Philosophy BA2024-25 entry
Develop your thinking skills through a distinctive combination of imagination and exact reasoning. This single honours course will give you a solid understanding of the foundation of the discipline, along with a great degree of flexibility to tailor your degree to your own interests.
Explore this course:
Interrogate the pillars of society, our mental constructs and build intellectual skills that you’ll draw on for the rest of your life and career.
Thinking philosophically requires a distinctive mix of imagination and exact reasoning. You'll develop this along with analytical skills and a high degree of intellectual flexibility.
Studying thinkers from many branches – analytic, continental, pragmatist, and Chinese philosophy – you’ll learn about a wide variety of philosophical areas, identify links between different disciplines and forge your own ideas.
From a strong general understanding in year one, you’ll be free to construct your own, highly personalised pathway, choosing modules as varied as the nature of the mind and the value of art based on your interests, with opportunities for individual projects and work placements.
Why study this course?
- Top 100 in the world for Philosophy QS World Rankings 2023 - learn from world-leading staff, teaching an exceptionally diverse range of modules.
- An immersive experience - regular opportunities to get involved in the activities and events put on by the department, from annual conferences to regular reading groups.
- Take on the big issues - work with the Centre for Engaged Philosophy, researching areas of fundamental political and social importance, from criminal justice and social inclusion to climate ethics.
- Outside lectures - join our award-winning, student-led volunteering project Philosophy in the City and introduce school children to philosophical ideas they can apply to everyday life.
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.
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.
UCAS code: V500
You must take 120 credits in total during your first year which includes the following four core modules (80 credits):
- Ethics and Society
This module aims to introduce a range of topics from certain overlapping areas of philosophical research relating to normative and practical matters: in particular, dealing with ethical theory, applied ethics, moral theory, moral psychology, and politics. The module aims to outline some major philosophical problems and topics from these areas, while also showing how the underlying concerns of the areas are connected to broad underlying philosophical concerns.20 credits
- Mind and World
This module aims to introduce a range of topics from epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of mind. The module aims to outline some philosophical problems and topics from these areas, and in doing so show how these areas connect and thereby show how philosophical thinking can be unified and interconnected across these subjects.20 credits
- Reason and Argument
This module aims to introduce a range of concepts and theoretical tools that are central to a great deal of work throughout philosophy and that are, more generally, very useful in evaluating arguments and analysing their components. The module will thus incorporate materials relating to critical thinking and logic, building upon fundamental theoretical ideas about meaning.20 credits
- Writing Philosophy
Philosophical writing is a skill that you, the student, must hone early on in order to succeed in your degree. It is also a transferable skill that will serve you in your post-academic career. Philosophical writing combines the general virtues of clarity, organisation, focus and style found in other academic writing with particular philosophical virtues, namely, the ability to expose the implicit assumptions of analysed texts and to make explicit the logical structure of one's own and other people's arguments. A precondition of philosophical writing is a unique form of textual analysis that pays particular attention to its argumentative structure. In this module you will learn and practice philosophical writing. You will learn how to read in preparation for philosophical writing, learn how to plan an essay, learn how to rework your drafts and learn how to use feedback constructively. You will write five drafts and five essays and will have one on on tutorial on each essay you write. The lectures in the course will be split between lectures of the art of writing and lectures on philosophical topics in the domain of fact and value. Essay topics will be based on the topical lectures and their associated readings20 credits
You can then take up to 40 credits of optional philosophy modules. Here is a typical list of options.
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
- Philosophy of Science
Science plays an important role in modern society. We trust science on a day to day basis as we navigate our worlds. What is about science that makes it so trustworthy? Why is science a good guide for understanding the world? The aim of this half-module is to introduce some of the philosophical issues that arise in science and through reflecting on science. Most of the questions considered concern the epistemology of scientific knowledge and methodology: what are scientific theories, what counts as evidence for these theories, what is the relationship between observation and theory, is there a scientific method, what distinguishes science from other ways of understanding the world, and how does the social structure of science help or hinder science in studying the world. This module aims to introduce these questions as philosophical issues in their own right and within in the context of the history of the philosophy of science.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.
