What makes something right or wrong? Do human beings have free will? What makes a statement true?

Philosophy is the inquiry into questions such as these, which cannot be answered by science alone. These questions play a central role in the way we understand ourselves and the world we live in, and in how we might justify the practices that human societies engage in: government, science, business and education, as well as the many practices of personal and social life.

Philosophy is, among other things, the examination of what we usually take for granted.


Areas of study


In Philosophy you can explore the nature of reality and being; how we know and perceive the world; how we should conduct ourselves as individuals and as societies; the structures of thought and argument; and a whole host of “the philosophy of” topics: the philosophy of art, science, language, rationality, biology, love, mind, human nature, law, religion, the environment and more.

We study the works of philosophers of the past and from many cultures, including Greek, German, French and Chinese philosophers.


You can study Philosophy in the following programmes:

What you will learn

Our method of Philosophy is rigorous inquiry: posing precise questions, considering possible answers, constructing careful arguments to back up those answers, testing those answers with a wide range of critical tools, modifying questions and answers, drawing and defending conclusions, noting the implications of conclusions and evaluating the quality of one’s own thinking.

You can learn skills of precision of expression, argument analysis and evaluation, the interpretation of texts, the making and testing of inferences, the dialectical processes of challenge, counter-example, reply and theory-modification and more. You will be encouraged to adopt both a charitable and a critical approach to the ideas and arguments of others.

Career opportunities

Philosophy can prepare you for a wide range of careers, including work in local and national government, education, media, research and teaching and more.

Studying Philosophy can help you improve your mind and develop skills that are highly valued by employers.

Recent Philosophy graduates have been employed in IT security and at the Ministry of Social Development, co-founded a design agency and gained a fellowship at the James Henare Research Centre.

More information

Find out more about studying Philosophy.