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  • Course Type: Undergraduate
  • CAO Course Code: TR005
  • No. of Places: 20
  • Min Entry Points for 2014: 435 points
  • Duration: 4 Year(s) Full Time
  • Award: B.A.
  • Course Options:

    Philosophy may be studied as a single honor course (TR005), within the Two Subject Moderatorship programme (TR001) and in the Philosophy, political science, economics and sociology (TR015) programme.

    In TR005 Philosophy is studied for four years.

    In TR015 it is possible to study philosophy for the entire four-year degree programme or for a shorter period.

  • How to apply: See how to apply

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is the discipline concerned with the questions of how one should live (ethics); what sorts of things exist and what are their essential natures (metaphysics); what counts as genuine knowledge (epistemology); what existence is and what it means to be (ontology); and what are the correct principles of reasoning (logic). It is generally agreed that philosophy is a method, rather than a set of claims, propositions, or theories. Its investigations are, unlike those of religion or superstition, wedded to reason, making no unexamined assumptions and no leaps based purely on analogy, revelation, or authority. In Greek, philosophy means love of wisdom. Philosophy is based on rational argument and appeal to facts. The questions addressed by philosophy remain the most general and most basic, the issues that underlie the sciences and stand at the base of a world-view.

Course overview

In all cases the purpose of the Philosophy course is to give you a solid, scholarly grounding in the classical texts that form the history of Western philosophy, and are one of the formative influences on Western culture. Studying the fundamentals of both formal and informal reasoning will enable you to think independently.

Is this the right course for you?

If you are interested in examining questions regarding the ultimate nature of reality and our knowledge of it, or in questioning society’s basic assumptions and in analysing the moral, political, aesthetic and religious questions lying at the heart of our culture in an articulate manner you will find this a stimulating and challenging course.

Course content

The Freshman years

In the first two years, called Junior Freshman and Senior Freshman, you will study foundation courses in the history of philosophy, as well as engage with certain fundamental philosophical problems such as the debates about free will and determinism, the nature of morality, the nature of language, the existence of God, logic, and the scope and limits of human knowledge.

The Sophister years

In the final two years, called Junior Sophister and Senior Sophister, you are able to set your own syllabus by selecting courses from a reasonably wide choice including political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of mind, among others. In this way you can specialise in the areas of philosophy you have found most interesting and most suitable to your skills.


Assessment is by means of both essays and formal examinations with equal importance given to both. In the Senior Sophister year, you will research and write a dissertation.

Career opportunities

In the recent past graduates of Philosophy have worked in areas as diverse as accountancy, academic teaching, journalism, law, T.V. reporting and research, film making, banking, computing and advertising. Each year some graduates also opt to pursue a research career beginning with postgraduate study in Ireland or abroad.

Did you know?

  • George Berkeley (1685-1753), who has a permanent place in any list of the great philosophers, attended Trinity. In addition, the political philosopher, Edmund Burke (1729-1797), inaugurated the College debating society while still a student at Trinity.

Further information

Tel: +353 1 896 1529

Student Profile

Sarah O'Gorman

Philosophy requires an open mind and involves the inquiry into nature and reality, knowledge and values with the use of logical reasoning and argument. I was attracted to the Philosophy degree at Trinity because it offered an expansive introduction into numerous philosophical disciplines. The course works effectively because the first two years are devoted to widening your knowledge in different areas: for example, Ancient, Analytic, Religious, Political or Logic were some of the choices offered. In the third year more individual choice is encouraged and one can begin to narrow down one's interests so that by fourth year one is genuinely prepared for working on a thesis topic... One of the course's main appeals is that you learn not to expect any straight answers but through reasoning you can regularly be enlightened all the same! Being a relatively small department means that all the staff became well-known, extremely approachable and one can see that they are chosen for their passon and knowledge in their specialised area. For those interested in taking PPES, I can recommend that philosophy is a wonderful subject whoses very nature means that it can be absorbed into so many areas, particularly within the subjects linked with this course.

Matthew McKeever - Senior Sophister Single Honor Philosophy student 2010/11

"Philosophy teaches you how to think, and it does this by asking deep questions about a broad set of subjects. Let me explain.

First, the broadness of philosophy. Unlike, say, English literature or mathematics, philosophy has no one single subject matter. Anything can be studied philosophically. This is one of the things that first attracted me to the subject: there are so many interesting subjects out there, and philosophy lets you dip a toe in pretty much any of them (if you don't believe me, google 'philosophy of' and something that interests you!).

But studying philosophy isn't like taking a degree in one of the subjects mentioned above, and here's where depth comes in. It sound pretentious, but in philosophy we study the fundamental questions, the answers to which are often taken for granted. We don't ask, for example, how many prime numbers there are; we ask what numbers themselves are. We don't ask what the bible says about say, creation, but consider how religious language in general functions. These, I hope you agree, are pretty interesting questions.

So that's why you should study philosophy. You should study it at Trinity for two reasons: the course and the faculty. The faculty is small and friendly, and are always happy to talk philosophy, course-related or not. Moreover, despite being small, their interests cover all the main areas in philosophy. This is reflected in the course: in the first two years, you get to study all the main areas of philosophy. This enables you to see where your interests lie, and then in the final two years you get to choose courses based on this."