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Information for Teachers

The Philosophy Department at Birkbeck College University of London, is one of the UK’s leading philosophy research departments. The aim of this project is to share our research expertise in moral philosophy with A-Level Philosophy students (and their teachers) on topics connected with the A-Level syllabus.  The project has three main elements:

The Conference

  • This is a one-day conference run specifically for AS-level students, featuring talks and discussion.
  • It is normally scheduled to take place in the period between the end of AS exams and the end of the school year.
  • It is held at our Bloomsbury campus in central London.
  • It includes light refreshments, such as tea and coffee (though not lunch), and attendance is entirely free of charge.
  • Although pitched at a level appropriate for Y12, the day is also designed to give students a taste of what lecture-based, university-style teaching is like.
  • Attendance does not require participation in the Essay Competition.
  • Places must be booked in advance.

The Essay Competition

  • This individual directed study project is designed as something that students might undertake in the time between the end of AS exams and the end of the school year (alternatively, it could also be set as a summer project for students planning to progress to A2 Philosophy).
  • It consists in the writing of a 2,500-word essay on a set topic.
  • The essay project is supported by a specially commissioned Study Guide, written for AS-level students by expert philosophers.
  • The Competition is adjudicated by the faculty and research students of the Birkbeck Philosophy Department.
  • Results are announced in mid-September (and so in good time for prize-winners to include this information in UCAS applications).
  • The process gives students a first taste of what might be expected of them in terms of writing essays at University.
  • Participation does not require attendance at the Conference, although the Conference is designed to support the Essay project (and free audio recordings will be available from this website).
  • Click here for further information on the essay competition.

The Study Guide

  • The Study Guide is primarily designed to support the Essay project, and also complements the Conference theme.
  • It is written by members of the Birkbeck Philosophy Department, and includes an introduction to the topic, advice on how to approach the essay question, and suggestions for further reading.
  • The Study Guide is available for free download.