Philosophy

Philosophy - BA (Hons)

What is philosophy? Why is it important? Is it still relevant in today’s technology-based society? As a philosopher, you develop the ability to reflect on the most fascinating abstract ideas and connect them to real-life situations. At Kent you don’t just read philosophy, you do philosophy.

Overview

For thousands of years, people have asked fundamental questions about the universe and our place in it.

Philosophy is the search for some basic answers to some basic questions and philosophical debates are all around us: When someone says something offensive, is it part of its meaning that it is offensive, or just how it is used? Under what circumstances might it be permissible to use violence to further political goals? Can machines have intelligence? Why do beliefs need to be guided by evidence?

The Department of Philosophy at Kent is an open and friendly community with expertise in a range of areas including philosophy of mind, philosophy of time, liberation and totalitarianism, the value of suffering in criminal punishment and moral responsibility. You have the opportunity to develop your own thoughts on philosophical ideas and engage in debates on a range of topics.

"University is a journey. It's not just about the academic side; learning comes in many different forms and I have definitely grown as a person, studying at Kent". Philosophy graduate Sasha applied to Kent via Clearing and shares her story and advice. Sasha also served as President of Kent Union for the 19/20 academic year.

Your course

Philosophy teaches you how to think and react to the world: in that sense, it is one of the most practical subjects you can study.

You begin with an introduction to philosophy, including ethics, knowledge and metaphysics, logic and reasoning. You also have the opportunity to study rights and existentialism. If you are keen to widen your field of interest further, you can also study modules from other subjects.

In your second and final years, you focus in greater depth on subjects such as the philosophy of language, cognitive science, medicine, religion, feminist philosophy and politics. In the final year of study, you can also choose to write a dissertation on a topic of your choice, based on your own research.

Year abroad/placement year

You can also apply to spend a year abroad as part of your degree programme. Studying abroad is a great opportunity to discover a new culture and demonstrates to future employers that you have the enthusiasm to succeed in a new environment. It is possible to spend a year or a term abroad at one of our partner institutions. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent but certain conditions apply. It is also possible to undertake a placement year in industry.

Study resources

In the University’s Templeman Library, you have access to a number of relevant databases, including Academic Search Premier, British Humanities Index, The Philosopher’s Index and Web of Science.

Extra activities

The Philosophy Society is run by Kent students to promote philosophical discussion. The society hosts a series of activities including lectures, film nights, pub walks and social events.

The Philosophy Department runs an active events programme that you are welcome to attend. These may include:

  • invited lecturers
  • reading groups
  • seminars and conferences
  • the philosophy reading weekend.

Flexible tariff

You are more than your grades

At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.

Entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBB or ABC

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances. A typical offer would be to achieve DDM.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 points at SL or 15 at HL

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in Academic Skills Development.

International students should visit our International Student website for further specific information. International fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot study part-time due to visa restrictions.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

If you need to improve your English language standard as a condition of your offer, you can attend one of our pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes before starting your degree programme. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £12600
  • International full-time £16800
  • Home part-time £4625
  • EU part-time £6300
  • International part-time £8400

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

Teaching and assessment

Some modules have lectures, some have seminars, and all have class discussions. Some promote ‘student active’ learning techniques which encourage you to work on individual or group research, and present your findings to the rest of the class.

Assessment of philosophy modules is by essays, in-class assignments, seminar participation or tests, or a combination of these methods.

Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • promote the study of philosophy within a strongly multidisciplinary context
  • produce graduates with knowledge in the main themes and texts of the Western tradition in philosophy
  • produce graduates equipped with the skills and abilities characteristic of philosophers
  • produce graduates equipped with generic skills for study in the humanities
  • enable students to develop more general skills and competences so that they can respond positively to the challenges of the workplace or of postgraduate education.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding in:

  • the ideas of the major philosophers as encountered in their own writings, from the ancient Greek philosophers to the present day
  • central theories and arguments in the fields of logic, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of mind, including such topics as existence, truth, certainty, meaning, causality, free will, and the relation of mind and body
  • central theories and arguments in the fields of moral, political and social philosophy, including such topics as the nature of judgements about right and wrong, human rights, duties and obligations, the relation between the individual and society, freedom, and justice
  • the relevance of philosophical ideas to other disciplines and areas of enquiry such as literature, the arts, religion, law, politics and social studies.

Intellectual skills

You gain intellectual skills in:

  • following complex presentations
  • reading a variety of technical and non-technical material
  • using libraries effectively
  • reflecting clearly and critically on oral and written sources, using powers of analysis and imagination
  • marshalling a complex body of information
  • remembering relevant material and bringing it to mind when needed
  • constructing cogent arguments in the evaluation of this material
  • formulating independent ideas and defending them with cogent arguments.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following areas:

  • articulacy in identifying underlying issues in philosophical debates
  • precision of thought and expression in the analysis and formulation of complex and controversial philosophical problems
  • sensitivity in the interpretation of philosophical texts drawn from a variety of historical periods
  • clarity and rigour in the critical assessment of arguments presented in such texts
  • the ability to use and criticise specialised philosophical terminology
  • the ability to abstract, analyse and construct sound arguments and to identify logical fallacies
  • recognising methodological errors, rhetorical devices, unexamined conventional wisdom, unnoticed assumptions, vagueness and superficiality
  • the ability to move between generalisation and detailed discussion, inventing or discovering examples to support or challenge a position, and distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant considerations
  • the ability to consider unfamiliar ideas and ways of thinking, and to examine critically presuppositions and methods.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • communication – producing focused and cogent written presentations summarising information and assessing arguments; giving oral presentations, using visual aids where appropriate
  • problem-solving – identifying problems; assessing the strengths and weaknesses of different solutions; defending your own solutions
  • improving your learning – identifying your strengths and weaknesses; assessing the quality of your own work; managing your time and meeting deadlines; learning to work independently
  • working with others – participating in seminar discussions, responding to the views of others and to criticisms of your own views without giving or taking offence; engaging in independent group work, including the preparation of group presentations
  • using information technology – wordprocessing essays; using online information sources; using e-mail for receiving and responding to communications.

Independent rankings

Philosophy at Kent was ranked 1st for research intensity and scored 87% overall in The Complete University Guide 2021.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have gone on to work in:

  • teaching
  • publishing
  • journalism
  • media
  • marketing
  • the civil service
  • the legal profession. 

Help finding a job

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews. 

Career-enhancing skills

Studying Philosophy at Kent equips you with the skills to analyse arguments, to express yourself clearly, verbally and in writing, and to present a case rigorously. 

To help you appeal to employers, you learn transferable skills that are useful in any career. These include the ability to:

  • think critically
  • express yourself clearly and logically
  • solve problems
  • work independently or as part of a team. 

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Applications

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021/22 academic year. Please visit the 2022 entry course pages.

Contact us

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

Enquire online for part-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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