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History and Philosophy BA

UCAS code VV51
Year of entry 2017
  View 2018 entry »
Course Length 3 years full time
Department History »

This joint degree combines two interconnected disciplines; your philosophy studies will complement your study of History by providing you with a deeper understanding of fields such as politics, literature and art. You will spend time critically inquiring into questions that are fundamental to our understanding of politics and ethics, of art and culture, of our relationship to our past and future, and of our connection to the natural world, whilst satisfying your curiosity about the past, acquiring understanding of specific periods and problems, and making discoveries.

Studying History is exciting and rewarding; it encourages you to appreciate the human experience in other places and at other times. Exploring what people have felt, thought and done in the past expands our self-awareness. It will help to satisfy your curiosity about the past, acquire understanding of specific periods and problems, and make discoveries.

Our internationally renowned academics are developing the very latest thinking on historical problems; this cutting edge knowledge informs the curriculum and will enhance your learning experience. By studying History at one of the largest and most influential departments in the country you will be able to choose from an exceptionally broad range of subjects, enabling you to spread your studies across the medieval and modern worlds, from Ancient Rome through to modern China, from Saladin through to Margaret Thatcher.

  • 96% say that our teaching makes the subject interesting and 94% find the course intellectually stimulating (National Student Survey 2016).
  • World-leading and internationally excellent research which is ranked joint first for its impact on greater society (Research Excellence Framework 2014, 4* and 3* research).

At Royal Holloway we have a unique approach to Philosophy that looks beyond the narrow confines of the Anglo-American analytic or the European tradition of philosophy focus on both traditions, their relationship and connections between them. The result has been the creation of a truly interdisciplinary and collaborative programme that brings together academic staff from departments across the university.

With the opportunity to examine (amongst other things) the mind and consciousness, aesthetics and morals, the self and others, the range of subjects available to Philosophy students at Royal Holloway guarantees that there will be something on offer that really engages you during your time with us.

Core modules

Year 1

History: History and Meanings

This module examines the development of historical writing and debates around the meaning of history. Overall, the framework is chronological, taking you on a journey from Herodotus and other historians of the ancient world, through to the development of history as a professional discipline in the nineteenth century, and finally on to more recent debates about ‘postmodernism’. Both western and non-western history-writing traditions are discussed for comparative purposes. On the way, in both lectures and in small tutorial groups, you will need to think about the nature of historical ‘truth’ and objectivity, and will be asked to reflect upon your own status and practice as historians.

History: Public History

History has never been so popular. This course explores the development in recent years of ‘public history’, or the ways in which the past is used and written about by academic and popular historians, the heritage industry, journalists, the state, and the wider public. The module examines the nature of ‘public history’ through a series of case-studies, including topics such as how history is presented on the television and in film; history in museums and heritage sites; community and oral history; the memory of the Holocaust; debates in European societies about ‘making amends’ for slavery and the colonial past; and the uses of history in contemporary South Asia. You will be given the opportunity to make your own contribution to the field through your own ‘public history’ project.

Philosophy: Introduction to Modern Philosophy

The ‘new philosophy’ of the seventeenth century set the modern philosophical agenda by asking fundamental questions concerning knowledge and understanding and the relation between science and other human endeavours, which became central to the European Enlightenment. This module aims to familiarise you with the work of some of the most ground breaking philosophers of the period, such René Descartes and John Locke, and explores how later philosophers such as Gottfried Leibniz and David Hume took up and expanded their ideas.

Philosophy: Epistemology and Metaphysics

This module aims to introduce you to some of the key problems that have preoccupied contemporary philosophers. You will look at logical questions relating to the structure of arguments, epistemological questions about the sources and limits of knowledge, and metaphysical questions exploring the relationship between minds and bodies and the possibility of human freedom.

Philosophy: Introduction to Ancient Philosophy

This module aims both to inform you about ancient philosophical ideas and to introduce you to the ways in which philosophical arguments are presented and analysed. It will provide you with a brief survey of the principal ancient philosophers, from the Presocratics to Aristotle, as well as allowing you to analyse in more depth selected texts on the topic of courage, including Plato’s ‘Laches’.

Year 2

History: Independent Essay

This module allows yous to undertake a small research project of your own. You will sign up for one of approximately twenty-five advertised thematic ‘workshops’ run by academics within the department, and through a series of seminars will explore key themes and debates that allow you to identify a project of your own choosing. The course also includes training in research and writing skills, and is excellent preparation for your final-year dissertation.

History: Research Skills

This module will ensure that you have a cogent, practicable and interesting research topic to write your independent essay, and that you are equipped with the appropriate skills and a timetable for undertaking and producing research and writing in a timely manner. You will be encouraged to consult with the module leader and your supervisors to develop your research topic.

