This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- At Stage 1 you’ll study two compulsory modules that will introduce you to arts and humanities and the study of psychology.
- Next, in Stage 2, you’ll study two further compulsory modules, one in each of philosophy and psychology.
- Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll study one compulsory philosophy module and choose from two psychology options.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
You’ll develop essential study skills while engaging with a wide range of topics in the arts and humanities before you are introduced to some of the key topics in psychology. Together, these subject areas provide sound preparation for your Stage 2 philosophy and psychology modules.
You’ll investigate the diverging ideas of philosophers past and present in areas such as the self, ethics, the philosophy of religion, knowledge and science, the mind, and political philosophy. You’ll also explore a broad range of psychological approaches to areas such as identity, language and meaning, personality and the social world – while exploring contemporary psychology and its historical roots.
You’ll complete your study of philosophy by exploring questions about the value of fiction, the ethics of war, life and death, knowledge and reason. In psychology, you can choose between focusing on social psychology, exploring issues such as gender, multiculturalism, global conflicts and work; or exploring the relationship between counselling and forensic psychology.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 21 March 2018.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) Philosophy and Psychological Studies uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- finding external/third party material online
- working in a group with other students
- working with specialist reading material such as works of art and musical manuscripts.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our disability website to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Philosophy and Psychological Studies degree. You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.
At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.
Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you'll need to succeed. If you're not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.
Answer a few quick questions to check whether you're ready for study success
How much time do I need?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Counting previous study
You could save time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study towards this qualification if you have:
- already studied at university level (even if you didn't finish your studies)
- other professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
Find out more about credit transfer
Preparing for study with an Access module
If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You'll get:
- a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:
Arts and languages Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts and languages, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. It explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, modern languages, and also touches on the areas of creative writing and religious studies.
View full details of Arts and languages Access module
People, work and society Access module
Skills for career development
The disciplines of philosophy and psychology are highly regarded by employers, who prize graduates’ reasoning ability, clear thinking and specialist knowledge – and in particular, the skills vital to effective decision-making including:, selecting, interpreting, evaluating and presenting data, identifying and using relevant information to construct arguments, appreciating different ways to conceptualise and address a question, seeing different sides in a debate while being able to reason in favour of one, and thinking coherently about both abstract and practical matters.
You’ll also sharpen your writing and IT skills. All these attributes are greatly in demand in the world beyond study, whether you’re already working, volunteering, or changing career.
Please note that this degree will not make you eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
This degree is relevant to a broad range of careers, including:
- 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.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):
- teacher (not a national curriculum subject at secondary level)
- civil servant
- advertising account manager
- public relations manager
- charity campaigner
- retail manager
- human resources manager
- social worker
- information archivist
- further education lecturer
- local government and NHS management
- advice worker
- social care roles e.g. drugs worker
- prison manager
- probation officer
- youth worker
- marketing officer
- business manager.
Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.