression of human nature and needs. 

We will consider the claims of Nietzsche that God is dead, of Marx that religion is an opiate for human suffering, and of Freud that religion is no more than a set of illusions, vain attempts to deal with the suffering of life. We will see that, from such an unpromising start, creative perspectives on what religion really involves emerge. You’ll also explore different responses to debates about God and religion.

Evolution and the Mind

How did we evolve from life-forms with no cognition, to beings who process 400 billion bits of information per second? In this module, you’ll get to grips with cognitive evolution - the idea that our minds have evolved over time. You’ll understand how humans think, and discover how the evolution of our minds has influenced our culture - from religion to the arts. You’ll explore the relationship between biological and cultural evolution, through topics including: 

  • cultural group selection
  • the epidemiology of representations
  • evolutionary psychology.

Philosophy as a Way of Life

What’s the difference between a philosopher and a doctor? In this module, you’ll explore the ancient Greek view that philosophers heal the soul, just as physicians heal the body. You’ll gain a strong knowledge of ancient philosophical thought, as you trace this thinking in the works of Aristotle, the Epicureans, the Stoics and the Sceptics and explore their views on such issues as:

  • does anger have a positive role to play in our lives or would we be better off without it?
  • Is death something to be feared?
  • what is the role of love in human life?
  • what are the benefits of a life of scepticism?

Language and Reality

How did language - the centre of our culture, family ties and business transactions -  develop? In this module, you’ll get to grips with fascinating debates around language, and why philosophers have been so drawn to it throughout history. You’ll gain core critical skills, as you consider questions around: 

  • what language is 
  • whether we can study it scientifically
  • the relationship between language and thought. 

Philosophy of Science

In this module, you’ll discover science, and its role in our society. You’ll get to grips with the main philosophical questions around scientific knowledge, and the methods we use to explore it. You’ll gain core critical skills as you consider classic philosophy of science topics, and investigate some new ideas. You’ll debate topics such as:

  • do the entities postulated by scientists really exist?
  • can scientific theories be falsified by observation?
  • is theoretical change in science a rational process?
  • how much of the biological world can be explained by appeal to natural selection?
  • what is the measurement problem in quantum mechanics?

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Dissertation in Philosophy

This module gives you the chance to do research on a topic that fascinates you. You’ll have the support of expert staff, as you critically analyse and present your research on a pressing philosophical issue. Whether you’re investigating the ethics of artificial intelligence, fake news or feminist philosophy, you’ll shape your dissertation around your passions, and gain the skills for a groundbreaking career. 

Optional modules

Freedom, Justice and Contemporary Political Theory

In this module, you’ll explore key political concepts, including: 

  • freedom
  • justice
  • the community.

You’ll also look at relevant concepts such as rights and equality. You’ll gain valuable critical skills as you explore the different methods we use to explore these concepts, and how they play out in the practical world of politics.

Independent Study: Work and Community Related Learning

In this module, you’ll kickstart your career. You’ll pick your own work placement, based around your passions, and gain critical skills and opportunities for your future career. You’ll make important professional contacts, and hone your plans for the future. You’ll develop your self-reflection skills as you write a journal based on your experience. In recent years students have had placements working with charities, in schools, and in broadening access to higher education.

Independent Study Module

In this module, you’ll gain excellent skills for work and your degree. You’ll work independently on projects that fascinate you, with the support of our leading Philosophy academics. You’ll build on your knowledge of philosophy, and hone your ability to manage your projects and time successfully. Whether you’re focusing on eastern philosophy, the nature of the self or existentialism, you’ll shape your project around your passions and gain the skills for a fantastic career.

Medieval Philosophy

In this module, you’ll dive into medieval philosophy - an unfairly neglected period in western philosophy. You’ll explore the fascinating ideas of a wide range of medieval thinkers, whose work still influences philosophy today. You’ll also gain a strong knowledge of the historical gap between ancient Greek philosophy and today.


This advanced module is devoted to the sustained and detailed exploration of a topic introduced in the compulsory Introduction to Philosophy, namely, the realism vs. noncognitivism dispute in meta-ethics. The implications of meta-ethical theories for normative ethics will also be explored.


What exactly is philosophy and how does it relate to, on the one hand, science, and, on the other, commonsense reflection? Is philosophy an armchair discipline or should it employ empirical methods? Is philosophy best done by experts or has everyone got an equally important contribution to make to the discipline? These questions will be explored by examining some of the most prominent views as to the nature of philosophy championed over the last hundred years. Particular emphasis is placed on Experimental Philosophy, a new approach in philosophy that insists that the philosopher should get out of their armchair and adopt empirical methods of the kind used in cognitive science.

