Economics and Philosophy BA (Hons)
About the course
The main emphasis of the course is on applied economics and in particular the application of economic analysis to real world problems and developments. The course emphasizes how economics can play a role in analyzing and modeling situations in the business environment, developing countries and in the formation of public policy. The first year provides an introductory course which makes economic organisation accessible even if you are new to the subject. Following on from the first year there are three pathways which you may study: microeconomics, macroeconomics and applied policy, international banking and economics. The final year options lead to specialist studies, and may include a project.
As well as personal fulfillment, this course gives you transferable analytical skills that are valuable in a wide range of careers. Philosophy offers you the opportunity of studying a subject which is personally rewarding, whilst at the same time developing transferable skills which are highly valued by employers: the ability to identify and analyze problems, to understand alternative solutions and their merits, and to make intelligent and well articulated judgments. The introductory courses include issues in ethics, knowledge and metaphysics, the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science. The courses do not aim to provide ready made solutions to the problems that are posed but to look for means by which difficult and puzzling questions can be tackled systematically and objectively. The second and final years include detailed studies of a wide range of areas and topics, including: Greek philosophy; Kant; continental philosophy; contemporary Anglo-American philosophy; logic and reasoning; metaphysics; philosophy of science, and of mind; moral and political philosophy.
Why choose this course?
- The course emphasises on how economics can play a role in analysing and modelling situations in the business environment, developing countries and in the formation of public policy.
- No prior knowledge of economics is assumed when you start your studies with us.
- It provides an intellectual training that will enable you to become clearer and more systematic in the expression of your own ideas and in the critical assessment of those of others.
- It assumes no prior knowledge of the subject while the first year offers introduction to essay writing skills, critical analysis and debate by in the introduction to philosophy module.
300 UCAS points. GCSE English language and maths at grade C or above (or equivalent). A minimum IELTS score of 6.5, TOEFL 550 (92 IBT)is required for those for whom English is not their first language.
Equivalent qualifications welcomed.
- Part Time,
- Sandwich, 4 Years
- Part Time, 6 Years
- Full Time,
- Full Time, 3 Years
- University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield
This programme gives you flexibility in your studies at university resulting in flexibility in your choice of career at the end of your course. You will acquire a much broader base of knowledge and experience that could really widen your employment opportunities. Graduates have found employment in diverse roles such as computer programmers, design engineers, management development specialists, accountants and project managers. Over 72% of our graduates had entered employment six months after graduation, and a further 17% had gone on to further study or training.
You experience a wide variety of learning styles when you study on the programme. During your time with us we will develop your capacity for self-learning and your interpersonal skills. We particularly emphasise the importance of structured research; well-prepared written and verbal presentations; and computer literacy. Alongside elements of standard lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratories, you also learn through case studies, individual and group projects and other student centered activities. In your final year you will normally have the opportunity to practice your self-learning and interpersonal skills by undertaking a Major project or dissertation.
You will have the opportunity to take a paid work placement or study abroad for a year between your second and final years, extending your degree from a three year to a four year qualification. You will not be required to pay tuition fees for this year and you will gain excellent experience that sets you apart from the crowd in the graduate jobs market.
You can study in most European countries, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, South Africa, Russia, China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Australia. You will study a programme of taught modules and/or project work with one of our partner universities, which will complement your studies on the Joint Honours Programme. You may need to study the language of your chosen country in your first and second years. Depending on where you choose to study you may be eligible to apply for certain grants, scholarships and financial support to help finance your study abroad experience.
A work placement provides you with an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience and put your theoretical knowledge and understanding from your studies in to practice.
Our Careers and Placements service will help you to develop your CV and support you through the application process for a wide range of placement opportunities in a variety of sectors and organisations.
