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Classics and Philosophy BA

UCAS code QV85
Year of entry 2018
Course Length
3 years full time
Department Classics »
Politics and International Relations »

By combining Classics and Philosophy in equal parts you'll have the opportunity to study ancient Greek and Latin alongside ancient and modern philosophy. With roots of philosophical theory anchored in the ancient world, Philosophy and Classics make an excellent combination of subjects.

Classics is perfect if you have a knowledge and love of either Latin or Greek and want to add that second ancient language to your repertoire, while learning more about the classical world through the study of texts in the original as well as artefacts, ideas and past-deeds.

You will study both Latin and Greek language and literature, reading texts in the original words of the author. The remainder of your time will be spent understanding the minds, hearts and actions of the ancient Romans and Greeks through the study of ancient philosophy, history, classical archaeology as well as Latin and Greek literature in translation.

As a Classicist you will be part of our Classics Department, where the quality of research that informs our teaching and a friendly, individual approach which shapes the way we guide our students combine to create an unbeaten academic experience.

  • A centre for excellence in both teaching and research, 98% of our research is recognized as world-leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognized (REF 2014).
  • A thriving Classics Society that contributes to the friendly and sociable atmosphere of our department.

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

The core modules in Classics are:

The core modules in Philosophy are:

Introduction to Modern Philosophy

In this module you will develop an understanding of how the ‘new philosophy’ of the seventeenth century set the modern philosophical agenda. You will look at the work of some of the most ground breaking philosophers of the period, such René Descartes and John Locke, and consider how later philosophers such as Gottfried Leibniz and David Hume took up and expanded their ideas. You will consider the fundamental questions which became central to the European Enlightenment, including those concerning knowledge and understanding and the relation between science and other human endeavours.

Epistemology and Metaphysics

In this module you will develop an understanding of 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 consider metaphysical questions that explore the relationship between minds, bodies, and the possibilities of human freedoms.

Introduction to Ancient Philosophy

In this module you will develop an understanding of ancient philosophical ideas and the ways in which philosophical arguments are presented and analysed. You will look at the thought and significance of the principal ancient philosophers, from the Presocratics to Aristotle, and examine sample texts such as Plato's 'Laches' and the treatment of the virtue of courage in Aristotle, 'Nicomachean Ethics' 3.6-9.

You will also take one from the following:

Introduction to Logic

In this module you will develop an understanding of the formal study of arguments through the two basic systems of modern logic - sentential or propositional logic and predicate logic. You will learn how to present and analyse arguments formally, and look at the implications and uses of logical analysis by considering Bertrand Russell’s formalist solution to the problem of definite descriptions. You will also examine the the broader significance of findings in logic to philosophical inquiry.

Mind and Consciousness

In this module you will develop an understanding of the relationship between the mind and the brain. You will examine the key theories, from Descartes' dualist conception of the relationship between mind and body through to Chalmers's conception of consciousness as 'the hard problem' in the philosophy of mind. You will also consider some of the famous thought experiments in this area, including Descartes's and Laplace's demons, the Chinese Room and the China Brain, Mary and the black-and-white room, and the problem of zombie and bat consciousness.

Introduction to Aesthetics and Morals

In this module you will develop an understanding of the central problems and debates within moral philosophy and aesthetics. You will look at questions relating to both metaphysical and ethical relativism, including the ways we view our moral commitments within the world, how the individual is related to society, and the value and nature of the work of art. You will also examine approaches from the history of philosophy, including the Anglo-American tradition and recent European philosophy.

Year 2

The core modules in Classics are:

The core modules in Philosophy are:

Introduction to European Philosophy 1 - From Kant to Hegel

In this module you will develop an understanding of the major debates in European and some Anglo-American philosophy. You will look at the key texts by eighteenth and nineteenth century philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, examining the continuing significance of their ideas. You will consider the major espistemological, ethical and aesthetical issues their idea raise, and the the problems associated with the notion of modernity. You will also analyse the importance of the role of history in modern philosophy via Hegel's influence.

