Philosophy BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Philosophy student in library

One of the world’s oldest academic subjects, philosophy asks fundamental questions about the world and how we understand it. Does evil exist? Are we ever truly free to act? What does morality or justice require? How do we know what we know – if we can ever know anything at all? This fascinating and challenging degree will enable you to think clearly, construct well-developed arguments and learn to defend them, plus give you the chance to explore some of the big questions you’ve always wondered about. If you choose to study philosophy at Leeds you will benefit from our distinctively student-centred and research-led approach.

You will gain a foundation in core ideas and approaches in the subject in your first year, but beyond that students are encouraged to choose their own path through the degree from a wide range of exciting optional modules at the introductory, gateway, and specialist levels – it’s up to you whether you want to develop broad philosophical interests, or specialise more narrowly.

Our optional modules showcase our department’s research strengths at every level, and at the higher levels will allow you to experience cutting edge research from our staff. This culminates in your final year, when you get the chance to exercise your own research skills and ideas in an extended research project of your own choosing. This degree is an unmissable opportunity to gain valuable skills, set yourself up for a wide range of employment prospects, and most importantly to question what you know and how you think.

Additional highlights

  • Specialist strengths in philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, moral and political philosophy, philosophy of mind, metaphysics (the basic nature of things) and epistemology (the nature of knowledge).
  • A flagship ‘Research in Philosophy’ module, unique to Leeds, that will equip you with the research skills you need to successfully complete your final year research project, give you access to cutting edge research from a range of staff members, and allow you to build relationships and a sense of community with peers on your course.
  • Student choice between two different kinds of research project in your final year – both offer you the guidance of an individual supervisor, but one offers further the scaffolded support of an associated module, while the other allows you more freedom to pursue an independent research project of your own design.

Course details


The course information shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

For more information please read Philosophy BA in the course catalogue.

During your first year a selection of core modules will introduce you to some of the key issues, thinkers and approaches in philosophy – for example, the nature of the self, knowledge, morality, political philosophy, and formal methods of argument in philosophy. You will combine these with a number of introductory optional modules from our wide range as well as Discovery modules from across the university, which will allow you to start developing your broader interests.

Over the next two years you’ll continue to shape your degree to an increasingly advanced level, exploring our gateway modules at level 2 and our specialist modules at level 3.

At both levels you’ll be able to choose from an impressive range of options in areas such as the philosophy of mind, politics, religion, language, metaphysics, history and philosophy of science, moral philosophy, ethics, feminism and the philosophy of art. At all levels you will be able to combine your philosophy modues with Discovery modules from other subjects in the university.

In your second year you will combine these options with a year-long core module designed to develop your research skills by learning about exciting current research being done by our staff. As well as developing valuable independent research skills and getting to see the research being done by our staff, this module will help you build a strong sense of community with others on your programme.

In your final year you’ll be able to put these skills into practice, when you undertake an independent research project on a topic of your choice. Throughout your degree you’ll develop your skills in argument, critical thinking, research, interpretation and analysis – invaluable skills for whatever you choose to go on to do afterwards.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
The Good, the Bad, the Right, the Wrong 20
Knowledge, Self and Reality 20
How to Think Clearly and Argue Well 20
Introduction to the History of Western Philosophy 20

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Magic, Science and Religion 10
History of Psychology 10
Introduction to the History of Science 10
Darwin, Germs and the Bomb 10
History of Modern Medicine 10
The Mind 10
Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion 10
How Science Works 10

Year 2 compulsory modules

Research in Philosophy (40 credits)  

A year-long core module designed to develop your research skills by learning about exciting current research being done by our staff. It will enable you to develop valuable independent research skills and help you build a strong sense of community with others on your programme. Assessment will involve group as well as individual work.  

