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Philosophy

BA (Hons)

Key facts


UCAS code

V500

Start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Location

Harcourt Hill

Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: up to 6 years

Department

School of History, Philosophy and Culture

UCAS Tariff Points

104

Overview


On our Philosophy course you’ll tackle some of the most exciting and fundamental questions about human nature and our place in the world. Can we understand what other people are thinking? Is morality real or a matter of opinion? Is science the only source of truth?

You won't just learn ‘about’ philosophy, we'll encourage you to become a philosopher in your own right.
We teach philosophy from a western, analytical perspective. But we also offer modules in eastern philosophy and issues around continental philosophy.

We offer modules exploring the work of:

  • Plato and Aristotle
  • the Hellenistic Philosophers
  • Medieval Philosophy
  • Descartes, Hume and Kant. 

In addition you will explore:

  • the philosophy of language
  • the philosophy of science
  • the philosophy of religion
  • the philosophy of mind
  • ethics and metaphysics.

You can teach philosophy to children in schools through our ‘philosophy with schools’ programme.

We are a branch of the Royal Institute of Philosophy. We organise an exciting programme of public lectures across the city.

How to apply


Typical offers

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29

BTEC: DMM

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

If you accept a Conditional offer to this course as your Firm choice through UCAS, and the offer does not include a requirement to pass an English language test or improve your English language, we may be able to make the offer Unconditional. Please check your offer carefully where this will be confirmed for each applicant.

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

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

Go

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Application process

Full time Home / EU applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home / EU applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£750 per single module

International full time
£13,410

Home/EU full time
£9,250 (subject to agreement by Office for Students)

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£13,900

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2019/20
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£750 per single module

International full time
£13,410

2020/21
Home/EU full time
£9,250 (subject to agreement by Office for Students)

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£13,900

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

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

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

We do not expect students to purchase any compulsory course books, as they are all available in the library. If students wish to purchase additional books to supplement their reading this is at their own discretion. 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. 

Learning and assessment


From day 1 we will encourage you to become a philosopher in your own right. You will engage with the thoughts of great thinkers, from Plato to Kant. And examine current developments in areas such as:

  • the philosophy of mind and language
  • culture, gender and sexuality.

Our small, interactive classes will teach you to debate and discuss your ideas with confidence. As well as develop your own opinions about what it means to be a philosopher.

Students in a lecture

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Introduction to Ethics

The purpose of this module is to get you thinking in a systematic and structured fashion about ethical matters. The module divides into two parts. The first concentrates on normative theory while the second looks at how various moral theories are applied in practical cases. Theories under discussion include consequentialism, deontology, virtue ethics, and particularism. Topics in applied ethics typically include abortion, euthanasia, animal welfare, poverty, and war.

Theory of Knowledge

This module addresses general and fundamental questions about knowers and knowledge. What is it to know? How is knowledge distinct from mere belief? And is knowledge possible? We will consider what great thinkers of the past said about these issues (Plato, Descartes, Hume, Locke and Berkeley) and explore contemporary debates.

Introduction to Philosophy (compulsory for combined honours students only)

This module is designed to provide an overview of the discipline as a whole by introducing you to problems from each of the main branches of philosophy. This module will focus on the examination of a collection of issues from epistemology, philosophy of mind, metaphysics and ethics. The course stands alone but can be considered as the primary foundation from which to begin a deeper study of philosophy.

Reason and Argument (compulsory for combined honours students only)

This module is designed to provide you with the basic tools that you need in order to study philosophy effectively in a university context. This includes the understanding of a series of basic philosophical concepts, the ability to read philosophy, identify a philosophical question, and construct and evaluate a philosophical argument. As reasoning plays such a central role in philosophy, a proportion of the module is devoted to critical reasoning. This module will include a session on employability.

Optional modules

Global Philosophy in Religions

An introduction to the philosophical foundations of religious traditions. This module is designed to enable you to unpick some of the categories and structures of the scholarly study of religion and global philosophies of religion. Equally, perspectives of insiders are considered in the construction of normative accounts of what is defined as a religion. The module is also designed to support you in academic writing, research and skills related to effective presentation of your ideas.