Mind and World

Year 3

All modules are optional

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 Classics include:

Year 2

Optional modules in Classics include:

Optional modules in Philosophy include:

Practical Ethics
Modern French Philosophy
Major Thinker
Introduction to European Philosophy 2 - The Critique of Idealism
Philosophy of Language
Contemporary Political Theory
Modern Political Thought
Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy

Year 3

Optional modules in Classics include:

Optional modules in Philosophy include:

Philosophy Dissertation

You will 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.

Practical Ethics
Modern French Philosophy
Major Thinker
Philosophy of Language
Modern European Philosophy 1 - Husserl to Heidegger
Modern European Philosophy 2 - Post-structuralism and its Critics
Radical Political Theory
The Politics of Toleration
Social Justice
Theories of Freedom
Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take 12 course units at the rate of four units per year. The second year project unit and the third year dissertation are compulsory but all other the end of each year. Your final year dissertation will also count towards your degree award.

You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and individual tutorials, depending on the subjects studied. Outside classes, you will undertake group projects and wide-ranging but guided independent study, including completing language exercises and reading prescribed and open material. 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. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally.

In your final year the Classics department provides ongoing support for your dissertation work, which usually includes:

  • Lectures and practical sessions on Dissertation Research Methods e.g. planning your topics, carrying out research, using specialist resources, finding information in print and online, and managing your search results and references. These sessions are run in conjunction with the Library Service and are generally also open to second year students.
  • Short departmental writing ‘surgeries’, in which academic staff offer general writing support if you are experiencing problems and/or if you have specific queries.

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. In addition, 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.

Study time

Year 1

You will spend 14% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 86% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 14% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 86% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 12% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 88% in guided independent study.

Year 1

Written exams account for 64% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 36% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

Written exams account for 55% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 45% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 3

Written exams account for 44% of the total assessment for this year of study, 1% will be assessed through practical exams and 55% will be assessed through coursework.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels  AAB-ABB

How we assess your application:  predicted grades lower than our typical offers are considered.  Read more about what we look for here.

  • Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required
  • Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant’s education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Required/preferred subjects Required subjects: Latin or Greek A Level Grade B or Grade A or 7 GCSE if not taken to A level and at least five GCSE passes at grades A* to C,or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including 5 in Standard Level Greek or Latin with a minimum of 32 points overall 
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction*, Distinction*, Distinction in a related subject plus GCSE Grade A or 7 in Greek or Latin, or A Level in Greek or Latin Grade B 
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a related subject and A Level Grade A plus GCSE Grade A or 7 in Greek or Latin, or A Level in Greek or Latin Grade B 
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction and A-Levels Grades A,B plus GCSE Grade A or 7 in Greek or Latin, or A Level in Greek or Latin Grade B 
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 AAB-ABB including B in Greek or Latin 
Scottish Highers AAABB including B in Greek or Latin 
Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level including H3 in Greek or Latin at Higher Level
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass in a relevant subject with at least 24 level 3 credits at Distinction and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit plus GCSE Grade A or 7 in Greek or Latin, or A Level in Greek or Latin Grade B. 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. 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.

Our degree programmes not only promote academic achievement but also the means to hone the life-skills necessary to excel, post-graduation.

Studying a Classical subject requires research, assessment, reasoning, organization and self-management often on your own or as part of a team.  In Philosophy you learn to develop and express reasoned arguments, to use logical processing and critical analysis to defend your position and debate opposing opinions. So, by choosing to study these intellectually demanding disciplines in combination you will develop a broad range of skills which are highly prized by employers, including:

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

Being able to understand and process complex issues, to critically evaluate resources and construct coherent arguments both verbally and in writing is why many Royal Holloway classicists become employed in law, marketing, publishing, the media, government and finance.  With its emphasis on reason and argumentation, philosophy is an excellent preparation for a career in law, religion, business, international diplomacy, social work, medical management or writing as well as post-graduate education. 

Employers like Channel 4, multinational law firm SJ Berwin, The Guildhall (City of London), accountancy firm KPMG, the Natural History Museum, Customs and Immigration, London Advertising, Broadstone Pensions and Investments and the Armed Forces have all recently recruited Royal Holloway alumni from the Department of Classics.

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

International students tuition fee per year**: £16,500

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 about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates starting their degrees in 2018 is controlled by Government regulations, and details are not yet known. The UK Government has also announced that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in 2018/19 will pay the same level of fee as a UK student for the duration of their degree.

**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our  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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