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Aesthetics and Criticism 20
Introduction to the Philosophy of Language 20
Formal Logic 20
History of Modern Philosophy: Leibniz and Hume 20
Ancient Philosophy 20
History of Modern Philosophy: Locke and Berkeley 20
Ethics of Life and Death 10
Political Philosophy 20
Moral Philosophy 20
Introduction to Epistemology 20
Philosophy of Religion 20
Introduction to Metaphysics 20
Thinking About Race 10
Augustine of Hippo: A Key Thinker in Philosophy and Theology 20

Year 2 discovery modules

Module Name Credits
Developing Your Professional Identity: Preparing for a Career in Within The Arts, Heritage and Creative Industries 20

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Independent Research Project in Philosophy, Religion or History of Science 40
Integrated Research Project in Philosophy, Religion or History of Science 40

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Kant 20
Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics 20
Philosophy of Biology 20
Metaethics 20
Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art 20
Philosophy of Mind 20
Feminist Philosophy 20
War, Terror and Justice 20
Introduction to Philosophy of Modern Physics 10
Philosophy of Modern Physics 20
Philosophical Issues in Technology 20
Philosophy of the Social Sciences 20
Independent Research Project in Philosophy, Religion or History of Science 40
Integrated Research Project in Philosophy, Religion or History of Science 40
Existentialism and Phenomenology 20
Religion, Belief and Ethics 20
Religion and Mental Health 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

The School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science is home to tutors who are at the forefront of research in their fields.

To enable you to benefit from their knowledge and experience, we use a range of teaching methods. Normally these will include lectures, seminars, tutorials, but workshops may occasionally be used as well. However, independent study is central to this degree, since it allows you to develop your skills in research and analysis as well as giving you space to form your own ideas.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We use many different types of assessment, including essays, exams, online discussion posts, extended bibliographies, group work and oral presentations. At the upper levels assessments may be student-led, with students selecting their own essay questions or designing their own independent research project.

You will typically have the opportunity to complete and gain ‘feed-forward’ on an ungraded formative exercise midway through our modules, that serves as a stepping stone towards your final graded assessment for the module.

There will also be support on hand – for example, our Library Skills Team provides exam skills training, there are module-specific sessions on essay writing, and your teaching staff will be available throughout term-time to talk to you one-on-one about how to get the most out of your assessments. New students will have a suite of study skills modules to help with the transition to University teaching and assessment.

Assessment is not just a way of testing you, but a key way to consolidate your learning on the degree. We always design our assessments to reflect the most valuable skills our subject can teach you – how to construct a well-developed argument, for instance, or explain complicated ideas clearly, or critically evaluate a passage of text while at the same time interpreting it in a way that allows you to get the most out of it.

Not only will these skills allow you to perform well in your degree, they will help you excel in your future lives and careers.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB

Other course specific tests:

When an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be ABB at A Level and grade A in the EPQ.

We welcome applications from mature students with Access qualifications, and from students with a wide range of qualifications.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.


BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: DDD. Other BTEC qualifications are also considered. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M1, M2.

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall including 16 at Higher Level

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers, or A in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers, or AAAABB in Highers

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80%.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

BBB at A Level and pass Access to Leeds

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

If you would like to study arts, humanities, and cultures at university, but don't currently meet the typical entry requirements for direct entry to a degree, you might be eligible to apply for the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year course.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science Undergraduate Admissions team.

You can find out more about what it is like to be an international student by speaking to a Link to Leeds ambassador. They can’t help you with your application, but they can tell you how they have found living and studying in Leeds.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £22,250 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science

Contact us

School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

A degree in philosophy will equip you with a variety of transferable skills that are highly attractive to employers across a number of sectors.

You’ll be an excellent communicator, confident working independently or within a team. You’ll have strong research skills and be able to interpret and analyse complex information from different sources. Crucially, you’ll be able to construct and defend clear and effective arguments, both verbally and in writing.

Graduates have pursued diverse careers as a result. Recently they have had success in fields such as management, politics, the civil service, journalism, the media, education and the charity sector. Many others have progressed to postgraduate study.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

All University of Leeds students can apply to spend a year studying abroad. It’s a great way to gain an insight into another culture, as well as gaining valuable experience that will look great on your CV.

The School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science also has exclusive exchange links with universities in Denmark, France and Spain – language classes are available before you go to prepare you for the experience.

Read more about Study abroad in Philosophy, Religion and History of Science

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Student profile: Sian Halas

I’ve found all the staff so eager to help with everything and they really care about how you are doing. There are so many initiatives to help you with everything from maths to essay writing which is great!
Find out more about Sian Halas's time at Leeds