The Philosophy Department at the University of Birmingham has an outstanding international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. The Department of Philosophy was ranked second in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. Sociology offers an equally high-quality teaching experience, having received an overall satisfaction rating of 93% in the National Student Survey.
With this combined degree, you will have the opportunity to tailor your programme by choosing modules from both disciplines. Philosophy modules include:
- History of Philosophy
- Moral and Political Philosophy
- Philosophy of Science
- Sexual Ethics
- Philosophy of Language
- Ethics of Killing
- Feminist Philosophy
- Early Modern Philosophy
- The Mind-Body Problem
Sociology modules include:
- Changing nature of work and the family
- Gender roles and sexuality
- Impact of the media
- New forms of politics
We provide you with training in crucial philosophical skills, with modules on reasoning and logic. There is also a strong emphasis on developing social science research skills – strongly valued by employers – with research methods training in each year.
Ultimately, Philosophy and Sociology, in combination, allows you to critically engage with some of the deepest questions human beings have asked across history, in combination with key issues facing contemporary societies.
Please be aware that the following information is intended to provide prospective students with an indicative guide of the modules offered by the School. However, our research is constantly exploring new areas and directions of study, therefore some modules may be dropped and new ones offered in their place.
For this combined degree, you study half of your modules in Philosophy and half in Sociology.
Philosophy: First year modules include Knowledge and Reality, History of Philosophy and The Individual and Society.
There are also two seminar-only modules: Philosophical Texts I, where you learn how to analyse and criticise some texts on a variety of topics, and Independent Study I, where you learn essay-writing and research skills and apply them by writing an essay on a philosophical topic of your choice.
Read more about first year Philosophy modules
Sociology: In your first year you will be introduced to degree level sociology through Social Worlds and the Sociological Imagination, gain an understanding of stratification through Social Divisions, and learn the basics of research design and methods.
Philosophy: In the second year, all students are given some freedom of choice, so you can pursue the topics and questions that interest and inspire you. Second year modules currently on offer include Thought and Language, Topics in the History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind and Meta-ethics.
There is also Philosophical Texts II, where you focus on a single classic book by a particular author from a range of available texts, and Independent Study II, which gives you the opportunity to further hone your essay-writing skills by writing an essay on a question of your own devising.
Read more about second year Philosophy modules
Sociology: The second year builds on the first year by developing your understanding of Modern Sociological Theory, and introducing debates about the nature of Global Societies. You can choose a specialist option in either Gender and Sexuality or Ethnic Relations, and receive more advanced methods training in data analysis and preparation for your final year dissertation.
Philosophy: In the final year there is even more choice of modules. Some areas, like ethics and metaphysics, will be familiar to you, but will be studied at a more advanced level. Others modules, like the philosophy of Schopenhauer, will be new to you.
Another option is the Philosophical Project module, for which you research and write a dissertation with the help of a supervisor who advises you and generally guides you through the process.
Read more about third year Philosophy modules
Sociology: Your training in key sociological ideas is completed with a module on Contemporary Social Theory, and you can then specialise in the areas of the discipline that interest you most. Our teaching staff, who are active researchers, run options in their own specialist fields including.
Most importantly, you will research and write an independent, supervised dissertation, or extended essay, which brings together your research skills on a project defined by you. This can be focused on Philosophy, Sociology or a topic that bridges both disciplines.
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