Three philosophy students in a seminar

Philosophy BA

Department of Philosophy

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    You are viewing this course for 2023-24 entry.

    Key details

    Course description

    On our single honours degree you'll explore a diverse range of philosophical topics, from areas like politics and ethics to logic and language, and encompassing issues from the nature of the mind to the value of art.

    You'll also be able to study thinkers from a broad variety of philosophical traditions - including analytic, continental, pragmatist, and Chinese philosophy - and examine culturally important philosophical texts.

    Thinking philosophically requires a distinctive combination of imagination and exact reasoning. You'll develop this along with analytical skills and a high degree of intellectual flexibility.

    An exciting feature of the subject is the way that its different themes interact with one another.

    For example, philosophical research on gender may deploy metaphysical views about precisely what sorts of differences between humans are important ones, while philosophical thinking about morals may use resources from logic or from the philosophical study of knowledge.

    You’ll learn about a wide variety of philosophical areas, which will help you identify these links between different parts of the subject and forge your own ideas.

    Core modules in your first year cover the wider subject of philosophy and lay the groundwork for further study. You'll develop your ability to explore and express philosophical ideas in writing.

    You're then free to construct your own pathway, based on your interests, through a wide variety of modules in your second and third year.

    Over the three years, you'll develop your understanding of key areas including ethics, philosophy of mind, theory of knowledge, political philosophy, metaphysics and logic, as well as feminism, philosophy of education, and major figures in the history of philosophy.

    There are also individual project and work placement modules that allow you to pursue highly personal supervised study in areas of your choosing.

    Your study of philosophy will help you develop your own views and build intellectual skills that you can draw on throughout your life and career.

    Modules

    Our course allows you to gain a solid understanding of the ideas and theories that are the foundation of the discipline, across the full range of our modules. You will have the opportunity to tailor your degree to your interests - your lecturers will help you do this.

    The philosophy course also allows you to study a small number of modules from other departments. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to broaden your university education.

    Our degree courses

    We are constantly developing our courses so it is possible that the modules running during your time at Sheffield may differ slightly from those currently available. What follows is a typical list of the first, second and third year modules we offer.

    How our research informs our module teaching

    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Title: Philosophy BA course structure 2023-24
    UCAS code: V500
    Years: 2023
    First year

    You must take 120 credits in total during your first year which includes the following four core modules (80 credits):

    • Ethics & Society (20 credits)
      Examine questions about value - the good and the bad, the right and the wrong – and consider some of the ways in which philosophical theorising about value may shape society itself.
       
    • Mind & World (20 credits)
      Learn about some of the major concerns of epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) and of metaphysics (the philosophical examination of the nature of reality).
       
    • Reason and Argument (20 credits)
      An introduction to the core ideas and instruments that are commonly used throughout the subject to analyse, assess, and construct arguments; tools that will be extremely useful in the course of your degree and indeed well beyond the study of Philosophy itself.
       
    • Writing Philosophy (20 credits)
      Learn and practice philosophical writing: a skill that will help you to succeed in your degree; and that will serve you well in your post-academic career.

    You can then take up to 40 credits of optional philosophy modules. Here is a typical list of options.

    Death

    This module is mainly about death itself . What is death? What happens to us when we die? Could there be an afterlife? Would it be a good thing if there were? What is it about death that we dislike so much, or that makes it bad? Is it rational, or even possible to fear death? What is the right attitude towards our own death? Do we have moral duties towards the dead? The course will clarify these questions and attempt to answer them. Readings will be taken from both historical and contemporary sources.

    10 credits
    History of Ethics

    How should we live? What is the right thing to do? This module offers a critical introduction to the history of western ethical thought, examining some of the key ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Wollstonecraft, Douglass, Bentham, Mill, Taylor Mill, Nietzsche, Rawls and Gilligan. It provides a textual introduction to some of the main types of ethical theory: the ethics of flourishing and virtue; rights-based approaches; utilitarianism; contractualism. We explore the close interconnections between ethics and other branches of philosophy (e.g. metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics), as well as the connections between ethics and other disciplines (e.g. psychology; anthropology).

    10 credits
    History of Philosophical Ideas

    The history of philosophy is made up of a series of debates between competing philosophical traditions and schools: for example, idealists argue with realists, rationalists with empiricists. And at different times, distinctive philosophical movements have dominated the discussion, such as pragmatism, existentialism, phenomenology, analytic philosophy, and critical theory. This module will introduce you to some of these central movements and traditions in the history of philosophy from Plato onwards, and the key philosophical concepts and issues that they have brought in to western thought.

    10 credits
    Philosophy of Religion

    This course will pose and try to answer philosophical questions about religion. These include questions about the nature of religion. For instance does being religious necessarily involve believing in the existence of a God or Gods? And is religious faith compatible with adherence to the scientific method? Other questions that the course will cover include questions about the theistic notion of God. Does the idea of an all-powerful being make sense? Is an all-knowing God compatible with human freedom? And is an all-powerful, all-knowing and perfectly good creator of the universe compatible with the existence of evil? Further questions concern God and morality. Is it true that if there is no God, then there is no right and wrong? The course will examine philosophical arguments for the existence of God, and question whether these arguments are sound.

