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Philosophy

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Ready to apply? You can apply for this course online now using the UCAS website. The deadline for UK students to apply for this course is 25 January 2023.

The deadline for international students is 30 June 2023.

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Use these details to apply for this course through UCAS:

  • University name: University of Liverpool
  • Course: Philosophy V500
  • Location: Main site
  • Start date: 25 September 2023

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Bachelor of Arts

A Bachelor of Arts (BA Hons) is a bachelor’s degree awarded for an undergraduate programme in the arts.

Course overview

God. Morality. Mind. Reality. Art. If you want to spend three years engaging with some of the most challenging and profound questions with which humanity has ever grappled, then Philosophy is the subject for you.

Introduction

As philosophers we ask many different questions. What am I? How should I live? What will humans be like in the future? How does language work? How can we take care of our planet?

Our expert staff will help you develop your own answers to these great questions through a combination of lectures on the answers given by great philosophers of the past and present, and seminars aimed at facilitating interaction between student and student, and student and teacher.

By the end of this programme, you will be able to understand complex and demanding texts, reason intelligently and imaginatively about ethical, metaphysical, and epistemological issues, and have a grasp of the advantages and problems of a wide range of metaphysical and ethical views.

Year one will be spent developing your foundational knowledge through a series of required modules, through which you will also acquire the skills to read and write about philosophy, and to undertake critical analysis. Your second and final years will allow you to tailor your studies to your own interests through a free choice of modules.

Year in Industry

This programme is available with a Year in Industry. Year Three is spent on a paid placement within an organisation in industry, broadly defined. You will be supported by the School of the Arts and the Department throughout, and your reflective written account of the experience will contribute towards your final degree result. If you wish to study this programme with a Year in Industry, please put the option code ‘YI’ in the ‘Further Choices’ section of your UCAS application form.

What you'll learn

  • Analytical, argumentative, communications and problem-solving skills
  • Creative, critical and independent thinking
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Efficient time and information management
  • The ability to organise and present a persuasive case
  • The ability to recognise relevant information
  • Understanding of some aspects of the history of philosophy, and various sub-disciplines of contemporary philosophy
  • Basic competence in elementary symbolic logic

Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Year one

Your first year is made of eight required modules that will set the foundations for the rest of your studies.

Compulsory modules

CRITICAL, ANALYTICAL AND CREATIVE THINKING (PHIL112)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Taking this module will help you to gain skill in reconstructing and evaluating arguments, in analysing, interpreting, and thinking critically about textual and statistical information, and in thinking creatively. There are 100 minutes’ worth of lectures per week and, running from Week 2 onwards, ten weekly online tests. The first two online tests are purely formative. Each of the remaining eight online tests contributes 5% of the module result. A two-hour on-line examination contributes the remaining 60%.

ETHICS: MORAL CONSTRAINTS AND THE GOOD HUMAN LIFE (PHIL101)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module introduces students to the main arguments and theories in historical and contemporary ethical theory. Taking this module will enhance your abilities to analyse ethical claims and to identify the philosophical assumptions that underlie them. 

INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC (PHIL127)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module teaches students how to assess arguments using the formal methods of modern symbolic logic. Taking this module will enhance your ability to work with abstract material and your problem solving skills. It will help you understand logical notation where you encounter it in your reading, and prepare you, where appropriate, for more advanced logical study. The module is taught by lecture (1hr/week) and workshop (2hrs/week from week 2 onwards). There are three assessment components; an online multiple choice test (30%), an in-class test administered in the 9th workshop (40%), and a final exam (1hr, 30%).

MIND, KNOWLEDGE AND REALITY (PHIL103)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module introduces students to modern metaphysics, with an emphasis on a coherent historical narrative that explains the role that early modern philosophers, especially Rene Descartes and John Locke, have played in the development of our contemporary intellectual culture. The module covers Descartes’ and Locke’s philosophical systems in the early modern period, then goes on to outline the ‘scientific turn’ in philosophy in the late 19th and early 20th century. Taking this module will give students a grasp of why philosophers ask big questions about the nature of reality, and how those questions bear on their everyday lives and political experiences. The module is taught by lecture (2 x 1 hour per week) and seminar (1 hour per week). Assessment has two components, a set of 5 short pieces of writing (5 x 150 words) worth 25% of the module mark and spread through the teaching term, and a final essay worth the remaining 75%.

