Gain a deeper understanding of this complex world.
3 years full-time
The study of philosophy confronts profound and important questions that arise in all areas of human life – questions such as ‘What does a flourishing human life look like?’ When you choose a philosophy degree, you are embarking on a course which 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.
We offer a distinctive, research-led Philosophy curriculum, incorporating considerable levels of variety and choice. Whatever you choose, you will be taught by internationally renowned experts in the field.
At Durham, you will follow one of the widest-ranging philosophy degrees in the country. Rather than studying one particular school, your degree will equip you with wide-ranging expertise in Anglo-American analytical philosophy and continental philosophy. Each of these has its own distinctive set of issues and approaches to resolving them. We have special expertise in the philosophy of science, and social science, and the history of science and medicine. 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 modules, introducing the fundamental philosophical subject areas.
In your second year, you will further develop the critical skills required for independent learning, and modules also become more specifically focused.
In your third year, you will design and carry out your own dissertation which is the cornerstone of the degree.
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).
Philosophical Traditions introduces a range of philosophical approaches which provides grounding for the key explanatory and interpretative skills expected at later stages of the degree. The module also introduces the practice of researching and writing philosophy by examining ways in which philosophers shape knowledge in particular areas.
Reading Philosophy allows you to acquire an understanding of the issues of interpretation and comprehension in reading primary authors, through a detailed study of four thematically related texts.
The final year includes a Dissertation on a topic of your choice in which you research a topic in depth and present your findings and conclusions.
Students on BA Philosophy 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.
The degree will be delivered by internationally renowned philosophers using a combination of methods including lectures, seminars, tutorials and self-directed learning, such as research, reading and writing.
Philosophical development is principally a matter of acquiring a range of reasoning skills, rather than familiarising yourself with a body of knowledge. Lectures involve plenty of opportunities for questions and extended discussion, and tutorials consist mostly of structured, critical dialogue in the context of a friendly, supportive environment.
Assessment varies by module, but may typically include essays, examinations and some will involve a combination of the two. In your final year, you will submit a dissertation, which allows you to explore in depth a topic of your choice.
A level offer – AAA.
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD.
IB Diploma score – 37 with 666 in higher level subjects.
In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:
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.
International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.
|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.
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
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.
(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 www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)
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.
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.
The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!