    10 credits
    Philosophy of Sex

    Sex is one of the most basic human motivators, of fundamental importance in many people's lives, and a topic of enormous moral, religious, and political contention. No surprise, then, that it turns out to be of great philosophical interest. We will discuss moral issues related to sex' asking when we might be right to judge a particular sex act to be morally problematic; and what political significance (if any) sex has. We will also discuss metaphysical issues, such as the surprisingly difficult questions of what exactly sex is and what a sexual orientation is. Throughout our study, we will draw both on philosophical sources and on up-to-date contemporary information.

    10 credits

    You may also take up to 40 credits from a list of guided modules, which includes a range of modules from across the University.

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

    Learning and assessment

    Learning

    We pride ourselves on the diversity of our modules and the high quality of our teaching. Modules in philosophy focus on central philosophical issues and thinkers, and are taught through lectures, discussion seminars and online learning, as well as individual essay tutorials in the third year.

    We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

    Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

    Learning support facilities and library opening hours

    Our staff are among the best in the world at what they do. They're active researchers so your lectures and seminars are informed, relevant and exciting. We'll teach you how to think carefully, analytically and creatively.

    Assessment

    Assessment is normally through a combination of coursework essays and exams, with long essay options available instead of exams. Some modules also use other forms of assessment, such as reflective journals.

    Programme specification

    This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

    Find programme specification for this course

    Entry requirements

    With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible

    Standard offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    AAB

    A Levels + additional qualifications ABB + B in a relevant EPQ

    International Baccalaureate 34

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in a relevant subject

    BTEC Diploma DD in a relevant subject + A at Level

    Scottish Highers AAAAB

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AA

    Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in either Law, Business Management, Humanities or Social Sciences, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 36 at Distinction and 9 at Merit

    Access Sheffield offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    ABB

    A Levels + additional qualifications ABB + B in a relevant EPQ

    International Baccalaureate 33

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in a relevant subject

    BTEC Diploma DD in a relevant subject + B at A Level

    Scottish Highers AAABB

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AB

    Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in either Law, Business Management, Humanities or Social Sciences, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit

    English language requirements

    You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

    Equivalent English language qualifications

    Visa and immigration requirements

    Other qualifications | UK and EU/international

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for an International Foundation Year in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Department of Philosophy

    We pride ourselves on the diversity of our modules and the high quality of our teaching. Our staff are among the best in the world at what they do. They're active researchers so your lectures and seminars are informed, relevant and exciting. We'll teach you how to think carefully, analytically and creatively.

    Our staff and students use philosophy to engage with real world issues. You will be able to use what you learn to make a difference in the community, through projects like Philosophy in the City, an innovative and award-winning programme that enables students to teach philosophy in schools, homeless shelters and centres for the elderly.

    Our students run a thriving Philosophy Society and the only UK undergraduate philosophy journal. Our Centre for Engaged Philosophy pursues research into questions of fundamental political and social importance, from criminal justice and social inclusion to climate ethics, all topics that are covered in our teaching.

    Philosophy changes our perspective on the world, and equips and motivates us to make a difference.

    The Department of Philosophy is based at 45 Victoria Street at the heart of the University campus. We're close to the Diamond and the Information Commons, as well as Jessop West, which houses our fellow Arts & Humanities departments of History, English and Languages & Cultures.

    Department of Philosophy

    Why choose Sheffield?

    The University of Sheffield

      A top 100 university
    QS World University Rankings 2023

      92 per cent of our research is rated in the highest two categories
    Research Excellence Framework 2021

      No 1 Students' Union in the UK
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

    Department of Philosophy

    1st in the Russell Group for Student Voice

    National Student Survey 2021

    3rd in the Russell Group for student satisfaction

    National Student Survey 2021


    Graduate careers

    Department of Philosophy

    Studying philosophy will develop your ability to analyse and state a case clearly, evaluate arguments and be precise in your thinking. These skills will put you in a strong position when it comes to finding employment or going on to further study.

    Our graduates work in teaching, law, social work, computing, the civil service, journalism, paid charity work, business, insurance and accountancy. Many also go on to study philosophy at postgraduate level.

    Valentine Kozin, BA Philosophy.

    "There is a very direct connection between the analytical approaches of philosophy and working with computer software."

    Valentine Kozin BA Philosophy

    Valentine is a technical artist for Rare, a video game production studio working with Microsoft.

    Placement and study abroad

    Work experience

    You can incorporate work experience and/or study abroad in your degree. With our third year Work Place Learning module, you can spend time with an organisation from the Sheffield voluntary or private sector gaining skills and experience relevant to philosophy in an applied setting. Through the University's Degree with Employment Experience scheme you can incorporate a placement year into your degree.

    Study abroad

    You can study abroad for a semester or a full year as part of your three-year degree, Or you can study abroad for an additional year between your second-year in Sheffield and your final year of study, leading to a BA 'with international experience'.

    We have partnerships with many countries including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, Spain, Italy and Germany.

    Fees and funding

    Fees

    Additional costs

    The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

    Examples of what’s included and excluded

    Funding your study

    Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

    Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

    Visit us

    University open days

    We host five open days each year, usually in June, July, September, October and November. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

    Open days: book your place

    Subject tasters

    If you’re considering your post-16 options, our interactive subject tasters are for you. There are a wide range of subjects to choose from and you can attend sessions online or on campus.

    Upcoming taster sessions

    Applicant days

    If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

    Campus tours

    Our weekly guided tours show you what Sheffield has to offer - both on campus and beyond. You can extend your visit with tours of our city, accommodation or sport facilities.

    Campus tour: book your place

    Apply for this course

    Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

    How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:
    www.ucas.com

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer

    2023-2024