BA (Hons)

Philosophy

V500

Philosophy is arguably the oldest university subject and has the widest field, with philosophers asking fundamental and important questions about values, culture, science, religion and society. As such Philosophy sits at the heart of any university, engaging with and enriching other programmes. In fact, at Winchester, Philosophy has a special role pledged to pioneering values-driven education and asking big questions about human existence.

Mountain landscape looking over a forest

Course overview

If you’re keen to acquire the tools of logic and reason to think rigorously and defend your own position clearly around these questions, then our dynamic three-year programme is a great place to start. We actively encourage critical reflection and debate, and you can study a range of core philosophical areas such as logic, epistemology, philosophy of language and aesthetics.

At Winchester, you study the grand narrative of the philosophical tradition, from ancient Greece to the world of existentialism and post-modernity. Each year you analyse the meaning and significance of classic philosophical works from thinkers as diverse as de Beauvoir, Aquinas, Fanon and Aristotle. 

In analysing the texts produced by great intellects, you grow as a writer, debater and thinker. And it’s not all about heavyweight thinkers – you have the chance to explore philosophical ideas in everyday life: for example, how films or art help us to explore the big questions. 

In Year 1, you begin by studying modules in Philosophy that are designed to develop your study skills and enhance your confidence in critical writing and reading. Among others, these include Ethics and Religion, Philosophy in the Ancient World, Paradoxes and Puzzles, God, Soul and the World in Early Modern Thought, and Introduction to Political Philosophy. 

In Year 2, core modules include Thinking with the Earth, Research Methods, Kant and Copernican Revolution, and Nietzsche, Freud and Atheism. In your final year you focus on a Dissertation and core modules in Phenomenology and Existentialism, and Contemporary Philosophy.

In Years 2 and 3, you build a profile of options around your philosophical studies to reflect your own academic interests. A wide range of optional modules include Bioethics, Christianity, Race and Colonialism, Questions in Metaphysics, and Religion, Ethics and War.

You leave the University of Winchester with a degree that shows you have an understanding of people and communities, not just books. 

Graduates enter a wide range of careers. Some students arrive with destinations in mind, including teaching (philosophy, religion or ethics), journalism, social work and academia, while others discover their vocation during the degree course. Other potential careers include working for NGOs and charities, where ethical issues are paramount, and employment in both the public and private sectors.

Whatever your career plans are, this is a degree that develops you as an independent thinker, a close observer of society and a collaborative problem solver – that gives you lots of options.

What you need to know

Course start date

September

Location

Winchester campus

Course length

  • 3 years
  • 4 years sandwich
  • 5 years part-time

Apply

V500

Typical offer

104-120 points

Fees

From £9,250 pa

Course features

  • Focus on values and beliefs to deepen your understanding of the specific needs of individuals and communities within local and global societies
  • Learn the highly transferable skills of speaking and writing clearly and convincingly along with the capacity for independent thinking
  • Learn from leading international thinkers across the campus on a wide range of questions relating to your course
  • Gain real-world work experience as a part of your degree programme by volunteering for a placement with a range of organisations, from charities to think tanks

Course details

Our aim is to shape 'confident learners' by enabling you to develop the skills needed to excel in your studies here and as well as onto further studies or the employment market.

You are taught primarily through a combination of lectures and seminars, allowing opportunities to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups.

Your degree will begin with you receiving a strong foundation in the philosophical discipline through a carefully constructed programme off modules and projects, approachable even to those who have not formally studied philosophy in the past. 

Independent learning

Over the duration of your course, you will be expected to develop independent and critical learning, progressively building confidence and expertise through independent and collaborative research, problem-solving and analysis with the support of staff. You take responsibility for your own learning and are encouraged to make use of the wide range of available learning resources available.

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity.

While your actual contact hours may depend on the optional modules you select, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the course.

Year 1 (Level 4): Timetabled teaching and learning activity* 

Teaching, learning and assessment: 192 hours
Independent learning: 1008 hours
Placement: 0 hours

Year 2 (Level 5): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*

Teaching, learning and assessment: 168 hours
Independent learning: 1032 hours
Placement: 0 hours

​​Year 3 (Level 6): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*

Teaching, learning and assessment: 180 hours
Independent learning: 1008 hours
Placement: 12 hours

*Please note these are indicative hours for the course.

Teaching hours

All class based teaching takes places between 9am – 6pm, Monday to Friday during . Wednesday afternoons are kept free from timetabled teaching for personal study time and for sports clubs and societies to train, meet and play matches. There may be some occasional learning opportunities (for example, an evening guest lecturer or performance) that take places outside of these hours for which you will be given forewarning.

