Programme Specification for the 2017/8 academic year

BA (Hons) Philosophy

1. Programme Details

Programme nameBA (Hons) Philosophy Programme codeUFA3HPSHPS18
Study mode(s)Full Time
Academic year2017/8
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
Programme start date


NQF Level6 (Honours)

2. Description of the Programme

This programme allows you to study philosophy in depth, in its many different facets. You will have the opportunity to discuss long-standing questions about the nature of knowledge (what can we know and how do we know what we know?); science (does science provide us with a special kind of knowledge?); reality (does the world out there really exist and does it exist the way we usually think it does?); ethics (how should we act and what should we strive for?); art and beauty (what is art and what makes things beautiful?); the mind-body relationship (what is mind and how does it relate to the brain?); the meaning of life (why are we here, what is the point of living?); and more.

From the beginning you will be encouraged to develop your own views on all these topics and to assess other philosophers’ views. Studying philosophy will teach you to think critically and rigorously, to defend your views in a clear and consistent way, to understand the why and what-for of different points of view and ultimately to develop a sharp, analytical and open mind. The degree is thoroughly interdisciplinary - philosophy is situated in a broad social science context and background (emanating from the department’s other degree programmes in sociology, anthropology and criminology). Philosophy graduates learn their philosophical skills in relation to ‘real world’ problems and issues aided by the light of sociological and anthropological perspectives, knowledge and understanding. Modules are taught by staff who contribute to those subjects with their own research and core modules feature distinctive syllabi that reflect the research expertise of the teacher. Cutting-edge research is embedded in all modules.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

  • To produce graduates who are grounded in the main themes of Philosophy through a combination of modules which develop a deep understanding of some pervasive and problematic features of the world and of ourselves.
  • To develop students' competence in the specific skills required in Philosophy, and in core academic and personal and key skills.
  • To engender a sense of belonging to a community of enquiry, encourage intellectual development and prepare students, where appropriate, for possible postgraduate study.
  • To offer a wide range of choice within the programme of study, insofar as this choice is consistent with the coherence and intellectual rigour of the degree.
  • To provide a programme of study which introduces progressive intellectual challenges and consolidates previous experiences at each new level.
  • To provide a supportive learning environment with full access to welfare, pastoral and careers support.
  • To provide opportunities for graduates to be imaginative critical thinks and problem solvers.

4. Programme Structure

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme. Details of the modules currently offered may be obtained from the College web site

You may take option modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module. Descriptions of the individual modules are given in full on the College web site.

The full list of modules is available (with module descriptions) for Philosophy at

The Philosophy degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.

Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons.

Please note that modules offered are subject to change, depending on staff availability, timetabling, and demand.

Stage 1

The first year gives you a foundational knowledge of philosophical methods, analysis and concepts. You will also be introduced to important analytical techniques that will be useful across a range of subjects and research tasks. You will take 60 credits of compulsory modules and 60 credits of optional modules. You may take up to 30 credits of these options from outside of the department.

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
PHL1002A Knowledge and Reality 1 15No
PHL1002B Knowledge and Reality 2 15No
PHL1005A Evidence and Argument 1 15No
PHL1006 Introduction to Philosophical Analysis 15No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
Philosophy Stage 1 modules 2017-8
PHL1006 Introduction to Philosophical Analysis 15 No
PHL1007 Philosophical Reading 1 15 No
PHL1008 Philosophical Reading 2 15 No
PHL1009 Philosophies of Art 15 No
PHL1010 Introduction to Asian Philosophy 15 No
PHL1013 Philosophy of Morality 15 No
PHL1036 Foucault-Discipline and Punish 15 No
PHL1112 Philosophy of Film 15 No
Total Credits for Stage 1

Stage 2

At least 60 credits taken from the available "core" modules listed below.

Up to 60 credits of module choices from available PHL2*** coded option modules. You may take up to 30 credits of these options from outside of the department.

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
PHL S2 BA Philosophy SH comp 2019-0 At least 60 credits taken from these "core" modules
PHL2010A Philosophy of Mind 1 15 No
PHL2011A The Philosophy of Nature 1 15 No
PHL2012 Social Philosophy 15 No
PHL2015 Body and Mind 15 No
PHL2016 Metaphysics 15 No
PHL2018 Philosophy of Language 15 No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
Philosophy Stage 2 modules 2017-8 May take up to 60 credits
PHL2020 Virtues and Vices 15 No
PHL2021 Symbolic Logic 15 No
PHL2022 Sex and Death: Introduction to the Philosophy of Biology 15 No
PHL2026 Philosophy of Science 15 No
PHL2027 Feminist Philosophy 15 No
PHL2051 The Human Condition: Classic Readings in Anthropology 15 No
PHL2052 Epistemology 15 No
PHL2061 Philosophy of Law 15 No
PHL2075 Philosophical Readings 6 15 No
PHL2091 Philosophical Anthropology 30 No
PHL2096 Cyborg Studies 15 No
PHL2100 Knowledge and History: Theories of Scientific Change 15 No
PHL2108 Fundamental Ontology 15 No
PHL2110 Philosophy of Emotion 30 No
PHL2024A Philosophical Readings 3 15 No
PHL2025A Philosophical Readings 4 15 No
PHL2109 Philosophy with Children 15 No
Total Credits for Stage 2

