Philosophy with Computing, English or Theology (BA, DipHE and CertHE)

Overview

For students who prefer a broader educational choice than a single honours permits

This combined degree programme will appeal to those who are interested in majoring in Philosophy but would also like to learn more about a different discipline. You can choose to study English, Theology or Computing as minor options. Your degree will be comprised of 75 per cent Philosophy courses, and 25 per cent from your minor option.

Key dates
Application deadline 1 October*
Registration deadline 30 November (9 October for English)*
Start studying Study materials are usually available from mid-August
Examinations take place May/June
*Please note: students wishing to study English Level 4 courses as part of this combined programme should submit their application by 15 September and complete their registration by 9 October, ahead of the commencement of VLE Tutor Groups on 15 October.

Why Philosophy?

For thousands of years, people have asked fundamental questions about the world, their place in it, and their relations to each other. These deep questions, and attempts to answer them, define the subject matter of philosophy and form the basis of this combined degree. It explores a range of philosophical works from classical times to the present day and introduces you to historical and contemporary philosophical issues and debates.

Subjects include existence and reality; mind, thought, reason and logic; and the ethical and aesthetic values of goodness and beauty. Studying Philosophy will also improve your powers of reasoning and argument, understanding of people, and capacity for original thought.

Programme combinations

Philosophy with English: Philosophical themes and questions can be found in almost any work of literature; indeed many early literary works were actually works of philosophy. This combined degree will help you to better understand the relationship between literature and philosophy. You may like to consider why authors used literature as the vehicle to explore philosophical questions; for example, why did the Romantic poets explored Longinus’s concept of the sublime through poetry, and how did American literature derive its ‘Transcendental’ school from Kantian philosophy? Studying English will also enhance your ability to understand and analyse a variety of texts.

Philosophy with Theology: Philosophy and Theology are generally considered to be related disciplines, and studying them together will enable you to gain a new perspective and greater understanding of each subject area. This will be particularly useful to those with an interest in philosophy of religion - the philosophical scrutiny of claims of religious believers and those made on behalf of religious traditions, particularly those related to Christianity. You will be able to explore questions such as the nature and existence of God, whether religious belief is reasonable, the impact of religion on individuals and society, and the compatibility of divine omniscience and human freedom.

Philosophy with Computing: There are three subject-specific pathways within the Computing minor programme, which are reflected in your qualification.

  • Philosophy with Computing (Computer Science): Studying Computer Science will enhance your employability as computing skills are valued in many jobs. It will also complement your Philosophy studies as both disciplines involve formal logic. The computing courses cover topics such as algorithms and data compression, which will appeal to those with an interest in mathematics and computation.
  • Philosophy with Computing (Computing and Cognition): This pathway emphasises the cognitive aspects of computing. Cognitive science is a subject area that takes human cognition as its starting point, and looks at how knowledge in this area can be applied to computing, and vice versa. Creativity and artificial intelligence are part of this broad area of study, which will complement your philosophical studies in areas like creativity and the study of aesthetics. The adoption of artificial intelligence also raises questions of ethics, which could be explored through your Philosophy studies.
  • Philosophy with Computing (Computing Information Systems): Computing Information Systems offers subjects that are broadly related to electronic commerce and information technology.  Having a practical knowledge of information systems, as well as the analytical and reasoning skills developed through Philosophy, will give you a wider range of transferable, employment-related skills. This pathway will also better enable you to consider the ethics and social issues related to computer technology.

Study options

You can choose from a full BA (12 courses), Diploma of Higher Education (8 courses) or a Certificate of Higher Education (4 courses). The Certificate is an ideal option if you don't feel ready to commit to a full Diploma or degree programme or don't have the qualifications to meet our entrance requirements. Once you pass the Certificate, you can transfer your registration to the Diploma or BA. You can also transfer to the BA on completion of the Diploma.

A prestigious qualification

These combined degrees draw on the academic expertise of three University of London Colleges.

  • The Philosophy programme has been developed by Birkbeck, University of London, which has one of the highest ranking Philosophy departments in the UK.
  • The Theology courses are directed by Heythrop, a specialist College of theology within the University of London.
  • Goldsmiths, University of London, is responsible for the English and Computing courses.

