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BA (Honours) Philosophy and Psychological Studies

Philosophy and psychology seek to answer profound questions about us, our minds, our behaviour, and our place in the social and physical universe. What makes us happy? Do humans display irrational biases? How can I, a mere physical being, have thoughts and emotions? How does science progress and can I trust it? By what moral authority does the state rule over me? Who should get what? Is there a god? By studying this degree course in philosophy and psychological studies you'll learn to: read and understand scientific and historical texts; construct and analyse arguments; understand and use a range of research methods; and express your ideas clearly and logically. These skills are relevant to a broad range of career opportunities, including media, marketing, financial and social services, administration and management.

Note: completion of this degree course will not make you eligible for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) conferred by the British Psychological Society.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Key facts

Code: Q43 Made up of: 360 credits

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree.

Fees: Our fees depend on where you are ordinarily resident. We have a range of funding options to help you with payment. When you apply to study we will tell you the fee and funding options that are available to you. Before you apply you can read What you can expect to pay.

Career relevance and employability

The disciplines brought together in this degree in philosophy and psychology are highly regarded by employers, who prize graduates' reasoning ability, clear thinking and specialist knowledge. Relevant careers include:

  • public administration, local government, the civil service, social services
  • advertising, journalism, publishing, creative industries, public relations
  • education and health
  • management and human resources
  • police and the law
  • business, banking and retail
  • charities, campaigning and policy development.

This degree course develops skills vital to effective decision-making in complex organisations:

  • selecting, interpreting, evaluating and presenting data
  • identifying and using relevant information in constructing an argument
  • appreciating different ways to conceptualise and address a question
  • seeing different sides in a debate while being able to reason in favour of one
  • thinking coherently about both abstract and practical matters.

You'll also sharpen your writing and IT skills. All these attributes are greatly sought after in the world beyond study, whether you're already working, volunteering or changing career.

There's more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Educational aims

The Philosophy strand of this degree aims to:

  • provide you with an understanding of key concepts, theories, and debates in selected areas of philosophy, achieved via critical reading of primary source texts, and investigated by the methods of the contemporary Western tradition of philosophy
  • develop critical judgement in your understanding and interpretation of philosophical texts and arguments
  • develop your capacities in critical reasoning and argument to enhance your ability to argue and to write philosophical essays.

The Psychology strand of this degree aims to provide you with:

  • an understanding of key concepts, theories, methods and debates in psychology
  • an appreciation of different perspectives within psychology and the ability to evaluate them critically
  • experience of designing, carrying out, analysing and reporting psychological research using a range of research methods.

Both strands of this degree aim to provide you with support and guidance to improve your own learning and performance and to develop as an independent learner.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree you will have acquired knowledge and understanding of:

  • what it means to approach an issue philosophically, as the phrase is understood in terms of the contemporary Western tradition of philosophy
  • selected classic and contemporary philosophers and, by reading primary source texts, their views on the topics you will study
  • how to analyse and construct philosophical arguments
  • the key approaches to psychology, and the contribution of different theorists to psychological ideas and thinking
  • what constitutes a scientific approach to psychology, and of the differences between commonsense and psychological explanations of human behaviour
  • a range of research methods in psychology, their appropriate use, and the ethical issues in the design and conduct of psychological enquiry.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • understand and critically evaluate primary and secondary literature (including commentary in recorded audio format)and formulate your own views about the problems discussed
  • plan and execute philosophical writing at the appropriate level, including the ability to organise a number of arguments and counter-arguments into a coherent essay
  • plan and write a philosophical essay on a question that you have formulated for yourself
  • define and use key terms and concepts in psychology
  • explore hypotheses and construct arguments, with appropriate use of psychological concepts, theories and evidence
  • understand and evaluate the range of research strategies and methods used by psychologists.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • understand the structure of complex philosophical problems and some of the strategies that philosophers have used to solve these problems
  • read carefully and critically texts drawn from a variety of historical periods and traditions with a sensitivity to context and, where needed, an understanding of some specialised philosophical terminology
  • design and conduct psychological investigations using a range of methods and types of data analysis and report these in appropriate formats
  • conduct research that complies with established ethical principles and guidelines.

Key skills


On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • select and read material in an appropriate way, identify what is relevant and take notes efficiently and effectively
  • present written material in a coherent, organised form, with arguments and information in a logical sequence and sources referenced in an appropriate way.

Application of number

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • perform basic numerical operations and work with statistical data
  • interpret tables, graphs, diagrams and bar charts
  • present and summarise data in extended reports.

Information technology

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • access, process and prepare information using computers.

Learning how to learn

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • analyse tasks, make plans for tackling them and manage time
  • learn from a variety of different media and different teaching methods
  • learn from feedback and be able to monitor and reflect on your personal progress.

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