Study this programme anywhere in the world and receive a fully accredited University of London degree


BA, DipHE, CertHE

Available to study anywhere in the world

For thousands of years, people have asked fundamental questions about the world, their place in it, and their relation to each other. These questions, and the attempts to answer them, define the subject matter of philosophy. Our degree is a profound intellectual negotiation of this exciting and fundamental enterprise.

Study Philosophy with academic direction from Birkbeck, University of London, wherever you are in the world.

By studying this programme, you will:

  • Challenge yourself and improve your powers of reasoning and argument.
  • Improve your ability to analyse complex ideas, your understanding of people, and your capacity for original thought.
  • Discover historical and contemporary issues in the subject and make connections between the ideas and arguments that inform philosophical debates.
  • Study a range of philosophical works from the classical past to present day. Our subjects include existence and reality; knowledge and belief; mind, thought, reason and logic; truth and meaning; and the ethical and aesthetic values of goodness and beauty.

Programme details

Programme structure, courses and specification

BA: four courses from Level 4, four courses from Level 5 and four courses from Level 6 including a dissertation.

DipHE: four courses from Level 4 and four courses from Level 5.

CertHE: four courses from Level 4.

View courses

Key dates

This programme has one intake date per year: November. 

2022 session
Application deadline 1 October 2022
Registration deadline 30 November 2022
Programme starts November 2022

How you study

Independent study

Distance learning offers you the flexibility to balance your studies with your existing commitments. You will have access to a significant range of online resources with materials designed for independent study, delivered by way of a fully supported Virtual Learning Environment and online library.

Study materials

The core study materials you need to complete the programme are provided online. These include a programme handbook of practical information (such study advice and how to enter exams), a subject guide for each course that you choose as well as past exam papers and commentaries, giving you valuable tips for performing well in exams. You will also receive a hard copy textbook, Reading Philosophy: Selected Texts with a Method for Beginners.

Online support

When you register, we will give you access to your Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and other key resources:

  • The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) contains electronic copies of the study materials, resources including audio-visual and revision guides, and a discussion forum for collaborative study. You can participate in e-seminars (at Level 4) and submit practice essays for feedback.
  • The Online Library provides access to over 100 million academic electronic items comprising E-books, E-journals, conference proceedings, etc. In addition, students can request items which are not held in the library via the library's Inter-Library loans service with the British Library.
  • Senate House Library provides free reference access for all registered distance and flexible learning students.

Student Support

We are committed to delivering an exceptional student experience for all of our students, regardless of which of our programmes you are studying and whether you are studying independently or with a Recognised Teaching Centre.

You will have access to support through:

  • The Student Advice Centre – provides support for application and Student Portal queries.
  • TalkCampus – a peer support service that offers a safe and confidential way to talk about whatever is on your mind at any time of day or night.


  • All Level 4 and Level 5 courses are assessed by a two-hour written exam.
  • Level 6 courses are assessed by a three-hour written exam,
  • The dissertation is assessed by a thesis of 7,500 words.

Exams are held in May each year. You can sit these when you are ready at one of our 400 examination centres. A fee is payable to your local centre for hosting the exams.

More about exams.

Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?

For access to the BA Philosophy and DipHE Philosophy, you will usually meet the following criteria:

For access to the CertHE Philosophy:

  • Age 18+ by 01 September in the year of registration.
  • Three GCSEs (at Grade A*-C / 9-4) or equivalent.

For access to individual courses (Introduction to Philosophy):

  • Age 18+ by 01 September in the year of registration.
  • Passing this course with 50% will normally admit you to the CertHE.

Even if you do not meet the standard requirements, we will consider each application on its own merits. Our Admissions Panel will consider whether any alternative/incomplete qualifications or work experience you have are suitable for entry to the programme. If we are unable to issue you an offer for either the BA, DipHE or CertHE routes then if available we will advise on further alternatives such as our International Foundation Programme or on additional qualifications you need to take in order to meet our minimum entrance criteria.

I don’t meet the entry requirements. What can I do?

English Language requirements

You need to demonstrate a good level of English to be admitted to our programmes. We accept a range of evidence, including proficiency test scores. If you don’t have evidence but believe you can meet the standard, we may consider your case.

Do I meet the language requirements?

Computer requirements

We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly. For this degree, you will also need Adobe Flash Player to view video material and a media player (such as VLC) to play video files.

More about computer requirements.

Can I transfer credits from other awards?

If you have studied material as part of a previous qualification that is comparable in content and standard, you might be exempted from the equivalent course of our degree. This is known as Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL), Credit Transfer or Exemption. This is available for the BA degree only.

Please note if you wish to be considered for discretionary recognition of prior learning for the 2020 intake, then you must formally apply and submit your request by: 01 October 2020.

More about Accreditation of Prior Learning.


The fees below relate to the 2022-2023 session. These are subject to annual review.

Academic year 2022-2023
Application fee (non-refundable) 107
Initial registration fee 1169
Continuing registration fee 594
Recognition of Prior Learning (per course) 119
Examination fee per course 327
Individual course application fee 107
Individual course composite fee 620
Indicative total: BA Philosophy 6675
Indicative total: DipHE Philosophy 4580
Indicative total: CertHE Philosophy 2584

Disclaimer: Currency conversion tool.

The indicative totals reflect average fee increases and assume that you complete the qualification within the minimum time (without resits).

More about programme fees.

Additional Costs

You will also need to budget for:

  • Textbooks (could extend to around £300 per year)
  • Exam centre fees, which are paid directly to the venues where you sit your exams.

How to pay your fees.

Please note: all student fees shown are net of any local VAT, Goods and Services Tax (GST) or any other sales tax payable by the student in their country of residence. Where the University is required to add VAT, GST or any other sales tax at the local statutory rate, this will be added to the fees shown during the payment process. For students resident in the UK, our fees are exempt from VAT.

Further information on Sales Tax.

Your payment provider may apply additional transaction fees (if in doubt, please check with them before making a payment).

Further information about fee payment options can be found in the “How to pay your fees” link above.

Career opportunities

The BA Philosophy degree will prepare you for many careers, including public service, teaching and research, media and journalism. While not a vocational subject, the study of philosophy is renowned as excellent preparation for success in fields such as law, administration, and business.

What do employers think of our graduates?

In some countries, qualifications earned by distance and flexible learning may not be recognised by certain authorities or regulators for the purposes of public sector employment or further study. We advise you to explore the local recognition status before you register, even if you plan to receive support from a local teaching institution.

Academic leadership

The programme is developed by the Department of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London. Birkbeck is ranked among the leading UK University institutions for its levels of national and international excellence in research in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

Programme Director

Dr Florian Steinberger was educated at the University of Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne, and the University of Cambridge. He became Assistant Professor in Logic and Philosophy of Language at the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, and the Munich Centre for Mathematical Philosophy, before joining Birkbeck in 2015.

Funding your study

Without the cost of moving to London, studying for your University of London degree anywhere in the world represents excellent value for money. However, there are additional sources of support depending on where you live and how you choose to study.

More on funding your study.

What our students think


agreed the reality of their programme was what they expected or better.


were satisfied overall with the quality of the programme.


agreed the flexibility of the programme met their needs.

Sitting in the café listening to music and drinking coffee

London Philosophy Talk Podcast

Dr Florian Steinberger, Programme Director for the BA Philosophy programme, discusses a range of philosophical topics with experts in the field.

Steve Mah, BA Philosophy, Canada

Philosophy student Steve Mah, Canada

"Philosophy builds invaluable critical thinking skills, as it calls even our most basic assumptions into question."

Apply to Philosophy