LV25 Philosophy and Politics BA Undergraduate 2020
|Mode of study||Full Time|
|Typical Offers||A Level|
|Please also check Requirements and Admissions.|
|Contextual Offers||You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.|
|More information||Still have questions?|
The study of philosophy at Durham does not follow one particular school. The Department is unique in the UK in its wide-ranging expertise in anglo-american analytical philosophy and continental philosophy. Each of these has its own distinctive set of issues and approaches to resolving them. We also have special expertise in the philosophy of science, and social science, and the history of science and medicine. So at Durham, you will follow one of the widest-ranging philosophy degrees in the country.
At Durham, you will have the opportunity to study Philosophy as a Single Honours degree, or with another subject including: English, Music, Psychology, Politics or Theology. Philosophy can also be combined in a Joint Honours degree within the Natural Sciences course or as part of a Combined Honours degree.
Philosophy is a new subject for many students, so in your first year you will follow a range of introductory courses, introducing the fundamental philosophical subject areas.
In their first year, you will take the Philosophy core modules of Ethics and Values, Knowledge and Reality, and Reading Philosophy. The first two of these concern the two broad divisions of Philosophy, into Metaphysics and Theory of Knowledge on the one hand, and Moral Philosophy on the other.
Reading Philosophy is a text-based course which examines in depth classic philosophical works.
You will also take two core modules in Politics, Democratic Political Systems, and Political Theory, and one module from a range of electives. Examples of possible modules include:
- International Security, Interdependence and Organisation
- Global Regions in International Relations
- Introduction to International Relations
- Introduction to Comparative Politics.
Years 2 and 3
In the second year, you will take Moral Theory and Political Philosophy.
In the second and third years, you will also have a choice of a wide range of topics within Philosophy. In previous years these have included:
- Moral Theory
- Modern Philosophy I and II
- History of Science and Medicine
- Issues in Contemporary Ethics
- Philosophy of Religion
- Political Philosophy
- Language, Logic and Reality
- Twentieth Century European Philosophy
- Philosophy of Science
- The Philosophy of Economics and Politics: Theory, Methods and Values
- Applied Ethics
- Philosophical Issues in Contemporary Science
- History and Philosophy of Psychiatry
- Biomedical Ethics Past and Present.
A similarly wide range of modules are available in Politics. In previous years these have included:
- International Theory
- The Politics of Pacific Asia
- Foundations of Western Political Thought
- Sovereignty, State and Empire
- Global Political Economy
- Middle East in the International System
- Democracy and Democratic Theory
- Class, Nation and British Politics
- The Ethics of Violence in International Relations
- Culture and Conflict in American Politics
- The New Germany
- Nations and Nationalism
- Israel: Politics and Society
- Evolution and Development of Military Occupation
- Parties, MPs and Parliamentary Politics in Britain.
You will also have the opportunity to study a subject in depth, by writing a substantial Dissertation of your choice.
We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2020 entry from September 2019.
We currently participate in exchange schemes through which you may spend a year of your studies abroad, either with universities in Europe – through the SOCRATES/ERASMUS programme – or with the University of California.
School of Government and International Affairs
Students can apply for a one-year study placement in one of the following institutions: the University of California and Boston College in the USA, British Columbia in Canada, the University of Hong Kong, and the National University of Singapore. In some cases courses are offered in English, while in others teaching is in the local language. We have an ERASMUS/Year Abroad Co-ordinator who will help you prepare for your year abroad, and who will maintain contact with you while you are away.
You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.
Course Learning and Teaching
Students on this course learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials (Politics & Philosophy), informal but scheduled one-on-one support, and self-directed learning, such as research, reading, and writing.
All of these are supported by a virtual learning environment, Durham University Online (DUO). Seminars and tutorials are much smaller groups than lectures, with tutorials often involving no more than eight students working with a professor or lecturer; seminars and workshops can be larger but are still small enough to allow one-on-one interaction with tutors; some of these also allow hands-on experience of the kind of work professional political scientists perform.
This emphasis on small-group teaching reflects a conscious choice to enhance the quality of the learning experience rather than the quantity of formal sessions. In fact, the degree is designed to feature fewer formal sessions and more independent research as you move from your first to your final year.
Small-group teaching and one-on-one attention from the personal academic advisor (provided for all students when they enter the course) are part of the learning experience throughout, but by the final year classroom time gives way, to some extent, to independent research, including a capstone dissertation—supported by one-on-one supervision—that makes up a third of final year credits.
In this way the degree systematically transforms the student from a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life. These formal teaching arrangements are supported by “drop-in” surgeries with teaching staff and induction sessions that begin in the week before the start of the course and continue at key times throughout each year of the degree.
You can also attend an extensive programme of research-focused seminars where staff and visiting scholars present their cutting-edge research.
Subject requirements, level and grade
A level offer – AAA including at least one social science or humanities subject. Philosophy at AS or A level is not a requirement.
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD plus A levels as above.
IB Diploma score – 37 with 666 in higher level subjects. There are also higher level subject requirements.
- We consider each application holistically. Whilst academic achievement is important, it is not the only factor that we consider when assessing applications and applicants who have achieved, or are predicted to achieve, close to our typical offer, but who have not met it exactly, will be welcome to apply if they have a strong application in other key elements, for example can demonstrate merit and potential through their personal statement or their reference.
- We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
- An interview may form part of the entry requirements for mature students with non-standard qualifications.
- We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.
Science A Levels
Applicants taking Science A Levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A Levels with an English examination board.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Information relevant to your country
Fees and Funding
Full Time Fees
|EU Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|Home Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|Island Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£20,500.00 per year|
The tuition fees shown for home and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.
