Bachelor of Arts - Philosophy major

This Bachelor of Arts with a Philosophy major explores fundamental questions about reality, existence and knowledge.

The Philosophy major focuses particularly on Asian philosophy, psychoanalysis, and philosophy practices in continental Europe. It also covers questions dealing with nature of human existence; value, belief and purpose; and knowledge and belief. 

As well as majoring in Philosophy, you can elect other areas of interest to study as part of your Arts degree.

As an online student you’ll have the flexibility to study when and where it suits you, and graduate with the same globally-recognised Deakin University qualification as an on-campus student.

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At a glance

Study mode



Deakin University
Career Opportunities

Nationally recognised - meets Australian Qualifications Framework standards.

  • Year 12 with an ATAR of 55, OR
  • A Diploma or educational equivalent, OR
  • Relevant work experience including any community work


Course length
Full-time: 3 years | Part-time: 4-6 years | Maximum 7 years
Study mode



Study from anywhere, when it suits you best and graduate with the identical qualification as an on-campus student.


Study part of the course online. Combine your online learning with classes or practical sessions on-campus at a college or university.


Attend classes on-campus at a university, TAFE or college and interact face-to-face with teachers and fellow students.

Assignments, exams, tests & online activities
Start date

3 start dates per year.

Deakin University

SEEK Learning offers a range of degrees you can study online through Deakin University and receive the same qualification as an on-campus student.

Deakin University boasts an impressive reputation for being number one for student satisfaction in Victoria (2012) and offering industry placements that count towards your degree.

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Deakin University

The course price can vary depending on a few factors, including whether you are an Australian resident or your chosen payment option. To find out more, contact the course provider.


You can gain entry into the Bachelor of Arts by fulfilling one of these criteria:

What you'll learn

Through this Philosophy major you will develop the ability to:

  • Develop and articulate abstract ideas
  • Reflect upon and critique assumptions about life, values and society
  • Debate philosophical issues arising in fields such as ethics, political values, knowledge systems, religion and interpersonal relationships.

You will also develop skills specific to the other units you choose to make up your Arts degree.

Course structure

24 credit points units

The degree is structured in a way that offers maximum flexibility. It gives students the opportunities to pursue their own interests and design courses of study that suit their needs. They may study particular areas in-depth or undertake a wide range of units.

Students are required to complete at least one major sequence chosen from a variety of study areas including performing and creative arts, languages, history, media and communication, and sociology. Up to one-third of the course may be taken outside the Faculty of Arts and Education, providing even greater possibilities for interesting course combinations.

Philosophy major units

  1. Buddhist studies in India

    An intensive introduction to Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan Buddhist hermeneutics and Tibetan history and culture. Students study at the Central University of Tibetan Studies (CUTS) and are taught by staff of that institute. Lectures on Tibetan politics, art, music and medicine are also given; and students participate in various ancillary activities, including Indian cultural programs, tours of Varanasi and travel to important Buddhist sites in India, including Bodh Gaya, Raj Ghir and the ruins of Nalanda University. Each student is assigned a student colleague drawn from the student body of the CUTS who will help in acculturation and give a 'student's eye view' of Tibetan culture.

  2. Ethics in global society

    This is a unit in applied ethics which looks at global problems and investigates the moral obligations of states and of individuals in relation to them. Such problems include human rights, the rights of peoples to self-determination, nationalism and cosmopolitanism, global poverty, peace and war, terrorism, the role of women, and the global environment.

  3. Freedom and subjectivity

    Over the course of this unit students will develop specific knowledge of the philosophical themes of freedom and subjectivity in twentieth century French thought, and familiarity with the ideas of key thinkers of that period including Camus, Sartre, Beauvoir, Althusser, and Foucault.

    Many of the issues that arise in this unit do so as a radical response to the recognition of what Nietzsche called ‘the death of God’. The study materials, readings, and classes are intended to develop students’ skills at communicating complex ideas and developing your ability to carry through a sustained critical engagement with the thought of some of the most exciting philosophical thinkers of the twentieth century.

  4. Freud and philosophy

    This course introduces the key psychoanalytic ideas of Sigmund Freud on the individual psyche and society, and the way these ideas were developed in the later thought of Jacques Lacan.

    The course has three modules. In the opening module, students will critically examine Freud’s ideas on parapraxis (slips), the interpretation of dreams, the meaning of symptoms, and the nature of human sexuality.

    Module 2 examines Freud’s ideas on the society, and discontents bedevilling the human condition and living with others, critically comparing his ideas with that of other philosophers.