Quantitative Methods for Economics
This module is an introduction to important mathematical and statistical techniques that are used in the study of economics. The power of these techniques and approaches is considered as well as how to apply them in the relevant situation. The following techniques are introduced and developed through problem-solving: - Simple algebra and numbers (decimals, fractions, integers) - Solving linear and quadratic equations - Simultaneous equations (and the equilibrium concept) - Basic graphical analysis and interpretation (slopes, intercepts, etc) - Differential calculus (basic rules) - Simple (unconstrained) optimisation - Exponential function and logarithms - Measures of location (eg mean) and dispersion (eg variance) - Probability distributions (especially normal) and related graphs (eg scatter plots) - Simple regression (concept and 'line of best fit')
Global Perspectives in Business B
Internationalisation of business is creating a substantial increase in intercultural contact, which is reflected in the skills set of managers operating in a globalised world. Managers need to develop sensitivity to and a critical understanding of issues arising out of cultural difference, and be equipped to manage and operate in diversity. The module will explore themes of: a) concepts of culture, b) cultural differences and c) globalisation. It will also explore related ideas such as ethnocentrism and prejudice. It will look at and draw upon the work of leading theorists, such as Hofstede and Trompenaars, in the analysis of cultural difference. It will look at cross-cultural differences in communication and negotiation style. The workshop element of the module will consider the practical consequences of cultural difference for corporations and sojourners. Types of international corporate culture will be examined, including expatriate staffing policies. The nature of culture shock will be explored.
Introduction to Microeconomics
Microeconomics is concerned with the behaviour of individual firms, markets and consumers in their economic activity. Microeconomics considers choice-making within the context of a market mechanism. The module covers the nature of markets including the determinants of demand and supply and the competitive environment within industries. The role of the government in intervening in markets is also considered.
Introduction to Macroeconomics
The module aims to provide students with an introductory grounding in the principles and concepts of macroeconomic analysis, including consideration of: unemployment; inflation; money; banking; government policies in terms of taxes and interest rates, for example; and international trade. Indicative content: - Basic macroeconomic models - income - expenditure approach - Theories of consumption and savings - Aggregate demand and aggregate supply - Unemployment - Inflation - Money and banking - Fiscal and monetary policies - Introduction to open-economy macroeconomics
Introduction to Philosophy
You will gain a basic training in how to read and write essays in philosophy, while exploring perennial questions such as: Can we know right from wrong? How, if at all, can we tell a good act from a bad one? Is ethics merely a matter of personal opinion? What is knowledge? Can we reliably gain it, and if so how? Can we be certain of anything? What is pessimism? Is it justified? Are we really free? Do we need God in order for lives to be truly meaningful?
Reason and Persuasion
We live in a world of persuasion. Advertisers would persuade us to buy their products while politicians press their policies on us. In personal life too, others want us to see things their way. We, of course, want others (colleagues, friends and family) to agree with us, to be persuaded by our arguments. Rhetoric is the art of persuasive speech and writing. It has been studied both for academic interest and for its practical, business and legal usefulness since ancient times. This module will explore the reasons why some persuasive efforts work while others do not. It will develop your ability to judge when you ought to be persuaded by the arguments of others and to present your own views in a way that increases their persuasive force.
Philosophy of Film and Literature
The central theme of the module is to investigate what it is possible for film and literature to represent. How do we establish what is true in a fiction? Can the impossible happen in fiction? How, if at all, do we manage to engage with fictions that we take to be metaphysically or morally problematic (such as H.G.Wells' The Time Machine or Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita)? In what sense can film and literature explore not only how things actually are but how things could have been? Is there a difference between what can be represented in film and what can be represented in literature? We tackle these questions by engaging with various films and works of literature to see how they fit within a philosophical framework for thinking about them.
International Trade and the Open Economy
This module builds on the foundation provided by the module Economic Growth, Aggregate Price and Income (macro principles), which develops macroeconomic tools of analysis in a closed economy. It introduces and develops the analytical apparatuses, such as the IS-LM-BP model and the AS-AD framework, that are employed to explain international economy and growth. It also provides an insight into some of the principal models that have been devised to explain macroeconomic events in an open economy and to predict the consequences of certain actions by economic agents. Finally, the module evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the various models constructed to explain international trade and the development of an open economy.