The tuition fees shown for overseas students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
Durham Philosophy graduates possess skills in critical thinking, logical analysis and the clear communication of complex information that make them much sought after in many professional walks of life. Our research-led teaching ensures that they are not only well informed about the latest developments in Philosophy, but also competent researchers in their own right, able to think for themselves and tackle problems imaginatively. Philosophy at Durham is not an 'ivory tower' subject and students are taught to relate theory to practice and see the relevance of their studies to everyday life. Our broad programme covers all major areas of Philosophy and includes modules in moral philosophy (e.g. Applied Ethics and Biomedical Ethics), Political Philosophy, Science & Religion, History & Philosophy of Psychiatry and Theory, Literature and Society which explicitly apply philosophical techniques to real-world problems.
All students in their final year write a long dissertation that provides an excellent opportunity for them to put the final edge on their analytical, research and presentational skills. Some Durham Philosophy graduates proceed to higher-degree study and an academic career; others enter a wide range of professions including the law and civil service, management, public relations, teaching, marketing, retail and financial services. In the 2012 Complete University Guide, Durham Philosophy graduates rank joint-second in the UK for 'graduate prospects'.
Of those students that left in 2017:
- 92% are in employment or further study six months after graduating
Of those in employment:
- 87% are in graduate level employment
- Median salary £25,500
(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2016/17 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found here:www.hesa.ac.uk/support/definitions/destinations)
A significant number of students progress onto higher level study following their degree in Philosophy. Many remain within their academic field of interest and pursue a Masters, notably at Durham but also at other prestigious institutions including the London School of Economics and Cambridge. Others take a different route and pursue professional postgraduate programmes in law, finance and teaching to name but a few.
Employability development opportunities
The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre works closely with the Philosophy Department. The link Careers Adviser delivers presentations to each year group on topics relevant to that stage of their academic career. These cover career decision making, successful applications and interviews, and advice for those considering further study. Q & A sessions are also available in which students can ask the adviser anything about their future career plans or ideas.
Durham University Philosophy graduates enter a wide range of career areas including publishing, retail, marketing, business and finance. Our graduates find employment with leading employers in both the public and private sectors such as British Telecom, The Royal Society of Medicine, Goldman Sachs, Government Olympic Committee, KPMG, The Royal Navy and PwC. Specific roles our graduates have progressed into include marketing graduate, trainee accountant, international financial analyst, account manager and press publishing administrator.
School of Government and International Affairs
We offer exceptional opportunities that will help you become critically and socially engaged graduates of the highest calibre.
Our graduates have an enviable record of employment and enter a wide range of career areas including business and finance, local and national government, armed forces, marketing and PR, media - newspaper and TV journalism, publishing, law, manufacturing industry, recruitment and teaching.
Our graduates have gone on to have great success in the political arena - with alumni job titles including Chief Operating Officer for the GB Equality and Human Rights Commission, Head of Defence Inquests and Disclosure in the Ministry of Defence and Political Officer in the British Embassy Mogadishu, while others hold senior academic and government positions around the world.
Other recruiters include leading employers such as the House of Commons, Accenture, British Airways, Ernst and Young, British Telecom, Goldman Sachs, PwC, Royal Navy, House of Fraser, Aldi, Channel 4, HSBC, Teach First, Durham University, Black Rock, Parliament and the Audit Commission.
When applying for roles many employers will ask you to supply academic references from one of your tutors. We always advise that you should approach tutors who know you and your work well, such as a special subject or dissertation tutor.
To help guide you with this process we arrange for advisors from the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre provide short presentations to each year group as part of joined up sessions with an Academic Careers Contact and the Head of Undergraduate Studies:
- Year 1 covers an introduction to developing employability skills.
- Year 2 focuses on internships / work experience.
- Year 3 focuses on graduate schemes / recruitment cycle / effective on-line applications
Open days and visits
Pre-application open day
Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.
Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place: www.durham.ac.uk/opendays
Discover Durham Tours
Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.
Overseas Visit Schedule
Philosophy studies profound and important questions that arise in all areas of human life. At Durham University, we offer a distinctive, research-led Philosophy curriculum, incorporating considerable levels of variety and choice. Whatever you choose, you will be taught by internationally renowned experts in the field.
We are one of the UK’s top philosophy departments. The exceptionally high-quality education you receive here will equip you with critical
abilities that can be put to use in all sorts of ways and which are prized by employers.
- World Top 50 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2019.
- Top 10 in The Guardian University Guide and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.
Durham is one of the larger Philosophy departments in the UK, with 20 permanent members of staff. We are known as a very friendly department where you will have a lot of contact with full-time academic staff. We have an excellent department library that complements the University and college libraries. There is an active Philosophical Society and a weekly research seminar which students are welcome to attend.
School of Government and International Affairs
From soapboxes to statecraft, you will learn how and why nations are run the way they are.
Our expert staff will help you to develop a thorough knowledge of the structure and functions of the modern state, the history of ideas about the nature and purpose of politics, and the development of particular regions and their political systems.
Teaching is at the centre of the activities of the School of Government and International Affairs (SGIA), where undergraduates enjoy a vibrant and challenging intellectual environment. The School places great importance on research-led education, which integrates new and cuttingedge research into the curriculum and introduces students to a variety of research-oriented skills and research-based projects.
- 6th in The Complete University Guide 2018.
The School of Government and International Affairs is a concentration of research expertise in political processes and institutions, political thought, and international and area studies. Teaching takes place both in the Department’s own rooms and in conveniently located lecture rooms.
The University Library has an excellent collection in politics as well as specialised research collections such as the European Documentation Centre. Colleges provide additional library resources as well as computing facilities.