Overview and entry requirements
The BA World Philosophies and ...programme may also be studied as a single-subject degree (BA World Philosophies).
Philosophy has been a significant activity in most cultures for several thousand years. It seems to be a natural development of human societies to ask complex questions about the fundamental nature of reality, about what it is to be human, about what constitutes a good life, about the nature of beauty, justice, knowledge and truth, of how to confront and resolve ethical dilemmas.
A degree in philosophy from SOAS, with its focus on the philosophical traditions of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, offers you the opportunity to become conversant with the formal epistemological systems and traditions of argumentation, political and ethical systems of thought, and analysis from a wider range of societies and historical contexts than those of the traditional philosophy graduate.
See Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies
Why study BA World Philosophies combined degree at SOAS
- we are World Top 50 for Arts & Humanities (QS World University Rankings 2022) - with a rate of 91.7% overall student satisfaction (NSS 2021)
- we have been ranked 3rd for research outputs and 7th place overall in the Theology and Religious Studies research rankings in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021
- SOAS is ranked in the top 5 universities in the UK for producing a CEO or Managing Director, according to new research
- not only do our academic staff have unparalleled expertise in the philosophical traditions of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, many of the School’s lecturers are trained in and conversant with European philosophical traditions
- the range of languages offered in the School ensure that you will encounter philosophical traditions in their vernacular contexts
- you will develop the ability to think critically and logically, acquired through the study of philosophy in general, the study of philosophies from Asia, Africa and the Middle East will enable you to take a broad, balanced, and comprehensive view, to listen attentively to and understand others’ viewpoints with empathy and deep cultural insight
- you will gain the capacity to become effective mediators between and within diverse societies, in complex and demanding environments and situations
- SOAS is uniquely placed to offer a philosophy programme that can equip students with the skills and training to meet this challenge
Who should apply
The BA World Philosophies combined degree will suit high-performing students with a global outlook, an interest in diverse philosophical traditions and cultural parameters of non-Western societies, coupled with an aptitude in intellectual history and critical thought. Individuals with inter-cultural competency — the ability to exchange values and concepts, to value and communicate different modes of understanding in the marketplace of ideas — are in huge demand in the job market.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- 3 years
Fees for 2022/23 entrants per academic year
- UK fees:
- Overseas fees:
Please note that fees go up each year. Further details see 'Fees and funding' (tab on this page) or the Registry's undergraduate tuition fees page.
Please see the Unistats data for the various combinations of this programme under the Combinations tab.
BA World Philosophies and… introduces students to core philosophical themes, concepts, problems and approaches drawn from European, Anglophone, and non-European philosophical traditions with an accompanying flexibility built in to enable regional or thematic specialism or language capability.
Taken as a joint honours degree, it enables students to combine study of the core and compulsory components of World Philosophies with a number of other subject areas offered in the School.
Modules to the equivalent of 30 credits must be taken in each year. In year 1 and 2, modules to the equivalent of 30 credits are compulsory, with students choosing modules for the remaining credits from a list of defined options. In year 3, both modules are compulsory.
The first year of the programme provides an essential foundation in World Philosophies, and introduces core topics in Philosophy, with additional options available that enable focus on discrete traditions, a language, or thematic components.
The second year builds on the foundations established in the first year, enabling students to grapple with questions of interpretation, hermeneutics, phenomenology, and dialogue between and within philosophical traditions. Core components of philosophical methods and concepts are also taught and students are encouraged to develop a regional or thematic specialism, choosing from a wide range of options that address philosophical themes or offer training in specific philosophical traditions. Language training is also encouraged.
The third and final year is characterised by a focus on epistemology and critique, independent research, and the consolidation of a chosen regional or thematic specialism. All students undertake a supervised Independent Study Project which is intended to consolidate and extend a student’s philosophical tradition-based understanding and knowledge applied to prominent themes or debates in the field of World Philosophies.
Year 1 , term 1
Students will select the following TWO compulsory modules plus TWO Second subject modules of 15 credits
Year 1, term 2
Students will select any TWO modules of 15 credits from Core Curriculum
plus TWO Second subject modules of 15 credits
Students will select the following TWO compuslory modules plus ONE module from the Traditions of Philosophy List 1 of 15 credits and TWO Second subject modules of 30 credits
Traditions of Philosophy List 1
Students will take the following Compulsory module plus ONE module from the Traditions of Philosophy List 2 of 30 credits and TWO Second subject modules of 30 credits
Traditions of Philosophy List 2
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching & Learning
The BA World Philosophies and ... is examined through written and oral examinations and coursework. In addition, the Independent Study Project (ISP) in year 3 facilitates supervised student research in a prominent topic or debate in the field of World Philosophies.
Most courses involve a 50- 100-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.
SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.
Fees for 2022/23 entrants per academic year
BA, BSc, LLB
|BA/BSc Language year abroad
Please note that fees go up each year.
For full details of undergraduate tuition fees, see our Registry's undergraduate tuition fees page.
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
In addition to an understanding of global faiths, histories and cultures, graduates from the Department of Religions and Philosophies develop the skills to analyse and communicate ideas in a clear, rational and comprehensive manner. These key proficiencies are valuable in many careers and are transferable to a wide range of sectors and roles.
Recent Department of Religions and Philosophies graduates have been hired by:
- Asia Society
- British Council
- Cabinet Office
- Chatham House
- Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
- HELP USA
- King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Princeton University
- Royal Government of Cambodia
- The Happiness Factory
- The Inter Faith Network for the UK
- The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
- UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
- United Nations Development Programme
Visit SOAS Careers Service.
A Student's Perspective
I've also loved being part of the lively community that is SOAS; there's a buzz you can feel as soon as you walk through the doors. I've enjoyed the free world music concerts in the Brunei Gallery lecture theatre, or just sitting in the JCR with a cup of tea, hearing snatches of debate in many languages, and reading the posters and pamphlets for every possible political cause. SOAS is a stimulating place to be, both inside and outside the classroom, and I'm happy that I now have a lifelong connection to this unique institution.