Philosophy: Introduction to European Philosophy 1 - From Kant to Hegel

This module introduces you to aspects of key texts by eighteenth and nineteenth century philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, which form the foundation of the major debates in both European, and some Anglo-American philosophy. You will explore major issues concerning epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics, and different approaches to these issues, which will be central to the rest of your philosophical and other studies in the humanities and social sciences.

Philosophy: Mind and World

This module examines some of the major metaphysical and epistemological problems that arise when attempting to understand how the mind and language interact with and in the world. It centres on attempts to conceptualise, solve, or avoid mind-body related problems in the analytic tradition and aims to contrast these with phenomenological and existential investigations of related problems.

Year 3

History: Dissertation

You will write a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of your own choosing, with an academic supervisor vho will provide regular consultation.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

History: Gods, Men and Power - An Introduction to the Ancient World from Homer to Mohammed

History: Republics, Kings and People - The Foundations of European Political Though from Plato to Rousseau

History: The Rich Tapestry of Life - Early Modern England, Europe and the Wider World, 1453 to 1789

History: Conflict and Identity in Modern Europe, 1770 to 2000

History: Mao to Mandela - Tentieth Century Leaders of the Non-Western World

History: Rome to Renaissance - An Introduction to the Middle Ages

Philosophy: Introduction to Logic

This module aims to introduce you to the formal study of arguments through the two basic systems of modern logic: sentential or propositional logic and predicate logic. As well as showing you how to present and analyse arguments formally, you will look at the implications and uses of logical analysis by considering Bertrand Russell’s formalist solution to the problem of definite descriptions, before discussing the broader significance of findings in logic to philosophical inquiry.

Philosophy: Mind and Conciousness

What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? Is the mind inside the brain? Are we any more than highly sophisticated computers? What is consciousness? This module aims to introduce these and related questions, which are central to modern philosophical debates about the nature of mind and consciousness.

Philosophy: Introduction to Aesthetics and Morals

This module aims to provide you with a broad understanding of many of the central problems and debates within moral philosophy and aesthetics. These include questions relating to both metaphysical and ethical relativism, the different ways we might understand our moral commitments within the world, how the individual is related to society, and the value and nature of the work of art. The module presents you with approaches from the history of philosophy, from the Anglo-American tradition, and from recent European philosophy.

Year 2

History: The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic

History: The Persuit of Power - Europe, 1000 to 1250

History: The Flowering of the Middle Ages - Politics, Pestilence and War, 1300 to 1500

History: The European Crucible, 1914 to 1947 - Politics, Culture and Society

History: New World, Lost World - The Tudor Monarchy 1485 to 1603

History: The Georginas - Politics, Society, and Culture 1688 to 1832

History: Nineteenth-Century Europe - Society and Culture, 1789 to 1905

History: Twentieth-Century World History - The Middle East, Africa and Latin America

History: Medicine from Antiquity to the Medieval Near East

History: The Victorians - British History, 1837 to 1901

History: History of the USA, 1787 to 1877

History: Spain, 1898 to 1939

History: Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy, 1939 to 1989

History: Awakening China - From the Opium Wars to the Present Day

History: Science in Greek and Roman Antiquity

History: Mutiny to Modi - the Indian Subcontinent from the 19th Century to the Present

Classics: The Dialogues of Plato

Classics: Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy 1

Classics: The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy

Politics and International Relations: Contemporary Political Theory

Philosophy: The Critique of Idealism

Philosophy: Philosophy and the Arts

Philosophy: Philosophy of Psychology

Philosophy: Practical Ethics

Philosophy: The Varieties of Scepticism

Philosophy: The Philosophy of Religion

Year 3

History: Faith and Fire - Religious Culture in England, 1375 to 1525

History: The Origins and Impact of the Second Crusade, 1145 to 1149

History: Modernity and the Victorians - The Intellectual Response

History: Berlin - A European Metropolis from Kaiser to Kohl

History: The History and Historiography of the Holocaust

History: The Clash of Powers and Cultures - Sino-American Relations during the Cold War

History: Christians and Pagans  - From Constantine to Augustine

History: Victorian Babylon - Life, Work and People in London, 1840 to 1890

History: Comparing Religious Fundamentalisms in the 19th and 20th Centuries

History: Migration, Identity and Citizenship in Modern Britain

History: The Age of Terror - Terrorism from 1945 to Present

History: Talking Cures and Troubles: The Oral History of Health and Medicine in Britain, 1948 to 2000

History: Drawing the Line - Independence, Partition, and the Making of India and Pakistan

History: Progress and its Discontents - European Culture, 1890 to 1914

Politics and International Relations: Radical Political Theory

Politics and International Relations: The Politics of Toleration

Politics and International Relations: Social Justice - From Theory to Practice

Politics and International Relations: Issues in Democratic Theory

Classics: Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy 2

Classics: The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy 2

Philosophy: Modern European Philosophy 1 - Husserl to Heidegger

Philosophy: Modern European Philosophy 2 - Critical Theory and Hermeneutics

Philosophy: Modern French Philosophy

Philosophy: The Philosophy of Psychology

Philosophy: The Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy: Practical Ethics