Develop transferable skills

Studying Philosophy equips you with transferable skills that will be useful in the workplace as well as other areas of your life. These include the ability to analyse complex material, recognise the strengths and weaknesses in opposing views, and develop logical and persuasive arguments. Having a minor in English, Theology or Computing will enable you to develop more specialised skills, thereby helping to increase your employability.

Completion of this combined degree will give you a sound basis for careers in areas such as the public services, teaching and research, journalism, media, business, arts administration, charity and fundraising, museums and libraries.

Structure

Structure and Syllabus

These qualifications combine different academic disciplines. Philosophy is the major subject and is taken with either Computing, English or Theology as the minor subject.

BA in Philosophy with Computing
BA in Philosophy with English
BA in
Philosophy with Theology

The Bachelor of Arts degrees comprise twelve courses. Each degree is made up of nine Philosophy courses and three courses from either Computing, English or Theology.

DipHE in Philosophy with Computing
DipHE in Philosophy with English
DipHE in
Philosophy with Theology

The Diplomas in Higher Education comprise eight courses. Each diploma is made up of six Philosophy courses and two courses from either Computing, English or Theology.

CertHE in Philosophy with Computing
CertHE in
Philosophy with English
CertHE in
Philosophy with Theology

The Certificates in Higher Education comprise four courses. Each certificate is made up of three Philosophy courses and one course from either Computing, English or Theology.

To see the choice of courses please refer to the Philosophy Major [pdf, 4pgs 83KB] combined award structure.

To see the syllabus for each course please refer to the English, Computing, Philosophy and Theology programme structures.

Study materials

How you study

The combined degree is offered through distance and flexible learning which allows you to study at a time and place to suit yourself. When you register we will send you a study pack and give you access to an online virtual learning environment (VLE) that include:

  • Subject guides for each course studied
  • Access to the University of London Online Library with a selection of links to relevant materials
  • The Arts Good Study Guide
  • Student handbook
  • Past examination papers and examiners' reports
  • Regulations

Each year you continue to register, you will receive updated materials. In addition to the materials we provide, you will need to buy some books, and others you will need to refer to in a library. As far as possible, you should consider the facilities available locally to you, and how accessible books are likely to be before registering.

We also provide all students with a student registration card.

English and Computing minors:
If you choose one of these minors, you will also have the opportunity to take part in online workshops and receive personalised feedback on coursework via the virtual learning environment.

Theology minors:
For Theology courses, you will receive online/printed resources and have access to a comprehensive virtual learning environment and online lectures, but will not receive any tutor support.

Sample study materials

The following resources (PDFs) include introductory reading lists and example examination questions for each of the Philosophy courses.

Programme reading lists

Download the following reading lists for:

Level 4

Introduction to Philosophy PY1020 [pdf, 2pgs 92KB]
Ethics: historical perspectives PY1095 [pdf, 1pgs 55KB]
Epistemology PY1025 [pdf, 1pgs 59KB]
Logic PY1070 [pdf, 2pgs 48KB]

Level 5

Greek philosophy: Plato and the Pre-Socratics PY1085 [pdf, 2pgs 62KB]
Modern philosophy: Descartes, Locke, Berkeley and Hume PY1065 [pdf, 2pgs 80KB]
Ethics: contemporary perspectives PY3115 [pdf, 2pgs 74KB]
Metaphysics PY3075 [pdf, 1pgs 73KB]
Methodology: Induction, reason and science PY3035 [pdf, 2pgs 61KB]

Level 6

Modern philosophy: Spinoza, Leibniz and Kant PY3125 [pdf, 2pgs 48KB]
Greek philosophy: Aristotle PY3120 [pdf, 1pgs 60KB]
Continental philosophy: Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche PY3190 [pdf, 2pgs 92KB]
Aesthetics PY3130 [pdf, 1pgs 47KB]
Philosophy of language PY3210 [pdf, 2pgs 59KB]
Philosophy of mind PY3100 [pdf, 1pgs 47KB]
Political philosophy PY3090 [pdf, 4pgs 53KB]
Philosophy of religion PY3110 [pdf, 1pgs 48KB]

Fees

Fees

Academic year 2017-2018
Annual registration fee£ 883
Fee per Computing full course / half course£ 318 / £159
Fee per English full course£ 318
Fee per Philosophy full course£ 224
Fee per Theology full course£ 252
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Examination resit fees
Computing (per full course / half course)£ 219 / £110
English (per full course)£ 219
Philosophy (per full course)£ 170
Theology (per full course)£ 170
ConvertGBP x 1

Disclaimer: the currency conversion tool is provided to you for convenience only and does not constitute an endorsement or approval by the University of London; the exchange rates are provided dynamically via a third-party source, consequently, the University of London International Programmes is not responsible for their accuracy.

