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Graduate Diploma Philosophy

Explore contemporary issues in Philosophy with no prior experience

Year of entry: 2021/22


9 months full-time,
18 months part-time

Start date

September 2021 (term dates)

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On this course you'll engage with key issues at the centre of contemporary debates, and gain up-to-date knowledge of philosophy across a broad range of topics.

This course is intended to provide an opportunity for those with no background in Philosophy to do advanced work in the subject and to obtain an Honours-level qualification in it. It's ideal for those wishing to go on to study for the MA in Philosophy as it provides you with the essential grounding needed for this course.

The first part of the course will provide you with knowledge of important topics in Philosophy and you'll develop essential skills to engage critically with those topics. The second part of the course will give you experience in applying research skills to a well-defined problem under the guidance of an expert in the area. To achieve this, you will undertake the exciting and challenging task of preparing a written project based on your own independent research. You'll be supervised by a member of staff throughout to ensure that you remain on track and develop your ideas in the right direction.

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Course content

You will take 110 credits of undergraduate level modules during the course (four to five taught modules) plus 10 credits at postgraduate level in the form of the Postgraduate Research Skills module. This module includes attending research seminars and keeping a reflective journal. It will provide you with a grounding in the skills necessary to contribute to contemporary philosophical debates. 

Course structure for part-time study

  • Term 1: 20 credits overall, including 10 credits from Reason and Argument module
  • Term1-2: Postgraduate Research Skills (10 credits)
  • Term 2: One 20-credit module from Year 3 undergraduate options
  • Term 3: Project I (10 credits)
  • Terms 4 and 5: One 20-credit module each term from Year 3 undergraduate options
  • Term 6: Project II (20 credits)


Core modules

20 credits must be chosen from the following:

You'll also take:

Option modules

The remaining 60 credits must be chosen from our Year 3 undergraduate modules, all worth 20 credits each. Module examples:

You'll select modules from a list of no fewer than three modules per term. The final list will be published in advance of the beginning of the course.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Research project

As an application of the knowledge, skills and experience gained in the previous stages of the course, the Graduate Diploma Project (worth 30 credits) enables you to produce a sustained piece of critical writing on a topic of your choosing.

If you are a full-time student, you will undertake a 5,000 word project on a topic you chose in consultation with your supervisor. 

If you are a part-time student, you will prepare a 2,000 word project during Summer Term of the first year (for submission at the end of term) and a 3,000 word project during Summer Term of the second year (for submission at the end of that term).

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • write clearly and in a well structured way
  • read and analyse philosophical texts carefully and sensitively
  • expound philosophical arguments and theories accurately and fairly
  • engage critically with texts and debates
  • identify errors of reasoning and fact
  • articulate precise conceptual distinctions
  • recognize merits of alternative views
  • think flexibly and imaginatively about philosophical issues (eg by conceiving scenarios which serve as counterexamples to particular claims)
  • formulate persuasive arguments in defence of one’s own opinions
  • engage constructively in debate
  • carry out an independent piece of research on a topic of their choice

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2021/22

Students on a Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 Visa) are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

We don't anticipate there being any significant additional costs for this course, as all books are available either in the library or online. You will receive a printing and photocopying allowance once you register for the course, but you will have to cover the costs of any additional printing, over and above this allowance, yourself.

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Departmental funding information

For more information see our philosophy specific funding.

Xenophanes Scholarship

For September 2021 entry, the Scholarship will be awarded as a contribution of £5,000 towards living costs. You must be holding an offer by 31 March 2021 and be classified as a Home student. For more information on eligibility and how to apply see our philosophy funding.


Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

The staff in the department have been very welcoming. Many of them are leaders in their particular fields, and discussion is open and rewarding. And there's an active programme of optional reading groups and socialising together with many postgrad students immersed in subjects from Berkeley to Modern Film, so the atmosphere has been buzzing.
Alan, Graduate Diploma in Philosophy (2017)

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19)

We hope to deliver this course as advertised for 2021/22 entry, but it’s unclear when we’ll be able to return to a normal timetable. For an idea of how this course might be affected, see our changes for 2020/21 entry.

Teaching format

You'll be taught by lectures, seminars and individual or small-group tutorials.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Philosophy on Campus West. Most of your contact hours will be nearby on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Your work will be assessed in a variety of ways:

  • you'll write a 4,000 word essay for each option module, and a 5,000 word essay for the Research Project (if you are a part-time student, one 2,000 word essay and one 3,000 word essay)
  • depending on which modules you take, you could also be assessed via a 90-minute exam plus a 2,000 word essay, or two short essays
  • you'll complete online academic exercises plus a reflective journal of academic talks that you have attended for Postgraduate Research Skills

You will also receive assignments throughout your course which will provide constant feedback on your development, and help prepare you for your assessments.

Philosophy seminar

Careers and skills

Studying Philosophy develops skills that are highly sought after by employers and transferable to many different careers. Our graduates have gone on to roles in marketing, education, finance, IT, the charity sector, tourism and leisure industries, as well as into academia. This course is also ideal preparation if you wish to go on to study the MA in Philosophy.

Career opportunities

  • Academia
  • Advertising, marketing and PR
  • Business
  • Banking
  • Finance
  • Central and local government
  • Law
  • Management

Transferable skills

  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Constructing and defending a coherent argument
  • Grasping complex ideas
  • Creatively imagining alternative possibilities and problem solving
  • Presenting your research
  • Time management and independent study skills

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, minimum 6.0 in all components
PTE Academic 61, minimum 55 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, minimum 169 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all requirements
Duolingo 110, minimum 100 in all other components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Philosophy Postgraduate Admissions

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Department of Philosophy

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