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History and Philosophy BA

UCAS code VV51
Year of entry 2018
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

The core modules in History are:

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.

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.

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 History are:

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.

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.

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 History include:

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

 

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

 

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

 

Conflict and Identity in Modern Europe, 1770 to 2000

 

Mao to Mandela - Twentieth Century Leaders of the Non-Western World

 

Rome to Renaissance - An Introduction to the Middle Ages

 

Year 2

Optional modules in History include:

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic

 

The Persuit of Power - Europe, 1000 to 1250

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Medicine from Antiquity to the Medieval Near East

 

The Victorians - British History, 1837 to 1901

 

History of the USA, 1787 to 1877

 

Spain, 1898 to 1939

 

Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy, 1939 to 1989

 

Awakening China - From the Opium Wars to the Present Day

 

Science in Greek and Roman Antiquity

 

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

 

The 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 History include:

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

 

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

 

Modernity and the Victorians - The Intellectual Response

 

Berlin - A European Metropolis from Kaiser to Kohl

 

The History and Historiography of the Holocaust

 

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

 

Christians and Pagans  - From Constantine to Augustine

 

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

 

Comparing Religious Fundamentalisms in the 19th and 20th Centuries

 

Migration, Identity and Citizenship in Modern Britain

 

The Age of Terror - Terrorism from 1945 to Present

 

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

 

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

 

Progress and its Discontents - European Culture, 1890 to 1914

 

The 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

Depending on the module, 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 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.

Most modules contain an element of assessed coursework, such as an essay, presentation or seminar participation marks. Other assessment methods include exams and online quizzes.

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.

Study time

Proportions of study time will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

You will spend 15% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 85% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 15% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 85% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 13% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 87% in guided independent study.

Assessment

Proportions of assessment types will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

Written exams account for 35% of the total assessment for this year of study, 1% will be assessed through practical exams, and 64% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

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

Year 3

Written exams account for 51% of the total assessment for this year of study, 5% will be assessed through practical exams, and 44% 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: At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.

Preferred subject: History A-level.

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

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

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction*, Distinction*, Distinction in a related subject.
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a related subject plus an A-level grade A
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction plus A-levels grade A,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
Scottish Highers AAABB
Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 24 level 3 credits at Distinction and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit. 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.

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*: £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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