The fee per course depends on the level of support provided. Courses with high levels of online support, such as English courses, are more expensive than those with limited support, such as Philosophy courses.

When to pay

Fees are payable between 1st March 2017 and the registration closing date 30th November 2017. The annual registration fee is payable each year to maintain your registration. The course fee includes one attempt at the examination. Examinations take place in May or June each year and examination entries are accepted from mid-December to the closing date of 1 February.

Please note that students registering for English Level 4 courses should ensure they complete their registration by 9 October in the time for the commencement of VLE Tutor Groups on 15 October.

How to pay

All University fees must be paid in pounds sterling (GBP). The University accepts:

  • Western Union - Quick Pay
  • Credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Electron, JCB)
  • Sterling banker's draft/cheque
  • International money/postal order

Further details are given in payment methods.

Other costs

In addition to the fees payable to the University, you should also budget for:

  1. textbooks (this may well be in the region of £300 per year if you are taking four courses in one year)
  2. tuition costs if studying at a teaching institution
  3. the fee charged to your local examination centre to cover its costs; this fee will vary.

Note 

Fees are subject to annual revision and typically may be increased by up to 5% per annum. For a full list fees that may be applicable, please see the fee schedule.

Assessment

Each course of the BA and Diploma and Certificate of Higher Education (except for the Dissertation) is assessed by one unseen examination.

Examinations are held once a year, usually in May or June. You do not have to come to London to take your examinations as we have exam centres around the world as well as in London. Examinations overseas are arranged mainly through Ministries of Education or the British Council. You will be charged a fee by your local examination centre (this fee will vary).

For further information please see the Assessment and examinations section of our website.

Dissertation

The Dissertation is to be 7,500 words long on a topic agree with a member of staff from Birkbeck. You will be able to receive feedback on a one-page outline (consisting of a working title, a summary of the main sections of the dissertation, and a short bibliography), and comments on one complete drafts before submitting the final version for assessment.

Computing minors

Those taking a course in any of the three Computing minor pathways will have to submit coursework for assessment for most of their courses.

English minors

The Level 4 English course requires you to submit a piece of formative assessment in the form of an essay. This is to help you prepare for examinations and final assessment. The piece of formative assessment is compulsory but does not contribute to your final assessment.

Requirements

Academic Requirements

BA and Diploma of Higher Education

In order to satisfy the entrance requirements for the BA or Diploma of Higher Education you must normally* be aged 17 or above by the 30 November in the year of registration and satisfy the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

If you choose English as a minor you need to also:

  • demonstrate competence in English at least equivalent to UK GCE A level at grade E or above and
  • satisfy the University’s general English language proficiency requirements as outlined below

If you choose the Computing Information Systems minor pathway you need to also:

  • demonstrate competence at least equivalent to UK GCSE/GCE O level grade C in an acceptable mathematical related subject.

If you choose the Computer Science or Computing and Cognition minor pathways, you need to also:

  • demonstrate competence at least equivalent to UK GCSE/GCE O level grade B in an acceptable mathematical related subject.

Certificate of Higher Education

To be eligible for the Certificate of Higher Education with Philosophy as the major you must:

  • normally* be aged 18 or above by the 1 September at the time of registration
  • have passed the equivalent of at least three separate subjects at UK GCSE/GCE O level (at not less than grade C).

UK GCSE equivalents, including grade requirements can be found at: Entrance Qualifications [pdf, 52pgs, 465KB].

If you choose the Computing Information Systems minor pathway you need to also:

  • demonstrate competence at least equivalent to UK GCSE/GCE O level grade C in an acceptable mathematical related subject.

