BA Philosophy

UCAS codeV500
Duration3 Years
Typical offerAAA-AAB; IB: 36-34
Location Streatham (Exeter)


This programme allows you to study philosophy in depth, in its many different facets. You will have the opportunity to discuss long-standing questions about the nature of knowledge (how do we know what we know?); science (does science provide us with a special kind of knowledge?); reality (does the world out there really exist?); ethics (how should we act?); art and beauty (who decides what counts as beautiful?); the mind-body relationship (how can the brain produce the mind?); the meaning of life (why is there something rather than nothing?); and more.

From the beginning you will be encouraged to develop your own views on all these topics and to assess other philosophers’ views. Studying philosophy will teach you to think rigorously, to defend your views in a clear and consistent way, to understand the why and what-for of different points of view and ultimately to develop a sharp, analytical and open mind. 

Programme variations

My course really interests me, as well as providing good career prospects. My lecturers are the most important and valued part of my time at Exeter. Whenever I have needed help academically, or simply to have a chat, they have been there to guide and advise me through my degree. I am very thankful for all they have done, and am inspired by the passion which they all have for their respective subjects.

Rebekah Cron, BA Philosophy (Graduated 2014).

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

The Philosophy degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.

Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons.

Please note that modules offered are subject to change, depending on staff availability, timetabling, and demand.

Year 1

The first year gives you a foundational knowledge of philosophy theory and concepts. You will also be introduced to important analytical techniques that will be useful across a range of subjects and research tasks.

Compulsory modules

PHL1002AKnowledge and Reality 1 15
PHL1002BKnowledge and Reality 2 15
PHL1006Introduction to Philosophical Analysis 15
PHL1005AEvidence and Argument 1 15
PHL1007Philosophical Reading 1 15
PHL1008Philosophical Reading 2 15

Optional modules

Optional modules worth 30 credits.

PHL1009Philosophies of Art15
PHL1010Introduction to Asian Philosophy15
PHL1013Philosophy of Morality 15
PHL1036Foucault-Discipline and Punish15
PHL1112Philosophy of Film 15

Year 2

In the second year you can choose 60 credits from those listed below. This enables you to develop specialist knowledge on a range of topics by studying the options you're most interested in.

Compulsory modules

PHL2010APhilosophy of Mind - 115
PHL2011APhilosophy of Nature 115
PHL2012Social Philosophy 15
PHL2015Body and Mind 15
PHL2016Metaphysics 15
PHL2018Philosophy of Language15

Optional modules

You can then choose 60 credits from the other level 2 or 3 Philosophy modules

PHL2050Knowing the Social: perception, memory and representation15
PHL3011Philosophy of Science30
PHL3013Virtues and Vices15
PHL3014Symbolic Logic15
PHL3018Sex and Death: Introduction to the Philosophy of Biology 15
PHL3029Sociology and Philosophy of Globalisation15
PHL3035Critical Bioethics15
PHL3037Aristotle's Politics15
PHL3038The Self15
PHL3046AThe Holocaust, Genocide and Society30
PHL3074Cyborg Studies 30
PHL3075Philosophical Readings 615
PHL3100Knowledge and History: Theories of Scientific Change15

Year 3

The centre-point of the final year is the dissertation. This provides you with the opportunity to explore an area of interest and to demonstrate what you have learned over the previous years of your degree. You will also take other specialist modules to create a programme of work fully reflecting your interests.

Compulsory modules

PHL3040Philosophy Dissertation 30

Optional modules

PHL3011Philosophy of Science30
PHL3013Virtues and Vices15
PHL3014Symbolic Logic15
PHL3018Sex and Death: Introduction to the Philosophy of Biology 15
PHL3029Sociology and Philosophy of Globalisation15
PHL3035Critical Bioethics15
PHL3037Aristotle's Politics15
PHL3038The Self15
PHL3040Philosophy Dissertation 30
PHL3046AThe Holocaust, Genocide and Society30
PHL3074Cyborg Studies 30
PHL3075Philosophical Readings 615
PHL3100Knowledge and History: Theories of Scientific Change15

Entry requirements 2017

Typical offer

AAA-AAB; IB: 36-34

Additional selection criteria

We are looking for well-qualified students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.

We receive a large number of applications from well-qualified applicants and may not be able to make offers to all those applicants who have achieved or are predicted to achieve grades in line with the typical offer shown above.

In addition to the specific requirements listed above, we look for excellent A level* results/predictions and we may also take into account results up to and including GCSEs* and AS Levels* as part of our holistic assessment of an application.

*Equivalent qualifications will be considered. For more information about our equivalencies for specific qualifications please contact our Admissions Office.

Programmes with Study Abroad

Entry for programmes ‘with Study Abroad’ is offered on the basis that you will spend your time abroad at an institution where the teaching and examining is delivered in English. However, we also have partners that teach in French, Spanish and German. Should you wish to study at one of these institutions you will need to take modules through the Foreign Language Centre up to ‘Advanced’ standard in the appropriate language. In order to reach this standard before the year abroad, students usually need to have entered the University with the equivalent of a good GCSE or AS level (or higher) in that language.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

You’ll learn through lectures and seminars, with an increasing emphasis on small group seminar discussion and project work in the second and third years. You will be encouraged to develop your writing and presentation skills in a supportive atmosphere. You’ll also have regular tutorials in which you meet to discuss essays with your tutor, together with a small group of other students. These personal contacts are very important in developing staff-student relations and for getting to know your fellow students.

