At a glance
- Get hands-on experience teaching philosophy as a volunteer in primary schools with the Philosophy Society
- Have the opportunity to study abroad and gain a new perspective on philosophy in countries around the globe
- Study in a department ranked in the top 20 in the country by The Complete University Guide, 2017
What is Philosophy?
Is a human being just a complicated biological machine and the brain a computer, or is there something extra that makes a person who they are? Is the world a construct of our minds or is it there anyway, whether we think about it or not? Is there a right way for human beings to live and behave, or is it all a matter of individual taste or opinion? These are typical philosophical questions, and are likely to occur to most people at some point in their lives. Philosophers try to answer these and similar questions systematically, on the basis of reasoned and cogent argument.
Studying philosophy helps us to understand the world, to be more rational, to eliminate prejudice and bigotry and to be clearer about the really big questions in life. It encourages fair-mindedness, tolerance, and healthy, constructive scepticism, alongside an enhanced ability to understand opposing points of view, even when we think they are incorrect or incoherent.
How will I study?
You will be introduced to a broad selection of contemporary philosophical problems, arguments and theories. You will also be introduced to the work of a diverse range of philosophers, including Plato, Confucius, Descartes, Mary Wollstonecraft, Ibn-Rushd, Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Sally Haslanger, with a view to learning how to philosophise for yourself. Discussion and thinking for yourself about issues is vital in philosophy and in life beyond university, and we’ll encourage rigorous critical thinking through small-group tutorials, seminar groups, and discussion lectures.
Lecture classes tend to be informal, with discussion invited. There is further discussion in seminar groups. As a first-year student, you will have tutorials introducing you to the Department and to the study of philosophy, emphasising the importance of discussion and thinking for yourself about philosophical issues.
If you are a single honours student you will take a combination of compulsory and optional modules, mainly from those offered by the Department of Philosophy, but also from a choice of subsidiary modules from outside the department.
A joint honours degree is split between your two subjects and the philosophy half of your degree is normally made up of 60 credits each year (although this may vary for some joint honours degrees.)
Assessment is by a mixture of exams and coursework, with the option to take presentations in some modules. Your first year marks do not count towards your final degree classification, and third-year marks are given more weight in the final degree assessment.
School of Humanities work placement module
This optional module will give you direct experience of a workplace, via a part-time professional placement.
In the first semester you will attend ten 2-hour weekly seminars, and three individual tutorials/seminars.
In the second semester you will spend one day a week for 6-8 weeks working at an external organisation, as well as attending three individual tutorials/seminars.
Assessment includes a portfolio assembled over the year - including CV, cover letters, reflective blog posts and presentation, and a written research report that examines the function of the placement organisation in context of the wider sector.
Philosophical skills are highly transferable, and as a Nottingham philosophy graduate you will be well prepared for a wide range of employment opportunities. Through studying philosophy, you will gain high-level analytical and presentation skills. You will be able to tell good arguments from bad, present your own viewpoint as a clear but powerful argument, and be able to express complex concepts with ease.
These are essential skills in any career and developing them is one of our key aims in teaching you here. Our module, Unlocking the Potential of Your Philosophy Degree, is devoted to careers opportunities for philosophers and will open up many varying career pathways to you.
Recent graduates have gone into a wide range of jobs, including law, journalism and the media, and consultancy.
In 2015, 93% of first-degree graduates in the Department of Philosophy who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary for full-time graduates of the Department of Philosophy was £23,871 with the highest being £45,000.*
*Average starting salary from known destinations of first-degree leavers who studied full-time, 2014/15
We offer opportunities in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States of America.
Further information can be found on our study abroad web pages.
Nottingham has the highest number of any UK university on outward mobility under Erasmus.*
* Erasmus student and staff numbers by institution, Erasmus+ 2014.
Application and interview
Offers are normally made without interview.
UCAS visit days for students offered a place are normally held from late January to March. You are welcome to visit at other times – please contact us or for dates of our open days visit www.nottingham.ac.uk/opendays