Programmes

BSc Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method

  • Undergraduate
  • Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
  • UCAS code V503
  • Starting 2017

The Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at LSE was founded by Professor Sir Karl Popper in 1946, and remains internationally renowned for a type of philosophy that is both continuous with the sciences and socially relevant. This degree offers a wide choice of courses from among the Department’s specialisms and provides you with an opportunity to engage with deep philosophical questions alongside some of the field’s top researchers.

Studying philosophy is an excellent opportunity to think deeply whilst developing important transferrable skills. But there are many practical reasons to get a philosophy degree as well. Choosing philosophy as your subject will prepare you for the kind of careful thinking, critical analysis and persuasive writing that is essential in many different areas of work. Indeed, philosophy has one of the highest undergraduate employment rates at LSE.

Philosophy addresses challenging foundational questions in many fields, including ethics, politics and scientific methodology. It also involves training in rigorous argumentation, including formal logic and essay writing. Here are some examples of the kinds of questions addressed by different philosophical fields:

Ethics: What is the nature of the good, and how should we act?
Metaphysics: What is the nature of reality? Does God exist, or free will, or a mind-independent world?
Epistemology: What is knowledge, and what distinguishes it from mere belief or opinion?
Politics and law: How should society be organised? What is the nature and aim of law?
Philosophy of Science: What is science, and what makes it successful? What concepts and methods make science work?

Many of these questions find their origins in ancient Greece. But unmistakable progress has been made in understanding many of them, and active new contributions are happening all the time. Studying philosophy gives you the chance to be a part of that progress.

Programme details

Key facts

 BSc Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Start date 21 September 2017
Application deadline 15 January 2017
Duration Three years full-time
Applications 2016 136
First year students 2016 14
Availability Closed
Tuition fee UK/EU fee: £9,250 for the first year (provisional)
Overseas fee: £18,408 for the first year
Usual standard offer  A level: grades A A A
International Baccalaureate: Diploma with 38 points including 7 6 6 or 6 6 6 at Higher level
English language requirements Proof of your English language proficiency may be required
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees, usual standard offers and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections below.

Programme structure and courses

This programme involves studying courses to the value of 12 units over three years, plus LSE100. The programme offers a great deal of choice. In a nutshell: beyond the compulsory philosophy courses, you can put together an approved programme of study according to your interests from a large selection of philosophy options and the tremendous range of outstanding social science courses at LSE.   

First year 

(* denotes a half unit course)

In your first year, you take two compulsory courses: Reason, Knowledge and Values, and either Logic or Formal Methods of Philosophical Argumentation. Formal Methods of Philosophical Argumentation is offered as a more demanding alternative to Logic. You also select two further courses from the range of options offered by other departments plus LSE100 in the Lent term.

Reason, Knowledge and Values
Gives a critical introduction to some central problems and classic texts of philosophy 

Either
Logic
Introduces the basic system of modern formal logic, including propositional logic, predicate logic and the theory of identity
Or 
Formal Methods of Philosophical Argumentation
Combines the logic with probability theory and makes these formal methods relevant to the analysis of arguments and the study of scientific reasoning. 

Two outside options 

LSE100
Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE100 is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

Second year

In the second year, you choose one of our many courses in the broad area of philosophy of science. In addition, you take up to three courses from the Philosophy options list, which includes a wide variety of courses in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, including both theoretical and applied moral and political philosophy, philosophy of mind and language, and further logic, as well as some philosophical courses taught outside the department, such as courses on literature and philosophy. One of your courses may be an approved outside option from a range of LSE departments. You also take LSE100 in the Michaelmas term. 

Either
Philosophy of Science 
Explores the philosophical underpinnings of modern science.
Or
Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Deals with philosophical issues concerning the nature of social scientific theories and their applications.

Two philosophy options 

Either
A third philosophy option
Or 
One
 approved outside option

LSE100
Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE100 is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

Third year 

In the third year, you take up to four courses from the philosophy options list, which again includes some philosophical third year courses taught outside the department, such as Jurisprudence (philosophy of law). One of your courses may be an approved outside option from a range of LSE departments. 

Either four philosophy options 
Or three philosophy options and one approved outside option

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up-to-date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options.  Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place.  These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback.  Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated undergraduate course and programme information page.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

You will have at least a one hour lecture and a one hour related class for each course each week, as well as LSE100 teaching. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide. We are committed to giving undergraduates a good deal of face-to-face time with faculty. All lectures are done by faculty. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide. Many classes from the second year onwards (and even some first year classes) are taught by faculty as well (other classes are taught by PhD students in the Department). All teachers have weekly office hours in which you can further discuss material from the lectures and classes.

