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Home > Courses > Courses for 2017 > Undergraduate > German and Philosophy
More in this section Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures

German and Philosophy BA

For 2018 entry this course will be replaced by BA Modern Languages and Philosophy.

UCAS code RV25
Year of entry 2017
Course Length
4 years full time
Department Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures »
Philosophy »

 

Choosing this Joint Honours course, you will learn the language, literature and culture of German-speaking countries alongside the study of Philosophy.

As a student of German, you will not only learn to speak and write fluently, you will also develop excellent communication and research skills and combine language proficiency with cross-cultural perspectives. 

You will be able to tailor your study of German to suit your specific areas of interest, choosing from an exciting multidisciplinary range in German literature, thinking, history, art, film and current affairs; from Mann and Kafka to representations of childhood and youth in German culture.

You will also have the exciting opportunity to spend a year working, teaching or studying in Germany or a German-speaking country, when you will immerse yourself in the language and culture and truly broaden your horizons at partner universities such as Heidelberg, Munich and Vienna, teaching placements at German or Austrian schools, or work placements in business or industry.

  • Whether you are a beginner or advanced student when you start, by the time you graduate you will be fluent in German: confident in reading, understanding and analysing text and able to write with ease and accuracy.
  • Our research staff are engaged in research at the highest level internationally; we are in the top 10 of UK Modern Language departments for research quality and the top in London (Research Assessment Exercise 2014).

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

German: Intensive Beginners' German 1

This is your core German language module (beginners’ pathway). In five weekly seminars you will be introduced to the German language and begin to develop a knowledge of vocabulary and core grammar, as well as oral and listening comprehension skills.

German: German Language 1

This is your core German language module in which you will develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the German language. There will be three seminar hours per week alongside a fortnightly grammar lecture. You will focus on written German, oral practice and grammar, and study a range of texts and topics. The skills you will acquire include the writing of formal letters (letter of complaint, letter to the editor, etc.) and short essays, and presentation delivery in German.

German: Introduction to German Studies

This module will introduce you to key areas of interest in contemporary German Studies, including literary genres and styles, film, and important themes. It will also introduce you to basic library-based and bibliographical study skills. In weekly seminars you will learn how to analyse different kinds of texts and films, and be introduced to aspects of literary and film theory. You will study a variety of short texts and poems by major writers from the 18th century to the present day, a film by a major German filmmaker, and a recent novel on an historical theme.

German: German History and Culture

The module presents key developments in German history through the lens of literature and the visual arts, in a lively and accessible way. You will gain an insight into German culture and history from the Middle Ages to the present, and acquire skills and knowledge that will serve you throughout your degree. By the end of the module you will be familiar with some of the key historical moments in German history, and with some of the ways these have had a political and cultural impact.

The core modules in Philosophy are:

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.

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.

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

German: Intensive Beginners' German 2

This module is designed to follow on from and to build on the knowledge and skills established in Intensive Beginners’ German 1. You will establish, through intensive practice and use of a range of learning materials, more advanced comprehension skills in written and spoken German. The emphasis throughout will be on everyday language and day-to-day situations.

German: German Language 2

This is your core German language module in which you will continue to develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the German language. There will be three seminar hours per week alongside a fortnightly grammar lecture. You will focus on written German, oral practice and grammar. The module will again include an element of ‘German for business purposes’, dealing with business related text genres, such as business letterers and report writing.

The core modules in Philosophy are:

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.

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

The third year of this degree programme will be spent abroad, either studying or working or both. It is usually expected that students will spend at least 9 months overseas, in countries where the native langauges match the languages the student is studying. Students studying two langauges will be expected to divide their time between two relevant countries, i.e. one for each langauge. The School of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures will support students in finding a suitable study or work placement, but students are also expected to explore opportunities independently and the ultimate responsibility for securing such a placement lies with the student. Alternatively students may choose to enrol for courses at a partner university in the relevant country. This year forms an integral part of the degree programme; students on placement will be asked to complete assessed work which will be credited towards their degree, while in the case of those studying at a university, marks obtained for courses taken will be credited towards their degree. The same applies to the assessment of spoken language on return to Royal Holloway from the period of residence abroad.

