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Explore the traditions of philosophy 

Studying philosophy at UNSW, you’ll address three major concepts of philosophical thought: continental European, analytic and Chinese. Drawing on the wealth of wisdom and insights in these three areas, you’ll ask fundamental questions concerning the nature of reality, knowledge, society and human existence.

Question the world around you  

Philosophical questions are at the core of all aspects of human existence, including politics, law, business, peacemaking and warfare, creative arts, and science and technology. You’ll learn to gather, critically evaluate and organise large and complex bodies of information to understand and engage with the key issues of complex, contemporary societies.   

The study of philosophy will teach you to examine and question the fundamental concepts of human knowledge. This reflection will challenge and deepen your understanding of issues such as human rights, the methods of scientific inquiry, the ethical implications of climate change, disability and public policy.

Develop critical thinking & problem-solving skills 

You’ll ask the big questions when you study philosophy at UNSW. What counts as knowledge or as a good argument? How should we live? What is a person? What is justice? You’ll also learn to think clearly, analytically, with depth and imagination. You’ll build compelling arguments and learn how best to articulate them in academic and professional contexts. 

Your study of philosophy at UNSW will allow you to evaluate and communicate elaborate ideas in writing and speech, tackle problems, and engage effectively in debates and discussions. These essential skills will provide a solid foundation and prepare you for success in a range of careers and industries.

  • In our undergraduate program, you’ll learn about how past and contemporary thinkers have approached fundamental questions about reality, knowledge, society and human existence, and to think critically and creatively about these issues yourself.  

    You’ll cover areas such as: 

    • metaphysics and epistemology: philosophical logic and philosophy of science 
    • philosophy of mind: philosophical psychology, cognitive science and artificial intelligence 
    • moral, social and political philosophy: moral theory, applied ethics, race and gender theory, social ontology 
    • the history of philosophy: ancient Greek philosophy, Chinese philosophy (Confucianism, Daoism and early modern philosophy (from Descartes to Kant), and post-Kantian German philosophy (Hegel, Nietzsche)  
    • modern European philosophy: phenomenology, poststructuralism, hermeneutics, and critical theory 
    • aesthetics: questions concerning beauty, the sublime and the arts. 

    Degree options

  • Honours study is available for high achieving students. Over the course of a year, you’ll write a philosophical thesis on a topic of your choice, personally supervised by a professional philosopher. Completing an honours degree with a good mark also opens up a pathway to a Doctor of Philosophy.

  • Top students have the opportunity to continue to a Masters by Research or a Doctor of Philosophy. With a successful PhD thesis, you’ll reach an elevated and professional level as a thinker. Postgraduate research prepares you for a wide range of roles that require the most demanding kinds of intellectual capacity and enables you to apply for jobs and engage in a career in philosophy.

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