Assessment

Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

The assessment balance between examination and coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by different assessment modes is as follows:

Year 1 (Level 4)*:

75% coursework
0% written exams
25% practical exams

Year 2 (Level 5)*:

100% coursework
0% written exams
0% practical exams

Year 3 (Level 6)*:

78% coursework
0% written exams
22% practical exams

*Please note these are indicative percentages and modes for the programme.

Feedback

We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Modules

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing. The University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed. For further information please refer to winchester.ac.uk/termsandconditions

Modules

Joining the Conversation

This module will focus on a key debate, topic or dilemma in Western thought to collectively develop your academic skills. These skills will include textual analysis, research, note taking and academic writing. This module will show how lectures, reading and independent work might be utilised for effective written assessment. Students will be trained to read primary and secondary texts, and work within the parameters of Higher Education with increased confidence. Important topics for your success at university such as what constitutes good essay structure, understanding assessment criteria and how your work is marks, along with how to reference texts and avoid committing plagiarism will be introduced through this module.

Ethics and Religion

This module is designed to provide a thorough grounding in the academic study of ethics. Students will explore a range of current moral issues and debates in some or all of the following areas: science, technology and medicine; animals and ecological concern; gender, sexuality and intimate relationships; political, economic and social life. Students will develop skills in analysing such debates through the study of selected philosophical, theological and/or religious approaches to moral reasoning. The module will give students an opportunity to develop a critical understanding of key historical and contemporary thinkers and traditions in ethics, and will explore some of the ways in which philosophical, theological and religious forms of moral reasoning have interacted in different times and places.

Philosophy in the Ancient World

This module will explore philosophy by looking at its establishment in a movement in Ancient Greece. We will focus particularly on the key figures of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. We will pay attention to what philosophy is and what characterises a philosopher, along with key questions relating to metaphysics, epistemology, politics and the polis. Beyond the core figure we will look at earlier Pre-Socratic philosophers and Sophists and ahead to the major Hellenistic schools of philosophy and the philosophers of the Roman Empire.

Paradoxes and Puzzles

This module we will explore a series of classic philosophical paradoxes and puzzles along with the solutions philosophers have offered to them over the ages. Through doing this, students will study basic logic and theories of ontology, along with developing a range of critical reasoning skills. Puzzles considered might include The Liar’s Paradox, The Ship of Theseus, The Paradox of the Heap, Russell’s paradox, whether God could create an immovable object, and a range of puzzles from science fiction involving time travel, cloning and mind reading.

God, Soul and World in Early Modern Thought

The Early-Modern period was a time when parts of Classical thought were being rejected while others were being rediscovered. This module will look at how a renewed focus on epistemology along with developments in the natural sciences led to a new confidence in the power of reason against superstition and illusion. To develop our skills and knowledge of the diverging rationalist and empiricist traditions that succeeded medieval scholasticism, we will focus in particular on the conceptual accounts and proofs of the existence of God, Soul and World that developed in the succession of debates sparked by Descartes. By investigating their proofs for the existence of God, the immortal soul and the reality of the external world, their explanations for the existence of evil and their accounts of freedom, we will learn to analyse texts carefully and form persuasive arguments with and against them.

Introduction to Political Philosophy

This module introduces significant themes, theoretical perspectives and concepts in political philosophy, and aims to develop an initial understanding of the methodologies and practices of the discipline of political philosophy where it comes into contact with related subject areas such as international relations, economics, the environment and religion. This module examines the philosophical underpinnings of differing systems of government by looking at ideologies such as liberalism, conservatism, communism and socialism that originated in the Western world and comparing and contrasting systems of government elsewhere in the world where such beliefs have been used, adapted or rejected.

Philosophy and Theology in the Media

Philosophical and theological debates do not only take place in the academic sphere but also in the public realm. In this module students will be asked to engage with a range of different forms of contemporary media – such as journalism, films, literature, radio, music and podcasts – in order for students to learn how to deploy their developing academic skills in the criticism of the contemporary world. Topics discussed in a particular year will include contemporary events, such as climate crisis, Black Lives Matter and struggles relating to sexual identity. To do this this module will also cover some classic works of critical theory and public engagement carried out by philosophers and theologians in the past, both learning from their methodologies and developing an appreciation of the cultural power of these disciplines.

Modules

Research Methods

This module is designed to help students reflect on the nature of their chosen discipline(s), to identify particular methods and skills relevant to their disciple from a wide range of methods and skills, and to develop those skills in order to produce a research proposal.