Business Economics is concerned with how the concepts, tools and techniques of economics can be usefully applied to the study of business. This is two-fold: both in terms of enabling effective business decision-making, eg with respect to pricing, and in terms of the analysis of industry. Organisation, competition and the role of government policy will all be explored in this module.
Economic Growth, Aggregate Price and Income
This module builds on the foundation provided by the first year module on macroeconomics to examine macroeconomic issues on a more rigorous basis. It introduces and develops the analytical apparatuses such as the IS-LM model and the AS-AD framework that are employed in macro analysis. It also provides an insight into some of the principal models that have been devised to explain macroeconomic events and to predict the consequences of certain actions by economic agents. Finally, the module evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the various models in relation to macroeconomic developments that are necessary to understand the financial world.
Consumers, Firms and Markets
The modern capitalist economy can be viewed as an enormous collection of consumers and firms who engage in markets. How effective these markets are and what it means for society will, in large part, depend upon how consumers and firms actually behave. This module explores this behaviour, employing both standard economic analysis, ie how rational agents make decisions, as well as alternative approaches which acknowledge limits on rationality while also proposing a more realistic psychology. The impact upon decision-making is further considered. The success of the economy is reliant upon the efficiency of the markets within it. This crucial economic aspect will be explored for the different types of market structure. Further, the causes and consequences of market failures will also be addressed.
Themes in Plato's Republic
If you could get away with morally unjust behaviour, why should you act morally? What would an 'ideal society' be like? What is the relationship between justice in the individual, and justice in society? This course investigates several major themes in Plato's philosophy. After an introduction to the importance of Socrates and the nature of Socratic enquiry, we shall focus predominantly upon the Republic - one of the most important texts in the history of western thought - in which the above questions are central. The course will aim to show connections between Plato's metaphysics and theory of knowledge, and his ethics, political thought and philosophy of art and literature. Students will develop their skills in reading, assessing and advancing arguments.
The Right and The Good
Is happiness the only thing of value? According to Utilitarianism, my moral duty is to promote happiness. What do we mean by "happiness"? If our moral duty is to promote happiness does this mean that we are justified in adopting any means, including killing, that might promote happiness? Kant is one philosopher who considers that we should value human beings in their own right and this introduces constraints on what we are morally justified in doing. We have duties to assist and also not to harm other human beings. We study these two theories by looking at Mill's ‘Utilitarianism’ and Kant's ‘Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals’. Application of these theories to moral dilemmas chosen by students will form the topic of the presentation. For example, is it ever morally right to use violence or terrorism in the pursuit of peace? Should we ever assist anyone to commit suicide?
Philosophy of Mind
What are mental states? How do they relate to human actions? What is consciousness? Is there a real difference between the mental and the physical? This course explores philosophical approaches to understanding the nature of mind which range from dualism to strong forms of materialism. Students will be trained in the use of relevant terminology and will develop their skills in reading, assessing and advancing arguments. Students will be assessed on their knowledge and understanding of at least two approaches/issues in the philosophy of mind, their use of relevant terminology and their ability to produce structured arguments, which anticipate possible replies, in the form of essays.
Logic and Language
Should you study logic? Mephistopheles has no doubts: Make use of time, its course so soon is run,/[...]/I counsel you, dear friend, in sum,/That first you take collegium logicum [the logic class]. (Goethe, Faust). Logic can be a lot of fun, like chess, poker, cross-words or sudoku. It provides some conceptual tools that are very helpful in order to clarify your ideas and to develop convincing arguments. Logic is also crucial in order to understand much contemporary philosophy, which relies heavily on many of its technical notions. Mephistopheles is wrong, however, in one final respect: logic is really a defence against the dark arts. The course will teach you to fight vagueness, obscurity, imprecision, fallacies and those who rely on them to cast rhetorical spells.