Human Nature

The study of Human Nature has been central to philosophy throughout its history, as philosophers have grappled with questions such as: what makes humans distinctively human?; what is the best way to study our nature?; are we fundamentally different from all other animals?; what is the relationship between race and gender and human nature?; could there be such a thing as human nature if we are products of evolution? to what extent are we products of culture? This module explores these questions, drawing upon cutting-edge work in philosophy, feminist theory, cognitive science and evolutionary biology.

Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion

This module introduces you to the ideas and methodology that dominate Anglo-America Philosophy of Religion. The first half of the module offers an account of the ‘God of theism’, focusing upon the attempts to establish the existence of God, and the characteristic attributed to that God. Such an account of the focus of religion and the meaning of ‘God’ has not been without its critics. The second part of the module offers alternative accounts of religion and ‘God’.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Ancient Greek Philosophy

This module is designed to introduce students to the two greatest philosophers of ancient Greece, Plato and Aristotle. The focus is on ethical and political themes in Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. Apart from their intrinsic interest, these texts are among the most influential in the history of philosophy. This module will include a session on employability. *Combined honours students only need to take Ancient Greek Philosophy OR Early Modern Philosophy as compulsory.

Early Modern Philosophy

This module is designed to introduce you to representative texts from the early modern period. The first part is devoted to Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy and examines his attempts to provide a firm basis for knowledge. The second part is devoted to 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. We will also look at related texts by Berkeley, Locke, Leibniz, and Spinoza. This module will include a session on employability. *Combined honours students only need to take Ancient Greek Philosophy OR Early Modern Philosophy as compulsory.

Optional modules

Continental Philosophy of Religion

This module will provide you with an approach to the philosophy of religion shaped by range of thinkers in the ‘Continental’ European tradition of the 19th and 20th centuries. It begins by considering the critique of the concept of God (with particular reference to the role played by Feuerbach) and the role of religion in the writings of 'the masters of suspicion' (Nietzsche, Marx and Freud), and proceeds to consider different responses to the critique of God and religion.

Culture, Gender and Sexuality

This module explores the relationship between issues of gender, sexuality and culture as key factors in human identity, development and society. It critiques traditional and static understandings of gender and sexuality, drawing on the insights of a diversity of disciplines, including those of gender studies, critical theory, queer theory, feminist theology and feminist criticism. The aim of the module is to encourage you to question your existing ‘common sense’ understanding of terms such as gender and sexuality, and to think about the uses to which such terms are put in contemporary culture. Indeed, the aim of this course is not to provide answers, but to encourage you to ask questions.

Evolution and the Mind

This module will introduce you to the philosophical study of the mind as a product of cognitive evolution. You will gain a better understanding of how humans think, and of how the evolved structure of the human mind has a profound influence on elements of human culture, such as religion and the arts. We will examine the relationship between biological and cultural evolution in human behaviour, exploring topics such as cultural group selection, the epidemiology of representations, and evolutionary psychology.

Hellenistic Philosophy

In ancient Greece, philosophy was thought to be more than simply a discipline of academic interest. Many philosophers saw themselves as analogous to physicians. If physicians treat and heal the body, the work of the philosopher was to provide comparable therapy for the soul. This view was common to Aristotle, the Epicureans, the Sceptics and the Stoics. This module is designed to introduce you to this philosophical tradition and the work of its proponents.

Philosophy of Language

Language is central to human life and so has attracted much attention from philosophers. This module examines some of the key debates about language that have excited philosophers over the past few decades. These include questions as to the nature of language, how language is acquired, whether language can be studied scientifically, and the relationship between language and thought.

Philosophy of Science

This module introduces you to contemporary philosophy of science. We will discuss a number of related issues concerning the nature and justification of scientific theories, the role of observation in science, the ontological status of theoretical entities and the structure of science.

Work and Community Related Learning

This module aims to support your development in relation to the world of work and future employability. It lets you pick your own work placement and write a reflective journal of 3000 words based on the experience. You can even use your existing job as a basis for a study topic. For example, if you work part-time in a care home you could write a project on memory loss in Alzheimer's patients, or look at issues of power and authority in the workplace.

