Bachelor of Arts (BA)
3 years full-time
27 September 2021
Department of Study
Department of Philosophy
Location of Study
University of Warwick
Philosophy involves thinking carefully and critically about a variety of questions, including: Is dying bad for you? Should you care about the truth? Could you survive a body transplant? Are you free to act? How do you know your own mind?
Our single honours Philosophy course offers a broad range of modules as well as the freedom to choose your own path through the subject. You’ll learn how to think carefully and critically about a variety of philosophical questions. Topics you may study include: What does it mean to know something, and what can we know? What does leading a good life consist in? Is the mind identical to the brain? Should we impose limits on human enhancement?
Your first year is designed to help you develop the skills and confidence to succeed on your selected path. You’ll learn through a variety of teaching and assessment methods in order to foster your development as an independent learner and to help you develop the skills needed to pursue a range of careers.
In your second and your final year, there is a broad array of optional modules to choose from, which allow you to sample a number of different areas of philosophy, or specialise in a particular area of philosophy, such as continental philosophy, or philosophy of mind. You may also choose to apply for an intercalated year, spent either studying abroad or on a work placement. This extends the duration of your degree to four years and will be reflected in your degree qualification (i.e., BA Philosophy with Intercalated Year, or BA Philosophy with Work Placement).
At least 90 CATS philosophy modules in each year, including all core modules. Up to 30 CATS options each year may be taken from outside philosophy.
A quarter of your first year’s credits are your choice, and this increases to 75% of modules being selected by you in your second year. Your final year is down to you: all your modules are chosen by you according to your individual interests and goals.
How will I learn?
Our main teaching methods are lectures, lecture-discussions, and seminars alongside private study and study skills sessions. Our students benefit from expert guidance from staff in developing strong analytical and critical skills, and our students highly rate the feedback they receive. In addition to compulsory teaching, we also offer many extra academic activities, including optional lectures, colloquia, discussion groups and workshops.
Typically three hours of contact time per week per module, in most cases this would be two hours lecture and one hour seminar but is variable depending on teaching methods.
Seminar sizes are typically 12-15 students. Lectures vary by module from 20-220.
How will I be assessed?
We track your progress and provide you with a variety of opportunities for getting feedback on your work for your course. Your final degree classification is based on assessed essays, other assessed work (which may include, for example, group work or video presentations), examinations and an optional dissertation or individual project. Your second and third year work carries equal weight in determining your final degree classification, with each counting for 50% of your degree.
We run successful undergraduate exchanges with Queen’s University, Ontario, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, enabling second-year Philosophy students (single or joint honours) to compete for the chance to spend a full year studying in North America. Modules and examinations taken at Queen’s and Madison count towards your degree.
All students have the opportunity to apply for an intercalated year abroad at one of our partner universities, which currently include: Bourgogne, Dijon; Erasmus, Rotterdam; Copenhagen; Friedrich Schiller, Jena or Cologne; Vienna; Autonoma or Complutense, Madrid or Seville; Rome or Turin; and Koc, Istanbul. The Study Abroad Team in the Office for Global Engagement offers support for these activities, and the Department’s dedicated Study Abroad Co-ordinator can provide more specific information and assistance.
Study skills will be built into your core modules in the first year. In those modules, you will develop skills in close reading, essay writing, exam technique, critical thinking and presentation. As well as the opportunity of individual careers appointments, there are a wide range of events and workshops – including small workshops for people with no career ideas, speaker events for people interested in a certain sector, and large career fairs for organisations wanting to recruit a large number of graduates each year.
We also offer specific sessions for second and third years, directed as honours level assessed work. Warwick also offers the Undergraduate Skills Programme and Academic Writing Programme to help you further develop academic and career-related skills.
General entry requirements
- Will be considered
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.
Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only).
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
We do not typically interview applicants. Offers are made based on your UCAS form which includes predicted and actual grades, your personal statement and school reference.
Reason, Argument and Analysis
In this module, you will learn to identify common patterns of good and bad reasoning, helping you to expose errors in everyday life, to think better and develop the art of persuasion. The skills you gain will help you take a robust philosophical approach to your studies and work independently during your degree; giving you valuable reading, analysis and academic writing skills.
