Learning style and contact time
Most teaching is by a combination of lecture and either seminar or tutorial. Our contact hours are among the highest in the sector (8–12 contact hours per week of term, more typically 12 than 8) and our students rate the feedback they receive highly.
First year modules are typically taught in weekly lectures plus a mixture of seminars and some small group tutorials. Second and third year modules are taught in two hour lectures plus weekly seminars. Lecturers are available to answer questions and provide further support during weekly office hours (and often at other times too).
We track your progress, and provide you with feedback, through regular non-assessed work, assessed essays, and written examinations. Your final degree classification is based on a combination of coursework, the optional dissertation, and exam. Currently, students can choose to submit an essay (usually of about 2,500 words) in place of taking an exam in up to half of their modules. Work done in your honours years (year two onwards) carries equal weight in determining your final degree classification.
In the first year you take five modules in parallel throughout the year. The first four are in Philosophy: Philosophical Arguments, Philosophical Methods, Introduction to Ancient Philosophy + Philosophy in Practice. The fifth is from Classics and Ancient History and may be any one of: Roman Culture and Society, Latin Language, Greek Culture and Society, Greek Language, or Introduction to Greek and Roman History.
Philosophical Arguments comprises three modules: Descartes and Mill in the first term; Doing Philosophy, which is taught in tutorials in the second term; and Elements of Scientific Method in the summer term. Philosophical Methods comprises: Issues in Philosophy, which covers a broad range of questions typically including questions about identity, meaning and knowledge; Logic 1; and Meaning and Communication, which is an introduction to the philosophy of language.
Philosophical Arguments and Philosophical Methods are designed to help you acquire some of the key philosophical knowledge and skills that you will draw on in subsequent years. The skills include how to read philosophy, how to write a philosophical essay, and how to construct a logically sound argument. These modules will also introduce you to foundational philosophical ideas and debates.
The options in classics and ancient history are selected to give you a solid grounding in work on the antiquities, as a basis for further work in subsequent years.
At the end of the first year you will have an excellent foundation of philosophical skills and knowledge, and also ancient historical skills and knowledge, that will allow you to take more specialized courses in your second and third year.
In your second year you will take History of Modern Philosophy (which amounts to one quarter of your course for the year, or 30 CATS) and Ethics (one eighth of your course, or 15 CATS), and up to five further option modules (i.e. 75 CATS of options), with at least 15 of the optional CATS from philosophy and at least 30 CATS from classics and ancient history. You can spend up to a quarter of your time (30 CATS) in another subject. These options change from year to year, so that you have some different choices each year. The option modules available from philosophy and from classics and ancient history cover a very wide range of topics, as you can see by following the links.
In your third year you will choose up to eight option modules (as in previous years, you’ll do 120 CATS in total, which can include up to 30 CATS in another subject), with at least 60 CATS from philosophy and at least 30 CATS from classics and ancient history. Many final year students choose to take the Dissertation (which is a quarter of your course for the year or 30 CATS). The Dissertation module enables you to pursue independent research under the individual supervision of a lecturer or professor, culminating in a 10,000 essay.