BA World Philosophies
SOAS University of London
Full time, Part time
GBP 9,250 / per year *
Earliest start date
* full-time fees per academic year: UK £9,250; Overseas £20,350
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
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. Not only do we have a range of 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 ensures that you will encounter philosophical traditions in their vernacular contexts.
In addition to 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. With these skills in hand, you will develop 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 is this programme for?
This 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.
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 European, Anglophone, and non-European philosophical traditions with accompanying flexibility built in to enable regional or thematic specialism or language capability.
Modules to the equivalent of 120 credits must be taken in each year. Modules to the equivalent of 60 credits are compulsory per year, with students free to select a further 60 credits from a list of options in various traditions or themes in World Philosophies or to choose a language specialism.
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.
You will take one Compulsory Module worth 15 credits:
- World Philosophies in Context
From the list below. You will take up to 105 credits - starting with term 1 and followed with term 2 modules
- Comparative Ethics
- Debates, Methods and Themes in World Philosophies
- Introduction to Logic, Critical Reasoning and Argumentation
- Introduction to Epistemology
- Metaphysics in Comparative Perspective
- Philosophy, Race, and Racism
- Reading and Writing Philosophy
replace ONE guided option with a 15 credit Language module
Open Option Language modules
- R110 Introduction to Buddhism 158000110 15 Term 2
You will take two compulsory modules.
up to 75 credits from the Traditions of Philosophies List below.
- R120 Introduction to Hinduism
- Philosophies of Interpretation and Understanding
- Philosophies of Language
Traditions of Philosophies
- African Philosophy
- Ancient and Medieval Indian Philosophy
- Buddhist Philosophy
- Classical Chinese Thought*
- The Holocaust and the Problem of Evil*
- Islamic Philosophy
- Japanese Buddhist Thought
- Modern Indian Philosophy
- Modern Jewish Thought
- R471 Taoism: the Great Tradition
- The Holocaust and the Problem of Evil*
- R451 Jewish Identity from Ancient to Modern Times
- R130 Islam: Religion and Rationality
- R430 Political Islam
* Taught in alternate years
30 credits from the Traditions of Philosophies List may be swopped for Language modules: Language Open Option modules
Take two compulsory modules
- 'The Margins of Philosophy': Postcolonial, Gender, and Queer Epistemologies
- Independent Study Project in World Philosophies
Choose modules to the value of 60 credits from the Traditions of Philosophies list. OR 30 credits can be exchanged for a Language Open Option module:
- Language Open Option modules
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.
English Language Requirements
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