Depending on its credit value, each module will include 1-2 hours of lectures and 1-hour tutorials per week. This means you’ll have around 10 hours of contact time with your tutors and lecturers each week. You’ll supplement this with independent study which requires an additional 13-26 hours per week.

Our programmes allow for a lot of choice and flexibility in the subjects studied, especially after the core modules of the first and second years, which impart the basic skills and knowledge of philosophical practice (epistemology, metaphysics, history of philosophy, critical thinking). In the second year and third year, you can choose 100 per cent of your modules (including a compulsory dissertation on a topic of your choice in the third year). Our carefully planned programmes help to develop skills and understanding to allow you to take increasing responsibility for your learning in more specialised seminar-based modules.

We’re actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment, where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website. You can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as the discussion forums.

All students have a Personal Tutor who is available for advice and support throughout their studies.


Assessment in Philosophy is usually by a combination of written exam and assessed coursework (which includes the dissertation). The ratio of assessment by coursework to assessment by exam varies according to module, but on average is about 50:50 overall. The exact balance will depend on the module choices you make and you’ll be informed of the methods of assessment before choosing your module options.

You must pass your first year assessment in order to progress to the second year, but the results do not count towards your degree classification. For three-year programmes, the assessments in the second and third years contribute to your final degree classification. For four-year programmes the assessments in the second, third and fourth years all contribute to your final degree classification.

Study abroad

A full year abroad, at one of our partner institutions, is generally taken in the third year of a four year degree programme. You can apply directly for the four-year 'with Study Abroad' programme, or transfer from another programme once you are at the University of Exeter. An opportunity to study for one semester at an overseas partner institution may also be available. More details about study abroad options and destinations can be found on the College of Social Sciences and International Studies study abroad web pages.


Our programmes give you an excellent all-round education, where you will learn to understand other people's points of view, to communicate your own position clearly and to argue effectively. You will also learn to collect, assess and present evidence and to work independently and in groups. Our programmes are demanding and encourage initiative and open mindedness, helping to ensure that you’ll be well equipped with a range of academic, personal and professional skills that will prepare you well for future employment or study in a wide range of fields.

Some of our graduates choose to follow their interest in their degree studies with further study for a higher degree or with a teaching qualification. Others use the more generic skills gained on their course to enter a wide variety of careers such as government administration, law and community work.

Developing your skills and career prospects

We provide a range of support to help you develop skills attractive to employers. As a student within the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, you will be able to access a range of specific activities such as careers skills sessions and employer-led events, or seek bespoke advice and support from our College Employability Officer. The University of Exeter's Employability and Graduate Development Service also organises a busy schedule of activities including careers fairs, skills workshops, and training events, and can advise on graduate opportunities and volunteering. Visit our employability web page for more information.

Graduate destinations

Below are a few examples* of initial jobs undertaken by Philosophy graduates. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Job title Organisation
Operations Analyst
Marketing Executive
Management Accountant
Primary Teacher
Account Manager
Equity Finance Analyst
Senior Associate
Event Manager
Project Executive
London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympics
JP Morgan
Department of Health
HM Prison Service
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Wilton and Bain

Further study

Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Philosophy degree in Exeter. Below are a few examples* of further study undertaken. Please note that, due to data protection, the subjects of study and institutions are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Subject area Institution
MA Social and Political Studies
MA Political Theory
MA Understanding and Securing Human Rights
MA Philosophy,
University of Exeter
University College London
University of Bristol 
University of London

Find out more

Further information about the opportunities the University of Exeter offers to maximise our graduates’ employment prospects can be found on the CareerZone website.

* This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey

You have the option to undertake a work placement through the Learning from Work Experience in Social Sciences module (SSI2001).

You will be encouraged to research and reflect on a range of work-related questions such as the nature of an organisation and your role within it, employment practices including induction, health and safety procedures, self-appraisal and continuing professional development.

By practising specific skills for employment, including the writing of CVs, application forms and supporting statements, you will become better prepared for the world of work beyond university.

I joined the Student Ambassador Scheme in my first year at Exeter and I have loved every minute of it. As soon as the training was over, the opportunities to work came in. Student Ambassadors meet with prospective students and their parents, lead campus tours, attend Open Days and talk about their experiences at University. But that’s just the beginning. As a Senior Student Ambassador, I also get to travel around the country representing the University at UCAS conventions. Sharing my enthusiasm for my course and Exeter student life with prospective students is a lot of fun. The most exciting work I do is in local schools and colleges, giving talks about student life and running workshops with small groups of students aimed at raising their aspirations for the future. I visited a group of Year 10 students at a local school on a six week tutoring programme – seeing them becoming more and more enthusiastic about education, and the career paths open to them, was really rewarding.

Gareth Littler, 3rd Year BA Philosophy and Political Economy

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Phone: +44 (0)1392 723192

Website: Visit the Philosophy website