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Philosophy Subject Guide

Philosophy subject league tableTop 10 celebrities who studied Philosophy at university

Philosophy subject league table

See which UK universities rank best for Philosophy.

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What is Philosophy? • Why study Philosophy?
Philosophy graduate job prospects

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is generally the study of whether we can trust our reality or not. It is from the Ancient Greek ‘Philosophia' meaning 'love of wisdom'.

The subject is made of several subfields, divided by age, topic and style, all which rely on rational argument. As a Philosophy student, you will study some of the greatest thinkers of human history, and their investigations into existence, knowledge, values and reason. This includes Socrates, Plato, Descartes, Marx and Nietzsche. 

Greek philosopher Socrates
Statue of Socrates

How will I be assessed?

All modules feature a written element; academic essays are common for all areas and there are usually exams at the end of each semester. In order to encourage thinking and consideration of complex topics, you will probably find yourself working in small seminar groups.

What degree can I get?

BA in Philosophy, which can be combined with other subjects such as Biblical Studies, Computer Studies, a foreign language, and more.

What qualifications do I need?

Grade and subject requirements vary and depend on the university. Requirements are also subject to change. Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university and course you are interested in.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

There is a range of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level. Examples include straight MAs in Philosophy, as well as masters in Aesthetics, Art Theory, Modern European Philosophy, Ancient Philosophy, Ethics of Education, and History of Philosophy.

Best universities for Philosophy UK

Why study Philosophy at university?

Do you like to ponder about our existence? Then a Philosophy course may suit you. Some reasons why it could be your perfect choice of study:

  • It can be one of the most intellectually rewarding subjects To study Philosophy is to grapple with questions that have occupied humankind for millennia.
  • The skills that Philosophy teaches you will always be in high demand You will learn to think, write, and challenge with intelligence.
  • Philosophy is a flexible degree choice There is no single pathway for graduates; you can enter law, finance, business, medicine, journalism, education, academia, and more.
  • It makes you see things clearer Injustice, imbalance and unfairness is always in a clearer light to a Philosophy graduate. It is a subject for those who hate constraints more than anything else.

Graduate job prospects

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*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities?

Studying Philosophy will teach you transferable skills, such as presentation, research and communication. It will also develop your ability to think outside the box in problem solving, and show you how to write your obscure thinking coherently.

Particular job areas include teaching and lecturing, barrister, civil service, local and national government, marketing, journalism, psychotherapy, solicitor, HR, PR and recruitment.

Numerous companies offer graduate schemes in this subject, including Think Ahead.

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