This page lists a selection of reputable online philosophy degrees, diplomas and certificates by distance learning currently available worldwide.
My choice is based on my experience as both an online philosophy tutor and as a learning technology consultant in UK higher education.
Some are well-established online philosophy degree programmes that have been running for a number of years.
Increasingly, however, philosophy departments worldwide are beginning to offer online versions of their existing philosophy courses, and also to design completely new online philosophy degrees for distance learning students.
The latest news on online philosophy degree programmes is posted on the website's social media pages:
There are three main types of online undergraduate philosophy qualifications by distance learning:
I have gathered details of those that I know of and can recommend in the following sections.
The University of London's External Philosophy Programme is the only online philosophy qualification programme I know of that offers all three. Students can progress, systematically, from one to the next.
The University provides a syllabus, reading lists and arranges for exams to be taken in a number of centres worldwide. Students, however, must arrange their own distance learning philosophy tuition. I have been a philosophy tutor for the University of London's External System distance learning philosophy degrees for a number of years.
Many of the new generation of free, online philosophy courses (Philosophy Moocs) provide certificates of achievment.
However, it must be said that these at present are little more than certificates of course completion, and include little or no assessment. At best they indicate an interest in philosophy, on the part of the certificate holder.
The only Higher Education Certificate in Philosophy with rigorous assessment, that I know of, is offered by the University of London's External Philosophy programme. The university provides course materials and local examinations worldwide, but students must arrange their own philosophy tuition.
|Online Higher Education Certificate||University of London|
The only university online philosophy diploma by distance learning, that I know of, is offered by
the University of London's External Philosophy Programme.
The programme is well-established and enjoys a high, international reputation.
Students register for the course, worldwide. They are sent course materials, and arrangements are made for local examinations.
However, students must make their own philosophy tuition arrangements.
|Online Diploma (Dip HE) in Philosophy||University of London|
I currently know of three universities, worldwide, offering complete online philosophy BA degrees by distance learning.
A fourth, offered by the University of New Orleans, requires candidates to have completed an initial period of undergraduate study.
All are well-established and are offered by universities with national and international reputations.
The University of London's Philosophy BA provides study materials and local examination facilities worldwide, but students must arrange for their own tuition.
|Online Philosophy BA||Arizona State University Online|
|Online Philosophy BA||University of Illinois, Springfield|
|Online Philosophy BA||University of London|
|Online Philosophy BA||University of New Orleans|
There has been a much faster growth in the provision of online masters philosophy degrees by distance learning, than
for online undergraduate degrees. No doubt because of the comparative effort required.
I have only included here pure philosophy masters. The selection is based largely on the repute of the university concerned, rather than their expertise in providing online teaching.
|Online Philosophy of Religion and Ethics MA||University of Birmingham|
|Online Epistemology, Ethics and Mind MSc||University of Edinburgh|
|Online Philosophy, Science and Religion MSc||University of Edinburgh|
|Online Philosophy MA||Massey University|
|Online Philosophy MA||Open University|
|Online Continental Philosophy MA||Staffordshire University|
|Online Philosophy MA||Trinity University|
|Online Philosophy and Religion MA||Trinity University|
My combined expertise as a distance learning philosophy tutor and
learning technology consultant spans over 25 years.
I've been an online philosophy tutor to university, college and school students worldwide, since 2006.
I've taught on the University of Oxford's online philosophy courses and been a recognised tutor for the University of London's External System distance learning philosophy degrees.
Prior to studying for my doctorate, I had over 15 years' experience in educational technology. My last post was as head of the University of Oxford's learning technology unit with responsibility for the University's online extra-mural courses.
I'm now fully independent of any institution and have made my selection impartially.
What is the difference between a philosophy degree, diploma and certificate in the UK? In England, Wales and Northern Ireland these distinctions are defined by the framework for higher education qualifications (FHEQ), which is administered by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).
The FHEQ defines three levels into which available undergraduate philosophy qualifications fall: Certificate of Higher Education (level 4), Higher National Diploma (level 5), Bachelor's Degree (level 6).
"The fundamental premise of the FHEQ is that qualifications should be awarded on the basis of achievement of outcomes and attainment rather than years of study. Qualification descriptors are key to this premise.
Holders of a Certificate of Higher Education will have a sound knowledge of the basic concepts of a subject, and will have learned how to take different approaches to solving problems.
Holders of qualifications at this level  will have developed a sound understanding of the principles in their field of study, and will have learned to apply those principles more widely. Through this, they will have learned to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems.
Holders of a bachelor's degree with honours will have developed an understanding of a complex body of knowledge, some of it at the current boundaries of an academic discipline."
CATS stands for Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme. In principle, CATS is a system to enable students to study for a modular degree from more than one institution. For example, you might want to pick-and-mix a modular philosophy BA degree, selecting courses from different universities. CATS is intended to allow you to do this by accumulating credits at one university, and then transfering them to another; hence the name.
In practice, credits can only be transferred between member institutions of the same consortium. Three UK universities that offer credits for online undergraduate philosophy courses are all members of the same consortium.