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Degree type


Course length

3 years full-time


Durham City

UCAS code


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Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level AAA
International Baccalaureate 37

Course details

Studying BA Philosophy and Psychology allows you to confront and study profound questions concerning human psychology and the nature of the human mind. There are numerous areas of overlap making these subjects particularly suitable to study alongside each other.

Within the philosophy discipline you will confront questions such as ‘What does a flourishing human life look like?’ Embarking on this subject will equip you with the skills needed to think carefully and deeply about what matters in a good life, and how individual happiness is related to friendships, relationships, family, society, the political system and culture.

The psychology element is designed to give you an understanding of the mind and behaviour in humans and non-human animals. You will get the chance to study people in terms of their internal mental processes, the biological mechanisms that underlie their behaviour, and the social and developmental context in which they act.

You can also apply to add a placement year or a year abroad  to your degree, increasing the course from three years to four.

Philosophy is a new subject for many students, so in your first year you will follow a range of introductory courses, introducing the fundamental philosophical subject areas. You will also take a number of comparable introductory modules in psychology.

In your second year, you will further increase your knowledge by taking four compulsory modules in philosophy and psychology, and you also have a wide selection of optional modules to choose from for both subjects.

The third year includes a dissertation that allows a deep, independently driven, exploration of a topic of your choice.

Course structure

Year 1

Core modules:

Ethics and Values provides a structured introduction to moral philosophy, including applied ethics, by exploring key moral concepts and showing how they influence moral practices and theories.

Knowledge and Reality introduces philosophical problems in epistemology (the study of knowledge), and metaphysics (the study of reality and ourselves).

Introduction to Psychological Research introduces key research methods and statistical techniques used in psychology.

Examples of optional modules:

  • Reading Philosophy
  • Science, Medicine and Society
  • Introduction to Psychology 1: Cognitive and Biological Psychology
  • Introduction to Psychology 2: Developmental and Social Psychology.

Year 2

Core modules:

Philosophy of Mind provides a grounding in modern philosophical psychology and an understanding of those key concepts required for a proper characterisation of the mind, from both a first-person and a third-person perspective.

Social and Developmental Psychology provides a broad knowledge and understanding of research and theory in some of the key areas of developmental psychology and examines the contribution that social psychology has made to an understanding of the relations between people and social structures involving people.

Cognitive and Biological Psychology develops an understanding of theoretical, methodological and empirical approaches in cognitive and biological psychology, with particular emphasis on visual neuroscience and visual cognition.

Advanced Psychological Research develops your experimental design and statistics knowledge. In this module you will also discuss psychological research in a tutorial context and develop skills in studying classic papers in psychology.

Examples of optional modules:

  • Language, Logic and Reality
  • Early Modern Philosophy 
  • Moral Theory
  • Fundamentals of Logic
  • History of Science and Medicine 
  • Political and Social Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Philosophy of Science
  • The Philosophy of Economics and Politics: Theory, Methods and Values.

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement year or year abroad)

Core modules:

Differential and Clinical Psychology will develop your knowledge of theory and research in differential psychology, the study of psychological differences and similarities between people and understanding of theory and research in atypical and clinical psychology.

Psychology Project. Drawing on skills developed through the course you will work as a pair or a small group to carry out an investigation in psychology. You will formulate a research question, investigate and analyse the issue and interpret the results before writing up an individual 4,500-word project report. 

Philosophy Short Dissertation. In the short dissertation you will conduct an extensive study or survey of a philosophical problem or author, under the guidance of a supervisor, and produce a written account of your findings.

Examples of optional modules:

  • Revolutions in Modern Philosophy: Kant and other Trailblazers
  • Philosophical Issues in Contemporary Science
  • Aesthetics 
  • Twentieth-Century European Philosophy
  • Applied Ethics
  • Issues in Contemporary Ethics
  • Biomedical Ethics Past and Present
  • Metaphysics
  • History and Philosophy of Psychiatry.

Additional pathways

Students on BA Philosophy and Psychology can apply to be transferred onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement’ pathway during the second year.  Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four.


You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.


You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, informal but scheduled one-on-one support, and self-directed learning, such as research, reading and writing.

You will receive a genuinely research-led education. As well as learning the core principles of philosophy and psychology, you will be actively encouraged to engage in research through practicals and seminars, for instance. You will also have access to our world-leading experimental facilities, including motion capture, eye tracking and biophysical recording laboratories.

We offer a distinctive curriculum, incorporating considerable levels of variety and choice. Whatever you choose, you will be taught by internationally renowned experts in the field.


Modules are assessed by essays, some by an end-of-year examination and some by a combination of the two. In your final year, you will submit a dissertation that details your own original work. This is a great way to explore a topic that you are passionate about, and to showcase the many skills that you have gained during your degree.

Entry requirements

Grade 5 (or grade B) in Mathematics GCSE is required.

A level offer – AAA. Philosophy at AS or A Level is not a requirement.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD.

