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Philosophy and Politics (BA)

  • LV25

3 years (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

Philosophers investigate the nature of reality using logical reasoning rather than empirical methods. It is therefore integral to the study of Politics. What, for example, does ‘power’ mean? What are the presuppositions of the various definitions that can be offered? What are their implications? Why should we prefer one definition over the others? Combining Philosophy with Politics enhances your ability to explore and test the basic beliefs and values that underpin our ideas about politics, and gives you sophisticated intellectual tools with which to do it.

In your first year you concentrate on core modules. In your second and final years you choose from among a wide range of option modules.

Politics is central to our everyday lives. It is about who gets what, when, where, how and why. It is about people and power and involves drama and events of great significance for everyone's lives. Just think of the electoral struggle between Left and Right, the power play of the Cold War, and the great enterprise of European integration. Studying for a politics degree means investigating why politics works as it does. You explore how parliaments and governments function and evaluate political ideas such as power, freedom, democracy, conflict, legitimacy and accountability.

Philosophy at Cardiff covers the full range of philosophical concerns, with a particular emphasis on ethics and aesthetics as well as politics. Modules cover both the analytic and Continental styles of Western philosophy, which is unusual in the UK.

Philosophy and Politics

Key Facts

UCAS Code LV25
Duration 3 years
How to apply
Typical places available

The School of English, Communication and Philosophy admits around 360 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

The School of Politics and international Relations admits around 100 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Typical applications received The School of English, Communication and Philosophy - 1500
The School of Politics and International Relations- 545
Scholarships & Bursaries
Typical A-level offer ABB excluding General Studies
Admissions Tutor

Dr Jonathan Kirkup

Tel Number 029 2087 5406
Email address
School website

The first year is an introductory year. It is the results of the second and final years of study that determine your degree classification. The degree is made up of compulsory modules as well as optional modules, allowing you to tailor it to reflect your specific interests. A particular feature is the option of writing a dissertation in your final year. This is highly regarded by employers because it indicates that you can do original research.

Year 1

You start by studying core Politics and Philosophy modules:

A further two modules are chosen from among other Politics modules (see below) or modules from other subjects, such as French, History or English:

Year 2

In Year 2 you choose half your modules (in terms of credits) from Politics and half from Philosophy. Please note that the lists of modules below are indicative only and that module availability may vary from year to year.

  • Epistemology and Mind
  • Logic and Language
  • Kant and Heidegger
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy

Year 3

In Year 3 you also choose half your modules (in terms of credits) from Politics and half from Philosophy.

  • The Problem of Consciousness
  • German Aesthetics
  • Philosophy and Literary Theory
  • Moral Psychology
  • Metaethics
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Nietzsche

Lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi.

Seminars provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist you to integrate the information and ideas you receive from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. Set questions and readings form the basis for discussion by directing your attention to relevant aspects of the subject matter and to various types of sources of information. Giving presentations develops your capacity to gather, organise and synthesise relevant information and ideas and to communicate these in a logical and concise manner. Tutor-led and student-led discussion hones logical skills and gives you practice in applying different concepts, theories and methods to the subject-matter at hand. It also exposes you to different interpretations of political ideas and events. Group problem-solving helps to develop collaborative skills.

Your scheduled contact hours will be supplemented by the opportunity for individual meetings with academic staff, by supportive academic progress meetings with your Personal Tutor and by the opportunity to attend research seminars and careers activities.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Prior advice and written feedback (for essays) are used to help you understand what is required.


The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and so develop your capacity to undertake research and communicate its findings, qualities increasingly prized by employers.

Pastoral care

You will be allocated a personal tutor for the entire period you are at the University. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who are available to students seeking advice, guidance and help.

Typical A-level Offer  ABB excluding General Studies
Typical WBQ Offer Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma with a Grade A in the Core and grades BB at A level
Typical Int Bacc Offer  32 points overall
Other Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.

A list of commonly accepted alternative entry qualifications and admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be read here.

For employers the Politics part of the degree means that you have an excellent understanding of politics and government at national and international level that will be of use whether you work in government or in the private or voluntary sectors. Business firms are interested in recruiting Politics graduates due to the fact that they inevitably have frequent dealings with government. Philosophy brings highly developed analytical skills that are valued by employers across a very wide range of fields.

A combined degree in Politics and Philosophy therefore prepares you for careers in a wide range of fields. These include journalism, broadcasting, local government, management, publishing, law, accountancy, education, the voluntary sector, policy research and consultancy, and the civil service. Among the employers of recent graduates are political parties, local government, private companies and non-governmental organisations. A further option is to go on to postgraduate study.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Dr Jonathan Kirkup  

Telephone: 029 2087 5036 



School Website:

More information

School of English, Communication and Philosophy

Politics and International Relations