You will take 120 credits in total during your second year. Single-honours students typically take at least 100 credits in Philosophy, while most dual honours students typically take 60.
All second-year Philosophy modules are 20 credits. Here is a typical list of options.
- Reference and Truth
This module is an introductory course in the Philosophy of Language. The overall focus of the course will be on the notion of meaning. The first part of the course will attempt to shed light on the notion of meaning by investigating different accounts of the meanings of some types of linguistic expressions, in particular names (for instance 'Nelson Mandela') and definite descriptions (for instance 'the inventor of the zip', 'the first minister of Scotland'). We will then look at an influential approach to understanding what it is for words to have meaning and for people to mean things by their words, one due to Paul Grice. And we will examine the role and understanding of conventions and how someone can say something and yet communicate something very different from its conventional meaning. We will also explore the phenomena of 'implicature' where people can communicate more (or something different from) what they literally say.20 credits
- Philosophy of Mind
This module provides a survey of philosophical theories of the mind, looking at such questions as: How is consciousness possible? Why is it that vibrations in the air around us produce conscious experiences of particular auditory experiences in our minds? Why is it that electromagnetic waves hitting our retinas produce particular visual experiences in our minds? What makes our thoughts represent things in the world? What is it about your thought that cats have whiskers that makes it about cats and whiskers? What is it about your thought that there are stars in the universe too far away for any human to have perceived them that makes it about such stars? What is the relation between thoughts and conscious experiences and brain states? We'll look at a variety of answers to these and related questions and examine some of the most important and influential theories that contemporary philosophers have to offer.20 credits
- Formal Logic
The course will start by introducing some elementary concepts from set theory; along the way, we will consider some fundamental and philosophically interesting results and forms of argumentation. It will then examine the use of 'trees' as a method for proving the validity of arguments formalised in propositional and first-order logic. It will also show how we may prove a range of fundamental results about the use of trees within those logics, using certain ways of assigning meanings to the sentences of the languages which those logics employ.20 credits
How should we live? How should we conduct ourselves? What duties do we owe t9 other people? Are there certain things we should never do in any circumstances? If so what things are they? Do questions like the foregoing have determinate, correct answers? If so can we know what they are? If so, how? These questions and questions like them are the subject matter of ethics. We will be studying and thinking about such questions by engaging with classical and/or contemporary texts.20 credits
- Philosophy of the Arts
This module introduces students to a broad range of issues in the philosophy of art. The first half asks 'What is art?'. It examines three approaches: expression theories, institutional accounts, and the cluster account. This is followed by two critiques focusing on the lack of women in the canon and problems surrounding 'primitive' art. The evolutionary approach to art is discussed , and two borderline cases: craft and pornography. The second half examines four issues: cultural appropriation of art, pictorial representation, aesthetic experience and the everyday, and the nature of artistic creativity.20 credits
- The Rationalists
This module is an introduction to the major works of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, and Kant. Their work is both fascinating in itself and enormously influential today. The emphasis will be on topics in metaphysics and epistemology, such as whether there is a god, whether you and I are material or immaterial, whether the physical or even the mental world is real or apparent, whether anything could have been otherwise than it is, and what it is possible to know. Readings will be mainly from primary sources. Discussion will focus on philosophical problems rather than on historical context.20 credits
- Political Philosophy
We are citizens in a democratic capitalist society, we vote and choose our representatives and our government, our representatives make laws that we must then follow. We do not only obey the laws only for fear of being punished; we believe that our system of government is just, and that it is just for us to obey the laws. We believe that - by and large - we live in a just society. Do we? What justifies our system of government? Are there alternative possible relations, alternative forms of citizenship; alternative forms of government, alternative ways of organising a society? Is ours the only just one?20 credits
We will look at the history of political philosophy and explore various systems of citizenship, government and economic arrangements. Our main aim will be to understand how these different systems justify or legitimise the existence of government and its authority to make and enforce laws. We will also look at the more general notion of 'justice' that accompanies and grounds these systems of government.
