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Studying a philosophy degree

philosophyIf you’re interested in the meaning of life, whether to study philosophy as a bachelor's degree is just one of the big questions you’ll have to consider. Read on to find out more. 

What is philosophy?

Philosophy is all about debating the meaning of things, including what philosophy means itself. The word comes from the Greek for ‘love of wisdom’, and has been described as ‘the art of good thinking’ or ‘the study of thought.’ Broadly speaking, philosophy teaches you different ways of thinking about big questions like the nature of right and wrong, and whether humans have a soul.

What will I study on a philosophy degree?

Since philosophy investigates how people think about life, it is a huge subject. However, there are some core areas you will probably focus on during the first part of a bachelor's degree:

  • Ethics looks at questions of morality, justice and good and evil
  • Epistemology is the study of knowledge and why people believe things
  • Philosophy of logic examines different methods for solving philosophical problems
  • Metaphysics investigates the relationship between human consciousness and the world

Much of a philosophy degree involves reading philosophers such as Aristotle, Nietzsche and Kant, and debating their ideas in lectures and seminars. Later on you will probably examine how philosophy influences other disciplines like politics, economics, computer science and sport.

Alongside ‘pure’ philosophy degrees, many universities also offer joint honours degrees combining philosophy with other subjects such as art, psychology, English literature, history or modern languages.

What qualifications do I need for a philosophy degree?

Exact entry requirements vary depending on where you study, but most universities will want at least three A-levels or equivalent, one of which will probably be English language or literature.

Where can it lead?

Philosophy degrees teach a wide range of transferable skills such as:

  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Research
  • Critical thinking
  • Making and presenting a case or argument
  • Logic and reason

In fact, philosophy is possibly one of the most flexible subjects you could study, and could open the doors to a wide range of careers including: 

There is also the possibility of pursuing philosophy further by studying for an MPhil or other postgraduate qualification, and going into academic research.

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