Moral Vision

This module explores central topics in metaethics, the philosophical study of the nature of morality and moral judgment. You will explore such issues as:

  • are there objective moral facts?
  • when we make a moral judgment are we making a factual claim or merely expressing our emotions or preferences?
  • is morality culturally relative?
  • how do our moral judgments motivate our actions.

Philosophy of Mind

This module is designed to introduce you to one of the liveliest areas of current research: contemporary philosophy of mind. Much of the current work in the field is devoted to the task of explaining how mental phenomena can be accommodated within a physicalist framework.

Philosophy of Education

What’s the point of education? What do we hope to achieve by it? In this module, you’ll dig into core questions about education through a philosophical approach. You’ll gain excellent critical skills as you debate contemporary, historical and international perspectives. You’ll consider the groundbreaking texts that shape the way we understand educational desires and efforts, and you’ll reflect on your own educational experience. 

Reality: Fundamental Topics in Metaphysics

In this module, you’ll understand a core branch of philosophy - metaphysics. You’ll explore both contemporary and historical answers to such fundamental questions as: 

  • do we have free will or all our actions determined?
  • What is the basic structure of reality?
  • what is the place of the mind in the physical world?
  • what is space and time and are they objective features of reality or constructs of the human mind?

Special Topics in Metaphysics

This module is designed to help you develop your reading and oral presentation skills. This is predominantly a student-led module. You will present seminar papers on classic philosophical works - either journal articles or chapters from seminal monographs - in the areas of metaphysics and the philosophy of logic. You will assess each other's presentations. You will also write an essay on a topic related to your seminar presentation.

The Moral Mind

Do our morals come from society or ourselves? How does emotion affect our moral judgement? In this module, you’ll explore the moral behaviour of humans, and our ideas of right and wrong. You’ll analyse the parts of the brain which create our moral behaviour and evaluation. You’ll also look at research on the philosophy of the mind, moral philosophy and cognitive science. And you’ll explore issues such as:

  • what motivates our moral behaviour
  • how morals evolved
  • how we develop moral beliefs.

Thought and Consciousness

In this module, you’ll get to know one of the liveliest areas of current research: contemporary philosophy of mind. You will explore issues such as:

  • What is the relationship between the mind and the brain?
  • How are our thoughts capable of being about phenomena that exist outside of the mind?
  • Where is the mind located? Is it in our skulls or does it stretch beyond the outer surfaces of our bodies?
  • Is consciousness a mystery or can it be explained from a scientific perspective?

Thinking in Dark Times

Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why do so many bad things happen? And can philosophy combat evil? In this module, you’ll dive into the problem of evil, and the philosophical ideas which underpin it. You’ll look at how philosophers have responded to dark events throughout history, and consider the social contexts of their ideas.  We move on from this to what is, perhaps, a more interesting and important question: how do we live when confronted with dark times? How might we act in such ways as to cultivate the good and to ensure that wickedness cannot flourish?

Work placements

Optional modules

Work placements

You will have the opportunity to undertake a work and community-related learning module as part of your degree. You’ll also have the opportunity to take part in the ‘philosophy with schools’ programme. This voluntary programme offers you specialist training before embarking on a placement in a local school, teaching philosophy to children as an enriching educational activity. Travel and associated costs of all work placements are the responsibility of the student, therefore it is advised that they organise placements bearing this in mind.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


Studying philosophy at Oxford Brookes will prepare you for life beyond university. You’ll be an expert in analytical thinking, moral reasoning, and problem solving. All skills that are becoming central to 21st century careers.

Employers in a range of areas will be looking for someone like you – particularly in areas of growth such as:

  • social media regulation and oversight,
  • the ethics of AI,
  • government policy.

Want to take your expertise to the next level? Study a postgraduate course with us to develop your research skills further. 

Student profiles

Our Staff

Dr Mark Cain

Mark's research interests are in the Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Mind and Language. In particular, he is interested in understanding the process by which humans develop from a state of seeming ignorance at birth to one in which they are able to speak a language and grasp a vast array of concepts only a few years later.

Read more about Mark

Joint honours options

You can also study this course as part of a joint honours degree. This course can be joined with:

Related courses

Entry requirements

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29


Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27


Further offer details

For combined honours, normally the offer will lie between the offers quoted for each subject.

Applications are also welcomed for consideration from applicants with European qualifications, international qualifications or recognised foundation courses. For advice on eligibility please contact Admissions: admissions@brookes.ac.uk

International qualifications and equivalences

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 483088


Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.