If you choose the Computer Science or Computing and Cognition minor pathways, you need to also:

  • demonstrate competence at least equivalent to UK GCSE/GCE O level grade B in an acceptable mathematical related subject.

* Applications will be considered from applicants who do not meet the normal minimum age requirement for admission. Each application will be considered on an individual basis, and the decision taken at the discretion of the University of London.

If you are not automatically eligible then you will be individually considered by the Admissions Panel. The Admissions Panel will consider qualifications which are not published under the Qualifications for Entrance Schedule, incomplete qualifications (e.g. diplomas / degrees) and substantial relevant work experience. If we cannot accept you with your current qualifications and experience, we will advise you what qualifications you could take in order to become eligible in the future.

English language requirement

The language of instruction, reading and assessment is English. To succeed on our programmes you need a good level of competence in English. If you doubt your ability in written or spoken English we advise you take a course and test in English language before enrolling on the programme.

Required standard of English

You will usually meet the English language requirement for undergraduate programmes if you:

  • hold a UK GCSE / GCE O level in English at grade C or above
  • have five years secondary schooling taught solely in English or have passed GCE A levels or IB in essay-based subjects
  • have passed an International Foundation programme that permits entry onto a recognised UK bachelor degree
  • hold a full Postgraduate award, or a full first degree or Associate degree taught and examined in English from an institute that is acceptable to the University
  • have passed, within the past three years, an Associate degree, Diploma or Higher Diploma awarded by an acceptable institute / polytechnic / university in Hong Kong, Malaysia or Singapore, or
  • have passed, within the past three years, a test of proficiency in English language from an organisation acceptable to the University.

Where an applicant does not meet the required English language level but believes they can demonstrate the required level for admission the University may, at its discretion, consider the application.

Please note if an applicant satisfies one of the above conditions yet provides evidence of a test of proficiency in English language, awarded within the past three years, which is below the University’s minimum requirements then they will be required to retake such a test before being offered admission.

Accreditation of prior learning

If you have studied a syllabus as part of a previous qualification which is comparable in level, content and standard, you might not have to take a particular course as part of your University of London International Programmes degree if we believe that the subject has been covered to the same breadth and depth. This is called accreditation of prior learning or APL. It is also sometimes known as credit transfer or exemption. We will give credit for a maximum of four courses on the degree and two courses on the DipHE.

We can award APL towards the BA degree and DipHE only. The rules that apply are given in the Credit transfer and accreditation of prior learning section of the Programme Specification and Regulations [pdf, 84pgs, 401KB]. More information about APL can also be found on the APL section of the website.

Computer Requirements

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to use the University of London International Programmes website and the Student Portal. These are where your programme’s study resources are located. Through the Student Portal you can register as a student, enter exams and use your programme’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE provides you with electronic learning materials, access to the University of London Online Library, networking opportunities, and other resources.

To get the most from your studies, your computer should have at least the following minimum specification: 

  • a web browser (the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer). This must accept cookies and have JavaScript enabled
  • screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater
  • sufficient bandwidth to download documents of at least 2 MB

and the following applications installed:

  • a word processor that reads Microsoft Word format (.doc)
  • Adobe, or other pdf reader.

Certain courses may have addtional requirements, such as:

  • Microphone and speakers
  • software to manage spreadsheets and run macros
  • software for playing mp3 and mp4 files.

* Full mobile access is not available for all programmes.

Academic leaders

Combined degrees - Academic leadership

These combined degrees draw on the academic expertise of three University of London Colleges. The Philosophy programme has been developed by Birkbeck, University of London, which has one of the highest ranking Philosophy departments in the UK. The Theology courses are directed by Heythrop College, a specialist College of theology within the University of London; while Goldsmiths, University of London, is responsible for the English and Computing courses.

Apply online

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The new Combined Degree Scheme is for those who want the flexibility to study two subjects in a major/minor combination. Watch this video to hear more about the combined degrees from Programme Director, Dr Sarah Rauchas.

Alumni Inspiration - BA Philosophy (UK)

Julian Plumley graduated in 2011 with a 1st class honours BA Philosophy degree. He speaks about what he enjoyed about studying the degree and he provides advice to those considering to study Philosophy by distance learning.