Renowned department

One of the country's largest philosophy departments, Bristol is ranked in the UK top 10 for the subject (Complete University Guide 2024).

Interdisciplinary learning

Our joint honours courses span three faculties, so you will study alongside students from a variety of disciplines.

Vibrant community

Get involved with local outreach events, join our student societies, or visit our department's 'Kierkegaarden' allotment.

Philosophy at Bristol

Studying philosophy at Bristol gives you the opportunity to delve into some of the deepest questions that have puzzled great thinkers. You will learn the basics of logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and political philosophy and explore your interests through specialised units and independent research.

The department is largely based within the 'analytic' tradition in philosophy, but some continental philosophy is taught. Areas of special strength include philosophy of mind and language, ethics, political philosophy, logic and philosophical logic, philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of science (especially biology and physics).

You will be part of a heritage of philosophy in the South West that includes John Locke and Thomas Hobbes.

Studying Philosophy leaves me with wide-ranging career options, so whatever I choose to do I know I'll have a strong grounding in being able to academically evaluate, unpick arguments and think more widely about issues.

Lucy, BA Philosophy

Career prospects

Two people talking in a library.

Philosophers are highly employable. A wide range of employers value analytical skills, such as flexibility of thought and the capacity for developing coherent and compelling arguments.

Many philosophy graduates go on to make excellent lawyers, journalists, teachers, consultants, entrepreneurs and leaders in business or other professions.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

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During your degree, you will gain a broad understanding of philosophy, and you can also deepen your knowledge with a choice of optional units each year.

Our first-year units introduce you to philosophy and its methods. You will gain a basic knowledge of some of the fundamental problems of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and political philosophy, as well as a competence in both formal and informal logic.

In the second year, you will take a mandatory unit in realism and normativity. You may also have the opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad at one of our worldwide partners. Visit the Centre for Study Abroad to find out about study abroad our options.

By the final year, you will be in a position to specialise and undertake independent study. Third-year optional units have recently included:

  • Virtue and Well-Being
  • Evil, Deviance and Crime
  • Probability and Rationality
  • The Social Epistemology of the Internet
  • Philosophical Issues of the Physical Sciences.


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Our academics and students are regularly involved in philosophy education outreach events and projects with the general public, thanks to strong links with schools and community groups across the city.

The department's allotment, known as the 'Kierkegaarden', is maintained by students and academics - encouraging discussion around ethics of the environment as well as providing delicious food.

Extend your discussions outside the classroom with like-minded friends in the Philosophy Society. There's also a society for Physics and Philosophy students, Paradox, and science-based debates in Paradigm.

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