Philosophy (Certificate of Higher Education)

Come and explore some of the most profound questions it is possible to ask with some of the most eminent philosophers in the country. What makes something good or just? Is the human mind just a lump of grey matter? Can I know that I'm not trapped inside The Matrix? Do we have free will? Does God exist? Does science provide us with a special kind of knowledge? Who decides what counts as beautiful? 

This course will allow you to develop a historical perspective on the main philosophical problems, learn about historical and contemporary philosophical debates, and gain an understanding of key philosophical theories and concepts. You will also make connections between the ideas, beliefs and arguments that inform philosophical issues and learn how to articulate ideas systematically and logically.

Highlights

  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked fourth best in London and 18th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2017-2018 World University Subject Rankings.
  • Birkbeck's Department of Philosophy is a leading centre for philosophical research in the UK. All of our established members of academic staff are active researchers, and the Department’s excellence in both teaching and research is consistently reflected in UK and international surveys.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Philosophy at Birkbeck was ranked 15th in the UK, with a research environment judged conducive to producing internationally excellent research.
  • In the Philosophical Gourmet Report 2014-2015, Philosophy at Birkbeck was ranked among the strongest in the UK, and was highly ranked in philosophy of action, philosophy of art, seventeenth-century philosophy and feminist philosophy.
  • The Department of Philosophy has its own library at 30 Russell Square. The main philosophy collection is held in the Birkbeck Library, which has an extensive range of books and online resources.
  • The Department of Philosophy is a member of the University of London’s Institute of Philosophy. Students in the Department therefore belong to a large, intercollegiate community of philosophers, and are welcome at a range of seminars, lectures, talks and conferences.

Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

This programme is not only an award in its own right, but successful completion can give you entry into the Year 2 of our BA Philosophy degree.

You can apply to go straight into Year 2 of our three-year full-time evening study BA Philosophy if you successfully complete all eight modules of the Certificate of Higher Education, and into Year 2 of our four-year part-time evening study BA Philosophy if you successfully complete all six non-Logic modules.

If you wish to progress to the second year of the degree with credits gained from modules previously offered as part of the Certificate of Higher Education in Philosophy you should contact the BA admissions tutor.

Course structure

To gain the Certificate of Higher Education, you must successfully complete eight modules, worth a total of 120 credit points.

Module groups

Please note: credits gained from previous, successfully completed philosophy modules can be counted towards the 120 credits required to complete this Certificate.

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    There are no specific entry requirements, except an interest in the intellectual pursuit of philosophy. However, all modules are taught at university level and you should be able to read, write and speak English fluently in order to benefit fully from your studies and successfully complete your coursework. If you need help, we offer a range of academic English and language development modules.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

  • Fees

    Fees

    Fees are payable per module and vary depending on the course. Please click on the Course Structure tab and then click on the title of individual modules to see the fees for each module. The overall cost of the certificate will depend on the modules you choose.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    The topics and structure of the programme mirror that of the first year of Birkbeck's BA Philosophy and you will join the BA lectures. After the hour-long lecture, a seminar will give you an opportunity to discuss the topic of the lecture with your fellow Certificate of Higher Education students, led by one of our experienced sessional lecturers.

    Assessment

    100% coursework in the form of essays, amounting to 2500-3000 words.

    The two Logic modules are assessed half by an end-of-term examination and half by a take-home exercise.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in education, research, politics and journalism. 

    Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    This is a modular enrolment certificate, so you will need to enrol onto individual modules (rather than onto the entire programme of study). Please view the Course Structure and then click on the title of individual modules to see class dates and times and to enrol.