Department of Religions and Philosophies, School of History, Religions and Philosophies & Centre for Global and Comparative Philosophies

BA World Philosophies

Key information

Duration
3 years
Start of programme
September
Attendance mode
Full-time
Location
Russell Square, College Buildings
Fees

Home student fees: £9,250
Overseas student fees: £21,160

Please note that fees go up each year. 
See undergraduate fees for further details.

Course code
UGSF0061
Entry requirements

A Levels: ABB

Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Austria: Reifeprufungszeugnis / Maturazeugnis: four subjects at 1, 2, 2, 2 

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Belgium: Diploma van Secundair Onderwijs: 75% (7.5/10, 15/20) overall

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Belgium

 

Bulgaria: Diploma za Zavarsheno Sredno Obrazovanie: 5.3 and 5.0 in two State Maturity Exams

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Bulgaria

Canada: High School Diploma: 80% with 5 acceptable Grade 12 subjects (most territories).
British Columbia: AABBB in Grade 12 courses.

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Canada

 

China: Senior Secondary Graduation Certificate + Gaokao: 78% overall in Gaokao PLUS 85% overall in Senior Secondary School Graduation Certificate (year 11 and 12)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from China

 

Croatia: Matura Certificate: 4.5 overall with 5 in 1 Higher level subject

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Cyprus: Apolytirion with 2 A-Levels: Apolytirion 18/20 + A-level grades BB

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Czech Republic: Matura Certificate: 1, 2, 2, 2

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Denmark: Studentereksamen; Hojere Forberedelseseksamen; Hojere Handelseksamen; Hojere Teknisk Eksamen7 plus 10, 7, 7 in three Level A subjects

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Denmark

 

Estonia: Gümnaasiumi lõputunnistus with the Riigieksamitunnistus4.0 with 85%, 80%, and 80% in 3 state exams

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Finland: Ylioppilastukint / Studentexamen: four subjects at 6, 5, 5, 5

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

France: French Baccalaureat or Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB): 13/20

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from France

 

Germany: Abitur: 1.8

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Germany

 

Greece: Apolytirion of Geniko Lykeio with Pan Hellenic exams: 18/20

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Greece

 

Hong Kong: Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education: 544 in two electives and one core (all other subjects grade 3)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Hong Kong

 

Hungary: Matura (Erettségi): 4.5 overall

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Iceland: Stúdentspróf: 7.5

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

India: Standard XII: 75% (CBSE, CISCE, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra & West Bengal boards), 80% (all other state boards)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from India

 

Ireland: Irish Leaving Certificate: H1, H2, H2, H3, H3

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Israel: Bagrut: Overall grade of 7, 80% with 3 subjects at 5-unit level

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Israel

 

Italy: Diploma Consequito con L’Esame di Stato: 80% overall

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Italy

 

Latvia: Certificate of General Secondary Education: 88% in four State subject exams

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Lithuania: Brandos Atestatas: 8.5/10 and 90%, 85%, 85% in three State Exam

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Lithuania

 

Malta: Advanced Matriculation Certificate: AB (Advanced) + BBB (Intermediate)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Netherlands: Voorbereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs: 7.5 overall with 8, 8, 7, 7 in four subjects

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Norway: Vitnemål vidergaende opplaering: 4.3 overall

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Norway

 

Poland: New Polish Matura: 75% in three Advanced Level subjects

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Poland

 

Portugal: Diploma de Ensino Secundario: overall 17.5/20

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Romania: Diploma de Bacalaureat: 8.5 overall

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Romania

 

Singapore: Polytechnic Diploma (Nanyang, Ngee Ann, Singapore, Temasek and Republic Polytechnic): GPA 3.3

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Singapore

 

Slovakia: Maturitná skúška / Maturita / Vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške: four subjects at 1, 2, 2, 2

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

South Africa: National Senior Certificate: 77666

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from South Africa

 

Spain: Curso de Orientación Universitaria / Título de Bachillerato: 7.5

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Spain

 

Sweden: Slutbetyg / Examensbevis från Gymnasieskolan: A in 1200 credits and no grades below D / 18 / mainly B overall (MVG/VG)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Sweden

Switzerland: Federal Maturity Certificate: 4.5

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Switzerland

Tanzania: Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education: ACSE with BBB in 3 principle subjects

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Tanzania

Trinidad and Tobago: CAPE: Six CAPE units with grade 2 (+two double-unit courses)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Turkey: Lise Diplomasi: 78-83% (depending on high school)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Turkey

USA: High School Diploma plus ACT, SAT, or AP exams:

  • High School Diploma GPA 3.0 plus SAT 1280 or ACT 27 and 2 AP's at 4,4
    or

  • High School Diploma GPA of 3.2 plus 2 AP's at 4,4
    or

  • High School Diploma GPA 3.4 plus SAT 1300 or ACT 29
    or

  • 2-year Associate degree GPA 3.1

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from the USA

See undergraduate entry requirements for international and alternative entry requirements.

Course overview

Philosophy has been a significant activity in every society for several thousand years. It is a basic aspect of all human cultures to ask “big questions” about the fundamental nature of reality, about what it is to be human, what constitutes a good life, the nature of beauty, justice, knowledge and truth, and how to confront and resolve ethical dilemmas.

The BA World Philosophies is one of the only programmes in the world to provide the opportunity to ask these questions and examine answers from a global and decolonising perspective. The degree offers rigorous training in the formal epistemological, ethical, metaphysical systems and traditions of argumentation, and political and social thought from a wider range of societies than those of the traditional philosophy undergraduate degree.