Philosophical Insights (PHIL106)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module brings the history of philosophy to life by unpacking the meaning behind well-known philosophical quotations (e.g. ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’; ‘One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman’). The quotations will be selected from key thinkers in the history of philosophy, and will be presented in chronological order. They will also be selected so that the material covered complements, but does not overlap with, readings on other philosophy modules. Students are introduced to well-known philosophical quotations in lectures. The lectures provide background context required to understand the quotations. Students then carry out independent research into the meanings of these quotations after the lecture. In workshops they write short summaries of what is meant by these quotations. In seminars they present and discuss these summaries, and have a debate about the plausibility of the philosophical views underlying the quotations they are working on. At the end of the course they combine three of their five summaries into a wiki, and they write a blogpost on one of the quotations that explains its meaning and evaluates the philosophical views and ideas expressed in it.

Students taking this module will improve their skills in reading and writing philosophy. Students will gain skill in explaining complex information in a concise manner to an audience, in practising the intellectual virtues associated with philosophy, in conducting their own independent research and in critically discussing important ideas in the history of philosophy. They will also gain familiarity with modes of writing other than essays (wikis, blogposts). In addition, there is a two-hour information skills workshop provided by the Library.

PHILOSOPHY TOOLKIT (PHIL105)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Students taking this module will develop key skills which are essential for studying philosophy. Students will learn how to approach philosophical texts written in a variety of styles – how to identify arguments, how to distinguish arguments from rhetoric, and how to evaluate arguments. They will also learn how to summarise views accurately, clearly and concisely, and how to write persuasively when presenting their own analysis of the philosophical topics covered. This module also includes lectures on successful presenting, and how to conduct fruitful philosophical discussions. Students will also be advised on understanding and learning from feedback. Students will gain skills in conducting their own independent, enquiry-led research, which is facilitated by a two-hour information and research skills workshop provided by the Library.
The seminar readings cover three particularly engaging philosophical topics: animal ethics, lying and bullshit (epistemology) and aesthetics. Since the lecture content is devoted to developing the skills involved with philosophical practice, this module also features three podcasts which serve as introductions to the three seminar topics.

The module is assessed as follows: seminar participation counts for 10% of the overall grade, a 1,000-word executive summary of any two of the seminar readings counts for 30% of the module result, and a 2000-word essay counts for the remaining 60%. Feedback on the executive summary and the essay is provided online using VITAL. It specifically relates the assessed work to the marking descriptors (which are published online in advance). Feedback on seminar participation is provided informally by the seminar leader (and by the students’ peers). Students will also have the opportunity to discuss their participation by making use of their seminar leader’s feedback and advice hours.

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY (PHIL102)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module introduces students to the main arguments and theories in the history of Western political philosophy. Taking this module will enhance students’ abilities to analyse political arguments and claims and to identify the philosophical assumptions that underlie them. The module is taught by lecture (2 x 1 hour per week in person, or pre-recorded mini-lectures available online, depending on the circumstances) and seminar (1 hour per week). Assessment is via a take home exam (2 hour equivalent, weighted at 90% of the module mark) and a 5-10 minute seminar presentation (weighted at 10% of the module mark). Seminar presentations may be recorded by students, if in-person presentation is not possible.

THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: Art and Philosophy (PHIL110)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

Artists, art-critics and the general public ordinarily provide their own accounts as to what art means and why it is valuable. In this module, such accounts are subjected to critical scrutiny: seemingly obvious answers give rise to nuanced and complex questions, in true philosophical fashion. To a large extent, this is accomplished through close attention to particular artworks from a variety of genres. The module also includes a guided activity component, which leads to the preparation of a reflective log in an authentic-learning context. By completing this module, one’s intuitions about the significance and the meaning of art will be liable to modification and fine-tuning, will become dialectically informed, and will stand up to challenge in real-world situations.

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Course options

Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.

Global Opportunities

University of Liverpool students can choose from an exciting range of study placements at partner universities worldwide. Choose to spend a year at XJTLU in China or a year or semester at an institution of your choice.

What's available on this course?

Year in China

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture on an optional additional year at Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University in stunning Suzhou.

  • Learn Chinese
  • Study in a bustling world heritage city
  • Improve employment prospects
  • Study Chinese culture
  • 30 minutes from Shanghai
  • Learn new skills

Read more about Year at XJTLU, China

Year in industry

Year in industry placements give you an in-depth workplace experience where you can develop your skills and apply your learning.

  • Develop key employability skills that graduate employers are looking for
  • Experience and understand workplace culture and disciple
  • Understand the relationship between academic theory and real world application
  • Begin your professional network
  • Gain industry insight and insight into potential career options.

