Philosophy and Computer Science BA
Who's it for
The Philosophy and Computer Science BA is the ideal degree for students who want to bring precise formal tools to bear on the big questions that face us in life.
You'll learn about core concepts which belong equally in Philosophy and Computer Science: concepts to do with reasoning, agency, and fairness. You'll sharpen your analytic and critical skills, with an emphasis on clarity of thought and expression. You'll develop abstract but applicable problem-solving skills, such as rigorous, logical reasoning, programming, and the design of efficient processes, with an emphasis on understanding formal tools.
Start date: September 2025
Duration: 3 years
Location: Bloomsbury Campus, UCL, London
Standard offer: A*AA with A* in mathematics
Contextual offer: A*AB with A* in mathematics
Register your interest
Philosophy and computer science have a great deal in common; our new degree focusses on the places where they meet.
Logic is the area which gets started by systemizing the idea of a valid (water-tight) argument. This idea begins in everyday life, as soon as we question whether a conclusion really follows from what was said earlier. But it finds its mature development equally within philosophy and computer science, where we ask questions about how we should represent (and check) reasoning processes.
Artificial Intelligence gives rise to particular challenges in engineering; but AI's core concepts are equally shared between philosophy and computer science. These are concepts such as:
- Agency: contrasts acting towards a specific purpose with involuntarily actions, like coughing;
- Understanding: contrasts 'mindlessly' following a process with 'knowing your way around';
- Epistemology: contrasts knowing with guessing;
- Consciousness and self-awareness.
New Ethics and Public Policy questions are thrown up, as computer systems are increasingly integrated into our lives and society. These are questions such as:
- when is an algorithm (un)fair?
- what rights do individuals have over 'their' data?
- how should we implement ethical choices (perhaps life-and-death choices) in automatic systems (such as self-driving cars)?
- (when) do we have a right to understand how an algorithm works?
For more details on the topics you'll study on this course, check out the Course Curriculum.