Two side concerns will be:-
1. The relation between a philosopher's view of ethics and her political philosophy.
2. The relation between a philosopher's view of human nature and her political philosophy.
- Life Worth Living
What does it mean for a life to go well? How does one live life well? What is a flourishing life? These questions have shaped intellectual endeavour for millennia. Life Worth Living explores approaches to these questions through engagement with diverse traditions/thinkers including classical Greek philosophy, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Confucianism, Existentialism, Marx, and Nietzsche. The module includes historical analysis of these traditions, visits from individuals whose lives are shaped by them, fieldwork to discuss the ideas beyond the classroom, and assessments to help students develop their own vision of a life worth living.20 credits
- Topics in Political Philosophy
This module will investigate a broad range of topics and issues in political philosophy and through doing so provide students with a broad understanding of those. It will include both historical and foundational matters and recent state of the art research.20 credits
- Theory of Knowledge
The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to philosophical issues surrounding the knowledge. We will be concerned with the nature and extent of knowledge. How must a believer be related to the world in order to know that something is the case? Can knowledge be analysed in terms of more basic notions? Must our beliefs be structured in a certain way if they are to be knowledge? In considering these questions we will look at various sceptical arguments that suggest that the extent of knowledge is much less than we suppose. And we will look at the various faculties of knowledge: perception, memory, introspection, and testimony.20 credits
Feminists have famously claimed that the personal is political. This module takes up various topics with that methodological idea in mind: the family, cultural critique, language. We examine feminist methodologies - how these topics might be addressed by a feminism that is inclusive of all women - and also turn attention to social structures within which personal choices are made - capitalism, and climate crisis .20 credits
- Ethics: Theoretical and Practical
There are some things we morally ought to do, ways we ought to live. Those of us who are not moral sceptics will agree so far. Indeed, we may even agree extensively about what we ought to do or how we ought to live. But why? Ethicists don't just ask what we ought to do. They also try to work out, as systematically as possible, what explains the demands, obligations and requirements that stem from morality. That is what this module will explore. Is morality all about promoting the well-being of humans and other creatures? Does it stem from the requirements of rationality? Is it aimed at achieving the distinctive kinds of excellence that creatures like us can attain?20 credits
This course is an introduction to metaphysics. It will focus on two general themes: whether we are material things, and the nature of time. Readings will be drawn mainly from recent and contemporary sources.20 credits
- Religion and the Good Life
What, if anything, does religion have to do with a well-lived life? For example, does living well require obeying God's commands? Does it require atheism? Are the possibilities for a good life enhanced or only diminished if there is a God, or if Karma is true? Does living well take distinctive virtues like faith, mindfulness, or humility as these have been understood within religious traditions? In this module, we will examine recent philosophical work on questions like these while engaging with a variety of religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Daoism, Islam, and Judaism.20 credits
- Environmental Justice
This module will introduce students to contemporary philosophical discussions of environmental justice at the global level. Topics to be covered may include: The nature of global environmental injustices; responsibility for global environmental problems; the relationship between global environmental challenges and other historical and contemporary injustices; fair international sharing of the costs of environmental action; the justifiability of environmental activism; the rights of indigenous peoples; fairness in global environmental decision-making; and the politics of ‘geoengineering’ the planet.20 credits
You will take 120 credits in total during your third year. Single-honours students typically take at least 100 credits in Philosophy, while most dual honours students take 60.
All third-year Philosophy modules are 20 credits. Here is a typical list of options.