Thus in addition to the ability to think critically and logically, acquired through the study of philosophy in general, the study of philosophical traditions from Asia, Africa, the Middle East in dialogue with European and Anglophone traditions enables students to take a broad and comprehensive view of the world and to think critically and deeply about justice, ethics, and real-world problems.

Programme aims

  • To train students in foundational philosophical concepts, practices, and themes (logic, hermeneutics, epistemology, ontology, ethics, aesthetics, etc.).
  • To develop a critical awareness of the dynamic range of philosophical traditions and the intellectual value of expanding the horizons of western philosophy through exposure to philosophical traditions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
  • To encourage a dialogical approach to the study of philosophy by bringing together the study of western philosophical traditions with non-western philosophies in their vernacular, historical, and contemporary contexts.
  • To develop a deep understanding of a range of culturally specific systems of thought and the ability to converse in more than one intellectual language or system of thought.

Why study BA World Philosophies 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
  • SOAS academics possess a range of unparalleled expertise in the philosophical traditions of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and 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 

 

 

Structure

The structure of the BA World Philosophies, taken as a single-subject honours degree, ensures that students gain a rigorous grounding in core philosophical themes, concepts, problems and approaches drawn from non-European, European, and Anglophone philosophical traditions with the flexibility to enable regional or thematic specialism or language capability.

Modules to the equivalent of 120 credits must be taken in each year. Each year students take compulsory modules alongside a list of options in various traditions or themes in World Philosophies, or may choose a language specialism.

  • Year 1: provides an essential foundation in World Philosophies, and introduces core topics in Philosophy.
  • Year 2: 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 may undertake a supervised Independent Study Project which is intended to consolidate and extend a student’s understanding and knowledge applied to prominent themes or debates in the field of World Philosophies.

Important notice

The information on the website reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. The modules are indicative options of the content students can expect and are/have been previously taught as part of these programmes. However, this information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Year 1, term 1

Compulsory modules

You will take two compulsory modules of 15 credits and two guided options of 15 credits:

Year 2

You will take two compulsory modules.

You will select 45-75 credits from the Traditions of Philosophy List 1, or you may exchange 30 credits of the guided options for a language or non language open option

Language open options, non-language open options

Year 3 

You will take one compulsory module

Module Credits
The Margins of Philosophy 30

You will select modules of up to 90 credits from the Traditions of Philosophy list 2 

Or

30 credits of the guided options may be exchanged for a language or non-language open option

Teaching and learning

The course 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.

Programme learning outcomes

Knowledge

  • Familiarity with core concepts, themes, and arguments in the discipline of Philosophy;
  • Knowledge of the history of Philosophy as a discipline;
  • Fluency in a range of philosophical traditions and systems of thought from Asia, Africa and the Middle East;
  • Training in theories and practices of criticism and interpretation in relation to western philosophical systems, both analytic and continental.
  • Training in theories and practices of criticism and interpretation in relation to core topics in world philosophies, historical and contemporary.
  • Knowledge of a variety of intellectual frameworks and key concepts that enable close engagement with the core problematic of intellectual insularity and the value of dialogue across philosophical traditions.

Intellectual (thinking) skills

  • Precision in assessment of evidence and argumentation.
  • Capacity to discuss philosophical concepts and problems in an articulate, informed, and intellectual manner.
  • Critical acumen in the assessment of philosophical arguments and interpretations;
  • The ability to assess evidence and arguments independently;
  • Effective presentation of complex philosophical arguments;
  • Development and application of self-reflexive approaches to dominant issues in the field of world philosophies.

Subject-based practical skills

  • Application of logic and critical thinking to both abstract and real-world problems;
  • Ability to assess complex arguments in cultural context;
  • Ability to develop and articulate clear and strong arguments across a range of contentious issues and debates.
  • Academic and professional writing to the highest standards;
  • IT-based information retrieval, processing and data organization;
  • Research project design
  • Presentational skills
  • Independent study skills
  • Reflexive learning

Transferable skills

  • Problem solving, argumentation, and research skills
  • Oral and written communication
  • Critical and independent thought
  • Synthesising of difficult and wide ranging empirical material
  • Regional, tradition-based, and/or linguistic specialism
  • Working to deadlines and to high standards of presentation and argumentation
  • Ability to make assessments involving complex factors

Contact hours

Most courses involve a 50-100-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.

SOAS Library

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 and funding

Fees for 2023/24 entrants per academic year

Programme Full-time
Home students Overseas students

BA, BSc, LLB

£9,250

£21,160
BA/BSc Language year abroad £1,385 £10,580

Please note that fees go up each year.

See undergraduate fees for further details.

Employment

Graduates from the Department of Religions and Philosophies develop the skills to analyse and communicate ideas in a clear, and comprehensive manner. A degree in philosophy is highly regarded by employers of many kinds. Philosophy teaches the student how to analyse and communicate ideas in a clear, rational and comprehensive manner. Students of philosophy learn solid argumentation skills and critical analysis: they learn how to learn, how to think, and how to communicate their ideas effectively and persuasively. Graduates develop into well-rounded, mature, thoughtful and articulate employees. The skills of vision, creativity and analytical power being developed through the study of philosophy are key proficiencies which are valuable in many careers and are transferable to a wide range of sectors and roles.

Recent graduates have been hired by:

  • Asia Society
  • British Council
  • Cabinet Office
  • Chatham House
  • Edelman
  • 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

Find out about our Careers Service.