BA History and Philosophy

This course is in international clearing

History and Philosophy are two complementary subjects that can be studied alongside each other at degree level.

If you want to understand the past to prepare for your future in a changing world, studying History is the way forward.  Philosophy is the ideal discipline for people who find they are bothered by questions that their friends can cheerfully ignore, and for people who don’t want to settle for conventional answers and received wisdom, but want to arrive at answers that stand up to the most searching examination.  

The Department of History has been ranked first in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.  This means that you will be taught by world-renowned academic staff for teaching and research.  The Department of Philosophy has a growing international reputation as a centre of excellence for research in analytic philosophy, especially in metaphysics and epistemology, philosophy of language and mind, and ethics and ethical theory. 

EU referendum

Answering your questions and concerns about the outcome of the EU referendum.

We are one of the largest departments of History in the country with 30+ full time academic staff operating on an international level.  

Whatever your interests - whether cultural, social, military, political, economic or religious history - there is someone in the department teaching your kind of history. Moreover, historians in other departments in the University expand the range of courses on offer, notably in the fields of Byzantine and African history.  

A friendly and relaxed atmosphere in both departments in an intellectually challenging and stimulating environment.  You will have your own personal tutor and we currently have School Welfare Tutors to call on, along with the University’s support services.

Why study this course

  • You will benefit from an intellectually challenging and stimulating environment for your undergraduate studies, focused on ensuring you are a fully supported and active learner. 
  • Our History and Philosophy Joint Honours degree programme offers you a wide range of modules so that you can build a degree programme that suits your interests and enables you to develop your skills in both subjects. 
  • The Department of History and The Department of Philosophy have academic staff who are experts in their fields, so the teaching that you receive will be based on leading research. In the process, you will develop a range of skills that will be appealing to future employers and open up a range of career paths.  
  • The Cadbury Research Library is home to the University of Birmingham’s historic collections of rare books, manuscripts, archives, photographs and associated artefacts. The collections which have been built up over a period of 120 years consist of over 200,000 rare printed books including significant incunabula, as well as over 4 million unique archive and manuscript collections.
  • We offer a Year Abroad, if you wish to spend the third year of your degree studying in a different country.

Open day talks

Three full videos on YouTube of recent open day talks relevant to this course:

Modules

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

In the first year of a Joint Honours degree programme study is split equally between the two disciplines.  Following this you have the option to alter the balance of your study, meaning that you could change to a major-minor weighting.  In your final year you have the option to maintain your second-year balance, switch your major subject to your other discipline or revert to an equal balance.  If you wish, you can maintain an equal balance throughout your degree.  This flexibility allows you to tailor the course throughout your degree programme, once you have had the time and experience to consider where your strengths and interests lie.  The list of modules below are based on studying half of your modules (60 credits) in History and half in Philosophy (60 credits).

First year

history-jh-module-first-year

Philosophy:

Compulsory modules:

  • Problems of Philosophy (20 credits)
  • Reasoning (10) 
  • Formal Logic or Informal Logic (10)

You then choose 20 credits out of the optional modules below:

  • Ethics: How should we live? (10)
  • Epistemology: What and how do we know? (10)
  • Philosophical Traditions: Existentialism (10)
  • Philosophy of Religion (10)
  • Political Philosophy: Can power be legitimate? (10)
  • Moral Problems (10)
  • Ancient Philosophy (10)

Philosophy first year detailed module descriptions

Second year

history-jh-module-second-year

Philosophy

In second year, there are no compulsory Philosophy modules.

Depending on your chosen balance of study, you chose 40, 60 or 80 credits out of the optional modules below:

  • The Mind-Body Problem (20)
  • Elements of Logic and Metaphysics (20)
  • Feminist Philosophy (20)
  • Speaking of Things (20)
  • Logic: Its limits and scope (20)
  • Sex, Ethics and Philosophy (20)
  • The Ethics of Killing (20)
  • The Ethics and Politics of Climate Change (20)
  • Experience and Reason: Early Modern Philosophy (20)
  • History of Analytic Philosophy (20)

Philosophy second year detailed module descriptions

Year abroad

This four year route offers you the additional educational benefit of a year of study in an approved University in Europe or in English speaking countries. Students with grades of 2.1 or above in their first year will be asked to apply for the Year Abroad in the first term of their second year and if successful, will go abroad in their third year. In addition to the tutor support given from the host University, students who choose to take a Year Abroad will be allocated a member of staff from the Department of History who will monitor their progress while overseas through regular contact.  

Final year

history-jh-module-final-year

Philosophy

As in second year, there are no compulsory Philosophy modules in your final year.

You will be expected to undertake an independent research project. Joint Honours Philosophy students can chose to do this in either of their two disciplines. If you do a project in your other discipline, you are not obliged to do another in Philosophy.

Depending on your chosen balance of study, you chose 40, 60 or 80 credits out of the optional modules below:

  • Philosophical Project (20)
  • Minds, Brains and Computers (20)
  • Topics in Philosophy of Religion (20)
  • Global Bioethics (20)
  • Prejudice, Race and Gender (20)
  • Being Good and Doing Right (20)
  • Nietzsche (20)
  • Philosophy of Language (20)
  • Reason and Belief: Topics in Epistemology (20)
  • What There Is: Issues in Ontology (20)
  • Philosophy of Mathematics (20)
  • Science and Nature (20)
  • Philosophy of Time Travel (20)

Philosophy final year detailed module descriptions

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,000
  • Overseas: £13,860

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee; for 2016/17 this will be £1,350
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee; for 2016/17 this will be £6,930

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
Required subjects and grades:
A Level History, Medieval History or Ancient History at grade A.

Additional information:

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are all considered on a case by case basis.

Please be aware that you will need to meet the subject specific requirements for both subject areas within the degree programme - please check their Single Honours coursefinder entries for more information. If you need further guidance please contact us.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Welfare tutors - We have dedicated welfare tutors who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
  • Academic Skills Centre - The centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

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.

Contact hours

On the History side of your degree, you can expect 4 contact hours per week in your first year, about 3.5 to 4 in your second year and about 3.5 to 4.5 in your final year depending on the focus of your dissertation.

On the Philosophy side of your degree, you can expect approximately 4 contact hours each week throughout the course of your programme. Contact hours will vary across the years of the programme depending on the optional modules you take and as independent study becomes more of a focus.

Contact hours will be a combination of lectures and seminars and the independent research that you conduct in your final year will be supported by 1 to 1 supervision meetings with a lecturer.

Assessment methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

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.

As a History and Philosophy student you will have an excellent opportunity to develop skills that are are attractive to employers, including:  

  • Strong communication skills
  • A deep understanding of the past
  • The ability to research, analyse and interpret complex information
  • Independence and experience of living abroad (if Year Abroad chosen)
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Handling complex information
  • The ability to form concise and articulate arguments
  • Managing your time and prioritising your workload 

These are key skills that will enable you to pursue either further study in History or Philosophy disciplines or move into employment in a wide range of other careers.  

93% of History and Philosophy students are in work/study six months after finishing their degree.  Our graduates have gone on to careers in:  

  • Accountancy
  • Charity work
  • Housing
  • Human Resources
  • International Development
  • Law
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Publishing
  • Politics
  • Retail Management
  • Teaching
  • Library and Archive work
  • Postgraduate study  

You will benefit from organised events in the department whereby our graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the variety of roles available to historians.  Many careers-orientated events are arranged in the department over the course of your time at Birmingham to enable you to gain skills so that you join the working world with confidence in your abilities.

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

Student Experience Officers

Our Student Experience Officers will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

Accommodation

Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.

International students

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.

We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.