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Philosophy is both a practice – a way of thinking and understanding the world – and a body of knowledge – the history of philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the modern day. It asks the most basic question ‘what is?’ and asks it about everything.
- What is good?
- What is beautiful?
- What is fair?
- What is science?
- What is real?
- What is society?
- What is distinctive about human beings?
In this sense philosophy is the foundation of all academic disciplines. In studying philosophy, you study two things: how philosophers respond to these kinds of questions and how to respond to these questions clearly and coherently yourself.
Philosophers today are found in careers as diverse as government, performance, journalism, and law.
UCD Philosophy is the largest school of its kind in Ireland and brings leading thinkers together to create one of the top 100 schools of philosophy in the world.
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As part of your degree at UCD Philosophy you will study a range of thinkers and topics from contemporary American philosophers working on what it means for something to be ‘scientific’ to ancient Greek philosophers asking what is justice? In your first year the emphasis is on providing you with both an understanding of how to ‘do’ philosophy and providing you with an overview of the history of ideas. Modules in this year include ‘Introduction to Ethics’, ‘Critical Thinking’ and ‘Existentialism and Humanism’, amongst others.
As you progress through your degree you gain more and more choice to follow the path that your own philosophical interests take you from the phenomenology and hermeneutics of twentieth century European thought, to the nature of art and politics, to the philosophy of mind and the study of consciousness itself.
Click here for a full list of undergraduate philosophy modules.
Philosophy modules are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, and your own independent research. They are assessed through a combination of short assignments, essays, exams, and discussions.
Lectures have anything from 20 to 400 students and are taught by a lecturer from the school. Usually the lecturer does most of the talking – although students are encouraged to engage by asking questions during class.
Tutorials are much smaller with 8 to 20 students and are usually taught by an advanced doctoral candidate (PhD student). Here students do most of the talking, often engaging in small group work and class debates. UCD Philosophy takes tutorials very seriously: each tutorial group meets seven times in every undergraduate module. This gives you the chance to understand your course material better by: asking questions, engaging in philosophical debate, and learning how to express yourself more clearly.
Undergraduate Philosophy at UCD can lead to one of three different qualifications: a BSc, a BA, or a BCL. As part of these programmes you will also have the opportunity to study abroad for either a semester or an entire academic year.
A. BSc in Philosophy within a four-year Social Sciences programme (CAO code DN700):
- as a Joint Major with Politics, with Economics, or with both Politics and Economics (PPE)
- as a Joint Major with Sociology
- as a Joint Major with other Social Sciences subjects: Geography, Social Justice, Archeology, Mathematics, Statistics, Information and Communication Studies (ICS)
- as a Major along with a Minor in Chinese, Irish, Greek or Linguistics.
- For Stages 3 and 4, students may switch to a Single Major Philosophy programme
B. BA in Philosophy within a three-year Arts and Humanities programme (CAO code DN520):
- as a Joint Honours with English or with History
- as a Major along with a Minor in Art History or Music
C. BCL in Philosophy within a four-year Law programme Law (CAO code DN600)
All philosophy students have the opportunity to study abroad during their studies. The precise arrangements depend on your programme.