How will I be taught?
As a Birmingham student, you are joining the academic elite and have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts in their fields. Throughout your studies, you'll be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, thriving on challenge and opportunities to think for yourself. At first, you may find these new ways of working and learning a challenge, but we'll help you to make the transition and you'll soon be benefiting from some of the most highly regarded teaching in this subject in the country.
Student Mentor Scheme
Our enthusiastic established students act as mentors to our new Philosophy students. This provides you with a friendly face to help you settle in.
Academic Writing Advisory Service
The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) will provide you with individual support from an academic writing advisor and postgraduate subject-specialist writing tutors. You'll receive guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level which can be quite different from your previous experiences of writing. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, feedback through email and tutorials.
From the outset, you will be assigned your own Personal Tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies, providing academic and welfare advice, encouraging you and offering assistance in any areas you may feel you need extra support to make the most of your potential and your time here at Birmingham.
Lectures are valuable opportunities for you to be taught and inspired by someone who is both an expert in the field and research active. Lectures are to some extent interactive, with frequent opportunities for discussion, and question-and-answer sessions.
Seminars run alongside lectures in some modules, providing you with an opportunity to prepare individual presentations, work in small groups, debate a topic and analyse primary sources in depth. This will give you a toolbox of transferable skills. All seminars require advance preparation and active student participation.
Interactive classes are offered in modules which don't feature separate seminars. Here, lecturing time and discussion time are part of the same session and the structure of the classes can be very flexible.
Supervised self study gives you the opportunity to choose a subject that you're interested in. Aided and supervised by members of staff, you'll explore sources that help you examine a philosophical problem of your choice, build skills in planning, research and time management, and develop original arguments for positions that you care about.
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is an excellent tool for supporting our academic modules, allowing you to share throughts on assignments with other students via the discussion group facilities, and even submit your work electronically.
Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) means that learning is driven by the shared enquiry of students and tutors. This places you, the student, at the centre of your own degree: you learn through involvement and ownership, not simply by being a passive recipient of information. We believe that this is the best way of learning while you're at Birmingham as it's very effective in enabling you to acquire the key skills and attributes that are valued by employers: creative and independent thinking, self-motivation, self-organisation, team-working, goal-setting and problem-solving.
As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.
Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).
To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we?ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.
Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching; you will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject, and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make the change to this new style of learning, and the way that you?re assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time here at Birmingham.
During your first year you will take part in a formal 'transition' review with your personal tutor to see how you are getting on and whether there are particular areas where you need support.
Each module is assessed independently by exams, essays or other forms of written assignment. Some modules are completely assessed by coursework. Most first-year modules are assessed by both an essay written during the year and an exam at the end of the year, with each given equal weight. The assessment for second- and third-year modules also varies. Many modules are assessed by two essays, while some are assessed by an essay and an exam. The Philosophical Project module is assessed by a single long essay of about 6,000 words.
At the beginning of each module you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed for that particular programme of study. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks and you will also be given feedback on any exams that you take.
All essay marking is moderated and feedback is offered on a form which encourages staff to provide detailed information on the assessed piece of work, and helps students identify strengths and weaknesses. Mark sheets offer advice for improvement and as a result essay-writing skills tend to improve as students progress through their degree programme. There are also many opportunities for further support, such as essay-writing workshops and an essay-writing advice service. Personal tutors are available to monitor progress, to read students' work and to offer advice for improvement.