Exploring Philosophy: What to Expect
Philosophy is the study of fundamental questions and concepts that are often overlooked. What does it really mean to own something? What is the cause-and-effect relationship between events? What is the nature of truth? When studying philosophy, students are challenged to examine modern social and political issues while grappling with their own personal values, social criticism, and moral decision-making.
As a philosophy student, you can expect to encounter diverse thinkers and traditions of thought, including Plato, Aristotle, Marx, Kant, Nietzsche, Russell, and Derrida. Course modules may include critical reasoning, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, philosophy of science, literature, mind, religion, language, and mathematics.
Philosophy can be studied as a joint honours degree, often paired with history, politics or even computer science. You’ll be taught through lectures, seminars, and plenty of independent work, delving deep into readings from some of the world’s most prominent philosophers. The goal of a good philosophy course is to teach you how to think about issues in a systematic way, developing your written and oral communication skills, critical reading, constructing and defending an argument, and independent research.
Admissions requirements for philosophy programs vary, but given that it is not a particularly common A-level subject, entry requirements in many universities will not be too strict. However, some courses may encourage applications from students who have A-levels (or equivalent) in subjects such as mathematics, religious studies, classical civilizations, or other social sciences and humanities subjects.
Studying philosophy develops highly valued skills that are applicable across a range of industries. These include verbal reasoning, creative thinking, presenting a coherent argument, analyzing densely written material, and carrying out independent inquiry. Graduates can find work in consultancy, journalism, local administration, law, publishing, project management, teaching, librarianship, the civil service, banking, and more. The financial sector, legal profession, and finance are other common destinations. Some graduates pursue further study and a career in academia or research while others move on to the creative industries.