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Philosophy A Level


A level Philosophy

Delve into some of life’s most fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, reality, consciousness and ethics in our A level Philosophy online course.

Multi-buy A levels:

Purchasing more than one A level? Use voucher code ALMB10 to receive 10% off at checkout.

Do humans have free will? Does God exist? What is knowledge? When it comes to life’s big questions, philosophers are brilliant at opening up new ways of thinking about the world, universe and society.

Our A level Philosophy online course will challenge you to think deeply and independently. It invites you to question, evaluate and debate a range of intriguing topics which enable you to explore key philosophical concepts and methods.

Supported by a personal tutor, you’ll build confidence in skills such as identifying and analysing arguments and critical thinking. You’ll also learn how to present your ideas logically and clearly – all valuable preparation for higher education and a wide range of careers.

Why study Philosophy?

Our A level Philosophy online course investigates the fascinating theories of knowledge, perception, realism and idealism, moral philosophy, religion and God, and metaphysics of the mind.

You’ll have the flexibility to fit study around your lifestyle, learning at your own pace. Like many NEC students, perhaps you’ll go on to study philosophy at university, or use your qualification to support your next career move?

Our Philosophy A level course is ideal if you:

  • Are keen to study philosophy at degree level.
  • Want to gain a deeper understanding of philosophical theories and concepts.
  • Want to boost your independent thinking skills in preparation for higher education.
  • Enjoy constructing compelling arguments and debating abstract ideas.
  • Would like to build key employability skills, such as written communication, critical and analytical thinking.

Future opportunities

  • Studying a philosophy course at university.
  • A wide range of rewarding career paths in fields such as politics, law, the civil service, journalism, chaplaincy, medicine, education and psychotherapy.

Course content

Section 1: Introduction to epistemology

  • Philosophical terminology
  • What is knowledge?
  • Responses to Gettier

Section 2: Perception as a source of knowledge

  • Direct realism
  • Indirect realism
  • Berkeley’s idealism

Section 3: Reason as a source of knowledge

  • Rationalism, empiricism and innatism
  • Innatism
  • Empiricism: the tabula rasa argument
  • The intuition and deduction thesis
  • Empiricist responses
  • Scepticism: the limits of knowledge

Section 4: Normative ethical theories

  • Introduction to ethics
  • Utilitarianism
  • Kantian deontological ethics
  • Aristotelian virtue ethics

Section 5: Meta-ethics and applied ethics

  • Moral realism
  • Moral anti-realism
  • Applied ethics

Section 6: Metaphysics of God, 1: Arguments for the existence of God

  • The concept of God
  • The design argument
  • Swinburne’s design argument
  • The cosmological argument

Section 7: Metaphysics of God, 2

  • The ontological argument
  • The problem of evil
  • Religious language

Section 8: Metaphysics of mind 1

  • Introduction to the metaphysics of mind
  • Substance dualism
  • Philosophical behaviourism
  • Mind-brain identity theory
  • Eliminative materialism

Section 9: Metaphysics of mind 2

  • Functionalism
  • Property dualism

Your learning experience

Study A level Philosophy with us and benefit from

  • Flexible learning
  • Support from a personal tutor by email, phone or Skype
  • Any time enrolment
  • Our exam booking service
  • Assignments with tutor feedback
  • Ongoing support from Student Support
  • Forums to discuss your course with other students


Choose when and where you access your course, using learn@nec our 24/7 learning platform.

This easy-to-use learning platform includes interactive checkpoints, quizzes and activities to help you evaluate your progress.

Your tutor

You’ll have access to support from a personal tutor. All NEC tutors are subject experts, with experience of supporting online learners.

Meet Amanda who is just one of our first-class philosophy tutors:

“Learning should be a rewarding experience for its own sake. I love ideas and think that the most valuable thing about education is the joy of gaining knowledge. The most rewarding thing about tutoring and teaching is helping students to find their own reward in learning. I have been teaching for 18 years. I am a head of faculty, an A level examiner and write NEC course materials for A level Philosophy and A level Religious Studies. I am never happier than when I am in a classroom or working 1:1 with learners of all ages.”

What you need to know

Exam board

  • AQA 7172


  • Online learning with support from a personal tutor


  • Complete at your own pace
  • Approx. 250-300* hours plus time for completing assignments

*The specification suggests that 300 hours is needed. You’ll also need time to complete assignments and prepare yourself for exams and some courses like English literature involve a lot of reading. Everyone is different so it’s impossible to say with certainty how long a course will take you, but you should expect to spend longer than 300 hours. Taken across the length of time we recommend, this equates to approximately 5 hours per week. This will increase if you choose to take it over a shorter time frame or may be less if you are retaking a subject and have covered a lot of of the course content.


  • 11 assignments (one introductory) – these do not contribute towards your final grade


  • Philosophy for AS and A level: Epistemology and Moral Philosophy,M Lacewing, Routledge, 2017
  • Philosophy for A level: Metaphysics of God and Metaphysics of Mind, M Lacewing, Routledge, 2017
  • Internet access
  • Computer operating system and browser to support learn@nec

What's included?

Our course fees are clear and transparent to help you plan for any additional costs.

Your course fee includes:

  • 24/7 access to learn@nec platform and resources
  • Expertly designed online course materials (including ebook versions of textbooks where specified) that you need to complete the course
  • Support from our Student Services team
  • Structured assignments carefully designed to prepare you for exams
  • Guidance from your tutor for up to 24 months from your date of enrolment
  • Extensive feedback to all assignments that will support your learning
  • NEA (coursework) marking and authentication
  • Marking for one examination paper (from a previous year)
  • Guaranteed exam place
  • NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
  • Time planner template to help you plan your study timetable
  • Information on how to apply for exams

Your course fee does not cover:

  • Any fees in relation to exam entries or assessments
  • Centre Assessment Grades (CAG) in the event of exam cancellation
  • Recommended textbooks for additional reading or set texts

If you need more support, you can purchase:

  • Online tutorials – if you need help with a specific topic you can arrange a 30 minute or 1 hour tutorial
  • Additional past paper marking – to help with your exam preparation
  • Revision tutorial –  to plan your revision and explore revision techniques
  • Help with your UCAS application service

For further information on additional/optional support you can purchase, please visit our additional services page.

Exams and assessment

Exams (three):

  • 50% of marks  (3 hours)
  • 50% of marks  (3 hours)

There is no non-exam assessment (NEA) for this course

Additional support if you’re under 18

We know that our younger students often need an extra helping hand with their studies. In our experience learning online works best when either a parent or guardian are involved. This is why NEC has developed our unique Progress Tracker to help you to support your child.

NEC’s Progress Tracker will allow you to easily track your child’s progress across their subjects and gain insight to how well they are doing through access to their assignment grades and tutor feedback.  

Read more about how we work with young students who are studying at home or through a school.

Arrange a callback with a member of our Course Advice Team.

Would you like to talk to our Course Advice Team about the best route for you? Visit our Contact Us page, fill in the form and a member of the team will get back to you!