BSc Politics and Philosophy

UCAS code: LV25

Usual standard offer: A level: grades A A A

International Baccalaureate: Diploma with 38 points including 7 6 6 at Higher level

Other qualifications are considered

For further details see

Applications 2014: 369

First year students 2014: 38

This joint honours degree combines courses from the fields of government (politics) and philosophy in approximately equal weighting. However, you will have a considerable amount of choice in how you balance your study and in the specific courses taken within each of the two fields.

Rather than simply studying the core elements of politics and philosophy "side by side", the aim of this degree is to show how the study of each is relevant for understanding political practices and behaviour, and for the understanding and development of political ideals. To this end, in their third year, students will take a course in Philosophy and Public Policy, which examines specific policy questions from conceptual and normative perspectives.

First year:

(* half unit)

Second year:

Third year:

  • Philosophy and Public Policy
  • One advanced government option or a government dissertation or an extended essay in philosophy
  • A government option or an approved outside option
  • A government, philosophy or an approved outside option

Please note that not every course is available each year and that some courses may only be available with the permission of the course convenor and/or may be subject to space.

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, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. 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 circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. 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.

Programme details

First year

Your study begins with Logic which introduces the basic system of modern formal logic, including propositional logic, predicate logic and the theory of identity. Reason, Knowledge and Values: An Introduction to Philosophy provides an introduction to analytical philosophy by using classic and contemporary texts to study a selection of philosophical problems. Introduction to Political Theory offers an introduction to the study of politics and political theory through the thought and texts of some of the most important western political theorists. Introduction to Political Science is an introduction to politics in a globalised world.

Second and third years

In the second year you have the choice of Morality and Values or Contemporary Political Theory. Morality and Values is concerned with the ethics of harming and saving from harm, as well as moral philosophy and the topic of justice. Contemporary Political Theory provides an advanced introduction to contemporary political theory.

You then have the choice of either Philosophy of the Social Sciences or Scientific Method and Policy or Philosophy of Science or Scientific Revolutions: Philosophical and Historical Issues or combining two half units, Governing Knowledge: Foundational Issues in Science Policy and Evidence and Policy. Philosophy of Science explores the different traditions in the philosophy of science. Philosophy of the Social Sciences deals with philosophical issues concerning the nature of social scientific theory and its applications. Scientific Method and Policy looks at evidence, the relationship between scientific and policy aims and the role of the scientist as policy adviser. Scientific Revolutions: Philosophical and Historical Issues examines a number of fundamental issues in philosophy of science, as they arise from instances of important theory-changes (so-called revolutions) in the history of science. Governing Knowledge: Foundational Issues in Science Policy and Evidence and Policy look at the agenda, ethics and dissemination of scientific research with specific focus on its utilisation by policy makers. You then take one government option and an approved outside option or a further government option.

In their third year, students will get an opportunity to take more advanced courses in both political science and philosophy. Philosophy and Public Policy offers critical reflection on the design and evaluation of public policies from the perspective of moral and political philosophy. Students get the opportunity to choose from some courses which are taught in small group seminars and also to select a course which is assessed by a long essay in philosophy or a dissertation in government.