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Study Philosophy abroad

About this subject

  • About this subject
  • Is this the course for me?
  • Career prospects
  • Studying Philosophy
  • Where to study?

Defined as the study of general and fundamental problems connected with reality, philosophy and philosophers have spent thousands and years attempting to answer questions about the purpose of life, morality and the human conscience. Of all civilisations, it is the Ancient Greeks that are most famous for their philosophical work, although they themselves attributed the birth of modern philosophy to the Ancient Egyptians.

The word “philosophy” stems from the greek “philosophia” which refers to a love of knowledge or wisdom and was initially used to describe Greek thinker and mathematician Pythagoras. These days, a philosophy degree does not prepare students for any specific industry, but allows them to develop their ability to process and challenge information, think creatively and formulate precise opinions. Although a Philosophy degree isn't an essential qualification for any particular career, the analytical and critical skills developed through its study prepares students for a number of professions such as law, journalism, finance, business, religious studies and teaching.

Is this the course for me?

Philosophy is the perfect degree for those with a naturally inquisitive mind. If you enjoy asking questions and challenging the opinions of those around you, then philosophy could be your ideal course. During your studies, you will use key social theories and thought structures in order to formulate opinions for your own.

If you are planning on studying a degree in philosophy, it is important that you have an interest in both literature and history; particularly ancient history. Many of the world’s most influential philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato are responsible for the key though processes that form the foundations of modern-day philosophical theory.

As part of your course you will be expected to take responsibility for your own personal development and study. While philosophy is by no means an easy subject, at many universities the course will require less contact time in comparison to other degree programmes being offered. However you will be expected to read criticism and conduct your own research outside of the contact hours. As such individuals wishing to study philosophy will not only need to be passionate about the subject, but also be hard working and organised in order to make the most of their degree.

Career prospects

Although there is no specific career path for those with a Philosophy Degree, the UK average graduate starting salary per year for those with such a qualification is £21, 096. Despite this, there are a number of options available to graduates with a strong degree. Many former philosophy students are hired in journalism, business and finance industries due to the analytic skills they acquire while studying.

A lot of young students with a degree in philosophy also opt to complete a course of post-graduate study such as law and teaching or to find work writing creatively. Even those who look for work in a completely unrelated field will find the skills they learn throughout their studies can be applied to a wide range of industries.

Studying Philosophy

Although it is not the most widely available of courses, there are a wide range of universities offering Philosophy as a degree programme, all of which will have different entry level requirements. Although it is not compulsory for applicants to have taken an A-level qualification in philosophy, it is essential that your subject choices do demonstrate that you have the skills required to gain the most out of your studies. Ideally candidates should have at least one A-level in a humanities based subject such as English Literature, English Language, History or Religious Studies.

The assessment methods for those studying a philosophy degree with vary depending upon the university, but most establishments will require their students to not only read around the subject and write weekly essays but will also expect their students to sit an examination at the end of the module. The majority of degree programmes will last 3 years, although some universities offer students the opportunity to study abroad between the second and final year.

Before starting the course, all non-native English speakers will be required to sit an ITELS test and score above 6.0.

Where to study?

Given that philosophy leads to a broad range of career opportunities, it is important not only to look at the academic reputation of a University, but also its networking potential for future employers. While it is important to have a strong degree, many of the top recruiters look for graduates who can demonstrate previous experience within a working environment. Many universities hold networking opportunities for students where they can apply for any potential summer internships and work in order to increase employability.

However, prestige is important when studying a non-vocational course. Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, St Andrews, Bristol and Kings College London have all been rated as top institutions for the study of philosophy in the UK, so if your predicted grades are exceptionally high, then these may be the places may be worth considering. However, if your predicted grades are slightly lower then there are still many great Universities offering fantastic undergraduate courses.

Your personality will also have an impact upon where you choose to study. With all of the statistics and academic information you receive, it is easy to forget that for the next three years your choice of academic institution will dictate where you live. If you are planning on attending any university open days before you make your application, then make sure you investigate the local area to see if it is somewhere you could envisage yourself living.

You should also carefully consider the fees and the cost of living while you are studying. To help make your decision easier, work out how much financial support you will be getting while you study and which scholarships and grants you are entitled to.

What Philosophy courses are there?


Philosophy (Theory)


Classical Philosophy


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