- Ancient Chinese Philosophy
This course will introduce students to ancient Chinese Philosophy through a study of some of it classical texts.20 credits
- Advanced Political Philosophy
This module will investigate a broad range of topics and issues in political philosophy and explore these questions in some detail. It will include both historical and foundational matters and recent state of the art research.20 credits
- Utopia, Reform and Democracy
Humanity faces a recurrent political challenge: the task of steering itself towards a sustainable and just future. A crucial part of this challenge involves developing a vision of change, of an achievable good society: a vision of the harbour we are aiming for as we sail through these troubled waters. But how are those visions to be enacted in the world? What theories of change lay at the heart of various philosophical visions? This module will introduce students to some of the major schools of thought - historical and contemporary - regarding the relationship between social theory and political practice.20 credits
- Topics in Social Philosophy
This module will introduce students to some contemporary issues in social philosophy.20 credits
- Global Justice
What are the demands of justice at the global level? On this module we will examine this question from the perspective of analytic Anglo-American political philosophy. We will start by looking at some debates about the nature of global justice, such as whether justice demands the eradication of global inequalities. We will then turn to various questions of justice that arise at the global level, potentially including: how jurisdiction over territory might be justified; whether states have a right to exclude would-be immigrants; whether reparations are owed for past international injustices such as colonialism; and how to identify responsibilities for combatting global injustice.20 credits
- Philosophical Project 1
A variety of topics will be set. For each topic, a short list of key readings is provided. Having chosen a topic, a short list of key readings is provided. Having chosen a topic, students are expected to master the readings, and the supplement them with at least two other pieces of relevant literature and they have used the available library and web resources to uncover. They then, having agreed a title with a tutor assigned to them for the module, write an extended essay that identifies the central issue (or issues) under discussion, relates the various responses to that issue found in the literature, evaluates those contributions, and goes some way to identifying a satisfactory resolution of the issue.20 credits
- Free Will & Religion
This module focuses on philosophical questions about the relationship between free will and theistic religions. It has often been claimed that adherents of these religions have significant motivations to affirm an incompatibilist conception of free will according to which free will is incompatible with determinism. Incompatibilist conceptions of free will, it has been argued, have benefits for the theist such as enabling them to better account for the existence of moral evil, natural evil, divine hiddenness, and traditional conceptions of hell. Yet, on the other hand, it has been argued that there is a significant tension between theistic religions and incompatibilist conceptions of free will. For example, there are tempting arguments that an incompatibilist conception of free will makes trouble for affirming traditional views about God's omniscience, freedom, and providence. We will engage in a critical examination of these and related arguments.20 credits
- Work Place Learning
This module involves a work placement of 35-70 hours with a local organisation (voluntary or commercial sector). You will experience firsthand the practical challenges and problems facing the organisation. You will learn about the organisation's overall aims, and the various methods and strategies employed to accomplish those aims. You will draw on the concepts and theoretical frameworks studied in your other philosophy modules to identify a philosophical issue relevant to the organisation's work or goals, and to write a piece or pieces of coursework addressing that issue; or you will be able to use the skills and knowledge you have gained in your other philosophy modules to analyse a problem of philosophical interest faced by the organisation or encountered in the course of your employment. You will have two meetings together with other students in the module to discuss your work placement and formulate ideas for your written coursework. You will have a further individual meeting with the module convener or an appropriate supervisor from the Department of Philosophy to discuss the progression of the coursework.20 credits
At the end of the module, you should have:
the ability to apply ideas from your other philosophy modules in rigorously assessing the challenges facing organisations like the one you worked for, and interrogating potential solutions to them
insight into the practical application of theoretical issues in philosophy
practical experience that will make you a strong candidate for jobs in the sector you worked in.
