This combined degree option gives you the opportunity to combine your studies of Politics (75% of the course) with Philosophy (25%). This will deepen your understanding of politics as well as introduce you to key elements of philosophy such as ancient philosophy and reason, argument and persuasion.
Politics at Royal Holloway invites you to explore the ideas and ideologies, as well as the processes, institutions and issues that are fundamental to understanding the politics of our times. You will gain a solid foundation in politics and political theory and as you progress, the flexible nature of the course allows you to specialise in fields such as European integration, democratic theory, British and American politics, political communication and young people’s politics. You will develop your understanding of power relations at all levels of social life and gain insight into the role of identity, ideology, interests and institutions in shaping the modern world.
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.
- Engage in topics ranging from American politics to political communication and young people’s politics.
- Study philosophical approaches spanning the Anglo-American and European traditions.
- Two complementary departments within a single School.
- Home to the Contemporary Political Theory Research Group.
- Research placement opportunities.
Core ModulesYear 1
Introduction to Politics and Government
This module will introduce you to the academic study of politics and to the ‘real world’ of contemporary politics. As a foundational course, it will give you all the essential tools to understand the nature of politics and analyse the way different political systems work. You will be introduced to key concepts such as politics, power, rights, ideologies, democracy and representation, and will learn about the different actors, institutions and processes that make up politics today.
Classic and Contemporary Readings in Politics and International Relations
This module will introduce you to foundational thinkers and texts in the history of political thought and international relations theory. The first half will explore ideas of community, politics, order and justice in ancient early Christian thought from Socrates to Augustine. The second half will explore how themes of war, peace and the state, as well as liberalism, imperialism and resistance, are developed from the early modern to contemporary period in thinkers such as Hobbes, Kant, Hegel, Smith, Mill, Marx and Fanon.
Research Methods in Politics and International Relations
This module will provide you with the analytic skills and resources to evaluate, understand, and criticise research findings in politics research. It will also provide you with the practical skills to carry out your own independent research so that you can produce a high-quality dissertation in your final year and graduate with transferable skills that will prepare you for the job market. The module aims to encourage a critical and rigorous approach to research, both in terms of how you evaluate the research of others and how you do your own. These twin goals are important for getting the most out of your time studying politics.
Epistemology and Metaphysics
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.
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.
Introduction to European Philosophy 1: 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 epistemological, ethical and aesthetical issues their idea raise, and 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
Undergraduate Dissertation in Politics and/or IR
The dissertation offers you the opportunity to pursue independent research in a topic of your own choosing with the support of an academic supervisor working one-to-one with you. You will develop your own research question and research strategy, explore the scholarly debates surrounding your topic, and advance your own thesis that interprets or challenges the way your topic has been understood. You are encouraged to use a variety of quantitative or qualitative methods and theoretical approaches as appropriate to the field you are exploring.
Optional ModulesYear 1
- All modules are core
Understanding the European Union: Politics and Theory
In this module you will analyse the contemporary politics of the European Union and its institutions, amid the challenges of the triple crisis of economics, migration and Brexit. You will learn about the political history of European integration after 1949 and the contemporary theory of European integration. The first term will begin with an introduction to the European Union as a political system followed by an overview of the European Union's historical development. The second term will focus on contestation of the European Union and the theories that underpin this, in order to explain how the EU developed and the challenges that it faces. Topics will include Euroscepticism, party politics, public opinion, Brexit and EU-UK relations, and European Parliament elections. The theory sessions comprise of federalism, neo-functionalism, liberal intergovernmentalism and the new institutionalisms.
- Democracy in Britain
- Contemporary Political Theory
- Modern Political Thought
- Political Behaviour
- The Politics of Human Rights
- Introduction to Political Communication
European Union Public Policy
In this module you will develop an understanding of regulation in the European Union, including delivery of policy and administration. You will look at how the world's largest market operates, with a focus on EU public policy, including de-regulation, re-regulation, budgets and spending. You will examine the concept of the single market, the Euro and its crisis, justice, home affairs and counter-terrorism, the EU budget, agriculture, regional development, and social and environmental policies.
European Union Foreign Policy
In this module you will develop an understanding of the European Union's foreign relations, focussing on political, security and economic impacts. You will examine its international role, looking at the Common Foreign and Security Policy, its relationship with NATO, the USA and Russia, its connection to immediate neighbours in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, and its role in global trade negotiations.
- Politics in Action: The Politics and International Relations Experience Placement
- The Politics of the Internet and the Information Society
- Radical Political Theory
- The British in India: a Social and Political History
- The Politics of Toleration
- Social Justice: From Theory to Practice
- Contemporary Middle East Politics
- Advanced Seminar in British Politics
- Understanding China's Rise: Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy
- American Political Development
- The Politics of Russia and Eastern Europe
- Theories of Freedom and Democracy
- Practical Ethics
- Varieties of Scepticism
- Modern European Philosophy 1: Husserl to Heidegger
- Modern European Philosophy 2: Critical Theory and Hermeneutics
- Modern French Philosophy
- The Varieties of Scepticism
- Philosophy of Language
- Major Thinker
Teaching & assessment
The course has a modular structure, whereby students take twelve course units at the rate of four per year. 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 and final year marks do count, with more importance being given to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement.
At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.
A Levels: ABB-BBB
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. Read more about what we look for here.
Other UK Qualifications
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
We accept the following internationally-recognised English language qualifications:
- Pearson Test of English
- Cambridge ESOL
Your future career
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 a politics based degree at Royal Holloway provides you with a wide range of important transferable skills, enabling you to approach problems in a rigorous, analytical and critical way and to communicate clearly and concisely in both speech and writing. Adding philosophy into your studies 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
You will leave us with skills and knowledge that will not only make you attractive to employers in a broad spectrum of careers, but will prepare you for further advanced study and research.
Graduates of this department have secured jobs in a wide range of professions, such as the law, the civil service, accountancy, management, journalism, broadcasting, teaching, international development and diplomacy. In fact, six-months after graduation, 90% of our most recent graduates are enhancing their skills with further study or forging careers in companies and institutions such as:
- The Church of England
- The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
- The Conservative Party
- Ernst & Young
- The European Commission
- Global Capital
- HM Treasury
- The Henry Jackson Society
- House of Commons
- Ipsos MORI
- The Labour Party
- NATO Headquarters
- Oxford Business Group
- Proctor & Gamble
- Save the Children
Many of our graduates have also gone on to further study, entering postgraduate programmes both at Royal Holloway and at other prestigious institutions around the world.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9250
International students tuition fee per year**: £16500
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
*The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations, and for students starting a degree in the academic year 2018/19 will be £9,250 for that year. The UK Government has confirmed 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. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and 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.