Major/Minor/Specialisation !D21-AA-SPC+1024 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Year and Campus: 2015


Associate Professor Howard Sankey



Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)


Philosophy is the study of the most fundamental aspects of reality and value. Every area of inquiry and endeavour—from art and history through politics and economics to biology and mathematics—generates philosophical issues about our world and our place in it. Philosophers debate the meaning of life and the meaning of adverbs, the analysis of Divine foreknowledge and the analysis of colour, the nature of mathematics and the nature of terrorism.

Work in philosophy involves the creative, critical task of constructing, clarifying and comparing ideas. We dig into the fundamental assumptions beneath our everyday views, to see how they hang together, how they can be improved, or how we might have reason to prefer one over another. We learn to take conflicting views seriously, to clarify imprecise concepts, and to synthesize new positions.

You learn both traditional and contemporary approaches to individual topics in Philosophy. In tutorials and written work you practice the important skill of advancing cogent and informed arguments of your own.

Students go on to apply their philosophical skills in a wide range of different careers where creative and analytic thinking is useful, such as law, education, analysis, advocacy and policy development.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete the Graduate Certificate in Arts in this area of specialisation should:

  • possess a broad knowledge and understanding of the discipline of philosophy over a range of different areas, and a deep understanding of some of those areas;
  • identify, understand and synthesise major disciplinary themes from among ethics, social and political philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology and logic, across a range of historical periods;
  • engage critically with existing philosophical conversations and develop the capacity for critical and creative interventions in those discussions, using a wide range of approaches and independent research skills; Discern the relevance of philosophical ideas in a wide variety of fields and contexts. This will include recognising and critiquing the epistemological, ontological and ethical assumptions in social, political, scientific, moral, and cultural positions and arguments;
  • bring philosophical intelligence and expertise to bear in their studies in disciplines beyond philosophy, and recognise the import of other disciplines for philosophical thinking Demonstrate a high-level of fluency in communication and collaboration skills, including oral and written presentation of arguments and effective work in small and large groups;
  • be prepared to engage with the possibility of radical critique of critique of their own presuppositions and commitments.
Structure & Available Subjects:

Duration: 6 months full-time / 1 year part-time

The Graduate Certificate in Arts in this area of specialisation requires:

  • one core subject (12.5 points)
  • three elective subjects (37.5 points)

Total 50 points

Please note: students can only take 12.5 points of elective subjects at first-year level

Subject Options:

Core Subjects

12.5 points

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2015

Elective Subjects

37.5 points

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2
Semester 2
Not offered in 2015
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in Arts

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