Introducing Existentialism and Phenomenology


The course offers an introduction to a few of the most important philosophers of the Continental European tradition and, more specifically, of existentialism and phenomenology. It examines keys texts of philosophers such as Heidegger, Sartre, de Beauvoir and Merleau-Ponty.

During the course we focus on a close reading of selected primary sources, and explore how the material studied may connect with our lived experiences of ourselves, our being in the world and with other people in our day-to-day existence.

Programme details

Courses starts: 21 Apr 2023

Week 0: Course Orientation

Week 1:  Introduction. Heidegger's Question of Being and Human Existence

Week 2:  Heidegger on Existential World

Week 3:  Heidegger on Moods

Week 4:  Sartre on Bad Faith

Week 5:  Sartre: the Others' Look

Week 6:  Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception

Week 7:  Merleau-Ponty on the Lived Body

Week 8:  Simone de Beauvoir: What is a Woman?

Week 9:  De Beauvoir on Woman's Situation

Week 10:  Review and Conclusions 


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Description Costs
Course Fee £238.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


Dr Roxana Baiasu

Apart from being a Philosophy tutor of the Department for Continuing Education, Roxana is also a Lecturer in Philosophy at Stanford University in Oxford, and Associate Member of the Philosophy Faculty, Oxford University.  Prior to this she was a lecturer at the Universities of Vienna and Leeds, and a Leverhulme Fellow at Sussex University. She is writing in the areas of European Post-Kantian metaphysics and epistemology, phenomenology of illness, vulnerability and wellbeing, and feminist philosophy. She edited (with G. Bird and A.W. Moore) Contemporary Kantian Metaphysics Today: New Essays on Time and Space (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and published in, among others, The Southern Journal of PhilosophyIJPSResearch in Phenomenology and Sophia.

Course aims

1. To introduce students to core issues in the tradition of existentialism and phenomenology. 

2. To develop an understanding of some of the key discussions in this tradition. 

3. To study certain texts dealing with fundamental issues concerning our existence and lived experience.

4. To critically engage with the material studied during the course. 

5. To encourage students to think philosophically about their own lived experiences.

6. To develop an awareness of how existentialist and phenomenological analysis can contribute to our understanding of ourselves and the social world around us.

Course Objectives

By the end of the module students should be able to engage with, and critically examine a selection of texts from the existentialist tradition, and to apply this understanding to the interpretation of various aspects of lived experience of the world.

Teaching methods

Powerpoint, interactive presentations leaving plenty of space for questions and discussion. Students will be asked to read set texts in preparation for each session.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

1. be familiar with and understand some of the most important and influential philosophical texts and views in the existentialist tradition;

2. be able to explain and evaluate these views;

3. be able to present orally and in writing an argument supporting or criticising these views.

Assessment methods

Either one long essay of 1,500 words to be produced at the end of the course,

or two 750 word essays (one to be produced by the end of week 5, and the second by the end of the course).

Alternatively, students could choose to give a presentation (and provide notes of 1,000 words).

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


We will close for enrolments 7 days prior to the start date to allow us to complete the course set up. We will email you at that time (7 days before the course begins) with further information and joining instructions. As always, students will want to check spam and junk folders during this period to ensure that these emails are received.

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)