Key Course Information
A-Level Requirements *
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Professional Year Out
Politics, International Studies and Philosophy
*Indicative Only. Please see the Course Entry Requirements section for details on subject specific or GCSE requirements.
Philosophy addresses some of the fundamental questions of human thought and existence, such as:
- What is knowledge?
- Is there a God?
- Do we have free will?
- Is the mind identical to the brain?
- What is the nature and foundation of morality?
- Is democracy the best form of government?
- How can we tell a good argument from a bad argument?
By studying the subject at Queen's, you will be joining a vibrant and friendly School that aims to combine excellence in teaching with a first-class student experience.
As part of your degree, you will learn about cutting-edge debates in core areas of philosophy, such as ethics, metaphysics, theory of knowledge and political philosophy, as well as studying some of the key thinkers in the history of philosophy, such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Mill and Marx. You will also develop your skills in reasoning and argumentation by studying formal logic and critical thinking.
Philosophy Societies: there is an active student-run philosophy society and the School is also the home of the Belfast branch of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, which organises regular talks and seminars by distinguished visiting philosophers.
Study Abroad: students have study opportunities in other European universities, through our Erasmus programme, and also in the USA.
Curriculum: we have particular strengths in the areas of applied ethics and political philosophy, and - unusually amongst UK universities - offer teaching in scholastic philosophy.
In addition to the entrance requirements below, it is essential that you read the How We Choose Our Students pdf prior to submitting your UCAS application.
Irish Leaving Certificate: H3H3H3H3H4H4/H3H3H3H3H3
All applicants: there are no specific subject requirements to study Philosophy. However, if you plan to study Philosophy as a Joint Honours degree you should refer to the subject requirements for the other course.
If you are an international student and you do not meet the entrance requirements, you should consider a preparation course at INTO Queen's University Belfast, which will prepare you for successful study on these degree courses. INTO at Queen's is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses including the International Foundation in Business, Humanities and Social Science.
For students whose first language is not English
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this degree. Please click the links below for more information:
- English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English
How To Apply
How to Apply
Applications for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/apply.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in Autumn 2017 from 1 September 2016.
The normal closing date for the receipt of applications is 15 January 2017.
For candidates applying to Oxford or Cambridge and for those whose choices include Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Medicine/Science the closing date is 15 October 2015.
Currently there are two intakes to Adult Nursing (one in September and the other in February).Those applying for entry in February 2016 should apply prior to 15 January 2015.
Applicants are advised to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.
Earlier applicants normally receive decisions more quickly, however, UCAS accepts that some applicants, especially those from outside the UK, may find this difficult. Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.
Take care to enter the details of the institutions and courses clearly and correctly on the application. For Queen's, the institution code name is QBELF and the institution code is Q75. These should be entered in the Choices section of your UCAS application. Please note a Campus Code is not required. For further information on applying to study at Queen’s, please click here.
Course Content (including module information)
The degree programme does not presuppose any prior training in Philosophy and can profitably be taken by those who have studied the subject at school - as well as those who have not.
Students choose six modules from a range of introductory modules including the following:
- Logic and Critical Thinking
- Perspectives on Politics
- Philosophy and Human Nature
- Philosophy and the Good Life
Levels 2 and 3
At Levels 2 and 3, the subject may be studied as a Single Honours (12 modules) or Joint Honours (six philosophy modules together with six modules taken from the other subject).
Students take the appropriate number of modules from the following indicative list:
- Applied Ethics
- Contemporary Critical Theory
- Contemporary Epistemology
- Contemporary Theories of Justice
- History of Philosophy
- Knowledge and Reality
- Mind and Language
- Mind and Nature
- Modern Political Thought
- Moral Theories
- Philosophical Theology
- Philosophy of Law
- Philosophy of Science
- Scholastic Ethics
- Scholastic Metaphysics
- The Religious and the Secular in Modern Political Thought
Fees & Scholarships
There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union. Higher education funding arrangements mean that students can study now and pay later.
Further details can be found on our fees and funding section.
Queen's works to ensure that all those who can benefit from a university education have the chance to do so, and a generous system of financial support is in place to help them. Each year Queen’s offer a range of scholarships and prize for new students. The most up to date listings are available here.