Kant and the Copernican Revolution

This module focuses on one of the most important books ever written, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.  Beginning from the intellectual milieu it emerged from – Rationalism vs. Empiricism, Hume’s scepticism and Rousseau’s view of freedom – this module will focus on understanding the text’s general importance, along with focusing in detail on particular key sections of its argument. These might include the notion of transcendental idealism and the thing-in-itself, Kant’s account of the nature of space and time, Kant’s defence of causal reasoning, the limitations Kant imposes on our knowledge of metaphysical entities – such as God, freedom and the self – and the role of non-epistemic forms of assertion such as faith and hope in these domains.

Nietzsche, Freud and Atheism

This module will track the unfolding of atheist thought from ancient atomism to the contemporary New Atheist movement. However, it will focus particularly on two influential atheist thinkers whose thought mark the cusp of the Twentieth Century – Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. Their controversial methods of genealogical analysis and psychoanalysis exist in a critical relationship to western society, its values and the philosophical tradition, diagnosing forms of sickness at the heart of many of our most cherished institutions. It is for this that they earned the title “masters of suspicion”, but what characterises such suspicious discourses? We will turn in particular to the suggestion that traditional notions of truth and falseness might be replaced in philosophy by a vocabulary of health and sickness.

Hegel, Marx and Dialectical Thought

With the publication of Phenomenology of Spirit in 1807, Hegel offered the world a radically different image of what was truly at stake in the historical development of philosophical thought, politics, art and religion through enacting a fundamental break with the system of logic first defined by Aristotle. The new understanding of history and progress that dialectical thought offered might seem arcane and mysterious, yet it proved itself incredibly powerful in offering new ways of seeing what was going on in our culture. Perhaps the most famous inheritor of Hegel’s method was Karl Marx, who claimed to be turning the dialectical method on its head with his materialist account of the inevitable coming of communism. In this module we will investigate how dialectical thought works, paying particular attention to those thinkers who have used it to understand political and economic development.

Optional modules
  • Aesthetics  15 credits
  • Angels and Demons  15 credits
  • Bioethics  15 credits
  • Christianity, Race and Colonialism  15 credits
  • Early Christian Spirituality and Neoplatonism  15 credits
  • Gender, Sexuality and the Bible  15 credits
  • Great Philosophical Texts  15 credits
  • Political Theology  15 credits
  • Questions in Metaphysics  15 credits
  • Religion, Ethics and War  15 credits
  • Science and Religion - 15 credits
  • Volunteering for Theology, Religion and Philosophy  15 credits
  • Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Language  15 credits
  • Improving Communities through Social Action  15 credits
  • Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Management  15 credits
  • Exploring Teaching as a Career  15 Credits

Modules

Dissertation

In conversation with a member of academic staff, students select an appropriate area of investigation. In 8-10,000 words, students must engage with their chosen topic using critical methodologies, evidence and argument. The topic chosen must be one which relates to the subject matter of their programme and which permits the demonstration of independent research, study and reflection.

Phenomenology and Existentialism

As the Second World War ravaged the globe, the existentialism movement formulated itself as a wave that would transform post-war values and culture. With one foot in the phenomenological method of philosophical investigation and the other in more literary works, a series of thinkers produced a set of works that are still being responded to. In this module we will look at some of those works by thinkers such as Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Levinas, Camus and Merleau-Ponty – along with some of their critics. We will see how the very notion of what it is “to be” and particularly “to be human” was put in question by these thinkers, what it meant to live “authentically” and how these thinkers rethought human finitude and freedom. This will be related to developments beyond philosophy, such as the role of such thinking in art, politics and religion.

Contemporary Philosophy

In this module students will engage in detail with a particular philosopher whose major works date from the late-Twentieth Century onwards or with a philosophical theme that is discussed in contemporary philosophy. This module will be research-led, with the tutor presenting a thinker or theme that they themselves are currently or recently engaged in researching. Students will be expected to engage with the tutor’s research work alongside other material over the course of the module. Examples of recent versions of this module include looking at Foucault’s History of Madness in relation to debates surrounding anti-psychiatry or looking at the gaze in contemporary cinema using the works of Derrida and Lacan.