IB Diploma score – 37 with 666 in higher level subjects, including standard level Mathematics.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We consider each application holistically. Whilst academic achievement is important, it is not the only factor that we consider when assessing applications and applicants who have achieved, or are predicted to achieve, close to our typical offer, but who have not met it exactly, will be welcome to apply if they have a strong application in other key elements, for example can demonstrate merit and potential through their personal statement or their reference. 
  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
  • An interview may form part of the entry requirements for mature students with non-standard qualifications.
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £25,500 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £25,500 per year

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities


Philosophical training  will equip you with a range of theoretical and transferable skills, including critical thinking, problem solving, communication, project management, presenting and researching, that will be of value to employers across a range of industries. 

Our graduates work in a vast range of employment sectors worldwide, including law, the Civil Service and politics, management, public relations, teaching, journalism, media and publishing, marketing, retail and business, IT and financial services. Examples of recent employers include Penguin, Random House Publishing, Save the Children, Amnesty International and The Guardian.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 80% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 69% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £30,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here


Your degree will equip you with the academic knowledge, analytical and problem-solving skills that are in demand across a wide range of professions.

We are committed to developing your skills and offer a range of support activities to help you find a career that’s right for you. From Year 1 you will have an academic advisor, and you will be invited to graduate careers fairs where you can talk to recruiters. You can also attend the Psychology Employability Retreat.

Our undergraduate degrees are recognised by the British Psychological Society – the first step towards a career as a psychologist.

Our graduates also progress to postgraduate courses and have qualified in areas such as teaching, law, and speech and language therapy.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 90% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 52% are in high skilled employment 
  • With an average salary of £21,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here

Department information


Philosophy is an ancient and diverse discipline that is fundamental to our understanding of what it is to be human. Amongst the most prestigious departments in the UK, at Durham we pride ourselves on our excellence in teaching and research and we are committed to the pursuit of philosophical knowledge and understanding. Our distinctive, research-led approach to learning means that our undergraduate courses are constantly shaped in line with research and to reflect contemporary study in the area.

We offer a range of single and joint honours degrees with flexible pathways to suit your interests and career aspirations. As well as covering more traditional areas of philosophy, such as ethics and values, philosophical traditions and moral theory, our curriculum also highlights the relevance of philosophy to current issues in the world. This includes modules relating to the ethics of science and medicine. You can further develop your skills and experience with the opportunity to spend a year studying overseas or on a work placement.

During your time with us you will learn as much about how to think about difficult questions, as you will learn about the answers that can be given to them. You will develop the ability to detect a bad argument, whether in politics, in the media, or with the people in your day-to-day life, and an ability to produce better arguments of your own. Whatever you end up doing with your career, philosophy will forever change your outlook on the world.

For more information see our department pages.


  • World Top 50 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023
  • Top 10 in The Guardian University Guide and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023
  • 8th in The Complete University Guide 2024.


For a current list of staff, please see the Philosophy Department pages.

Research Excellence Framework

Top 20 in the UK for the quality of our research (REF 21).


The Department of Philosophy is located at Old Elvet in the picturesque city of Durham. We occupy a listed building in this ancient part of the city, near the medieval Elvet Bridge, and within easy walking distance of the Students’ Union, the colleges and Durham’s historic centre with its Castle and Cathedral.

Undergraduate students are invited to attend the Department’s extensive programme of research-related activities, including weekly lectures and seminars, many of which are given by renowned UK and overseas philosophers. Recent visitors have included Amie Thomasson, Noam Chomsky and Peter Singer.


Psychology is concerned with understanding the mind and human behaviour. You will investigate the processes that underpin the thoughts, feelings and motivations behind our actions. Learning from academics with real enthusiasm for their subject, you will explore topics such as social behaviour, childhood development and cognitive neuroscience.

Our psychology degrees offer a genuinely research-led education. While learning the core principles of psychology, you will have the opportunity to work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will have access to cutting-edge technologies, including the Department’s clinical and experimental facilities which include motion capture, eye tracking and biophysical recording laboratories.

Our innovative approach to learning takes us beyond the traditional student-lecturer dynamic. Through a combination of practical teaching sessions, an optional placement module, and even an employability retreat we actively prepare you for working life. The third year includes a research project, and you can gain additional lab-based experience with our popular Research Assistant Scheme. You can also apply for a placement year or year abroad.

Students who graduate with a 2.1 or higher are accredited by the BPS as conferring eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership – the first step towards a career as a psychologist.

To find out more see our department pages.


  • World Top 100 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023

For a current list of staff, please see the Psychology Department pages


Guided by experts in the field, you will have access to a range of world-leading clinical and experimental facilities. This hands-on experience brings theory to life and helps you gain a deeper understanding of the mind and behaviour. Facilities in the Department of Psychology include body scanners with integrated eye tracking, molecular psychology suites, VR suites with motion capture and mock environments for ecologically valid research.

You will be ideally located in a dedicated psychology learning space, adjacent to many university departments and services, and within walking distance of Durham’s historic centre.

More information on our facilities and equipment.


Find out more:

Use the UCAS code below when applying:



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