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

Italian and Philosophy BA

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

UCAS code RV35
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 Italy alongside the study of Philosophy.

As a student of Italian, 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 Italian to suit your specific areas of interest, gaining a greater understanding of Italian visual and musical arts, fashion and design, philosophy, literature, politics and history including topics such as Dante or Renaissance art.

You will also have the exciting opportunity to spend a year working, teaching or studying in Italy at a partner university, teaching placement at an Italian school or work placement 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 Italian: 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

Italian: Intensive Italian for Beginners

This is your core Italian language module (beginners’ pathway). It comprises a written and an oral component. There are five hours of seminars per week in which a communicative approach is adopted and the teaching is carried out in Italian whenever possible. Grammar is taught in context in accordance with your specific needs as they arise. In the oral component, you will learn to speak about set topics related to everyday matters by completing set activities including listening comprehension and role play.

Italian: Advanced Italian Language 1

This is your core Italian language module in which you will develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the Italian language. There are three hours of seminars per week as well as a grammar lecture taught fortnightly. The lessons are taught using a communicative approach and are conducted in Italian. In all parts of the module there will be a focus on learning in a cultural context, and in addition to formal grammar teaching you will develop your language skills by reading and analysing a variety of texts, articles, films, and recordings. Learning activities will include listening comprehension exercises and role play.

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

Italian: Advanced Italian 2 for Post Beginners 

This is your core Italian language module (beginners’ pathway). It comprises a written and an oral component. There are five hours of seminars per week in which a communicative approach is adopted and the teaching is carried out in Italian whenever possible. You will continue to develop your Italian language skills through reading comprehension, commentary writing as well as translation from English into Italian. You will also analyse articles from Italian newspapers and podcasts related to social, cultural and political issues in contemporary Italy, and take part in informal debates during which you will practise expressing your opinions in Italian.

Italian: Advanced Italian 2

This is your core Italian language module in which you will continue to develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the Italian language. There are three hours of seminars per week as well as a grammar lecture taught fortnightly. The lessons are taught using a communicative approach and are conducted in Italian. You will practise reading comprehension, commentary writing and translation from English into Italian, and will again analyse articles from Italian newspapers and podcasts related to social, cultural and political issues in contemporary Italy. You will also continue to work intensively on key aspects of grammar.

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

Italian: Advanced Italian 3

This is your core Italian language module in which you will continue to develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the Italian language. There are three hours of seminars per week as well as a grammar lecture taught fortnightly. The lessons are taught using a communicative approach and are conducted in Italian. In this module you will practise translation from English into Italian/Italian into English, focusing on a variety of texts types including journalism, fiction and history, as well as learning about theoretical aspects of translation. You will also continue to work intensively on key aspects of grammar.

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

Italian: The Heritage of Dante and the Renaissance

Italian: Building the Italian Nation - Heroes and anti-Heroes from Pinocchio to the Leopard

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

Italian: Dante's Comedy - Themes And Ideas

Italian: Postwar Italian Cinema

Italian: Art and Literature in Renaissance Florence

Italian: Italian Crime Fiction

Italian: Boccaccio - Decameron

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

Italian: Dante - Divine Comedy 2

Italian: Of Women, Knights, Weapons and Loves - the Italian Chivalric Tradition

Italian: Shooting History - Dictatorship, Terror and Crime in Italian Film

Italian: Approved Topic

Italian: Italian Fashion and Design

Italian: The Postmodern In Italian Literature - Pioneers, Practitioners and Critics

Italian: From Aestheticism to the Avant-Garde

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: Grade B in an essay based subject.  If Italian is taken at A-Level, a grade B is required, as well as five GCSE passes at grades A* to C including English and Maths.

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

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including grade 5 in one essay based subject with 32 points overall. If Italian 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 in a relevant subject plus an A level grade B in an essay based subject. If Italian is taken grade B is required. 
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction plus two A levels grades B,B including an essay based subject. If Italian 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 including B in an essay-based subject If Italian is taken at Advanced Higher level, 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 Italian 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. 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 80% of Italian 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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