PDF version of Philosophy BA


Departmental Administrator

Mrs Ann Higginson

Email: a.higginson@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7116

Fees and Funding

UK & EU Fee

£9,000 (2013/14)

Overseas Fee

£14,750 (2013/14)

General Funding Notes

Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance

Key Facts

Research Assessment Exercise

75% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
(What is the RAE?)

Departmental website


More Information

Prospectus subject entry


Prospectus faculty entry

Arts and Humanities

Philosophy BA

UCAS Code: V500

This programme aims to provide an understanding of a range of central philosophical debates. All major areas of philosophy are available for study, covering branches such as moral and political philosophy, metaphysics and epistemology, and drawing upon the writings of philosophers both ancient and modern to contextualise your studies.

Entry Requirements

A Levels

Grades AAA
Subjects No specific subjects.
AS Levels 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: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

Points 38
Subjects A total of 18 points in three higher level subjects, 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 Qualifications

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.

Selected country's equivalent grades will appear here

University Preparatory Certificates

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

The University 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: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc

English Language Requirements

If English is not your first language you will also need to satisfy UCL's English Language Requirements. A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree Summary

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.
  • We regard philosophy as a co-operative endeavour. We ensure personal support in your learning, and the department deservedly has a reputation for excellent relations between staff and students.
  • 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 begins with several introductory lecture courses, providing 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.

Your second and third years will be spent studying a range of subjects from metaphysics and epistemology and the philosophies of mind and language, to moral and political philosophy, aesthetics and phenomenology, and the history of philosophy.

The programme is designed to ensure that the central areas of the subject are covered, while also allowing you to choose from an array of options, some of which may be taken from other departments at UCL.

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 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

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

Optional courses

All first year courses are compulsory.

Year Two

Compulsory courses

All second year courses are optional.

Optional courses

You will select 4.0 credits of optional courses, including at least one course each from 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 choose eight courses from the wide range of options available to the value of 4.0 credits.

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 2.0 credits from other departments at UCL.

Further details available on degree page of subject website:

Your Career

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 graduates are also sought after as programmers and systems analysts. A high proportion of students go onto further study in philosophy.


First career destinations of recent graduates (2009-2011) of this programme include:

  • Researcher, Dada Television Associates (2011)
  • Full-time student, MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy at LSE (2011)
  • Licensing Assistant, Universal Music (2011)
  • Research Assistant, The Partnership (2010)
  • Executive Officer, Department of Children, Schools and Families (2009)

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


Your Application

In addition to looking for outstanding grades in your academic record, we also assess your application for evidence of your ability to engage with philosophical arguments and your skills in reasoning.

How to Apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.


If your application shows promise and you live in the UK, you will be invited to the department for an applicant open day. This event includes a description of the programme, a philosophical talk followed by discussion, and a short written test on the subject matter of the talk.

If you live outside the UK you will be sent essay questions to be answered and returned to us as part of the selection process.

Page last modified on 19 mar 14 15:02