"Philosophy begins in wonder. And, at the end, when philosophical thought has done its best, the wonder remains." Alfred North Whitehead
Why study Philosophy?
Have you ever wondered: What makes any act good or just? What it is to know, and what it is to believe? Is it possible to really put yourself in the position of someone else?
Philosophers ask questions about what lies behind our everyday reality. Our Philosophy programme offers you the opportunity to explore such questions in a variety of traditions and periods.
Studying Philosophy will enable you to develop skills of independent and critical thought. It teaches you to be creative and insightful when engaging with problems and questions wherever you find them; be that in classroom debates, everyday life or the wider public sphere.
BA Philosophy puts you in a position to succeed in a wide variety of careers. Analytical thinking and creativity are highly appreciated in business, journalism, local government, care and social work, education, the civil service, the legal profession, and elsewhere.
Topics on the degree programme include philosophical dialogue, philosophy of science and technology, philosophy of emotions, philosophy of mind, aesthetics, philosophy and literature, philosophy and popular culture, as well as core topics in the history of philosophy.
Why St Mary's?
St Mary's is a unique university. There's a strong sense of community; our values of excellence, respect, generosity of spirit and inclusivity permeate the programme, and help to define your university experience.
You will work closely with a small team of lecturers, whose teaching is informed by their research, working from a variety of philosophical perspectives and on a range of specialist topics.
Students and staff meet regularly at events organised by the student-led Philosophy Society.
Typically, you will have a three-hour session per module per week during term time, and study three modules per semester, for a total of nine hours per week. Time in the classroom is split between discussion, either in small groups or as a class, and lecturing.
Some of our modules offer different opportunities - including extended dialogues, reading groups, and the opportunity to present your own research to the class.
These mandatory contact hours are supplemented by optional one-to-one tutorials, where you can discuss philosophical topics in depth, get advice on upcoming assessments or receive more detailed feedback.
Philosophy is a vibrant, creative discipline. Practicing philosophy cannot be reduced to just writing essays and sitting exams, however important those may be. As well as essays and exams, assessments on the programme include:
- Presentations (individually or in groups)
- Participation in seminar discussion
- Reviews of lectures, books and articles
- A portfolio of artwork and philosophical engagement with works of art (for the Aesthetics module)
- Ethics reviews and case studies
- Focus on dialogue and public philosophy
- Small class sizes mean more opportunities for discussion, as well as one-to-one tutorials
- The chance to be involved in undergraduate research events and publications
- Diverse assessment methods reward a range of skills
- Take one of only a handful of dedicated philosophy of emotions modules in the UK
- Taught on our historic Strawberry Hill campus