BA Philosophy


I’ve shifted my sights a little, considering the attraction I have for an MA in the Netherlands (or Belgium), it seems prerequisite to have a BA, especially since I have no philosophy track record. The OU seem incredibly expensive, a  60 point module in a BA in Humanities and Philosophy would cost £1470 here in Germany, and you’d need 360 points for the degree. Much more reasonable, more flexible, and seemingly more challenging is the BA Philosophy offered by Birkbeck, distance learning an option.

I came across the course in an excellent comparison website by Dr. Phil Joyce of the four distance learning offerings for philosophy at BA level in the UK. It’s possible to transfer CATS points, and it might be worth looking into some of the modules in Lampeter and Oxford. This especially regarding Continental Philosophy and the opportunity of having some tutor input included.

Lampeter seems only to offer MA stuff for DL these days.

BA Philosophy – University of London

Course overview



The prospectus gives very clear guidelines for studying the course and dealing with the exams. Also, each module is given a brief explanation as to content followed by a suggested reading list. This seems quite exceptional compared to what I’ve so far encountered, and suggests that the course lends itself to substantial immersion in philosophy.

Course structure

Five compulsory modules + three of five further modules + two of fourteen optional modules.

Of the further modules

  • Metaphysics is the one that catches my eye
  • Ethiscs is the one I feel like avoiding

Of the optional modules I’m attracted to:

  • Contintental Philosophy from Hegel
  • Philosophy of Mathematics er, strangely enough, yes


No tutor input or support. Options available, but it’d add to the cost.

Getting hold of books may prove tricky, but extensive reading list allows for this to be checked out beforehand.

Postive attractions

Birkbeck is a world class institution. Exams are 3 hour written papers answering three of 10+ questions.

Probably looking at 5 years to complete the thing, maybe four.

Pathways have some interesting comments and suggestions for success.

Reality, Being and Existence: an Introduction to Metaphysics (Online) – Oxford

Course overview


FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 hours.

£200 for EU

Crane, Tim, & Farkas, Katalin, (Editors), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology (OUP, Oxford, 2004)

Six areas covered

  • Introduction: what is metaphysics?
  • Existence
  • Universals and particulars
  • Realism and idealism: does the world exist independently of our minds? Realism is the view that it does; idealism is the view that reality is mind-dependent. Are any features of the world mind-dependent?
  • The freedom of the will: … <> determinism
  • Cause and effect
  • The nature of time and space

Theory of Knowledge (Online) – Oxford

Course overview


FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 hours.

£200 for EU

Pritchard, D. H., What is This Thing Called Knowledge? (Routledge, London, 2006) ISBN 0415387981

  • The Value of Knowledge
  • What is Knowledge?
  • Agrippa’s Trilemma
  • Rationality and Justification
  • Epistemic Virtue
  • The Sources of Knowledge I: Perception
  • The Sources of Knowledge II: Testimony and Memory
  • The Sources of Knowledge III: Deduction and Induction
  • Radical Scepticism
  • Truth and Objectivity

Other philosophy short courses are available from Oxford but these are the two I’d consider taking hold of. There’s encouragement to engage in forum discussion.


About Christopher J
I teach English, make digital images, write and encourage others. I believe.

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