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.

Your attendance at classes and performance will be carefully monitored, and you will have a personal academic adviser to provide assistance and guidance. There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

Your timetable

The lecture and seminar timetable is published in mid-August and the full academic timetable (lectures/seminars and undergraduate classes) is published by mid-September and is accessible via the LSE Timetables webpages.

Undergraduate student personal timetables are published in LSE for You (LFY). For personal timetables to appear, students must be registered at LSE, have successfully signed up for courses in LFY and ensured that their course selection does not contain unauthorised clashes.

Every effort is made to minimise changes after publication, once personal timetables have been published any changes are notified via email.

The standard teaching day runs from 09:00-18:00; Monday to Friday. Teaching for undergraduate students will not usually be scheduled after 12:00 on Wednesdays to allow for sports, volunteering and other extra-curricular events. 

Assessment

All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others.

There is some variation in the forms of summative assessment for different courses, but in general, you will have an examination for each course in June of the year in which you have taken it, as well as an essay due at the beginning of May. For each course, you will have to complete several essays and/or exercises as part of your class work. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Feedback on coursework is an essential part of the teaching and learning experience at the School. Class teachers must mark formative coursework and return it with feedback to you normally within two weeks of submission (when the work is submitted on time). You will also receive feedback on any summative coursework you are required to submit as part of the assessment for individual courses (except on the final version of submitted dissertations). You will normally receive this feedback before the examination period. 

Find out more about LSE’s teaching and assessment methods

Preliminary reading

You can read about recent research and events involving Faculty members on the  LSE Philosophy Blog.

Listed below are texts that serve as good introductions to the various areas of philosophy. 

Classics

R Descartes Meditations (any edition)

D Hume An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (any editions)

J S Mill On Liberty (any edition)

Plato The Republic, translated and edited by Robin Waterfield (Oxford Paperbacks)

K Popper Conjectures and Refutations: the growth of scientific knowledge (Routledge, 2003)

A Smith The Theory of Moral Sentiments (any edition)

General philosophy and philosophical tools

T Nagel What Does It All Mean? (Oxford University Press, 1987)

R M Sainsbury Paradoxes (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

B Skyrms Choice and Chance: an introduction to inductive logic (Wadsworth, 2000)

Moral philosophy

T Nagel Mortal Questions (Canto, 1991)

B Williams Morality: an introduction to ethics (Canto, 1993)

J Wolff An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2006)

A Voorhoeve Conversations on Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2011)

Philosophy of science

A Chalmers What is this thing called Science? (Oxford University Press, 2006) 

S Okasha Philosophy of Science: a very short introduction (Oxford Paperbacks, 2002)

Preliminary listening

- The lecture 'Science and Pseudoscience' by the late LSE philosopher Imre Lakatos
- An interview 'Is Inequality Bad' on Philosophy Bites with Alex Voorhoeve 
- The lecture 'Free Will in a Deterministic Universe?' by Christian List
- An interview on 'Scientific Method' on BBC’s 'In Our Time' with speakers John Worrall, Michela Massimi and Simon Schaffer
- An interview on 'Game Theory' with Melvyn Bragg on BBC’s 'In Our Time' with speakers Richard Bradley, Ian Stewart and Andrew Colman
- An interview on 'Catholicism and HIV'  on Philosophy Bites with Luc Bovens
- An interview, 'Understanding Decisions' on Philosophy Bites with Richard Bradley
- An interview, 'Trolleys, killing and the doctrine of double effect', on OpenLearn 'Ethics Bites' with Mike Otsuka 

Careers

A philosophy degree will prepare you with serious training for a number of important transferable skills such as creative problem solving, critical analysis, argument construction and persuasive writing.

Our graduates have excellent job prospects. A recent Guardian survey ranks us as the Department with far and away the best job prospects in the UK for philosophy graduates. Recent graduates have gone on to work in banking and financial services, government, management consultancy, media and education, and have also proved very successful in gaining entry to graduate programmes.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme 

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers

Student stories

Chloé de Canson

BSc Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Paris, France

Chloe_de_Canson_170 x 230

I chose to study philosophy at LSE because it seemed to me to be the best fit for my academic profile. I am very interested in theoretical issues in science and in formal methods, and I have had the opportunity to take great courses in these areas, and to delve very deep into the questions they pose.