Learning and Teaching
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential. On the BA in Philosophy, we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.
Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
- Lectures: introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
- E-Learning technologies: Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example: interactive group workshops in a flexible learning space; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to contribute and develop the QUB Philosophy Blog.
- Seminars/tutorials: Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students). These provide significant opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess your own progress and understanding with the support of peers. You should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.
- Self-directed study: This is an important part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
- Supervised projects: In final year, you will have the chance to carry out a significant piece of research on a topic or practical methodology that you have chosen. You will receive support from a supervisor who will guide you in terms of how to carry out your research and will provide feedback to you on at least 3 occasions during the write up stage.
- Personal Tutor: Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Level 1 and 2 who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.
- Study abroad opportunities: Students have the opportunity to spend some time studying in one of our linked universities. For example, this can take the form of a semester’s study in Switzerland (Fribourg), Italy (Venezia), Belgium (KU Leuven), for which credits are transferred back to your degree here in Queen’s.
- Prizes: The annual Monsignor Arthur Ryan Prize is awarded to the best overall degree result in Philosophy. There are also prizes for excellent work at levels one and two. We also support our students entering essays to the annual Undergraduate Awards.
A philosophy degree provides intellectual skills in literacy and numeracy fit for a lifetime, through training in reasoning about complex issues at the foundation of all understanding and of all practical affairs. Students learn to think clearly and to express themselves with exactness. Philosophy graduates go into an unlimited range of occupations in the public and private sectors, including the civil service, local government, the media, policy analysis, the voluntary sector, teaching, journalism, business, marketing and advertising.
Some graduates build on the degree by undertaking postgraduate training in fields such as law, social science research and teaching. Tailored careers advice and study guidance is available to all students throughout their time at Queen’s.
The following is a list of some recent careers/study destinations of our students:
- International House (TEFL teaching)
- Queen’s University Belfast
- Southern Health and Social Care Trust
- Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service
- 3 Mobile
- Hotel du Vin
- Northern Ireland Civil Service
- RPS Belfast
- Bradford and Bingley
- St Andrews University (MA in Philosophy)
- Edinburgh University (MA in Philosophy)
- York University (Law Conversion)
Employer Links: Consultations
We have an active and engaged Employers Forum, which is used to foster collaboration between ourselves and employers and to inform related activity, such as the format, content and structure of our educational provision, with the ultimate aim of enhancing the employability of our graduates. The Employer’s Forum meets 2-3 times per academic year. In addition to PISP and QUB staff, its membership includes employers from both public and private sector organizations, including Equality Commission for NI, Northern Bank, Deloitte, Stratagem NI, NI Local Government Association PricewaterhouseCoopers, MCE Public Relations, Department of Employment and Learning NI and Stratagem NI.
Graduate Careers and Achievements
Many of the School’s former graduates have risen to the top of their fields, for example:
- Dr William Crawley, BBC broadcaster and journalist
- Professor Philip Pettit, Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University
- Francis Campbell, UK Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan
For those wishing to pursue further study after their first degree, the School provides a range of MA programmes, each of which can be taken either full-time in one year or part-time over two years. The MA programmes, each of which consists of four taught courses and a dissertation, are: Political Philosophy; Politics; Irish Politics; Comparative Ethnic Conflict; International Politics; Violence, Terrorism and Security; European Integration and Public Policy; Gender and Society. There are also opportunities to do an MRes in Politics, and an MPhil or PhDby thesis.
Other Career-related information: Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers. Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and, through the Degree Plusinitiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer. See Queen’s University Belfast fullEmployability Statementfor further information.
Degree Plus and other related initiatives: Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s. Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports.
Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students). Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts. As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others, e.g. employers.
Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plus in particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies. These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers.
Assessment & Feedback
Assessment (general): The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction.
Feedback (general): As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
- Placement employer comments or references (where relevant).
- Online or emailed comment.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
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For entrance requirements
T: +44 (0)28 9097 3838
For entrance requirements
T: +44 (0)28 9097 3838
Latest Research Publications
The links below will take you to the latest Queen's Research publications in the PURE portal.