BA Philosophy / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course description

Lois Uduje

Studying Philosophy has allowed me to explore new ways of thinking that I would never have otherwise come across.

All the lecturers here are very passionate about their subject, making it all the more interesting to learn.

Lois Uduje / BA Philosophy

Philosophy is the study of the most general and fundamental features of reality - including ourselves - and the knowledge and beliefs we have about that reality which are embodied in our concepts, theories and practices.

The BA (Hons) in Philosophy course enables you to learn how to develop and justify your own answers to some of the most fundamental and important questions:

  • Can I know that I'm not trapped inside The Matrix?
  • What makes something the morally right thing to do?
  • Do we have free will?
  • Does God exist?
  • Is the human mind just a lump of grey matter?

While we'll explain some of the existing answers to these questions, and the reasons why one might think those answers are correct, our focus is on learning how to critically assess these arguments and to develop and argue for your own answers.

You will develop useful skills including:

  • how to present an effective and rigorous argument;
  • how to develop criticisms of other people's arguments and views;
  • how to explain difficult material clearly and concisely; and
  • how to deal with the fact that on most of the questions in life, reasonable people can believe radically different things.

These skills are value for your career as well as in everyday life, whether you're deciding what to do, having an argument with a friend, or simply reading a newspaper.


  • Deliver structured yet flexible study, informed by current research, in which you critically evaluate, and think for themselves through philosophical arguments and problems.
  • Provide you with a curriculum where you study texts and questions central to the analytical tradition in philosophy and from outside that tradition.
  • Develop your subject-specific knowledge, cognitive, intellectual and transferable skills, preparing you for further academic study and employment.
  • Employ an appropriate variety of teaching and assessment methods and use learning resources effectively and efficiently.
  • Provide an effective induction programme, and academic and pastoral support to enhance your progress and academic development.

Special features

Study Abroad

You can apply in Year 2 to spend a semester abroad in Year 3. If you are successful, you will put together a package of course units at your host university in consultation with your Academic Exchange Advisor in Manchester.

Teaching and learning

Course units feature formal lectures supported by smaller tutorials or seminars where you explore the contents of lectures and recommended reading in depth.

Tutorials and seminars are key to improving your written and oral communication skills through group discussions, essay-writing and presentations.

You are assigned an Academic Advisor who takes a friendly interest in your progress and can advise you on selecting course units and career opportunities.

Expert teaching

All permanent members of Philosophy teaching staff are internationally recognised researchers publishing their work in journals and books and giving talks around the world.

Coursework and assessment

In Years 1 and 2, course units are normally examined by a two-hour unseen exam (counting for two-thirds of the final mark) and approximately 3,000 words of essay work (counting for one-third of the final mark).

For course units in logic there are weekly worksheets, which form part of the assessment.

In Year 3 we deploy a broader range of assessment methods, including a second essay instead of an exam and oral presentations in tutorials. You also complete a dissertation in your final year.

Course content for year 1

Year 1 provides you with a grounding in philosophical traditions, themes and problems.

You can also take 20 credits in an outside subject such as Politics or a language course.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Introduction to Ethics PHIL10021 20 Mandatory
Critical Thinking PHIL10041 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology PHIL10622 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Philosophy of Mind PHIL10632 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Political Theory POLI10702 20 Mandatory

Course content for year 2

You will develop and deepen your understanding of issues introduced in the first year, and can choose new and more advanced topics to explore.

You can also take 20 credits in an outside subject, a University College course or the Manchester Leadership Programme.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Jurisprudence LAWS20101 20 Optional
Philosophy of Religion PHIL20021 20 Optional
Applied Philosophy, Special Topic PHIL20032 20 Optional
Formal Logic PHIL20042 20 Optional
Ethics PHIL20232 20 Optional
20th Century Analytical Philosophy PHIL20242 20 Optional
Philosophy of Mind PHIL20271 20 Optional
Phenomenology PHIL20611 20 Optional
Hegel and Marx PHIL23022 20 Optional
Arguing About Politics: Political Theory in the World POLI20602 20 Optional
Ideals of Social Justice POLI20881 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 11 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Year 3 offers specialised and in-depth explorations of issues led by original researchers in the field. You also undertake a substantial independent piece of research on a topic of your choosing, and can study 20 credits in an outside subject.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation Semester 1 PHIL30001 20 Optional
Dissertation Semester 2 PHIL30002 20 Optional
Dissertation (40 credit) PHIL30030 40 Optional
Metaphysics PHIL30212 20 Optional
Language and Analysis PHIL30352 20 Optional
Philosophy of Psychology PHIL30361 20 Optional
Phenomenology PHIL30611 20 Optional
Advanced Topics in Aesthetics PHIL30621 20 Optional
Philosophy of Mathematics PHIL30721 20 Optional
Language & Oppression PHIL30812 20 Optional
The Politics and Philosophy of Nationalism POLI30191 20 Optional
Political Morality and Dirty Hands POLI30271 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 12 course units for year 3

Course content for year 4

If completing a year professional placement, you will take the Year 3 course content in Year 4.

What our students say

Read profiles of our students to find out more about studying Philosophy at Manchester.


You will benefit from:

  • one of the UK's largest academic libraries;
  • 24/7 access to computer facilities; and
  • A variety of extra-curricular facilities, all in the heart of the UK's most popular student city.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: