Philosophy

Undergraduate

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Sunday 1 August 2021

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  • The 2022 Complete University Guide ranks Roehampton top in London for student satisfaction in philosophy.
  • Practically focused to provide you with career-relevant skills in logical thinking, critical analysis, effective communication, and practical application.
  • Give your career a head-start through the option of a one-year work placement, after year two.
  • Tailor your degree to your own interests, choosing from a range of modules in both English literature and philosophy.
  • Join our committed, student-led Philosophy Society, that holds regular meetings, quizzes, and discussion groups.  
  • Roehampton is a member of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, and runs engaging and inspiring events in public philosophy for you to participate in.
  • Roehampton is in the top five universities in London for graduate earnings in philosophy (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2019 results, earnings three years after graduation).

Summary

Philosophers study some of the fundamental questions raised by human existence. What can we know? How should we live? What is the nature of reality? How should society be organised? Our students are introduced to major philosophical traditions and thinkers that have posed these questions, while developing the skills and confidence necessary to answer them for themselves.

What makes philosophy at Roehampton so distinctive is our commitment to practical philosophy. We believe philosophy is at its best when it tries to solve real problems in the world around us. Our unique BA degree brings these practical challenges to the fore, encouraging students to explore, for example, the ethics of the environment and animal rights; the place of religion and spirituality in the modern world; problems of economic inequality and unjust laws and the nature of gender, race, and class. You will be taught by world-leading experts in these topics, who can draw on their own cutting-edge research in the classroom.

Alongside traditional philosophical skills of critical thinking, analytic argument, and clear communication, you will also develop the ability to analyse multiple forms of media, to write and present material for a public audience, and to read and analyse policy documents. Combined with multiple opportunities for work placements, our degree programme will provide you with the analytic and practical skills to undertake a wide range of careers or pursue future study.

At Roehampton, we foster a supportive and engaged learning environment, built on strong staff-student relationships which will enable you to thrive, whatever your background. You will learn through engaging and interactive lectures, small group seminars, and one-on-one tutorials and guidance meetings.

You will leave the course a highly-employable individual, with the skills to move into many areas of professional working life, including law, the civil service, politics, business or teaching.  

Student Testimonies

John Blanding, recent graduate BA Philosophy:
"For me, the course returned tenfold on all my expectations. All the lecturers have been excellent and encouraged communication and good relationships with their students. They have empowered and encouraged me to help my fellow students, represent the course during open days and get involved in the Philosophy Society etc. Studying at Roehampton has made me want to continue my studies and has left me with enduring friendships and memories. I have gained various academic skills from critical and imaginative thinking to presentational skills."

Daniel Bremner, recent graduate, now a Roehampton master's student: 
"The small class sizes allow you to build close relationships with your lecturers and peers. The faculty is constantly looking for ways to improve the course and student feedback is always noted, giving you a voice in how you are taught. Lecturers are always available to contact, whether it be via email or drop-in session at their office, you always have access to support. The structure of the course is excellent; the modules offered in first year provide you with a strong foundation to better understand complex philosophical ideas throughout the subsequent years."

Year one 

• Gain a foundation in the central concepts and arguments of Western philosophy, through the study of both historical and contemporary thinkers.
• Be introduced to key ideas within non-Western traditions of thought, including global perspectives on what it is to be human.
• Develop the analytical techniques to be able to assess philosophical arguments for yourself, and apply these critical abilities to philosophy, literature, and film.

Year two 

• Further your philosophical development by critically engaging with key texts from within contemporary and historical philosophy.
• Tailor your degree to your own interests, by choosing from a range of topics in ethical, political, religious, and historical philosophy.
• Develop the ability to apply philosophical analysis to real-world situations, through seminar work, assessments, and work-placement modules.

Year three 

• Take cutting-edge research-led modules, in which lecturers will introduce you to the latest ideas in ethical, political, social, and historical philosophy.
• Work with a dedicated supervisor to develop a third-year dissertation or practical project in an area of philosophy completely of your choosing.
• Be supported in developing the knowledge and confidence to apply your skills to the job market, or to pursue further study in philosophy and related disciplines.

Here are examples of the varied range of modules we offer:

Year 1

Compulsory Modules
Classical Philosophy
Early Modern Thought
Being Human
Study of Religion
Philosophy, Film and Literature
Ethical Theory

Year 2

Compulsory Modules
Key Texts in Focus
Self and World

Optional Modules
Aesthetics
Philosophy of Religion
Ethics of Life and Death
Foundations of Political Thought
Literature, Ethics and Environment
Digital Humanities: Concept, Code and Creativity
Applied Humanities: Professional Practice and Placement

Year 3

Compulsory Modules
Dissertation or Special Essay/Project

Optional Modules
Love, Sex, Death and God
Philosophy of Law
Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics
Gender, Race and Class: Philosophical Issues
Political Philosophy
Continental Philosophy

 

Compulsory and Required modules
Compulsory and/or required modules may change when we review and update programmes. Above is a list of modules offered this academic year.

