Learning style and contact time
Most teaching in philosophy and in psychology is by a combination of lecture and either seminar or tutorial. For philosophy 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, online tests and written examinations. Your final degree classification is based on a combination of coursework, online tests, the optional dissertation, and exam. In many modules students can choose to submit an essay (usually of about 2,500 words) in place of taking an exam. Work done in your honours years (year two onwards) carries equal weight in determining your final degree classification.
In the first year you take four modules in parallel throughout the year. Three of these are core requirements: Philosophical Arguments, Philosophical Methods, Brain and Behaviour (in Psychology). For the fourth module you can choose from Philosophy (e.g. Introduction to Ancient Philosophy + Philosophy in Practice, or Ideas of Freedom), Psychology (e.g. Psychology in Context), or in another subject (e.g. a language).
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.
Brain and Behaviour provides an introduction to key findings and paradigms in current approaches to the psychology of to perception, action, attention, emotion, language, learning, memory, and psychological disorders.
At the end of the first year you will have an excellent foundation in philosophy and psychology 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). In Psychology you will take Language and Cognition plus Developmental Psychology (each amounting to one eighth of your course for the year, or 15 CATS). For the remaining 60 CATS, at least 30 CATS must come from Philosophy, but you are free to choose from many option modules in Philosophy and Psychology---there are typically around 35 modules to choose from. You could even choose to spend up to a quarter of your time (30 CATS) in a third subject.
In your third year you will spend a quarter or more of your time on modules in Psychology and half or more of your time on modules in Philosophy. Among the Philosophy options, Epistemology and Metaphysics and Philosophy of Mind are required (each amounting to one eighth of your course, or 15 CATS) if you have not previously taken them in year 2. As in the second year, there is a wide range of options to choose from and up to a quarter of your time can be spent in a third subject (for example, Biology). You can also choose to 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 word essay.