Year 4

German: German Language 3

This is your core German language module in which you will continue to develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the German language. There will be three seminar hours per week. In your grammar class you will work on the effective use of written register and style, and the presenting of a convincing argument. Your oral German classes will include debates and presentations. You will also be introduced to advanced translation skills, focusing on a variety of functional, literary, journalistic, factual and academic texts.

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

Optional modules in Philosophy include:

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.

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.

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

German: Death, Desire, Decline - Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka

German: Love and Marriage in Major Novels by Theodor Fontane

German: Representations of Childhood and Youth in Modern German Culture

Optional modules in Philosophy and related subjects include:

The Dialogues of Plato

 

Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy 1

 

The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy

 

Contemporary Political Theory

 

The Critique of Idealism

 

Philosophy and the Arts

 

Philosophy of Psychology

 

Practical Ethics

 

The Varieties of Scepticism

 

The Philosophy of Religion

 

Year 4

German: Doubles, Devils, and Deadly Spiders - 19th-Century German Gothic Literature

German: Narrative and Identity - The German Novel from the 18th to the 21st Century

German: Dream Factories - Recent German Film

Optional modules in Philosophy and related subjects include:

Radical Political Theory

 

The Politics of Toleration

 

Social Justice - From Theory to Practice

 

Issues in Democratic Theory

 

Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy 2

 

The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy 2

 

Modern European Philosophy 1 - Husserl to Heidegger

 

Modern European Philosophy 2 - Critical Theory and Hermeneutics

 

Modern French Philosophy

 

The Philosophy of Psychology

 

The Philosophy of Religion

 

Practical Ethics

 

Recovering Reality

 

The Varieties of Scepticism

 

Dissertation

The dissertation presents you with the opportunity to demonstrate your skills as an independent learner by embarking upon a substantial piece of written work of between 8,000 and 10,000 words in length. 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.

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take 14 course units at the rate of four per year in years 1, 2 and 4, and two units during the year abroad. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering flexibility and choice.

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you choose to take. The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree. The second year, year abroad and final year marks do count, with more importance being given to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement.

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

Required: A level Grade B in an essay based subject, if German is taken at A-Level, a grade B is required, as well as five GCSEs graded A*- C including Maths and English.

Preferred: History, Government & Politics, Law, Economics, Philosophy, RE, English Literature, Sociology.

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including  5 at Higher Level in an essay-based subject with a minimum of 32 points overall. If German is taken at Higher Level, a grade 5 is required.
BTEC Extended Diploma

Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject. 

BTEC National Extended Diploma

Distinction, Distinction plus one A level grade B in an essay based subject. If German is taken grade B is required.

BTEC National Extended Certificate  Distinction plus two A levels grades B,B including B in an essay based subject. If German is taken grade B is required.
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 at Advanced Higher Level including an essay-based subject. If German is taken as an Advanced Higher, a grade B is required plus Higher Level requirements. 
Scottish Highers

AABBB plus Advanced Higher Level requirements.

Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level including H3 in an essay-based subject. If German is taken at Higher Level, a grade H3 is required.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit in a relevant subject area. 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

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

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. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

When you graduate with this intellectually demanding joint degree not only will you be a modern linguist, an analytical and critical thinker with impressive communication and leadership skills, you will also have a wide range of additional transferable skills which can be applied in almost any area of employment from computing to the arts. Having spent a year abroad you’ll also have developed the kind of sensitivity to different cultures that is highly prized in the workplace.

  • Full time employment or further study achieved by 90% of Philosophy graduates and 85% of German graduates within six months of graduation (Unistats 2015). 
  • Graduates have entered a wide range of careers including many language-related fields, such as: international management, consultancy, sales and marketing, media and publishing, banking, the arts, politics, the Civil Service, teaching, travel and tourism, translating and interpreting.  Philosophy graduates have gone into areas, such as: law, public affairs, journalism, civil service, marketing and public relations, business analysis, museums/heritage, writing, accountancy and charity fundraising.  Other graduates have gone onto postgraduate study.

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***: The cost of your year abroad will vary by country. Typical living costs to consider will be accommodation, food and household items, entertainment, travel, books and bills (including your mobile phone). You'll also need to budget for travel to and from your country of study. Additional costs compared to studying in the UK will also depend on personal choices and it is important to research the cost of living before the year commences.

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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