• UCAS Code: V500 BA/Ph
  • Campus Code: 4
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Places per year: 1-2

Philosophy explores human thought, the basis of knowledge, the nature of reason, consciousness and cognition, as well as the foundations of value and political theory. Its questions are intriguing and its study requires complex critical thinking, rigorous analysis and consideration of new perspectives.

Our approach emphasises the values of the analytic school: rigour, clarity and independent thought. But its content extends well beyond the analytic tradition and its main preoccupations. For instance, we currently offer papers on Greek and Roman, and early modern philosophy, as well as political philosophy and aesthetics.

Course Overview

Cambridge University has an especially distinguished place in the history of 20thcentury philosophy. It was here, in the early years of this century, that Bertrand Russell, G E Moore, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Frank Ramsey and others developed the analytical style of philosophy that is now prominent throughout the world.

Philosophy at Cambridge University retains a strong commitment to this analytic style, though this does not preclude active study and teaching of the history of philosophy from Socrates to Nietzsche, and of such subjects as aesthetics and political philosophy.

Although a Philosophy degree is not an essential qualification for most careers, the analytic and critical skills developed through the study of Philosophy prepare graduates for a variety of professions, including computing, journalism, administration and the law.

How You Learn

The Faculty has close links with related faculties such as Classics, History, and History and Philosophy of Science, so you can take advantage of a wide range of specialised lectures and seminars. You also have access to many excellent libraries.

A lot of teaching is done via lectures, but there are also classes for some subjects (e.g. first-year logic), and discussion groups in the first and second years.

Students are directed to read for a topic for their weekly supervision in College and write a substantial essay about it, before discussing the essay and the topic with the supervisor.

Typical Offer Conditions




41-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level


See the University’s Entrance Requirements page

Subject Requirements 





Written Work


Admissions Assessment

All applicants for Philosophy are required to take a written assessment if shortlisted for interview. The College will register you automatically for this assessment.

General Comments

If you’re thinking of applying to study Philosophy and haven’t already done so, we strongly advise you to do some reading about the subject to get a realistic idea of what it’s like. For example:

  • S Blackburn Think
  • R Descartes Meditations
  • D Hume Enquiries
  • J S Mill Utilitarianism
  • B Russell Problems of Philosophy

Please see the Faculty website for further suggestions.