Optional modules
  • Aesthetics  15 credits
  • Angels and Demons  15 credits
  • Bioethics  15 credits
  • Christianity, Race and Colonialism  15 credits
  • Early Christian Spirituality and Neoplatonism  15 credits
  • Gender, Sexuality and the Bible  15 credits
  • Great Philosophical Texts  15 credits
  • Political Theology  15 credits
  • Questions in Metaphysics -15 credits
  • Religion, Ethics and War  15 credits
  • Science and Religion  15 credits
  • Senior Seminar  15 credits
  • Volunteering for Theology, Religion and Philosophy  15 credits
  • Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Language  15 credits
  • Improving Communities through Social Action  15 credits
  • Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Management  15 credits

Entry requirements

104-120 points

Our offers are typically made using UCAS tariff points to allow you to include a range of level 3 qualifications and as a guide, the requirements for this course are equivalent to:

  • A-Levels: BCC-BBB from 3 A Levels or equivalent grade combinations (e.g. BBB is comparable to ABC in terms of tariff points)
  • BTEC/CTEC: DMM from BTEC or Cambridge Technical (CTEC) qualifications
  • International Baccalaureate: To include a minimum of 2 Higher Level certificates at grade H4
  • T Level: Merit in a T Level

Additionally, we accept tariff points achieved for many other qualifications, such as the Access to Higher Education Diploma, Scottish Highers, UAL Diploma/Extended Diploma and WJEC Applied Certificate/Diploma, to name a few. We also accept tariff points from smaller level 3 qualifications, up to a maximum of 32, from qualifications like the Extended Project (EP/EPQ), music or dance qualifications. To find out more about UCAS tariff points, including what your qualifications are worth, please visit UCAS.

In addition to level 3 study, the following GCSE’s are required:

GCSE English Language at grade 4 or C, or higher. Functional Skills at level 2 is accepted as an alternative, however Key Skills qualifications are not. If you hold another qualification, please get in touch and we will advise further

If you will be over the age of 21 years of age at the beginning of your undergraduate study, you will be considered as a mature student. This means our offer may be different and any work or life experiences you have will be considered together with any qualifications you hold. UCAS have further information about studying as a mature student on their website which may be of interest.

International points required

If English is not your first language, a formal English language test will most likely be required and you will need to achieve the following:

  • IELTS Academic at 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all four components (for year 1 entry)
  • We also accept other English language qualifications, such as IELTS Indicator, Pearson PTE Academic, Cambridge C1 Advanced and TOEFL iBT

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by emailing our International Recruitment Team at International@winchester.ac.uk or calling +44 (0)1962 827023.

2024 Course Tuition Fees

  UK / Channel Islands /
Isle of Man / Republic of Ireland 

International

Year 1 £9,250 £16,700
Year 2 £9,250 £16,700
Year 3 £9,250 £16,700
Total £27,750 £50,100
Optional Sandwich Year* £1,850 £3,340
Total with Sandwich Year £29,600 £53,440

Additional tuition fee information

If you are a UK student starting your degree in September 2024, the first year will cost you £9,250**. Based on this fee level, the indicative fees for a three-year degree would be £27,750 for UK students.

Remember, you don’t have to pay any of this upfront if you are able to get a tuition fee loan from the UK Government to cover the full cost of your fees each year.

UK Part-Time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £77.08 and a 15 credit module is £1,156. Part-time students can take up to a maximum 90 credits per year, so the maximum fee in a given year will be the government permitted maximum fee of £6,935.

International part-time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £139.14 and a 15 credit module is £2,087.

* Please note that not all courses offer an optional sandwich year.

**The University of Winchester will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year.

Additional costs

As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the mandatory and optional costs for this course:

Mandatory

Printing and Binding: The University is pleased to offer our students a printing allowance of £5 each academic year. This will print around 125 A4 (black and white) pages. If students wish to print more, printer credit can be topped up by the student. The University and Student Union are champions of sustainability and we ask all our students to consider the environmental impact before printing.

Optional

Core Texts: Core Texts are available from the University Library; however, students will be strongly encouraged in some modules to purchase a copy of a key work that the module focuses on. Some Core texts can be bought second hand, or as an ebook which can often reduce this cost. Indicative cost is £100 per academic year. 

SCHOLARSHIPS, BURSARIES AND AWARDS

We have a variety of scholarships and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our Scholarships and Awards page.

CAREER PROSPECTS

Students also learn a wide range of transferable skills that employers value highly. These include critical thinking, gathering and analysing evidence, communication and IT skills, cultural awareness, collaboration and teamwork.

Students are well equipped to move into teaching, with increasing numbers of students taking philosophy subjects in secondary schools.

The University of Winchester ranks in the top 10 in the UK for graduates in employment or further study according to the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2021, HESA.

Pre-approved for a Masters

University of Winchester students studying Bachelor Honours degrees are pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible students must apply by the end of March in their final year and meet the entry requirements of their chosen Masters degree.

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