Year 3

Optional modules

Dissertation in Philosophy (compulsory for single honours)

In this module you will conduct an extended critical investigation and written presentation of a topic, theme or issue, relevant to the field of philosophy.

Experimental Philosophy

This module will introduce you to the recent field of experimental philosophy, helping you to understand how we can test philosophical theories empirically. You will examine the roots of experimental philosophy in early modern authors such as Hume and Locke, who attempted to resolve philosophical issues through empirical observations. You will learn to interpret and conduct (at an elementary level - no advanced mathematical background is required) statistical tests to examine philosophical hypotheses.

Foundations of German Idealism

This module introduces Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, one of the most important works in the history of philosophy. The central epistemological and metaphysical themes of the Critique will be explored focusing on Kant’s ‘Copernican Revolution’ and his doctrine of Transcendental Idealism.

Freedom, Justice and Politics

This module will examine key political concepts: freedom, justice, and the community. It will take account of affiliated concepts including rights and equality. In considering these concepts, differing theoretical treatments of them will be related to the roles they play in the practical world of politics. Liberal, radical, feminist and communitarian theoretical standpoints will be analysed.

Independent Study in Philosophy

A single advanced module designed to develop independent learning skills and to enable you to build upon your knowledge and disciplinary skills in the philosophy field. You will carry out individual projects and must negotiate an overall programme plan and method of assessment with an appointed supervisor.

Interdisciplinary Dissertation (only available to combined honours students)

In this module you will conduct a critical investigation and written presentation of a topic, theme or issue, relevant to the field of philosophy.

Medieval Philosophy

This module introduces you to an unfairly neglected period in the history of western philosophy. This module is designed to introduce you to the extremely high quality work produced in this period by a variety of thinkers, work that continues to attract current interest. It is also designed to provide you with the means of filling in the historical gap between ancient Greek philosophy and the modern period.

Metaethics

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.

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

This module engages with questions about the nature, aims and justification of education through a distinctively philosophical approach. It will examine a range of contemporary, historical and international perspectives. You will engage in a critical dialogue with some of the seminal texts that have shaped the way we understand the educational endeavour and will be encouraged to examine your own assumptions about education.

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.

Thinking in Dark Times

This module considers the problem of evil; the social context which surrounds the philosophical framing of it, and the way in which philosophers have responded to the events of dark times. Are there forms of philosophy more likely to enable ways of responding to and combating the lived experience of evil? What happens to philosophical and intellectual responsibility in dark times?

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. We also offer you the chance 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 that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Our aim is to help you to think for yourself and maximise your academic potential. We foster a friendly and supportive environment in which you can develop your own thinking.
You’ll learn through a mix of:

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

We encourage you to continue debating issues outside the classroom by getting together with other students. As well as meeting staff informally to discuss your ideas.

We’ve structured the course to help you develop broader-ranging skills that will increase your confidence and help you later in life. By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • construct cohesive arguments
  • structure your thoughts
  • keep an open mind
  • maintain a critical distance
  • uncover the heart of an issue through a process of debate, reflection and argument. 

In your final year you will also develop your research skills.
 

  • Lectures and seminars
  • Placement
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.)

Year 1

  • Lectures and seminars - 16%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 84%

Year 2

  • Lectures and seminars - 16%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 84%

Year 3

  • Lectures and seminars - 13%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 87%

Learning and teaching percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

We assess you through:

  • written coursework
  • exams
  • oral presentations.
  • Written exams
  • Coursework
  • Practical exams

Year 1

  • Written exams - 36%
  • Coursework - 64%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 2

  • Written exams - 0%
  • Coursework - 100%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 3

  • Written exams - 0%
  • Coursework - 100%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Assessment method percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Study Abroad


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

After you graduate


Career prospects

Studying philosophy will help you to develop reasoning and communication skills that are highly prized by employers. Philosophy graduates work in a wide range of sectors including journalism and the media, the civil and diplomatic services, law, marketing, computing, management consultancy and counselling.

Further study

You can stay at Oxford Brookes to continue your studies with us; we offer a MA by Research in Philosophy and also provide doctoral supervision. We have an active research community and pride ourselves on the high-quality supervision we give our research students, with each student being allocated at least two supervisors.

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

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.

Information from Discover Uni


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.