Philosophy and Ethics

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Truth, knowledge, meaning, reality – ask and answer crucial questions with this course.

  • Global – study philosophy from Western and Eastern perspectives
  • Contemporary – explore current debates, dilemmas and approaches
  • Applied – use philosophical concepts in real time, on real world projects

“I have been challenged, supported, and inspired during my time here ... My way of thinking has been changed by what I've studied, and I can happily say that I have become a confident critical thinker, and a more thoughtful human being.”
– Jessica Tamsin Milton, Philosophy with English Literature student

Why study Philosophy and Ethics?

 This Philosophy and Ethics course explores the assumptions, beliefs and values which shape human behaviour and our responses to it. You’ll explore our relationships with the natural world and our attitudes towards the past and in the present.

The course addresses the key questions which underpin all academic disciplines and concepts, so combines well with other subjects, contributing to your confidence in tackling them.

You must study another subject with Philosophy and Ethics; it’s offered as a Major, Joint or Minor component of a Combined Honours award. You can choose from a wide range of disciplines and build expertise in a related area or from a different perspective. Popular combinations include Psychology, Geography, History and Creative Writing. If you would like to take this with Study of Religions, you should apply for Religions, Philosophy and Ethics.

Course structure

Rather than teaching philosophy primarily as a history of ideas – although we do explore this – we focus on the application of current philosophical thinking in contemporary settings and circumstances. You’ll consider our responses to environmental crisis, for example, or questions of identity, belonging, roles and responsibilities.

We consider Western philosophical and ethical perspectives, and introduce you to the systems of thought of India and China. This mix and inclusiveness makes our Philosophy and Ethics course particularly distinctive.

Modules

  • Year One
    We introduce you to the principles of philosophical and ethical enquiry. We’ll equip you with some basic methods to philosophically analyse and critically examine core concepts in epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. There is an optional module in global religions and philosophy which looks at major traditions, movements and key thinkers.
  • Year Two
    You’ll focus on philosophy in the Indian and Chinese traditions. Optional modules explore ethics within humanist and religious traditions, medical ethics and social justice, and environmental politics and nonhuman rights.
  • Year Three
    You’ll bring together and develop philosophical ideas through the study of morality, identity, or gender. There are opportunities for in-depth study through a dissertation or an employment related project.

Course assessment

Assessment is mainly through coursework such as essays, projects, presentations, or online discussion.

Study abroad

Our students make good use of the opportunities to study abroad through Erasmus and other programmes, usually in the second year, with one of our many partner universities. You’ll be able to find out more about this during your first year, including meeting up with students who have already benefited from the experience.

If you opt to join one of the study abroad programmes, you might find yourself in Denmark, Spain, Australia or North America. We have developing partnerships with universities in China and the Far East.

Field trips

Fieldwork and visits are an integral part of the course. We visit religious communities, mosques, temples, gurdwaras and churches.

Teaching methods

Our focus is on ‘doing philosophy’ and developing your confidence and capacity for philosophical analysis and debate. We’ll support you through lectures and seminar work, as well as individual tutorials and support.

Special projects in years two and three and the dissertation in year three provide opportunities for independent work which builds on your own interests, adds new dimensions to your thinking, or relates to plans for future careers and personal development.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above)

Typical offer range for UK / EU applicants

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

Philosophy and Ethics develops many skills valued by employers such as clarity and precision in thinking, the ability to recognise unnoticed assumptions, the expertise to present a strong case, and to see the ethical issues involved in everyday decisions. Graduate careers for which Philosophy is good preparation include: law, civil service, local government, journalism, financial institutions, management, and IT. Some of some of our students have gone on to teach Religious Education, Philosophy and/or Citizenship in secondary or primary schools, where there is a shortage of specialists. Others have gone on to further academic study.

Since 2010, employers such as Global Xchange. Ethicall, Citizens' Advice Bureau and Birmingham University have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Healthcare Assistant, Fundraiser,  Children's Home Activities Coordinator and Assistant to the Communications Director.

What students say...

Lindsay Horler, Philosophy & Ethics with Study of Religions, Year 3:

“I chose to study this particular course because I was interested in studying Eastern as well as Western philosophy, and Bath Spa is probably the only University in the UK which offers such an in-depth enquiry into Eastern philosophical thought. While studying Philosophy & Ethics with Study of Religions at Bath Spa I have not only enhanced my intellectual skills, but I have also developed as a person. By thinking critically about philosophical ideas from Anglo-American, European and global perspectives, I have been able to think critically about my own philosophical beliefs.

What I enjoy most about Bath Spa University is that I can speak to my course tutors whenever I have questions to do with my course, or anything else for that matter.”