Departmental Administrator

Mrs Ann Higginson


Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7116

Fees and funding

UK & EU fee

£9,000 (2014/15)

Overseas fee

£15,200 (2014/15)

General funding notes

Details about financial support are available at:

Philosophy and Economics BA

UCAS code: VL51

This three-year programme aims to provide an understanding of a range of central philosophical debates, together with a detailed education in economics. All major areas of philosophy are available for study, and students have access to world-class teaching from UCL’s highly regarded Department of Economics.

Programme Overview

In your first year you begin with several introductory lecture courses, to provide a foundation for later studies.

You will be introduced to:

  • Political philosophy (examining questions about the state, liberty and laws)
  • Moral philosophy (questioning distinctions of right and wrong, and our motivation for choosing between the two)
  • Epistemology (which looks at the nature of knowledge and belief)
  • Metaphysics (which attempts to explain the nature of the world)
  • Logic (which teaches you principles of good reasoning).

Our programmes are designed to help you acquire an understanding of a wide range of traditional and contemporary philosophical theories.

Furthermore, they assist you in constructing and assessing philosophical positions and arguments for yourself. Such skills are transferable to non-philosophical contexts, and help you analyse and present complex ideas.

Degree benefits

  • UCL's Philosophy Department was ranked first in the UK in the RAE 2008. The research interests of the academic staff are wide-ranging, covering all the main areas of philosophy.
  • You will learn economics in one of Europe's leading centres for research. In the RAE 2008, an unsurpassed figure of 95% of research in the UCL Department of Economics was rated either 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent'.
  • A rich array of extracurricular philosophy events is available in London. As a UCL philosophy student you will be able to attend the meetings of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, the Aristotelian Society and the University of London's Institute of Philosophy.

The first year includes several introductory lecture courses, which provide a foundation for later studies. The programme covers political philosophy, examining questions about the state, liberty and laws; moral philosophy, questioning distinctions of right and wrong, and our motivation for choosing between the two; epistemology which investigates the nature of knowledge and belief; metaphysics, which attempts to grasp the nature of things; and logic, which imparts principles of sound reasoning.

You will study Philosophy and Economics on a roughly equal basis.

Your learning

Our teaching is based on lectures and seminars that complement each other. In your first year, you will be introduced to the basic elements of philosophical reasoning through lectures, seminars and small-group tutorial classes. In years two and three your chosen courses will be taught by an expert from within our department through a combination of lectures, related seminars and classes.


Assessment is by a mixture of coursework (essays) and written examination. You may also elect to submit a dissertation as one of your philosophy options.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Year One

Compulsory courses

Economics (1.0 credits)
Introduction to Mathematics for Economics (0.5 credits)

Optional courses

Four philosophy courses from the following:

History of Philosophy I
History of Philosophy II
Knowledge and Reality
Introduction to Logic I
Introduction to Logic II
Introduction to Moral Philosophy
Introduction to Political Philosophy
Philosophy Tutorial: Texts and Debate

You will also take one optional course from Economics

Year Two

Compulsory courses

Macroeconomics (1.0 credits)
Macroeconomic Theory and Policy (1.0 credits)

Optional courses

You will select 2.0 credits of optional courses from Philosophy, including courses from at least two of the groups A, B, and C:

Group A
Theoretical Philosophy (e.g. Knowledge; Metaphysics; Mind and Body; Language)

Group B
Normative Philosophy (e.g. Aesthetics; Applied Ethics; Global Justice and Health; Morality and Literature; Normative Ethics; Political Philosophy)

Group C
History of Philosophy (e.g. Adorno: Art and Politics; Aristotle; Kant; Marxism; Plato)

Final Year

Compulsory courses

All third year courses are optional.

Optional courses

You will select 4.0 credits of optional courses, including:

2.0 credits from a wide range of economics options
2.0 credits from the wide range of philosophy options.

You must pass at least six level III courses and have passed one course from group A, B, and C respectively to graduate. You can take a total of 1.0 credits in other UCL departments in years two and three.

Further details on department website: Philosophy and Economics BA

Entry requirements

A Levels

Grades A*AA
Subjects Mathematics A* required.
AS Levels For UK-based students a pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
GCSEs English Language at grade B, plus Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at:

IB Diploma

Points 39
Subjects A total of 19 points in three higher level subjects including Mathematics grade 7, with no score below 5.

Other qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Selected entry requirements will appear here

International applicants

International qualifications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Select country above, equivalent grades appear here.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

For more information see our website:

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page. A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.


This programme will assist you in constructing and assessing philosophical positions and arguments, thereby teaching you how to analyse and present complex ideas. Furthermore, it will provide you with an understanding of a wide range of traditional and contemporary philosophical theories. Such skills are transferable to non-philosophical contexts.

The discipline of philosophical training, and in particular its emphasis on rigorous argumentation, logic, and clarity of thought and expression, makes philosophy graduates highly suitable for a wide variety of careers.

Many recent UCL graduates have excelled in the legal profession, training as both solicitors and barristers, while others have entered publishing, journalism, finance, the Civil Service, Parliament, or local government. Philosophy graduates are also sought after as programmers and systems analysts. A high proportion of students go on to further study in philosophy.


First career destinations of recent graduates (2010-2012) of this programme and other related Philosophy programmes include:

  • Gallery Assistant, Bank Street Arts (2012)
  • Future Leader, Barclays (2012)
  • Researcher, DADA Television Associates (2011)
  • Investment Banking Analyst, Citigroup (2011)
  • Teaching Assistant, Woodbridge Primary School (2010)

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:

Procedure for 2013 Entry

UCL Philosophy enrols about 50 undergraduate students each year who we think are suited for sustained philosophical study. Most are on the single honours Philosophy BA programme. Our procedure has been developed in recent years to make the admissions process fairer and more efficient.

  • Applications should be made through UCAS

Average Application Numbers

Programme Number of Applications
Number of Offers Made
Philosophy BA (V500) 365 60
Philosophy and Economics BA (VL51) 355 40
Philosophy and History of Art BA (VV53) 55 3 (or more)
Philosophy and Greek BA (VQ57) 10 2 - 4

Although the A-Level condition of entry for Philosophy and Greek and Philosophy and History of Art is lower than that of Single Honours Philosophy (AAB versus AAA), we otherwise apply the same high standard when making decisions regarding offers across these three courses.

We need to apply a somewhat higher standard to Philosophy and Economics (VL51), given the high quality and quantity of the applications, and the limited number whom we can enrol.


The UCAS form of each applicant is examined to decide whether to pursue the application further (we are looking for preliminary evidence of philosophical motivation and intellectual ability). Selected applicants are then invited to an open day.

Open Day

  • At the open day a member of the UCL Philosophy describes the BA Philosophy courses and answer your queries.
  • This is followed by a philosophical talk with a brief discussion period, followed by a short written test on the subject of the talk.
  • Promising applicants who reside outside the UK will not be asked to attend an open day Instead, they will be emailed essay questions by the Assistant to the Philosophy Admissions Tutor, to be answered and returned to us as part of the selection process.


An official decision reaches each applicant through UCL's Arts and Humanities Faculty and through UCAS.

We try to let applicants know the decision without too much delay, but in order to be fair to later applicants we may have to keep some waiting.

Regretfully, given the ratio of applicants to places, some good students are unsuccessful.

At the beginning of each session we arrange a conference for new students, so that they can quickly get to know each other and some of the staff and students already here, and experience the intellectual stimulation that is the hallmark of UCL Philosophy.

How to Apply button

Page last modified on 25 jul 13 12:09