    In module 3, we turn to Lacan’s ‘return to the meaning of Freud’, looking at his ideas on the role of language in shaping the psyche, the nature and function of law, the differences between the sexes, and the nature of psychoanalytic interpretation.

  5. Introduction to logical reasoning

    The capacity to evaluate and construct arguments is an invaluable skill across all disciplines, including philosophy, politics, science, law, business and media. This unit provides an introduction to the principles of critical thinking and reasoning. Students will learn a range of critical and creative thinking techniques including how to construct sound arguments and detect common reasoning errors. Critical reasoning skills will be taught with a focus upon practical applications and a view to the benefits that these skills have beyond the university as well as in academic contexts. This unit will therefore be of interest to students of philosophy as well as to students from all disciplinary areas.

  6. Justice and equality

    This introduction to political philosophy will provide an overview of a number of contemporary views regarding justice, liberty, equality, and democracy. In particular, the unit will involve a detailed consideration of Marxism, Utilitarianism, Liberalism, Libertarianism, Communitarianism, and Discourse Ethics.

  7. Language and reality

    What is meaning? How does language "hook onto" the world? What is the connection between language and truth? Can we ever really know what someone else's words mean? In addressing these questions this unit will explore some influential theories about language developed in twentieth century analytic philosophy, paying particular attention to theories of reference and meaning. Focusing on key figures such as Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Quine, Heidegger, Gadamer and Habermas this unit will critically examine philosophy's contribution to the understanding of language and communication.

  8. Love, sex and death

    This unit consists of three modules. The first is a philosophical exploration of the concept of love in its various forms: romantic love, family love, friendship, and divine love. Our focus will be on romantic love. The second module explores sexuality, its place in a well-lived life, and the moral concepts that have grown up around it. Related social issues such as pornography and homosexuality are also discussed. We will also debate same-sex marriage. The third module explores death as an existential issue for the living of life, medical definitions of death and ethical issues related to killing such as abortion and euthanasia. The notion of life after death is also explored.

  9. Philosophies of religion: Western, Asian, and contemporary inquiries

    This unit undertakes a critical examination of the reasoning behind theologies and philosophical arguments in the major religions, Western and Asian. The issues range from the existence of God to the theodicy, evil, worldviews. Traditional onto-theological claims are tested against critiques from feminism, secularism, science, new atheism, and post colonialism.

  10. Philosophy, art, film

    This unit consists of three modules. The first explores the philosophy of art and its object across a range of issues: the nature of art; the aim and purpose of art; the nature of beauty; art and the emotions; art and politics; art and the unconscious. The second module explores issues raised by cinema, but some of which will also be relevant to other contemporary discussions of aesthetics. These include authorship; narrative; emotional involvement and the place of the viewer; identification; and genre. The notion of life after death is also explored. The third module addresses issues of performance: what the work of art is; authenticity and faithfulness; and reception.

  11. Philosophy, happiness and the good life

    This unit will introduce students to the study of ethics and to some of the major debates that engage moral theory today. Such a reflection begins with the work of Aristotle who highlighted the importance of virtue in our ethical lives, and moves on to the theory of Natural Law which bases moral norms on human nature backed by divine command. We then study Hume, who stresses the moral sentiments as a basis for our norms, and Kant who based the notion of duty and the dignity of humankind on pure reason.

  12. Plato and Nietzsche

    The unit will explore the very beginnings of the Western philosophical tradition in the work of Socrates as described by Plato in about 400BCE. Plato raises issues about the nature of ultimate reality and its importance for our moral and social lives. He describes how Socrates was put to death for teaching philosophical ideas that challenged the authority of tradition. For his part, Nietzsche, in the late 19th century, challenged the hegemony of the philosophical tradition that Plato inaugurated and asked us to accept the stresses of human life without recourse to metaphysical consolations.

  13. World religions

    This unit introduces students to the major ‘world religions’: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The unit explores these religions by looking at their historical development, basic ideas, practices and sacred texts. In addition, students are introduced to a range of philosophical issues that arise within these religious traditions, such as: karma and rebirth; the relation between self and world, and self and God; different conceptions of God; and different conceptions of salvation or liberation.

Support and delivery

Studying online explained

How Deakin's online courses are delivered

As an online student you’ll watch lectures, complete readings and participate in tutorials, just like an on-campus student. The difference is you’ll do this online, when it suits you.

Deakin was one of the first universities in Australia to deliver courses for off-campus students, and they pride themselves on an online learning system that is cutting-edge, engaging and easy to use.

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