The National Extension College
Delve into some of life’s most fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, reality, consciousness and ethics in our A level Philosophy online course.
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?
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
- 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
- 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
- Introduction to the metaphysics of God
- The ontological argument
- The design argument
- The cosmological argument
Section 7: Metaphysics of God, 2
- The concept of God
- The problem of evil
- Religious language
Section 8: Metaphysics of mind 1
- Introduction to the metaphysics of mind
- What do we mean by ‘mind’?
- Substance dualism
Section 9: Metaphysics of mind 2: physicalist theories
- Mind-brain identity theory
- Eliminative materialism
Section 10: Metaphysics of mind 3
- Property dualism
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
- 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
Our course fees are open and honest to help you plan for any additional costs.
Your course fee includes:
- Access to learn@nec
- All the course materials you need to complete the course
- Support from a personal tutor for up to 24 months from your date of enrolment
- Assignment marking
- Marking for one past paper
- Guaranteed exam place
- NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
- Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
- Time planner to help you plan your study timetable
- Information on how to apply for exams
- Academic references if needed
Your course fee does not cover:
- Exam entry fees
- Additional textbooks
- Enhanced Service – includes more structure and tutor motivation and support
- Additional Services
- Additional past paper marking
- Revision tutorial
- Optional tutorial
- Additional review
Exams and assessment
- 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 the parents are involved, so when you enrol your child with NEC, you’ll have a unique set of services to help you to support your child.
- Your own log in to learn@nec to access the course so you can view the course materials and other information for yourself.
- Access to your child’s gradebook to help you to monitor progress and provide appropriate and timely intervention and support
- You’ll receive emails and forum posts so that you have all the examination and assessment updates/information provided by the NEC team
- Dedicated Parent Portal Pages and targeted blogs with updates/information/help and advice on many aspects of home education.
- Access to the Kudos career platform for young learners to explore career choices.
Who is this course for?
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.
- A general education up to GCSE level or equivalent is recommended
- An ability to read and write in English
- 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.
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