Philosophy: Recovering Reality

Philosophy: The Varieties of Scepticism

Philosophy: Dissertation

The dissertation presents you with the opportunity to demonstrate your skills as an independent learner by embarking upon a substantial (8,000 to 10,000 words) piece of written work. You will be guided by a dissertation supervisor, but will choose your own topic, approach, and philosophical sources. It allows you to demonstrate all of the skills you have learned throughout your studies, and marks the culmination of your undergraduate studies in Philosophy.

Depending on the course unit, you will be taught through a combination of lectures, large and small seminar groups and occasionally in one-to-one tutorials. Outside classes you will undertake group projects and wide-ranging but guided independent study. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle, which provides a wide range of supporting materials. A Personal Tutor will guide and support throughout your degree and you will be supervised by a member of staff when preparing your second-year independent research essay and your final-year dissertation.

Some course units are assessed solely by coursework, others by a combination of examinations, coursework, online quizzes and presentations.

Most modules contain an element of assessed coursework, such as an essay, presentation and/or assessed seminar participation marks, which contributes to the final examination mark awarded. The results of the first year exams qualify you to progress to the second year but do not contribute to your final degree award. The second and final year results do contribute to the final degree result, with the final year work counting double that of the second year. You will take a study skills course during your first year, designed to equip you with and enhance the writing skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This course does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels

AAB-ABB 

The offer given will take into consideration:

  • subjects taken at A level
  • the educational context in which academic achievements have been gained
  • whether the Extended Project Qualification is being taken.
Required/preferred subjects

Preferred A-level subjects: History, Government & Politics, Law, Economics, Philosophy, RE, English Literature, sociology.

Required:five GCSEs graded A*-C including English and Maths

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

6,5,5 at Higher Level including Higher Level History with a minimum of 32 points overall or 6,6,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall.

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a related subject.
BTEC National Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a related subject plus an A level grade B.
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma Distinction plus A levels grade BB.
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate
Scottish Advanced Highers AB including History or AA at Advanced Higher Level without History plus Higher Level requirements.
Scottish Highers AABBB plus Advanced Higher Level requirements.
Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass Access Diploma with 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 Level 3 credits at Merit or higher, in a relevant subject. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education.

Other UK qualifications

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International and EU entry requirements

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English language
requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore. For equivalencies please see here.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. Royal Holloway offers an International Foundation Programme and pre-sessional English language courses, allowing students to further develop their study skills and English language before starting their undergraduate degree.

Our outstanding record of success for work and further study puts Royal Holloway in the top 10 for graduate career prospects (Complete University Guide, 2015). It goes to show that our degree programmes not only promote academic achievement but also the means to hone the life-skills necessary to excel, post-graduation.

Choosing to add philosophy into your studies at Royal Holloway not only prepares you well for postgraduate study it also equips you with the skills and qualities that employers are looking for.  Philosophy degrees are well-regarded by employers because they give you the capacity to think through issues and problems in a logical and consistent way and to develop critical and transferable skills which can be applied in almost any area of employment from computing to the arts.   

So, by choosing to study this intellectually demanding discipline you will develop a broad range of highly prized transferable skills, such as:

  • the ability to communicate views and present arguments clearly and coherently
  • the ability to critically digest, analyse and summarise complex ideas
  • time management and the discipline to meet deadlines
  • organisation and research skills
  • problem-solving skills and capability

This joint degree gained at Royal Holloway provides valuable training for many professions as well as a basis for further study. It is highly regarded by employers because of the skills and qualities students develop. It demonstrates that you enjoy being challenged, are able to think through issues and problems in a logical and consistent way and have a understanding other values and cultures, which equips you to operate successfully in a fast-changing and increasingly globalised and multi-cultural environment. 

On graduation you will be informed and independent - armed with key skills including: problem-solving, organisation and planning, research and analysis, as well as communication and presentation skills and critical thinking.

  • 90% of the most recent philosophy graduates and 86% of history graduates were in employment or enhancing their skills with further study six months after graduation (Unistats 2015).
  • Recent history graduates have very successfully entered a wide range of careers including working as curators (Imperial War Museum, Museum of London), in information management (British Museum), teaching, finance, law (a barrister in the Lord Chancellor's office), broadcasting (Director of the BBC), marketing/PR ,national defence (Royal Navy), performing arts, think-tanks, human resources, management and journalism. 
  • Our careers service offers a range of tailor-made careers events, one-to-one careers advice sessions and skills workshops specifically for history students.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £14,000

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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