- The Memory and The Self
Our memories of our personal past (i.e. our episodic memories) play animportant role in our lives. They help us perform mundane tasks like finding our keys, butthey arguably also form the foundation of our sense of self and personal identity. They let usknow who we are by recording what we've done and experienced. In this module we will tryto better understand what episodic memory is and to what extent it grounds our understandingof the self. This module will introduce students to the cognitive science of memory and tocore issues in the philosophical foundations of cognitive science.In the first part of the module, we will look at methodological issues that arise when weattempt to describe the mind's structure within philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. Inthe second part of the module, we will look towards the cognitive sciences to betterunderstand what sort of thing episodic memory is. In the final part of the module, we willconsider the relationship between episodic memory and our sense of the self.This is an interdisciplinary module. Understanding how the mind is structured is a complexproject. In order to make progress we need to appeal to both empirical and philosophicalwork (and work that blurs this distinction). We'll read scientific and philosophical papers;however, no prior knowledge of cognitive science (or neuroscience) will be presumed.20 credits
Update short/full description: The course will focus on metaphysical themes of perennial interest such as parts and wholes, the nature of people, and the passage of time. Readings will be drawn mainly from recent and contemporary sources. Lectures are shared with PHI225, and students who have taken that module may not take this one.20 credits
This module introduces students to Phenomenology - a philosophical tradition in continental European philosophy, which is closely related to Existentialism. Phenomenology seeks to understand the human condition. Its starting-point is everyday experience, where this includes both mundane and less ordinary forms of experience such as those typically associated with conditions such as schizophrenia. Whilst Phenomenology encompasses a diverse range of thinkers and ideas, there tends to be a focus on consciousness as embodied, situated in a particular physical, social, and cultural environment, essentially related to other people, and existing in time. (This is in contrast to the disembodied, universal, and isolated notion of the subject that comes largely from the Cartesian tradition.) There is a corresponding emphasis on the world we inhabit as a distinctively human environment that depends in certain ways on us for its character and existence. Some of the central topics addressed by Phenomenology include: embodiment; ageing and death; the lived experience of oppression; human freedom; our relations with and knowledge of, other people; the experience of time; and the nature of the world. In this module, we will discuss a selection of these and related topics, examining them through the work of key figures in the Phenomenological Movement, such as Edmund Husserl, Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Frantz Fanon, and Edith Stein.20 credits
- Philosophy of Psychology
This course provides an in-depth look at a selection of issues in contemporary philosophy of psychology. Philosophy of psychology is concerned with such questions as : What is the structure and organisation of the human mind? Is the mind one big homogenous thing, or is it made up of smaller interacting components? If it has components, what sort are they and how are they interrelated? What aspects of our minds are uniquely, or distinctively human? What is the cognitive basis for such capacities as our capacity for language, rationality, science, mathematics, cultural artefacts, altruism, cooperation, war, morality and art? To what extent are the concepts, rules, biases, and cognitive processes that we possess universal features of all human beings and to what extent are they culturally (or otherwise) variable? Do infants (non-human) animals, and individuals with cognitive deficits have minds, and if so, what are they like? To what extent are these capacities learned as opposed to innately given? How important is evolutionary theory to the study of the mind? What is the Self? What are concepts? Is all thought conceptual? Is all thought conscious? What is consciousness? This course will discuss a selection of these and related issues by looking at the work of philosophers, psychologists, and others working within the cognitive sciences more generally.20 credits
- Philosophical Problems 1
The detailed content of this course will vary from year to year depending upon the member of staff teaching it. For details contact the Department of Philosophy.20 credits
- Philosophical Project 2
A variety of topics will be set. For each topic, a short list of key readings is provided. Having chosen a topic, students are expected to master the readings, and to supplement them with at least two other pieces of relevant literature that they have used the available library and web resources to uncover. They then, having agreed a title with the tutor assigned to them for the module, write an extended essay that identifies the central issue (or issues) under discussion, relates the various responses to that issue found in the literature, evaluates those contributions, and goes some way to identifying a satisfactory resolution of the issues.20 credits
- Philosophy of Law
Law is a pervasive feature of modern societies and governs most aspects of our lives. This module is about some of the philosophical questions raised by life under a legal system. The first part of the module investigates the nature of law. Is law simply a method of social control? For example, the group calling itself Islamic State issued commands over a defined territory and backed up these commands with deadly force. Was that a legal system? Or is law necessarily concerned with justice? Do legal systems contain only rules or do they also contain underlying principles? Is 'international law' really law?20 credits
The second part of the module investigates the relationship between law and individual rights. What kinds of laws should we have? Do we have the moral right to break the law through acts of civil disobedience? What is the justification of punishment? Is there any justification for capital punishment? Are we right to legally differentiate between intended crimes (like murder) and unintended crimes (like manslaughter), or does this involve the unjustified punishment of 'thought crime'? Are we right to legally differentiate between murder and attempted murder, despite the fact that both crimes involve the same intent to kill?
