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Music and Philosophy BA

UCAS code WV35
Year of entry 2018
Course Length
3 years full time
Department Music »
Philosophy »

This Joint Honours course gives you the opportunity to combine the study of Music with the Philosophy in equal parts.

Studying Music at Royal Holloway allows you to tailor your studies to your own interests and passions.

We have expertise spanning traditional, modern and world music. Through studying musical texts, practices, cultures and institutions you will explore issues in history, sociology, ethnology, and philosophy covering an exceptional geographical and chronological range. You will also be able to gain practical skills in composition, music technology and performance.

You will join a music department that is among the very best in the country, ranked third in the UK for research quality (REF 2014) and the only music department in the country to hold a prestigious Regius Professorship.

  • You will have access to well-equipped studios and recording facilities as well as incredible performance spaces including the Windsor Auditorium, Boilerhouse Theatre, Victorian Picture Gallery and College Chapel.
  • Our well connected department means you have the opportunity to make valuable music industry contacts. Our staff are connected with musical networks such Wigmore Hall, the BBC Proms, Royal Opera House.

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 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 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 Music include:

Theory and Analysis

 

Practical Musicianship

 

Creative Composition Techniques

 

Practical Composition Skills

 

Very Short History of Music

 

Introduction to Historical Musicology

 

Introduction to World Music

 

Contemporary Debates in Music

 

Solo Performance

 

Creative Ensemble Performance

 

Year 2

Optional modules in Music include:

Studies in Music Analysis

 

Studies in Composition

 

Studies in Music History

 

Studies in Ethnomusicology

 

Studies in Music, Media and Technology

 

Practical Performance

 

Solo Performance

 

Ensemble Performance

 

Composition Portfolio

 

Ensemble Performance in World Music - Andean Band

 

Choral Conducting

 

Baroque Performance Practice

 

Composing with Technology

 

Composing with Technology

 

Sounds and Cultures in East Asia

 

Introduction to Jazz

 

Popular Music and Musicians in Post-War Britain and North America

 

Orchestral Conducting

 

Orchestral Performance

 

Practical Ethics

 

Wagner's Ring

 

Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image

 

Sibelius and Music of Northern Europe

 

Music in the City

 

Music, Environment and Ecology

 

Music, Power and Politics

 

Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze

 

Silent Film Performance

 

Music and Gender

 

Debussy and French Musical Aesthetics

 

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 Music include:

Studies in Music Analysis

 

Studies in Composition

 

Studies in Music History

 

Studies in Ethnomusicology

 

Studies in Music, Media and Technology

 

Practical Performance

 

Solo Performance

 

Ensemble Performance

 

Composition Portfolio

 

Ensemble Performance in World Music - Andean Band

 

Choral Conducting

 

Baroque Performance Practice

 

Composing with Technology

 

Composing with Technology

 

Sounds and Cultures in East Asia

 

Introduction to Jazz

 

Popular Music and Musicians in Post-War Britain and North America

 

Orchestral Conducting

 

Orchestral Performance

 

Practical Ethics

 

Wagner's Ring

 

Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image

 

Sibelius and Music of Northern Europe

 

Music in the City

 

Music, Environment and Ecology

 

Music, Power and Politics

 

Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze

 

Silent Film Performance

 

Music and Gender

 

Debussy and French Musical Aesthetics

 

Practical Performance 2

 

Composing with Technology 2

 

Special Study - Dissertation

 

Special Study - Theory and Analysis

 

Special Study - Performance

 

Special Study - Composition

 

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

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and instrumental/vocal lessons. You will also have the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of musical activities supported by the department, including performances by orchestras, choirs and other ensembles. 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 Advisor to support you academically and personally.

Assessment is carried out by a combination of examinations, which take place in the summer term, along with written papers, extended essays, assessed coursework, and portfolios of compositions and other practical work, and performance recitals.

In Philosophy, depending on the course unit, you will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. Outside class teaching, you will work both independently and collaboratively with other students, researching topics in preparation for class discussion and producing your assessed coursework. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources on Moodle.

 All our Philosophy academic staff hold regular drop-in consultation sessions with students and, when you start with us, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally.

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.

Study time

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

Year 1

You will spend 26% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 74% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 21% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 79% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 18% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 82% in guided independent study.

Assessment

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

Year 1

Written exams account for 43% of the total assessment for this year of study, 11% will be assessed through practical exams, and 46% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

Written exams account for 13% of the total assessment for this year of study, 9% will be assessed through practical exams, and 78% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 3

Written exams account for 19% of the total assessment for this year of study, 12% will be assessed through practical exams, and 69% will be assessed through coursework.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels

AAB-ABB

  • 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: Grade A in Music A level or Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass and five GCSEs graded A* - C or
9-4 including English and Mathematics.

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including 6 in Music at Higher Level or Pass at Grade 8 Music Theory with a minimum of 32 points overall
BTEC Extended Diploma

Distinction* Distinction* Distinction in relevant subject plus evidence of A-Level standard Music proficiency grade A equivalent or Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass

BTEC National Extended Diploma

Distinction Distinction in relevant subject plus A-Level Music grade A or Distinction Distinction in relevant subject plus one A-Level grade A and Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass

BTEC National Extended Certificate

Distinction plus A-Level Music grade A and one further A-Level grade B or Distinction plus A,B at A-Level and Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass

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 A in Music or Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass 

Scottish Highers

AAABB including A in Music or Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass 

Irish Leaving Certificate

H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level inc H2 in Music at Higher Level or H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level with Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass with at least 24 level 3 credits at Distinction and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit plus evidence of A-Level standard Music proficiency grade A equivalent or Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass. 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

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below



Please select a qualification

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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

Take Bill Clinton, Ricky Gervais and Aung San Suu Kyi for example, philosophy graduates not only go on to pursue successful careers in academia but also in a wide range of fields such as teaching, technology, law, finance and even the intelligence services.

By studing music too, you'll come away from our course with industry contacts, insider knowledge of music networks in London and specific practical skills in performance, composition and production. Our recent graduates have gone into a wide range of careers including roles as musicians, composers and performing arts teachers, but also technicians, publishers, managers, lawyers and policy makers –they've taken away transferable skills like communication, teamwork, time management, commercial awareness and critical thinking.

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

International students tuition fee per year**: £17,500

Other essential costs***: £50

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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