Key Debates in Moral and Political Philosophy
We often try to do the right thing. But what is the right thing? This module will explore key debates in ethics and political philosophy on how we should live and how we should live together. It will use texts from Thomas Hobbes and John Stuart Mill to address contemporary ethical issues. For example, can living morally sometimes be too demanding, or risk undermining our integrity? And what moral standards, if any, apply in political life? What obligations to politicians have towards the citizens?
Mind and Reality
Look around. What if all your experiences were the products of dreams, or neuroscientific experiments? Can you prove they aren’t? If not, how can you know anything about the world around you? How can you even think about such a world? Perhaps you can at least learn about your own experience, what it’s like to be you. But doesn’t your experience depend on your brain, an element of the external world? This course will deepen your understanding of the relationship between your mind and the rest of the world.
Plato and Descartes
What would you do if you had a magic ring that made you invisible? Be an invisible superhero or use your power for ill? Plato asks us why exactly we should be just, and good. Suppose an evil demon causes your experiences now to be radically misleading about the real world. There is no computer, no cup of coffee on the desk, even though it appears there are. Descartes uses such exercises to show that we can find truths about the world independently of the senses, simply through reasoning and reflection. You will study these teachings and ask, is Descartes right?
Logic 1: Introduction to Symbolic Logic
This module introduces you to formal (i.e., symbolic) logic, covering both propositional and first-order logic. You will study formal languages, and learn how they allow for precise definitions of central logical notions such as the logical validity of an argument. You will learn methods for establishing the validity and invalidity of an argument, and also learn how to translate English sentences into formal language ones and vice versa.
Introduction to Ancient Philosophy
You will learn about Ancient Greek thinkers such as Parmenides, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, focusing on metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. You will see contrast and continuity between treatments of these topics in the ancient literature and you will gain a foundation for further study of Greek philosophy, and of contemporary philosophical literature. You will develop skills in critical analysis, presenting rigorous arguments, oral and written, and learn how to discuss a topic with clarity, patience and sensitivity to the views of others.
History of Modern Philosophy
You will discover the metaphysical and epistemological ideas of great Empiricist philosophers Locke, Berkeley and Hume on substance, qualities, ideas, causation and perception. You will then explore Kant's ideas, including metaphysics, space, self-awareness, causation, scepticism and freedom. You will develop skills in critical engagement, articulating your own views of the relative strengths and weaknesses of these arguments and interpreting key philosophical ideas.
No core modules.
Examples of optional modules/options for current students
- Philosophy for the Real World
- Philosophy through Film
- Applied Ethics
- The Philosophy of Terrorism and Counterterrorism
- Moral Psychology: The Science of Good and Evil
- Sartre and Existentialism
- Philosophy of Emotions
- Democracy and Authority
- Philosophy of Religion
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who choose to complete a work placement or study abroad will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
We believe there should be no barrier to talent. That's why we are committed to offering a scholarship that makes it easier for gifted, ambitious international learners to pursue their academic interests at one of the UK's most prestigious universities. This new scheme will offer international fee-paying students 250 tuition fee discounts ranging from full fees to awards of £13,000 to £2,000 for the full duration of your Undergraduate degree course.
Graduates from our Philosophy single and joint honours degrees have gone on to pursue careers as:
- Authors, writers and translators
- Legal professionals
- Marketing professionals
- Management consultants and business analysts
- Chartered and certified accountants
- Teaching and educational professionals
Helping you find the right career
Our department has a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant to support you. They offer impartial advice and guidance, together with workshops and events throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:
- Philosophy Orienteering/Scavenger Hunt
- Identifying Your Skills, Strengths and Motivators for Philosophy Students
- Thinking about Work Experience for Philosophy Students
- Careers in the Public Sector
- Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
"Intertwine philosophy with your everyday life"
“If I could sum up the Philosophy course at Warwick in one word it would be ... modern. I found that, unlike some institutions that tend to focus only on the typical Plato and Aristotle type modules, Warwick gives you the opportunity to intertwine philosophy with your everyday life.
One of my favourite modules was ‘Philosophy through Film’ which involved investigating whether films could actually do philosophy. Although we didn’t get to swap lectures for film screenings, we had fun movie nights, thoughtful debates and eventually created our own short films which is less daunting than it sounds.
Our lecturers encourage us to genuinely investigate the aspects of philosophy that interests us so that we are constantly interested in what we study and keen to contribute our own ideas.”
About the information on this page
This information is applicable for 2021 entry. Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.