Stage 3

The centre-point of the final year is the dissertation. This provides you with the opportunity to explore an area of interest and to demonstrate what you have learned over the previous years of your degree. You will also take other specialist modules to create a programme of work fully reflecting your interests.

30 credits of compulsory modules, 90 credits of optional modules.

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
PHL3040 Philosophy Dissertation 30No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
Philosophy Stage 3 modules 2017-8
PHL3013 Virtues and Vices 15 No
PHL3014 Symbolic Logic 15 No
PHL3018 Sex and Death: Introduction to the Philosophy of Biology 15 No
PHL3026 Philosophy of Science 15 No
PHL3041 Feminist Philosophy 15 No
PHL3051 The Human Condition: Classic Readings in Anthropology 15 No
PHL3052 Epistemology 15 No
PHL3061 Philosophy of Law 15 No
PHL3075 Philosophical Readings 6 15 No
PHL3091 Philosophical Anthropology 30 No
PHL3096 Cyborg Studies 15 No
PHL3100 Knowledge and History: Theories of Scientific Change 15 No
PHL3108 Fundamental Ontology 15 No
PHL3110 Philosophy of Emotion 30 No
PHL3024A Philosophical Readings 3 15 No
PHL3025A Philosophical Readings 4 15 No
Total Credits for Stage 3

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Demonstrate a familiarity with philosophical ideas about various topics such as the nature of reality and value, the possibility and nature of knowledge, the relation between mind and body, the structure of the natural world and the place of humans in it, and moral issues.
2. Familiarity with the history of modern philosophy, with basic concepts in epistemology and metaphysics, the philosophies of mind and nature, and moral philosophy.
3. Awareness of different philosophical traditions and methods.
4. Analyse and criticise concepts and substantial works in ethics.
5. Awareness of major issues that are currently debated in philosophy.
6. Conduct logical and conceptual analysis and reasoning about abstract matters.
7. Understand (at increasing depth, according to level) issues (increasingly complex according to level) arising from the subject matter of the selected modules.

The skills are mainly developed through lectures, seminars, and formatively and summatively assessed essay work (on different topics and in different areas of philosophy: Knowledge and Reality, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Nature, and Ethics), practical exercises (Evidence and Argument, Introduction to Philosophical Analysis) and special close reading seminars (Philosophical Readings 1-6) which are designed to improve not only the philosophical knowledge but also analytic skills and depth of understanding.

The assessment of these skills is through a combination of term-time essays, ILOs 1-7
oral presentations, ILOs 1-7
and examinations ILOs 1-7
(and, where applicable, Research Methods Project and Dissertation work). ILOs 1-7
The criteria of assessment pay full recognition to the importance of the various skills outlined.

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

8. Demonstrate articulacy in identifying underlying issues in all kinds of debate.
9. Demonstrate precision of thought and expression in the analysis and formulation of complex and controversial problems.
10. Interpret texts drawn from a variety of ages and/or traditions.
11. Demonstrate clarity and rigour in the critical assessment of arguments presented in such texts.
12. Use and criticise specialised philosophical terminology.
13. Abstract, analyse and construct sound arguments and to identify logical fallacies.
14. Recognise methodological errors, rhetorical devices, unexamined conventional wisdom, unnoticed assumptions, vagueness and superficiality.
15. Move between generalisation and appropriately detailed discussion, inventing or discovering examples to support or challenge a position, and distinguishing relevant and irrelevant considerations.
16. Consider unfamiliar ideas and ways of thinking, and to examine critically pre-suppositions and methods within the discipline itself.
17. Conduct arguments about matters of the highest moment without recourse to insult or susceptibility to take offence.
18. Evaluate opposing arguments, to formulate and consider the best arguments for different views and to identify the weakest elements of the most persuasive view.
19. Honesty in recognising the force of the conclusions warranted by a careful assessment of pertinent arguments.
20. Cross traditional subject boundaries, examining the limitations and virtues of other disciplines and practices, and recognising philosophical doctrines in unfamiliar places.

