Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Thought BA

Year of entry

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
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

History and Philosophy of Science

Combining philosophy, psychology, and the history of science, this varied and interesting degree allows you to explore the most fundamental questions about our minds.

You’ll study these different yet closely related specialisms and how they relate to the nature of the mind. By utilising scientific, philosophical, and historical methods you'll understand what the mind is and how it works. Optional and compulsory modules will allow you to examine the mechanisms of the brain, childhood development, mental illness, the history of psychology and the relationship between the mind and the brain.

You can develop your understanding of the world even further by choosing from a wide range of optional modules reflecting the diverse research interests across the University. This enables you to focus on wide-ranging topics that interest you such as ethics, the philosophy of art or religion.

Specialist facilities

Leeds has world-class facilities for students of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific thought. The University libraries are among the largest in the UK and offer a course of workshops and webinars to help you make the most of their collections, digital resources and databases.

Take a look around our three main libraries:

Take a look around our libraries:

The Brotherton’s Library’s manuscripts are held in the Special Collections Research Centre, which has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment and extension, after a generous bequest from the John Victor Bedford Will Trust.

This provides new working spaces for individuals or groups, and new teaching spaces that feature visualisers and projectors, enabling you to engage with sources using the latest techniques.

Skills@Library offers training courses to help you make the most of the library’s collections, digital resources and databases. In addition, it can provide one-to-one support to taught students on a wide range of topics, including academic writing, research skills, and data analysis.

Course details

Year 1 will introduce you to different aspects of philosophy, psychology, and history of science, such as biological and cognitive psychology, philosophical method, and the scientific method.

You can also choose from optional modules on topics such as developmental and social psychology, ethics, knowledge and the self, and the links between magic, science and religion.

Building on this foundation in Year 2 and Year 3, you’ll take further compulsory modules in topics such as memory, language, history of psychiatry and mental illness, and philosophy of the mind. You can also choose from a wide range of optional modules across philosophy, psychology and history of science.

Throughout your degree you’ll be developing a wide range of skills including research, interpretation and analysis. You’ll apply these skills to a Final Year Project on a topic of your choice within philosophy or history of science.

You’ll have the opportunity for genuine research-led teaching throughout the degree, especially in your final year, when you’ll have a wide range of more specialist optional modules from which to choose. These are closely tied to the research interests of academic staff.

Some of these modules are currently in the process of revision, but the list below will give you a flavour of the range of topics that can be offered on this course.

Course structure

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

Year 1 compulsory modules

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.

History of Psychology (10 credits) - This module provides an overview of the historical development of psychology as a scientific discipline.

Introduction to the History of Science (10 credits) - This module introduces you to the history of science, its complexity, and the range of interpretations which that history has received.

How Science Works (10 credits) - This module introduces you to key themes, debates and ideas in the philosophy of science.

The Mind (10 credits) - This module introduces you to key themes, debates and ideas in the philosophy of mind.

Cognitive Psychology (10 credits) - This module introduces you to the basic theory, research findings and methods of investigation in cognitive psychology.

Perception (10 credits) - This module provides an overview of key concepts in perception.

Biological Approaches to Psychology (10 credits) - This module introduces you to biological psychology theory, its application to real world questions and relevant evolutionary, ethical, conceptual and historical perspectives.

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

  • Magic, Science and Religion (10 credits)
  • Darwin, Germs and the Bomb (10 credits)
  • History of Modern Medicine (10 credits)
  • Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (10 credits)
  • The Good, the Bad, the Right, the Wrong (20 credits)
  • Knowledge, Self and Reality (20 credits)
  • Developmental Psychology (10 credits)
  • Social Psychology (10 credits)
  • Thinking About Race (10 credits)

Year 2 compulsory modules

History and Psychiatry of Mental Illness (20 credits) - This module examines key theories and practices in the evolution of psychiatric medicine to understand how these were a part of public policy and debates about philosophy, economics and society.

Memory and Language (10 credits) - This module provides students with a broad knowledge of research in the fields of memory and language, developing your critical understanding of key theoretical and empirical work in these areas.

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

  • How to Live Together: Topics in Political Philosophy (20 credits)
  • Do The Right Thing: Topics in Moral Philosophy (20 credits)
  • How Do You Know? Topics in Epistemology (20 credits)
  • Reality Check: Topics in Metaphysics (20 credits)
  • Psychological Disorders (10 credits)
  • Advanced Social Psychology (10 credits)
  • Advanced Developmental Psychology (10 credits)
  • Individual Differences (10 credits)
  • Perception, Action and Cognition (10 credits)
  • Neuroscience (20 credits)
  • Does Science Work? Topics in Philosophy of Science (20 credits)

Year 3 compulsory modules

Final Year Project in Philosophy (20 credits) - You can either conduct independent research on a topic you've previously studied or select one of the final year modules to serve as the basis of and scaffolding for your independent research, allowing you to explore a topic you haven’t previously studied.

Choose one of:

Philosophy of Mind (20 credits) - This advanced level module explores central topics in the philosophy of mind, including such topics as intentionality, functionalism, dualism, supervenience, mental causation, emotion and self-deception.

Mind Brain and Society (20 credits) - This advanced level module examines key theories and technologies in the history of psychology and neurology, to understand how these have driven policy and debates around broader social, political and economic issues.

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

  • Science Communication (20 credits)
  • History of the Body (20 credits)
  • Philosophy of Biology (20 credits)
  • Philosophy of the Social Sciences (20 credits)
  • Philosophy of Love (20 credits)
  • Bioethics (20 credits)
  • Free Will (20 credits)
  • Philosophy of Language (20 credits)
  • Feminist Philosophy (20 credits)
  • Feminist Social Psychology (15 credits)
  • Cognition and Emotion (15 credits)
  • Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Psychology (15 credits)
  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Development of Language and Literacy
  • Reasoning and Decision Making
  • Evolutionary Psychology

Discovery modules

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 and the School of Psychology are home to tutors who are at the forefront of research in their fields.

We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you benefit from their expertise, normally including lectures, seminars, tutorials and occasionally workshops. However, independent study is integral to the degree, since this is where you develop your skills in research, interpretation and analysis.

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, group work and oral presentations.

Our Library Skills Team provides exam skills training. We also provide subject-specific sessions on essay writing. 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 design our assessments to reflect the most valuable skills our subjects can teach you – how to construct a well-developed argument, explain complicated ideas clearly, or critically evaluate and interpret philosophical texts and psychological research.

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

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB

Other course specific tests:

Where 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.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: 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: £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 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
School of Psychology

Contact us

School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

Because this degree crosses so many disciplines, it will give you an impressive range of subject knowledge. You’ll also develop valuable transferable skills that really stand out to employers. You’ll have strong research skills and be able to interpret and analyse both qualitative and quantitative data. You’ll also be confident working independently or within a team, and you’ll have the advanced communication skills necessary to present and defend your own arguments.

These are all valuable skills that have allowed graduates to pursue a wide range of careers in areas such as charity work, the civil service, politics, education, journalism, the media and management. They’d also be valuable in fields such as social work, marketing and consultancy. Many of our graduates go on to pursue postgraduate study or further training.

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.

You’ll also have additional opportunities to gain work experience during the degree. For example, you can get involved in the ongoing development of the Leeds Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

Student profile: Otto Lyons

My course seemed to offer a combination of things that I had both studied and wanted to understand further, as well as a range of interesting topics I had never considered.
Find out more about Otto Lyons's time at Leeds