Year of entry 2024
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'll benefit from our distinctively student-centred and research-led approach.
You'll 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 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.
- An appealing range of ‘taster’ modules in your first year, designed to familiarise you with the core areas of philosophy you’ll be meeting later in the degree through excitingly themed modules.
- 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 in your second year, 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 also offers the scaffolded support of an associated module, while the other allows you the freedom to pursue an independent research project of your own design.
- The opportunity for genuine research-led teaching throughout the degree, culminating in a revolving menu of highly specialist modules in the final year.
The first year on the course combines a selection of compulsory modules with an exciting range of optional modules.
The compulsory modules introduce you to key thinkers and areas of philosophy such as theories of knowledge, morality, political philosophy, historical philosophy and formal methods of argument. The role of the ‘taster’ options you’ll be taking alongside these modules will give you a sense of what different philosophical areas look like when applied to specific philosophical themes and questions – of race, for instance, or the mind. Both the compulsory and the optional modules will help you get a sense of which areas of philosophy you might like to focus on at higher levels.
Over the next two years you’ll continue to shape your degree to an increasingly specialist level. You’ll be able to choose from an impressive range of optional modules in areas such as the philosophy of mind, politics, religion, language, metaphysics, philosophy of science, ethics, feminism and the philosophy of art. At all levels you'll be able to combine your philosophy modules with discovery modules from other subjects in the University.
In your second year, you’ll combine these options with our year-long flagship module in philosophical research methodology where you'll learn about doing philosophy by seeing our staff in action. As well as developing valuable independent research skills and gaining exposure to cutting-edge research, this module will help you build a strong sense of community with others on your course.
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. You’ll also have the opportunity to choose from a shortlist of specialist research modules that showcase the work being done by our staff in the School.
Throughout your degree you'll develop skills in argument, critical thinking, research, interpretation and analysis – invaluable skills for whatever you go on to do afterwards.
Year 1 compulsory modules
Knowledge, Self and Reality (20 credits) - This module introduces you to central issues in philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics which concern the self and its relationship to the rest of the world.
The Good, The Bad, The Right, The Wrong (20 credits) - This module introduces you to some of the key themes, debates and ideas in moral and political philosophy.
Introduction to the History of Western Philosophy (20 credits) - This introductory module aims to provide you with an understanding of how western philosophy has developed as a distinct approach to philosophical enquiry by examining a selection of thinkers who influenced its development, potentially going back as far as the Ancient Greeks and extending to the 18th century.
How to do Philosophy (20 credits) - This introductory module offers you a foundation in some of the formal and informal reasoning skills used in philosophy.
Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
Introduction to Philosophy of Religion (10 credits) - This taster module introduces you to some of the key themes, debates and ideas in philosophy of religion.
Sex and Gender (10 credits) - This taster module introduces you to a cluster of philosophically interesting issues around the topics of sex and gender.
Philosophy Meets the World (10 credits) - This taster module takes you through different ways in which academic philosophy can illuminate real world issues. This might be approached through a wide range of different areas of philosophy such as moral and political philosophy, applied ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of law or philosophy of mind. The particular approach will change annually.
The Mind (10 credits) - This taster module introduces you to key themes, debates and ideas in the philosophy of mind.
How Science Works (10 credits) - This taster modules introduces you to key themes, debates and ideas in the philosophy of science.
Thinking About Race (10 credits) - This taster module introduces you to a cluster of philosophically interesting issues around the topic of race.
Level 2 compulsory modules
Research in Philosophy (40 credits) - A year-long compulsory 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 course.
Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
Do the Right Thing: Topics in Moral Philosophy (20 credits) - This gateway module offers an intermediate level exploration of some of the central concepts, issues, theories, and debates in an area of moral philosophy called 'normative ethics', thereby providing you with a framework for thinking seriously about moral matters, and to assist you in developing your philosophical and analytical skills.
