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School of Social Sciences

Niall O'Connor

Philosophy BA

Niall O'Connor, Philosophy BA
Niall O'Connor chose Manchester because of the University's history and the quality of the philosophy department.

Why did you choose Manchester?

I visited Manchester a couple of times when I was younger and had fond memories of the city, but it was the history of the University and the quality of the philosophy department that really sold it for me. Every day I learn from world class academics and get to do it in one of the liveliest cities in the country.

Why did you pick your course?

I took Theology for A-level. That course was split into philosophy of religion and moral philosophy, which are still two of my favourite areas of the subject. I fell in love with the analytical method over those two years. Philosophy challenges the principles every other subject takes for granted, which is great fun to be a part of.

What are the best things about your degree?

We have lectures and tutorials like every other course, and they are extremely valuable, but the real work on the BA Philosophy is done on the student's own clock. You have to take it upon yourself to do a reading, to learn how a theory works or to get started on an assignment. This can be daunting at first but with a little time and experience it can help take a great amount of pressure off.

Is there a unit you’ve particular enjoyed? What made it stand out?

Philosophy students are allowed to take 20 credits per year in a module of their choice outside the subject, which is a fantastic opportunity to learn a language or develop your curiosity for another subject you enjoy.

Last year I was able to take a fantastic introductory politics course and this term I am taking a module in the school of law. This gives students a chance to get a well-rounded education and encourages us to develop different skills, different ways of studying, writing and meet new friends from a different academic field.

How will your degree prepare you for life after Manchester?

The world has changed a lot even in my short time, and this change is accelerating. However, the skills developed from studying philosophy are timeless and universally applicable, making them attractive for employers. Whether it’s the formal logic that inspires a student to write a billion dollar computer programme or the ethical theory that inspires the judge’s intuition on whether or not a man deserves to go to jail, their study of philosophy is central.

As for the University, I don’t think too much needs to be said. Here at Manchester we split the atom, we discovered graphene and every department is filled with leading scholars who give the University the global reputation it deserves.

Why should a prospective applicant choose Manchester?

Because they will have the best years of their life so far living in one of the world’s greatest cities, studying in one of the world’s greatest educational institutions and learning from some of the world’s greatest minds.