Skills are developed throughout the Philosophy degree programme by lectures and seminars, written work and oral work (both oral presentations and class discussion). A more sophisticated use of these skills is developed in the second and third stages; in the third stage, independent use of these skills is developed through the dissertation and level 3 optional modules selected by the student.

Skills are assessed through course essays, assessed oral presentations and examinations at stages 1-2 and through the dissertation at stage 3.

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

21. Listen attentively to complex presentations;
22. Read carefully a variety of technical and non-technical material;
23. Use libraries effectively;
24. Reflect clearly and critically on oral and written sources, employing powers of imagination as well as analysis
25. Remember relevant material and bring it to mind when the moment of its relevance arises;
26. Marshal a complex body of information
27. Construct cogent arguments in the evaluation of this material;
28. Present, in both oral and written forms, a clear and well-structured assessment of relevant considerations
29. Motivate oneself;
30. Work autonomously;
31. Manage one's own work to time limits;
32. Be flexible and adaptable in facing new situations;
33. Think creatively, self-critically and independently.

All skills are developed through the preparation and delivery of oral presentations in many modules at all levels in both sides of the programme, and through the oral discussion of challenging material in all modules in the programme. They are further developed through meetings with personal tutors, one-to-one or small-group tutorials giving feedback on written work, discussion in seminars, written assignments (essays) in most modules and examinations in many modules at all levels.
Skills 29 and 33 are also promoted through the student Self-Appraisal system in the mid-semester break.
Skills 29-31 are particularly developed through assessed essays and the dissertation.

Skills are assessed through formatively assessed seminar presentations(ILOs 21-33), written work at all levels (ILOs 21-33) and in all modules, examination (ILOs 21-33) in many modules, and the dissertation.

The educational aims of the programme and the projected outcomes are all in accordance with the QAA philosophy benchmarks statements (18, 23-27).

7. Programme Regulations

University Regulations on the number of credits to be taken and at what level for each stage of the programme can be found in the Credit and Qualifications Framework.


Condonement is the process that allows you to be awarded credit (and so progress to the next stage or, in the final stage, receive an award), despite failing to achieve a pass mark at a first attempt. You are not entitled to reassessment in condoned credit. Regulations on condonement can be found in the Handbook for Assessment, Progression and Awarding for Taught Programmes.

Assessment and Awards

For undergraduate degrees assessment at stage one does not contribute to the summative classification of the award. Details of the weightings for each year of all programme lengths can be found in the Handbook for Assessment, Progression and Awarding for Taught Programmes.


Full details of assessment regulations for undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes and the classification of awards can be found in the Handbook for Assessment, Progression and Awarding for Taught Programmes.

You can also read details of Generic Marking Criteria.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

Personal and Academic Tutoring

It is University policy that all Colleges should have in place a system of academic and personal tutors. The role of academic tutors is to support you with individual modules; the role of personal tutors is to provide you with advice and support fo the duration of your programme, and this support extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties such as accommodation, financial difficulties and sickness. You can also make an appointment to see individual teaching staff.

Information on the College Personal Tutoring system, library provision, ELE resources and access to College support services can be found on the College webpages for current students.

Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC)

SSLCs enable students and staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Learning Resources

The University Library maintains its principal collections in the main library buildings on the Streatham and St Luke's campuses, together with a number of specialist collections in certain Colleges. The total Library collection comprises over a million volumes and 3000 current periodical subscriptions.

IT Services

A wide range of IT services are provided throughout the Exeter campuses, including open-access computer rooms, some of which are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Helpdesks are maintained on the Streatham and St Luke's campuses, while most study bedrooms in halls and flats are linked to the University's campus network.

Student Support Services

The University provides many support services including health and wellbeing, multifaith chaplaincy, family support, the Students' Guild and international student support.

10. Admissions Criteria

All applications are considered individually on merit. The University is committed to an equal opportunities policy with respect to gender, age, race, sexual orientation and/or disability when dealing with applications. It is also committed to widening access to higher education to students from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

Candidates for undergraduate programmes must satisfy the undergraduate admissions requirements of the University of Exeter.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

Certain programmes are subject to accreditation and/or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

The University and its constituent Colleges draw on a range of data to review the quality of education provision. The College documents the performance in each of its tuaght programmes, against a range of criteria on an annual basis through the Annual Student Experience Review (ASER).

Subject areas are reviewed every five years through a College Academic Audit scheme that includes external contributions.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

College of Social Sciences and International Studies (CSSIS)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by


18. Final Award

BA (Hons) Philosophy

19. UCAS Code


20. NQF Level of Final Award

6 (Honours)

21. Credit

CATS credits ECTS credits

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

[Honours] Philosophy

23. Dates

Origin Date


Date of last revision