- Pain, Pleasure, and Emotions
Affective states like pain, pleasure, and emotions have a profound bearing on the meaning and quality of our lives. Chronic pain can be completely disabling, while insensitivity to pain can be fatal. Analogously, a life without pleasure looks like a life of boredom, but excessive pleasure seeking can disrupt decision-making. In this module, we will explore recent advances in the study of the affective mind, by considering theoretical work in the philosophy of mind as well as empirical research in affective cognitive science. These are some of the problems that we will explore: Why does pain feel bad? What is the relation between pleasure and happiness? Are emotions cognitive states? Are moral judgments based on emotions? Can we know what other people are feeling?20 credits
- Moral Theory and Moral Psychology
This course examines the relationship of moral theory and moral psychology. We discuss the relationship of science and ethics, examine the nature of self-interest, altruism, sympathy, the will, and moral intuitions, explore psychological arguments for and against familiar moral theories including utilitarianism, virtue ethics, deontology and relativism, and confront the proposal that understanding the origins of moral thought 'debunks' the authority of ethics. In doing so, we will engage with readings from historical philosophers, including Hobbes, Butler, Hume, Smith, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche and Moore, as well as contemporary authors in philosophy and empirical psychology.20 credits
- Living well, living badly
This module will introduce students to a range of topics within the philosophy of well-being, understanding the branch of ethics concerned with what is good for us or what makes our lives go well. It will cover conceptual, theoretical, historical and applied topics relating to well-being20 credits
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.
Learning and assessment
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.
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 is normally through a combination of coursework essays and exams. On some of your third year modules, you will have the opportunity to write a longer essay instead of sitting an exam. Some modules also use other forms of assessment, such as reflective journals, presentations, and discussion boards.
This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.
With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible.
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
- A Levels + a fourth Level 3 qualification
- ABB + B in a relevant EPQ
- International Baccalaureate
- BTEC Extended Diploma
- DDD in a relevant subject
- BTEC Diploma
- DD + A at A Level
- Scottish Highers
- 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
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
- A Levels + a fourth Level 3 qualification
- ABB + B in a relevant EPQ
- International Baccalaureate
- BTEC Extended Diploma
- DDD in a relevant subject
- BTEC Diploma
- DD + B at A Level
- Scottish Highers
- 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
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
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
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.
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.
Why choose Sheffield?
The University of Sheffield
Number one in the Russell Group
National Student Survey 2023 (based on aggregate responses)
92 per cent of our research is rated as world-leading or internationally excellent
Research Excellence Framework 2021
Top 50 in the most international universities rankings
Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023
Number one Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023, 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017
Number one for teaching quality, Students' Union and clubs/societies
StudentCrowd 2023 University Awards
A top 20 university targeted by employers
The Graduate Market in 2023, High Fliers report
Department of Philosophy
National Student Survey 2021
National Student Survey 2021
Fees and funding
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.
Placement and study abroad
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. You can also take part in the award-winning Philosophy in the City group, which introduces school children to philosophical ideas they can apply to everyday life. All of these experiences will help you build a compelling CV.
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.
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.
Offer holder days
If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our offer holder days, which take place between February and April. These open days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.
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.
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.