Knowledge and Discovery
What kind of justification is required to be able to say not just that we believe something but that we know it? Must we be able to cite reasons for believing something before we can be said to know it, or is it enough for those beliefs to have been generated in a reliable way? Must knowledge rest on a foundation that is immune from error, or are beliefs justified by being part of a network of mutually supporting beliefs? We shall discuss the extent to which the particular observations we make give us reason to believe (or disbelieve) general claims about the world and, further, what counts as a good explanation for why that thing has happened. We shall consider not just beliefs about those things we can see with our own eyes but whether there is any reason to believe in those things which we cannot observe directly (e.g., the very small and the very distant).
Philosophy of Art
We go to museums, read novels, listen to music, talk about art. But what is art? In this module, we survey the main theories of art throughout history, observing as we go along, that while each theory has added to our understanding of art, it has not defined it once and for all. At the end of the survey, we shall ask whether a comprehensive definition is possible, or even necessary to our understanding of art. The survey will take us through passages from authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Tolstoy, Hume, Kant, Collingwood, Wittgenstein, Danto, Dickie and Wollheim. We will ask ourselves: Is art is a matter of personal taste or are there intersubjective criteria in the determination of art? Where is the boundary between art and craft? How is art related to morality? Is Tracy Emin's My Bed art; if so, is it good art? What makes anything art?
Social and Political Philosophy
We tackle fundamental questions concerning how our society should function and what implications this has for the individual. How should goods (e.g. property, services, rights, liberties, power) be distributed in society? On what basis can some people claim ownership of property? Should goods be distributed on the basis of desert, entitlement or some notion of equality? On what basis can someone 'in authority' tell me what (or what not) to do? And if I don't do as they say, on what basis can I be punished for it? What are rights? Do we have them naturally or are they all conferred on us by an institution? Do all humans have rights or are children and/or the mentally impaired to be excluded? Do future generations of people have rights? Can these notions extend to non-human animals or the environment in general? And what are our obligations in each of these cases?
Metaphysics asks the most general questions about the most fundamental features of the world. How should we understand space, time and causation? Does time flow? Does the future already exist? Is space a substance? Is it possible for me to do something now so as to affect what happened in the past? What are things and what does it take for them to persist over time? What is it for things to have properties, such as being red? What are properties? Do they exist in the same way that the things that have them do? What else exists? Does reality extend beyond what is actual?
- Industrial Placement Year
- Placement Study Abroad (South East Asia)
- Placement Study Abroad (North America)
- Placement Study Abroad (Australia)
- Placement Study Abroad (Europe)
A Study Abroad year is an optional additional year that increases the length of the Honours degree award to a four-year full-time degree. The additional year comprises an agreed programme of study in a partner institution abroad with whom the University of Hertfordshire has an institutional agreement. The programme of study will support, supplement and extend the more usual three-year programme. Success in the third year will be recognised in the title of the award, but does not carry additional credit towards the Honours programme. A student would normally confirm the intention to study abroad during the first ten weeks of study at Level 2. This will enable a place to be negotiated at a host institution and the Study Programme and learning contract to be arranged and agreed.
Economics of Business Organisation
This module is an exploration of the relevant economic and related literature on business organisation. It will consider what drives and shapes modern business and the tools that business and managerial economics can provide to help analyse decisions. It will further consider the economic issues facing modern business and the utility of economic theory in addressing these. Thus, transaction cost analysis and principal-agent theory will be explored and developed to understand business organisation. The wider economic environment within which business behaviour takes place will be considered using property rights approaches and the economic literature on trust, inter alia. Useful business tools such as demand estimation, pricing and investment appraisal will also be covered.
Anatomy of Financial Crises
This module provides an opportunity to explore the major financial crises that took place across the globe since the early 20th century. It aims to reconstruct some of the financial theories on the basis of the empirical evidence as opposed to 'the theory first application later' approach.
Issues in Global Economy
This module explores the fundamental economic changes in the global economy and their implications for both developed and developing economies. It addresses issues related to changes in international production, global financial structures, trade patterns, migration, global governance, environment, economic development, income distribution and poverty.
