What is Philosophy?
Philosophy is an intellectually exciting discipline in which fundamental questions of human existence, value and society are examined, debated and challenged. Its methods are reason and argument and philosophy students are given the skills to reason and argue clearly, cogently and effectively. Rather than a body of doctrine, philosophy is a method or a way of approaching abstract general questions such as what is a good life, what is the fundamental nature of reality, what is the purpose (if any) of human existence?
Philosophy: The course for you?
This course offers the opportunity to engage in depth with questions of metaphysics (about the fundamental nature of reality), epistemology (the theory of knowledge), ethics (theories of right and wrong), political philosophy (the nature of the just state), philosophy of religion (reasoning about God), philosophy of mind (questions about thought, language and reason) and various other areas. The Department is ranked in the 51-100 in the world (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2021) and the staff are world-recognised specialists in their respective areas of expertise. The department's approach is predominately, but not exclusively, within analytic philosophy, which focuses on conceptual analysis and logical precision, and is unique in this respect in Ireland.
Philosophy at Trinity
Our Department is small and student-friendly while offering a world-class programme in philosophy. We teach courses which have both systematic and historical emphases and in the higher years students can choose options and get to write a thesis on a topic of their own choice. Trinity Philosophy students have regularly won prizes at the International Undergraduate Awards competition and also have gone on to the major graduate programmes in the world. There is a lively student society, the Metafizz, which offers the opportunity of combining social activities with philosophy.
Do you enjoy…
Challenging and questioning the assumptions of your society and of generally accepted views?
Arguing and debating about fundamental questions of human existence and value?
Engaging with great thinkers, reading, assimilating and responding to them?
The pathways available are Single Honours, Major with Minor and Joint Honours.
Graduate skills and career opportunities
In the recent past, graduates of Philosophy have worked in areas as diverse as accountancy, academic teaching, journalism, law, TV reporting and research, filmmaking, banking, computing and advertising. Each year some graduates also opt to pursue a research career, beginning with postgraduate study in Ireland or abroad.
Research on graduate entry aptitude tests in the US (GRE) show that philosophy graduates outscore all other disciplines in two of the three main areas (verbal reasoning and analytical writing) and tend to do well in the third, quantitative reasoning. The kind of reasoning and analytical competencies acquired in studying philosophy are transferable to a multiplicity of careers.
Your degree and what you’ll study
The Philosophy course is designed 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 support you to think independently.
First and second years
In the first two years, 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.
In the Joint Honours programme, where Philosophy is studied with another subject, there are approximately five hours of classes per week; with double that for the Single Honours programme.
Third and fourth years
In the final two years, 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 fourth year, you will undertake a Capstone project. For more detailed information on all the modules offered, see: www.tcd.ie/philosophy/undergraduate/course-outlines
There are QQI/FET routes available for this course. Please see www.cao.ie for details.
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This degree is also available within the Dual BA Programme between Trinity College Dublin and Columbia University.
Students have attended a wide variety of universities in different countries, generally in their second year. As we do not require students to attend a specific university, there is a great choice available (students choose a university in consultation with teaching staff). Further information on the year abroad programme, and a list of partner universities, can be found at: www.tcd.ie/ssp/undergraduate/study-abroad
Study Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin
The purpose of this presentation is to give a brief overview of what Philosophy is and what studying Philosophy at Trinity involves.
AwardsB.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)
CAO InformationCAO Points 456 (2021) CAO Code TR005
Number of Places20 Places
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Advanced Entry Applications
Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.
What our graduates say
“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. One of the main appeals of the course 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 passion and knowledge in their specialised area.”