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Courses

Philosophy A Level

Course Description

Do you enjoy discussing the big questions in life such as why we are here, how happiness can be achieved and what is true knowledge? Philosophy encourages the discussion of such questions and asks us to construct logical arguments to justify our answers. Philosophers come from all sorts of backgrounds as philosophy underpins every single subject. Therefore those interested in Maths and Science are as attracted to Philosophy as those interested in History, Politics and Religious Studies. To succeed in this subject you need to be someone who enjoys thinking, writing and working things through to a logical conclusion.

Entry Requirements

Students studying four A Levels will be expected to have a minimum of 6 GCSEs at grade 7, 8 or 9 including English Language and Mathematics at grade 6 or above. Students studying three A Levels will be expected to have a minimum of two GCSEs at grade 6 and three GCSEs at grade 4 including English Language and Mathematics at grade 4.

Course Content

In the first year you will study Epistemology and Moral Philosophy. This is an excellent introduction to two of the most interesting topics in Philosophy. Epistemology involves the study of what knowledge is, how we can prove things to be true and whether I can be sure of anything at all. Moral Philosophy involves discussion of what it means to be human alongside what it means to behave in a morally acceptable way.

In the second year you will study the Metaphysics of God and the Metaphysics of Mind. The Metaphysics of God involves debating fascinating issues around God’s existence, the problem of evil and how language can be used effectively about God. The Metaphysics of Mind asks students to debate whether we have a soul and discusses the difference between the mental and the physical.

A key feature of the course will be the development of important academic skills. Students will be taught to analyse philosophical texts and summarise the arguments made by scholars. Logical problem solving will be taught alongside the ability to argue to conclusions. Literacy skills will be developed through evaluating the set texts and the writing of coherently planned essays.

Assessment

Assessment is by two 3 hour examinations. A combination of shorter and longer style questions will be set for each paper: one 3 mark question, two 5 mark questions, one 12 mark question and an essay worth 25 marks. Students will be assessed on their ability to use good English and specialist vocabulary as well as their skills in organising information clearly.

Paper 1:  Epistemology and Moral Philosophy – 50% of A level

Paper 2: The Metaphysics of God and the Metaphysics of Mind – 50% of A level

Enrichment and Work Experience

Students are required to complete a one week work experience placement in the summer term.  Students will have the opportunity to take part in the college debating society and the student forum. Philosophy students develop outstanding communication skills so they will often act as student ambassadors for open evenings and college events.

Additional Information

We use a variety of teaching styles based around question and answer, comprehension and language based study, research of key scholars, small group and large group discussion. Students will be expected to produce large amounts of work independently and develop their skills of emotional intelligence alongside their academic skills.

Links with other subjects:  Philosophy links particularly well with A Level Politics and Economics, as well as many other subject areas.

Future Career Opportunities

Candidates considering studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford should consider this course. Philosophy appeals to all employers as it encourages the development of thinking skills. The subject therefore encourages strategic thinking. This will help with careers in the civil service and management within the NHS. Lawyers often come from a Philosophy background as there is a strong emphasis on the forming of arguments and the justification of conclusions.

Why Study at BSFC?

To give your applications to prestigious universities the competitive edge they need. To develop the thinking skills required for the 21st century.