Money, Banking and Finance
The financial sector is a vital sector for any economy. It is a major and successful part of the UK economy. This module provides the techniques and concepts to analyse and understand this sector. The major theoretical underpinnings of the financial sector are explored. Thus, the module considers portfolio theory, the term structure of interest rates, demand and supply of money, monetary policy, exchange rate systems, insurance markets and the efficient markets hypothesis.
- Introduction: Review of the classical regression model as the well as multicollinearity, heteroskedasticity and autocorrelation. - Estimating dynamic models: Adjustment lags and the problem of estimation; the formation of expectations. - Data-mining: Alternative approaches to selecting the 'best' model and criteria. - Handing non-stationary time series: Stationary and non-stationary processes; testing for Stationary, error-correction model. - Cointegration and error-correction models: Cointegration between variables via testing; the estimation of the error-correction model. - Further topics: Vector autoregressions.
Contemporary Issues in Economics
This module aims to enhance students' understanding of different theoretical frameworks and research methodologies in order for them to develop their understanding of how knowledge is created and develops in the area of economics. Students will then study selected key contemporary issues from an economic perspective. The exact topics will, by definition, change depending on the issues of the day, but, in all cases, students will be able to see the benefit of using appropriate tools of economic analysis. Issues will be evaluated on the basis of the quality of economic explanation offered, both in terms of theory and evidence. In this way, students can appreciate how theory can be effectively translated into real policy action.
You will have the opportunity to develop your research skills through the largely independent study of a particular topic in philosophy of your choice, which must be approved by your supervisor. You will receive guidance from your supervisors in the form of suggestions about reading and about the structure and development of the project. Supervisors also provide critical feedback on material that is submitted. No conditions are placed on the choice of topic, so long as it falls within the general discipline of philosophy, and a member of the philosophy staff has the relevant expertise to provide the appropriate supervision. If you are intending to pursue a project you must identify your area of interest and are required to complete and submit a form by the end of the academic year prior to that in which you intend to begin your project.
Kierkegaard, Philosophy and Religion
What makes a human life worthwhile? What form would philosophy have to take effectively to communicate genuine ethical or religious insight? What does it really mean to live an 'aesthetic', 'ethical' or 'religious' life? Kierkegaard tackled these questions through a series of literary-philosophical texts published under a variety of bizarre pseudonyms. This module considers central aspects of Kierkegaard's thought, focusing upon issues related to ethics, religion and philosophical communication. After an introduction to the importance of 'indirect' communication in existential matters, we shall investigate in some detail the 'aesthetic', 'ethical' and 'religious' modes of life. The central texts will be Either/Or and Fear and Trembling.
Is there a method to philosophy? Are we rational animals? Do all living things have a purpose? What is the good life or is there more than one? Is ethics primarily concerned with virtue? These questions, which are still of relevance today, will be explored by an examination of Aristotle's central works.
Representation and Consciousness
Cognitive science seeks to scientifically explain, or at least shed light, on how and why agents behave as they do. Yet it has met with some serious obstacles in trying to understand the nature of representation and conscious experience. This module introduces and examines various proposals about how these phenomena might be scientifically understood, at least in principle. It asks such questions as: Is cognition really a form of symbol manipulation? Do these symbols have any representational content? Are they about anything in the world? If so, what accounts for this? Is there any real prospect for a scientific theory of consciousness or do all ‘objective’ accounts necessarily leave something out?
Nietzsche, Genealogy and Morality
Nietzsche famously claimed that 'God is dead'. But what does he mean by this? What ramifications would the 'death of God' have for morality and human flourishing? What would a 'Nietzschean' view of self and world look like? And what religious responses to Nietzsche's challenge are possible? With these questions in mind, this module investigates key aspects of Nietzsche's thought. Typically, after an introduction to his styles of philosophizing, the 'hermeneutics of suspicion', and his 'moral perfectionism', we shall focus upon his influential critique of morality. We shall investigate his account of ressentiment, guilt and 'bad conscience', alongside central Nietzschean ideas such as the will to power, eternal recurrence and 'self-overcoming'. We'll also consider some possible critical responses to his worldview. The central text will be On the Genealogy of Morality.
