Philosophy & Ethics
UCAS Code: Combined Honours only – see combinations tab|Duration: 3 years|Full Time|Hope Park
UCAS Campus Code: L46
Work placement opportunities|International students can apply|Study Abroad opportunities
About the course
Philosophy and Ethics explores the big questions of life and morality: on what basis do we judge things good or evil? It challenges you to examine your assumptions, opinions and worldview. Do we need to believe in God for life to have meaning – or have the arguments for the existence of God broken down? What does it mean to be human? Do we have free will, or is our life completely determined?
Through close attention to the primary texts of philosophers such as Plato, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant and Nietzsche, our Philosophy and Ethics degree will help you learn to analyse and evaluate arguments, and to compose and communicate your own ideas in a reasoned way. You will have a grounding in the foundational questions of philosophy. As you progress, you will look in depth at philosophy of religion, political philosophy, applied ethics and issues of human personhood, artificial intelligence, ecology and animality.
The degree is taught by a core team of critical academics who are passionate about teaching and are internationally recognised researchers and writers. This degree will equip you with the intellectual skills and perspectives needed to face the ethical and ideological challenges of the contemporary world.
Teaching on this degree is structured into lectures, where all students are taught together, seminars of smaller groups of around 15-20 students, and tutorials which typically have no more than 10 students. You will also utilise online resources such as the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, Moodle, and you also have the opportunity to have a one-to-one meeting with your tutor each week.
For the Philosophy & Ethics part of your Combined Honours degree, in your first year of study there are approximately 6 teaching hours each week, which reduces to approximately 5 teaching hours each week in your second and third years. On top of teaching hours, you are also expected to spend a number of hours studying independently each week, as well as studying in groups to prepare for any group assessments you may have.
Assessment and feedback
During your three years of study, you will have a number of assessments, including portfolios, essays, group presentations and written exams. In your final year, you will complete a dissertation on a research topic of your choice.
You will receive your feedback via the University’s Virtual Online Learning Environment (Moodle), and you are also welcome to discuss the feedback with your tutors.
Your first year of study builds the foundation of your philosophy and ethics knowledge*
Normative Ethics and Meta-Ethics
You will begin by studying normative ethics, including utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and deontological ethics. These theories will be discussed within the context of animal ethics, and will include a study visit to Chester Zoo where issues concerning the morality of zoos and animal conservation will be addressed. This will be followed by a study of Meta-Ethics, which explores the meaning of moral statements. This will include key theories such as: emotivism, ethical egoism, ethical naturalism, and ethical non-naturalism (intuitionism).
Free-will and Determinism
This unit will explore theories and debates with the context of free-will and determinism, including: libertarianism, determinism, indeterminism, compatibilism, and deep-self compatibilism. Topics will include: mind-body dualism, the noumenal self, agent-causation, and neuroscience.
Epistemology and Existentialism
In this unit we will examine different areas within philosophy of knowledge (epistemology) such as empiricism, rationalism, and transcendental idealism. Key figures explored will include: Plato, Aristotle, René Descartes, John Locke, David Hume, George Berkeley, and Immanuel Kant. Another key topic you will explore is existentialism and the meaning of life, using the works of Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus, and Jean-Paul Sartre as a basis for discussions.
Themes in Philosophy of Religion
Our second year philosophy of religion course opens up new perspectives in long-running debates about the relationship between faith and reason. You will explore the limits of language when faced with the infinite (can we only say what God is not?), as well as a number of contemporary perspectives, including those which rethink the relationship between God, time and human experience. Moving beyond the traditional curriculum, you will cover Islamic philosophy of religion, pantheism and animism.
Practical and Political Philosophy
Questions of justice, representation and government are as crucial now as they have ever been. This course engages with key debates about liberty, the limits of democracy, socialism, anarchism and global justice. You will think critically about questions raised by feminist thought, and the place of religion in society. You will end the course by exploring highly topical questions in applied ethics topics such, as capital punishment, sexuality, abortion and euthanasia.
The Limits of Personhood
What is a person? What gives us identity over time? What is the relationship between individual, society and nature? This course is an in-depth study of these questions in modern thought. You will examine the influence of early modern theories of personal identity including those of Locke and Hume. You will also look at contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind, such as the relationship between mind and brain, artificial intelligence and the human/animal boundary. In the latter part of the course, we will assess how social norms shape personhood, focusing on the areas of gender, postcolonialism, race and our relationship to the natural world.
God after the Death of God: Modern and Contemporary Philosophy of Religion
In the 19th century, Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed ‘the death of God’. But since then, thinkers have constantly returned to the idea of God and the nature of religion. You will study understandings of God in continental philosophy and phenomenology, looking at key thinkers such as Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, and Luce Irigaray. You will also explore the problems of religious truth, and the promise of black spirituality and philosophy of religion.
|UCAS Tariff Points||112 UCAS Tariff points must come from a minimum of two A Levels (or equivalent). Additional points can be made up from a range of alternative qualifications|
|Access to HE||112 Tariff Points|
|Irish Leaving Certificate||112 Tariff Points from Higher Level qualifications only|
|Welsh Baccalaureate||This qualification can only be accepted in conjunction with other relevant qualifications|
|T-Levels||120 Tariff Points / Merit|
|Subject Requirements||No specific subject requirements|
International entry requirements
|Specific Country Requirements||Select your country|
6.0 overall (with reading and writing at 6.0) and no individual score lower than 5.5. We also accept a wide range of International Qualifications. For more information, please visit our English Language Requirements page.
A degree in Philosophy and Ethics is excellent preparation for teaching the subject at A level, and equips you with the intellectual skills and perspectives needed for facing the ethical and ideological challenges of the contemporary world.
As a Philosophy graduate you, will have developed excellent skills in critical thinking, which are highly prized by employers. You will be competent in textual analysis, report writing and have high-level oral communication skills.
This prepares you for a range of careers including law, media, public administration, social and community work. Many graduates enter the teaching profession and you will also be well positioned to pursue postgraduate studies in philosophy and related humanity subjects.
The Service and Leadership Award (SALA) is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
As part of your degree, you can choose to spend either a semester or a full year of study at one of our partner universities as part of our Study Abroad programme. Find out more on our Study Abroad page.
The tuition fees for the 2024/25 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
On top of tuition fees, you will also need approximately £200 to purchase key textbooks that will be used throughout your studies.
You will also need to consider the cost of your accommodation each year whilst you study at university. Visit our accommodation pages for further details about our Halls of Residence.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
International tuition fees
The International Tuition fees for 2024/25 are £12,500.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
This course is only available as a Combined Honours degree with the following subjects: