Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London - UCAS

There are other course options available which may have a different vacancy status or entry requirements – view the full list of options

Course summary

On Birkbeck’s BA Philosophy you will explore ancient answers and new perspectives on our place in the world. What makes something good or just? Is the human mind just a lump of grey matter? Why are democracies preferable to autocracies? Do we have free will? Does God exist? Who decides what counts as beautiful? This philosophy degree is taught by some of the country’s leading researchers with a passion for teaching. We provide a welcoming and supportive academic learning environment, and our teaching is driven by a focus on collaboration, discussion and debate, which is also why many of our modules are team-taught. Unlike many other philosophy degrees, you will therefore have the opportunity to work with more than one of our lecturers on a module, bringing multiple perspectives to the classroom. Our location in the heart of London means you can also take advantage of leading societies such as the Aristotelian Society, the Royal Institute of Philosophy, the London Aesthetics Forum and the London Mind Group, ensuring you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to philosophical stimulation and community. Our BA Philosophy provides you with a thorough grounding in the central areas of philosophy, while giving you highly transferable skills such as:

  • independent judgement
  • critical thought
  • the ability to analyse complex ideas and arguments.
From the first year you will gain a firm foundation in ethics, political philosophy, history of philosophy, metaphysics and epistemology, and acquire central philosophical abilities through dedicated philosophical skills modules in logic or critical thinking. You are then free to choose option modules that best suit your passions and interests and can elect to pursue a dissertation project together with a supervisor in your final year. If you opt for the Foundation Year route, this will fully prepare you for undergraduate study. It is ideal if you are returning to study after a gap, or if you have not previously studied the relevant subjects, or if you didn't achieve the grades you need for a place on your chosen undergraduate degree. Highlights
  • Birkbeck is a leading centre for philosophical research in the UK. All of our established members of academic staff are active researchers, and our excellence in both teaching and research is consistently reflected in UK and international surveys.
  • We have a specialist philosophy library at 30 Russell Square. The main philosophy collection is held in the Birkbeck Library, which has an extensive range of books and online resources.
  • We are a member of the University of London’s Institute of Philosophy. Our students therefore belong to a large, intercollegiate community of philosophers, and are welcome at a range of seminars, lectures, talks and conferences.
Careers and employability Graduates can pursue career paths in education, research, politics and journalism. Possible professions include:
  • higher education lecturer
  • civil service fast streamer
  • local government officer
  • newspaper journalist.
We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.


For information about course structure and the modules you will be studying, please visit Birkbeck’s online prospectus.

Assessment method

Modules run over the course of an academic year: Level 4 modules are assessed by a combination of coursework (either short writing assignments or logic exercises) and a short-answer examination; Level 5 modules are assessed by a combination of essay (2000 words) and a take-home, short-answer examination; Level 6 modules are assessed entirely by essay (3000 words).

How to apply

Application codes

Please select a course option – you will then see the application code you need to use to apply for the course.

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

International applicants

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests. We also accept other English language tests.

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential. FOUNDATION YEAR DEGREES Our 'with Foundation Year' route is designed to give you extra support as it provides you with an additional year (full-time) or two years (part-time) of supported study. This is an ideal route if you are returning to study after a gap, or if you have not previously studied this subject, or if you did not achieve the grades you need for a place on this degree. Once you successfully complete your Foundation Year studies, you will automatically advance onto the main degree. ALTERNATIVE ENTRY ROUTES Holders of Birkbeck's Certificate of Higher Education in Philosophy may be considered for entry into the second year. Each case will be considered on its own merits by the Department of Philosophy.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
International £17620 Year 1

Tuition fee status depends on a number of criteria and varies according to where in the UK you will study. For further guidance on the criteria for home or overseas tuition fees, please refer to the UKCISA website .

Additional fee information

Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their course. Tuition fees for students continuing on their course in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases.
Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London - UCAS