Philosophy of Language
Marks, sounds and gestures can all have meaning. But what is it for them to have meaning and how do they manage to have it? Is the meaning of my words to be analysed in terms of my intentions to communicate with another or the conventions I subscribe to when using words? In what way is meaning related to truth and my being warranted in asserting what I say? What other things can we do with words than state truths? How should we understand metaphorical uses of language? How do names and descriptions in particular manage to pick out objects in the world? Are some things I say true solely in virtue of the meanings of the words I use? Is there anything that fixes what it is that I do mean when I use words, or is meaning, to some extent, indeterminate? Can a study of language tell us anything about reality?
Ludwig Wittgenstein is one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. Much of today's philosophical thinking has been inspired by or has developed in response to his work. His first published work - the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus - provides, for some, an inspiration for powerful anti-metaphysical programmes. For others, it offers refined tools for doing metaphysics in a new, more fertile way. He himself came to reject aspects of his early work. How his approach evolved can only be fully understood by considering his early programme in the light of his second great masterpiece, Philosophical Investigations. This module does just that by introducing important aspects of Wittgenstein's philosophy in their historical and ideological contexts. The module will explore a range of topics such as: the nature of language and thought and their relations to reality; meaning and use; understanding and intentionality; following a rule; the possibility of a private language; the nature of philosophy.
Philosophy of Information
From laptops to iphones, from emails to GPS, we live in an ever expanding infosphere, which is posing unprecedented problems and reshaping old philosophical issues. What is knowledge in the age of Google and Wikipedia? What is the nature of personal identity after Facebook? Is it right to download copyrighted material? The philosophy of information (PI) provides the conceptual foundations to approach these and similar questions. It investigates the conceptual nature and basic principles of information, including its dynamics, utilisation, and sciences, and elaborates information-theoretic and computational solutions to philosophical problems. The course offers an accessible approach to the foundations for this new philosophical subject. It describes what the philosophy of information is, its problems, approaches, and methods. It offers a grasp of the complex nature of the various concepts and phenomena related to information, and it seeks to answer several key theoretical questions of great philosophical interest, arising from the investigation of information. No previous knowledge of the topic, of any mathematics or computer science is required or expected.
Virtues, Vices and Ethics
There has been a revival of interest in 'virtue ethics' in recent decades, and it is typically presented as a third major approach to contemporary moral philosophy, alongside consequentialist and Kantian deontological theories of ethics. We shall briefly discuss this context and the work of some important recent virtue theorists. But the primary focus of this module will be a body of writing by contemporary philosophers on specific personal virtues and, where appropriate, corresponding vices. We shall thus bring philosophical reflection to bear on such 'everyday' issues as pride, humility, gratitude, love, compassion, hope, patience, forgiveness and trust.
Kant's Critical Philosophy
"Kant made me sick." This was Bertrand Russell's reaction to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Much of the philosophy written in the Western tradition in the last two centuries is in some way a reaction to or development of Kant's 'Copernican revolution' in philosophy. Kant's main work, the Critique of Pure Reason, develops and defends two thoughts. First, our empirical experience is structured and conditioned by what we bring to it, so the problem of epistemology is the adequacy of our preconceptions. Second, there are limits to what pure reason can achieve, and much philosophy is a hopeless attempt to answer questions that lie beyond reason's powers. Kant argued that it is in the nature of reason to attempt more than it can achieve. Moreover, reason is sovereign over itself, and therefore must police its own boundaries. It is therefore always caught in a tension between transgressing its limits and enforcing them.
Fees & funding
Full time: £9,000 for the 2014 academic year
Part time: If you decide to study this course on a part time basis you will be charged on a modular basis. The cost is £1,125 for each 15-credit module
Full time: £10,100 for the 2014 academic year
Other financial support
Living costs / accommodation
The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.
Key course information
- Institution code: H36
- UCAS code: L1V5BSc (Hons) Economics/Philosophy,
- Course code: APJHECPHL
- Course length:
- Part Time,
- Sandwich, 4 Years
- Part Time, 6 Years
- Full Time,
- Full Time, 3 Years