Key Course Information
A-Level Requirements *
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Professional Year Out
History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics
*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 Philosophy and Politics degree programme 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; IT and statistics modules; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes associated with design in practicals and project- based work etc.
- Seminars/tutorials: Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students). These provide an opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers. Students should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.
- Self-directed study: This is an essential 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, students may choose a year-long double-weighted Dissertation module in Philosophy or Politics which requires them to carry out a significant piece of research on a topic that they have chosen. Alternatively, students can apply for an internship (a double-weighted module) where they will produce a learning journal and a 12,000 word project that relates directly to their placement. For both the dissertation and the project students will receive support from a supervisor who will guide them in terms of how to carry out research and who will provide feedback on at least 2 occasions during the write up stage.
- Personal Tutor: Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor at the start of Level 1 for the duration of their time at Queen’s. Students will meet their personal tutor on three or four occasions during the academic year to discuss academic progression and development.
- Study Abroad Opportunities: Students have the opportunity to spend some time studying in one of our linked universities in Europe or further afield. For example, this can take the form of a semester’s study at a university in Denmark, France, Germany, Holland or Sweden (for which credits are transferred back to your degree here in Queen’s under the Erasmus scheme) or study at a university in America, Canada, India or Australia.
Studying for a Politics and Philosophy degree at Queen’s will assist students in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions. Transferable skills such as team-working, analytical understanding, debating and presentation skills, and, increasingly, information technology and communication skills are embedded in the curriculum. Graduates from this degree at Queen’s are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline.
The following is a list of the major career sectors that have attracted our graduates in recent years:
Employer Links – Consultations:We regularly consult and develop links with a large number of employers (including the Northern Bank, Price Waterhouse Coopers, the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, a range of government departments based at Stormont and the BBC). A number of employers form part of our active and engaged Employers Forum. The members of this panel advise staff in incorporating employability skills in the development of our degree programmes and in helping prepare our students for the world of work. They also contribute to advisory sessions for students on careers and employability.
As part of their programme of study all students who are undertaking the BA Philosophy and Politics degree can apply to undertake our Internship scheme in level 3. All interns are placed with an employer for three days each week during the course of one semester. The employers comprise all government departments at Stormont (with the exception of Justice), the North-South Ministerial Council, consultancy groups, the BBC and the voluntary sector. Students are expected to complete a learning journal of their time on placement and to produce a 12,000 word project that relates directly to the placement.
Graduate Careers and Achievements: Many of our former graduates have risen to the top of their fields and include many famous figures; for example:
- Margaret Ritchie, former leader of the SDLP
- Stephen Farry, Minister for Education and Learning
- Alistair Ross, DUP MLA
- Meagan Fearon, Sinn Fein MLA
- William Crawley, journalist and broadcaster
Studentsshould also take a look at the Prospects websitefor further information concerning the types of jobs that attract Philosophy and Politics graduates.
Further study is also an option open to our graduates. Students can choose from a wide range of Masters programmes as well as a comprehensive list of research topics.
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 Plus initiative, 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 Plusin 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 students 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 your 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 students, as individuals or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comment. This may include occasions when students make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help address a specific query.
- Placement employer comments or references.
- 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 students can review in their 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 students have reviewed their feedback, they are encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of their 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.