How to Live Together: Topics in Political Philosophy (20 credits) - This gateway module offers an intermediate level exploration of a selection of themes, debates and ideas in political philosophy. This includes the concepts of political legitimacy and authority, civil and uncivil disobedience and the work of key contemporary thinkers.
How do you Know? Topics in Epistemology (20 credits) - This gateway module offers an intermediate level exploration of a selection of themes, debates and ideas in epistemology, including for instance issues concerning human knowledge and associated epistemological concepts such as having a good reason (‘justification’) for belief.
Reality Check: Topics in Metaphysics (20 credits) - This gateway module offers an intermediate level exploration of a selection of themes, debates and ideas in metaphysics (the study of fundamental reality). Its main concern is with ontology, the study of what, in the most general, abstract terms, exist.
Past Thinkers: History of Modern Philosophy (20 credits) - This gateway module offers an intermediate level text-based exploration of some of the most influential philosophical thinkers in the modern period (17th and 18th century). These might include, for instance, Leibniz, Hume, Locke or Berkeley.
How to do Things with Symbols: Topics in Formal Logic (20 credits) - This gateway module offers an intermediate level course in the principles and methods of formal logic. It will be of interest to anyone who wants to know how we can rigorously establish conclusions.
God, Thought and the World: Topics in Philosophy of Religion (20 credits) - This gateway module offers an intermediate level exploration of a selection of themes, debates and ideas in the philosophy of religion including, for instance, philosophical considerations that bear on rational (dis-) belief in God and common arguments for and against the existence of God.
Does Science Work? Topics in Philosophy of Science (20 credits) - This gateway module offers an intermediate level exploration of a selection of themes, debates and ideas in the philosophy of science such as, for instance, the nature of scientific discovery, the nature of scientific evidence and justification, the nature of observation and experiments; and the objectivity of science.
Level 3 compulsory modules
PRHS3000 Independent Project - This final year project option allows you the freedom to design and carry out a piece of extended independent research with the individualised support of a supervisor with research expertise in your chosen area.
PRHS3001 Integrated Project - This final year project option allows you to carry out a piece of extended independent research with the additional support of a scaffolding module, as well as the individualised support of a supervisor with research expertise in your chosen area.
Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
Free Will (20 credits) - This specialist research module allows you to delve into philosophical themes, debates and ideas around the issue of free will.
Bioethics (20 credits) - This advanced level module allows you to delve into the applied ethics of issues in biomedicine and biomedical research.
War, Terror and Justice (20 credits) - This advanced level module examines key ethical aspects of the international order: centrally, war, terrorism, and international justice.
Philosophy of Love (20 credits) - This specialist research module allows you to delve into philosophical themes, debates and ideas around love and intimate relationships.
Feminist Philosophy (20 credits) - This advanced level module looks at philosophy that is particularly relevant to women's lives, ranging over most subfields of philosophy including metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics.
Kant (20 credits) - This advanced level module involves the study of one or more areas of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, such as his metaphysics, epistemology, moral philosophy, philosophy of religion, or aesthetics and philosophy of art.
Philosophy of Modern Physics (20 credits) - This specialist research module examines a selection of philosophical issues at the heart of some of the central pillars of modern physics.
Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art (20 credits) - This specialist research module examines philosophical issues concerning the nature and values of art, aesthetic appreciation, the nature of aesthetic knowledge and justification.
Metaethics (20 credits) - This specialist research module allows you to delve into some of the major metaethical theories, issues, and debates.
Creating a Narrative Podcast in Philosophy (20 credits) - This specialist module allows you a unique opportunity to learn to design, record and produce your own narrative podcase in philosophy.
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'll 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.
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.
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.
D3, M1, M2.
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
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.
European Baccalaureate: 80%.
Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.
Were 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.
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: £24,500 (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 of between £30-100 per year for printing or textbooks.
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 on our living costs and budgeting page.
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.
This course is taught by
School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science Undergraduate Admissions
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.
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
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
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.