Optional modules
Optional modules, when offered as part of a programme, may vary from year to year and are subject to viability.

Our graduates use their exceptional reasoning and analytical skills to go into professions such as politics, the civil service, journalism, business, commerce and law. Many of our philosophy graduates also go onto master’s degrees and PhD study. 

Our careers team is available to support you from the start of your studies until after you graduate. They will help you build your CV, prepare for interviews, and meet and learn from successful graduates working at the top of their careers.

Professor Fiona Ellis

Fiona Ellis

Hi, my name is Fiona, and I’m Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Roehampton. Teaching is one of the things I love about my job, and my modules include Philosophy of Religion, Continental Philosophy, and Love, Sex, Death, and God. I agree with the philosopher and fiction writer Iris Murdoch that the problems of philosophy are the problems of life, and all of these modules involve an exploration of some fascinating issues and questions. What does it mean to fall in love? Does life have a meaning? What is spirituality? Is there any hope for us? I've been writing about these things for many years, and students always bring new and interesting perspectives to the relevant topics!

Dr Mark Sinclair

Dr Mark Sinclair

Hi, my name is Mark and I am Reader in Philosophy. On this programme, you’ll normally find me teaching in the areas of metaphysics and the history of philosophy. I’m always trying to see how the history of philosophy can help us to think differently about who we are and what we can do in the present. I’m particularly interested in the philosophical roots of our current environmental and health crises, and in the long-range effects of the seventeenth-century European concern to become ‘masters and possessors’ of nature. Students explore these issues on, for example, the Early Modern Thought first-year unit that I lead. Enabling students to embark on these intellectual voyages is the aim, for me, of teaching, and it’s always a great pleasure to see students engage with the issues in their own terms, and with their own, fresh perspectives.

Dr Neil Williams

Dr Neil Williams

Hi, my name is Neil and I am Senior Lecturer in Philosophy. On this programme, you’ll mostly find me teaching in the areas of ethics, environmental philosophy, and the history of philosophy. I also teach a few modules exploring how philosophy relates to and interacts with literature, film, and videogames. For me, this is one of the most interesting features of this degree programme: I enjoy chatting with students about how philosophy applies to their lives and to the wider world around us. In my own research, I focus on what philosophy has to say about the environmental crisis and modern issues around social class, and if you’re interested you can help me think through some of these topics in the third-year module ‘Gender, Race and Class’.

Dr Angie Pepper

Angie Pepper

I’m Angie, I’m a Lecturer in Philosophy and I convene the module in Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics. I also teach undergraduate courses in ethics and political philosophy. I joined Roehampton in 2020 and I have really enjoyed working closely with my students on the moral, social, and political issues that matter to them. The best things about Philosophy at Roehampton are the friendly teaching team who have varied and exciting research interests, and the time and support that we are able to give each student to help them realise their full potential.

Dr Tom O’Shea

Dr Tom O'Shea

My name is Tom, and I'm a senior lecturer on the programme. I teach modules in ethics and political philosophy - helping students to think about topics like freedom, justice, and power. Some of that teaching looks at the history of the ideas that shape our world, and it asks what the past can teach us about the challenges we face in the present. My own philosophical research focuses on what it means to be free, and that's a theme that I explore in my classes. I'm also keen to get students interested in the ways that they can make a real difference in our societies as philosophers - contributing rigour and creativity to debates about everything from economic inequality and political oppression to healthcare and romantic desire.

Dr Jenny Bunker

Dr Mark Sinclair

I’m Jenny, a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, and I’ve been teaching on the degree here at Roehampton for 12 years. I teach subjects including philosophy of art, the history of philosophy, philosophy of law, moral and political philosophy, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. During your time at Roehampton you are most likely to come across me teaching modules such as Aesthetics, Philosophy of Law, and Self and World, and supervising final year dissertations. I may be your Academic Guidance Tutor for part of your degree, and in some years I take on the role of programme convenor for Philosophy. In my research work at the moment I’m focusing on questions about infinity and salvation and also on the issue of homelessness – topics we might look at together in some of our classes.

This course offers all students the option to apply for a one-year paid work placement. If you successfully secure a work placement, you will undertake the placement following year two of your programme and return following the placement to complete your studies.

A placement year is the perfect opportunity to implement the skills and knowledge that you will learn in year one and two, while gaining valuable work experience. The opportunity to make connections in your chosen industry will greatly improve your career prospects and equip you with the skills and experience you need to secure graduate-level employment.

The University Careers and Placements team will support you to develop your CV and skills though webinars, workshops and 1-2-1 appointments. You will also benefit from regular communication about available opportunities to aid your placement search.

Please note while the University will support you with your placement search and applications, a placement cannot be guaranteed.

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Life at Roehampton

At Roehampton, we can offer all new students the opportunity to live in accommodation on our beautiful parkland campus, including affordable and high-end options.

We offer scholarships, provide hardship funding and help you find advice on managing your finances while you study.

We provide plenty of opportunities for you to get involved, through volunteering, playing sport or music, or joining one of our many active student societies.

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