You don't need to decide now - you can choose to add a year in industry after you've begun your degree.

Learn more about year in industry

To spend a year in industry, you'll need to secure a placement with an organisation. If you're unable to find a placement, you'll continue with the standard version of the course without a year in industry.

Language study

Every student at The University of Liverpool can study a language as part of, or alongside their degree. You can choose:

  • A dedicated languages degree
  • A language as a joint or major/ minor degree
  • Language modules (selected degrees)
  • Language classes alongside your studies

Read more about studying a language

Combine this subject

With a combined degree, you can study two subjects as part of the same degree programme.

  • Choose from 30 subjects and over 300 combinations
  • Choose joint or major minor subjects
  • Adjust the weight of your subjects at the end of your first year
  • Same number of credits as single honours students
  • Same classes as single honours students
  • Appeal to a wide range of employers

Explore combined degrees for Philosophy courses

Your experience

The Department of Philosophy is based in the School of the Arts, although teaching will take place across the campus.  Our staff and students have created an environment where critical, independent thinking flourishes, in a city that has a long tradition of welcoming radical thinkers and philosophers. Our friendly, down-to-earth atmosphere makes the exchange of ideas enjoyable, as well as intellectually stimulating.

Virtual tour

Careers and employability

As a student in the School of the Arts, you will be supported to maximise your employability from day one. The School has its own placements and employability officer, and you will have the opportunity to undertake a work placement or a year in industry as part of your programme.

3 in 4 philosophy students find their main activity after graduation meaningful.

Graduate Outcomes, 2018-19.

Graduates in Philosophy obtain work in fields such as advertising, the arts, broadcasting, commerce, the civil service, computing, journalism, marketing, politics, law, management, and teaching. Through our third year work experience module, or the Year in Industry route, you have the opportunity during your degree to apply your academic learning to practical contexts and develop a range of skills attractive to future employers.

Preparing you for future success

At Liverpool, our goal is to support you to build your intellectual, social, and cultural capital so that you graduate as a socially-conscious global citizen who is prepared for future success. We achieve this by:

  • Embedding employability within your , through the modules you take and the opportunities to gain real-world experience offered by many of our courses.
  • Providing you with opportunities to gain experience and develop connections with people and organisations, including student and graduate employers as well as our global alumni.
  • Providing you with the latest tools and skills to thrive in a competitive world, including access to Handshake, a platform which allows you to create your personalised job shortlist and apply with ease.
  • Supporting you through our peer-to-peer led Careers Studio, where our career coaches provide you with tailored advice and support.

Meet our alumni

Hear what graduates say about their career progression and life after university.

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about tuition fees, funding and student finance.

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover tuition fees and help with living expenses while at university.

Scholarships and bursaries you can apply for from the United Kingdom

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

My qualifications are from: United Kingdom.

Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

A levels

AAB

Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is ABB with A in the EPQ.

You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.

GCSE 4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

Applications encouraged. BTEC applications are encouraged. We evaluate each BTEC application on its merits.

International Baccalaureate

35 overall with no score less than four

Irish Leaving Certificate H1, H1, H2, H2, H2, H3
Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

AAB in Advanced Highers, combinations of Advanced Highers and Scottish Highers are welcome

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Accepted at grade A including AB at A Level
Access 45 Level 3 credits at Distinction
International qualifications

Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our entry requirements. Completing your Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, means you're guaranteed a place on your chosen course.

Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

Based on your personal circumstances, you may automatically qualify for up to a two-grade reduction in the entry requirements needed for this course. When you apply, we consider a range of factors – such as where you live – to assess if you’re eligible for a grade reduction. You don’t have to make an application for a grade reduction – we’ll do all the work.

Find out more about how we make reduced grade offers.

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new UCAS cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

Recent changes to government policy which determine the number of students individual institutions may admit under the student number control also have a bearing on our entry requirements and acceptance levels, as this policy may result in us having fewer places than in previous years.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. For this reason, we consider a range of factors in addition to predicted grades, widening participation factors amongst other evidence provided. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted in the prospectus and on the website.

Alternative entry requirements

  • If your qualification isn't listed here, or you're taking a combination of qualifications, contact us for advice
  • Aged 20+ and without formal qualifications? The one-year Go Higher diploma qualifies you to apply for University of Liverpool arts, humanities and social sciences programmes
  • Applications from mature students are welcome.

Changes to Philosophy BA (Hons)

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

7 June 2022: New course pages

New course pages launched.