 

Ben Gershlick

BSc Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Leicester, UK

Ben-Gershlick170x230

The BSc Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method is an incredibly unique programme. It is specialised in that it is one of very few philosophy programmes which are analytic and practical. It deals with precise, logical issues in a systematic way. In short, it is real, current, and relevant philosophy - not outdated armchair philosophy. The logical and scientific element to it means that you are working out how things are, not just how you would like them to be, and looking at fundamental principles which underlie all subjects and subject areas.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background. The programme guidance below should be read alongside our general entrance requirements information.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on the UCAS application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- subject combinations
- personal statement
- teacher’s reference
- educational circumstances

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

What we are looking for in an application for Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method

Academic achievement

Successful applicants for this programme are usually predicted to achieve or have already achieved a minimum of A A A in their A levels (or 38 and above International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) points, with 7 6 6 or 6 6 6 in higher level subjects). In addition, the selectors are looking for applicants who have achieved a strong set of GCSE grades including a significant number at A and A* and GCSE (or equivalent) English Language and Mathematics no lower than B. We also consider your overall GCSE subject profile, and your AS grades, if available.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you are predicted or if you achieve the grades that meet our usual standard offer, this will not guarantee you an offer of admission. Usual standard offers are intended only as a guide, and in some cases applicants will be asked for grades which differ from this. 

We express our standard offers and where applicable, programme requirement, in terms of A levels and the IB, but we consider applications from students with a range of qualifications including BTECs, Foundation Courses and Access to HE Diplomas as well as a wide range of international qualifications. 

Information about accepted international qualifications
Information about other accepted UK qualifications

Subject combinations

We consider the combination of subjects you have taken, as well as the individual scores. We believe a broad mix of traditional academic subjects to be the best preparation for studying at LSE and expect applicants to have at least two full A levels or equivalent in these subjects

There is no ideal subject combination, however selectors like to see that you possess both analytical and writing abilities. Given the focus on logic and the scientific method, it is common and desirable to see students offering a mix of arts and science/mathematics A-levels.

Other subjects commonly studied at A level include Economics; English; Government and Politics; History; Languages; Mathematics; Philosophy; Sociology, Religious Studies and the natural sciences. Students offering Mathematics, Further Mathematics and one other subject will be considered. There is no requirement for students to have formally studied Philosophy. Subjects where the content is deemed to overlap, such as Economics and Business Studies, or English and Media Studies, should not be taken together. Critical Thinking A-level will not be included in our standard offer, but success in this subject can be an indicator of your aptitude for following lines of reasoning and argument.

Personal characteristics, skills and attributes

For this programme, we are looking for students who demonstrate the following characteristics, skills and attributes: 

- awareness of and genuine interest in exploring philosophical issues
- ability to think logically and independently
- ability to read extensively and to evaluate and challenge conventional views
- ability to follow complex lines of reasoning
- intellectual curiosity
- motivation and capacity for hard work

Personal statement

In addition to demonstrating the above personal characteristics, skills and attributes, your statement should be original, interesting and well-written and should outline your enthusiasm and motivation for the programme.

You should explain whether there are any aspects of particular interest to you, how this relates to your current academic studies and what additional reading or relevant experiences you have had which have led you to apply. We are interested to hear your own thoughts or ideas on the topics you have encountered through your exploration of the subject at school or through other activities. Some suggestions for preliminary reading can be found below, but there is no set list of activities we look for; instead we look for students who have made the most of the opportunities available to them to deepen their knowledge and understanding of their intended programme of study.

You can also mention extra-curricular activities such as sport, the arts or volunteering or any work experience you have undertaken. However, the main focus of an undergraduate degree at LSE is the in-depth academic study of a subject and we expect the majority of your personal statement to be spent discussing your academic interests.

Please also see our general guidance about writing personal statements.

Fees and funding

Every undergraduate student is charged a fee for each year of their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2017/18

UK/EU* students: £9,250 for the first year (provisional pending final approval by Parliament)
Overseas students £18,408 for the first year

UK/EU undergraduate fees may rise in line with inflation in subsequent years and the overseas fee usually rises by between 2.5 per cent and 4 per cent each year.

*The UK Government confirmed in October 2016 that the fee level listed for EU undergraduate new entrants in 2017/18 will be the same as Home UK for the subsequent years of their undergraduate degree programme.

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education. 

Further information about fee status classification
Further information about tuition fees

Scholarships, bursaries and loans

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country. LSE provides generous financial support, in the form of bursaries and scholarships to UK, EU and overseas students. 

In addition, Government support, in the form of loans, is available to UK and some EU students.

Find out more about tuition fee loans.

Key Information Set

From September 2012, every undergraduate programme of more than one year's duration will have a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS allows you to compare 17 pieces of information about individual programmes at different higher education institutions.

Please note that programmes offered by different institutions with similar names can vary quite significantly. We recommend researching the programmes you are interested in and taking into account the programme structure, teaching and assessment methods, and support services available.

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