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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


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What is knowledge? How does it differ from mere belief, or a lucky guess? Do we have minds? Can thoughts and sensations be identified with states of the brain? How should human beings be treated? When, if ever, is it permissible to deliberately harm other people? What is it to act freely, and do we ever have true freedom? 

This Certificate course will help you to find answers to these and other questions. You will engage with some key debates in the history of philosophy, as well as in contemporary discussions in the philosophy of mind, and you will be given the opportunity to reflect on the current socio-political trends whilst examining the pivotal developments in modern social and political philosophy.

The Undergraduate Certificate in Philosophy: History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind and Political Philosophy was previously called the Undergraduate Certificate in Philosophy II.

Our undergraduate courses are now being delivered entirely online, enabling students to study flexibly with the University of Cambridge from anywhere in the world.

We offer a range of tuition fee bursaries to promote access to and participation in continuing education.


Teaching & Assessment

How will I be taught and assessed?


The content, activities and interaction for each of the three units will be taught remotely using video-based teaching platforms and an online course Virtual Learning Environment. You will have access to resources, discussion forums, and course tasks within ICE's Virtual Learning Environment. Teaching methods will include lectures, presentations by guest speakers and facilitators, interactive and experiential learning activities, reading and assignments to be completed by participants outside classroom sessions and online discussion forums. 

All students are expected to take an active part in the course and submit work showing evidence of learning. Your learning will be enhanced by: 

  • engaging with scheduled teaching sessions;  
  • participating in class activities and discussion; 
  • undertaking reading and assignments set by the tutor; 
  • accessing resources and submitting assignments through the VLE. 

Course Timeline 

  • Course (Unit 1) Start Date:  6th October 2023
  • Unit 1 submission deadline:  3rd January 2024
  • Unit 2 start date: Week commencing 1st January 2024
  • Unit 2 submission deadline: 20th March 2024
  • Unit 3 start date: Week commencing 1st April
  • Unit 3 submission deadline: 14th June 2024

Teaching dates

Unit 1

Seminar 1       15/10/2023 2-5pm GMT
Seminar 2       29/10/2023 2-5pm GMT
Seminar 3       19/11/2023 2-5pm GMT
Seminar 4       03/12/2023 2-5pm GMT

Unit 2

Seminar 1       14/01/2024 2-5pm GMT
Seminar 2       28/01/2024 2-5pm GMT
Seminar 3       18/02/2024 2-5pm GMT
Seminar 4       03/03/2024 2-5pm GMT

Unit 3

Seminar 1       07/04/2024 2-5pm BST
Seminar 2       21/04/2024 2-5pm BST
Seminar 3       05/05/2024 2-5pm BST
Seminar 4       19/05/2024 2-5pm BST


You will be required to submit 2 assignments of 1800-2000 words each per termly unit.

In addition to attending the scheduled teaching sessions and submitting assignments you will need to set aside time for independent study. Credit is generally calculated in terms of hours of study and assumes that each credit is awarded for around 10 hours of successful learning; so, by this calculation, a 60-credit course will involve around 600 hours of successful study. Examples of how study may be broken down are: pre-class preparation, classroom time (lectures, seminars, discussion, presentations, debates, case-studies etc.); engagement with the VLE; peer-to-peer interaction, preparations for assignments, assignment writing and feedback and so on. 


What is the status of this qualification?

The Certificate is taught and awarded at first-year undergraduate level (FHEQ 4) and offers 60 credits within the Higher Education Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). This is equivalent to half of the first year of full-time undergraduate study.

Unless otherwise stated, teaching and assessment for ICE courses are in English. If your first language is not English, please refer to our Information for Applicants pages for further guidance.

Course dates

01 Oct 2023 to 14 Jun 2024

Course duration

1 Year

Apply by

04 Sep 2023

Course fee


Academic director

Academic Directors, Course Directors and Tutors are subject to change, when necessary.


Virtual Classroom
(via Zoom or equivalent)

Qualifications / Credits

60 credits at Level 4

Course code