About the course
Philosophy explores and challenges the assumptions that frame the way we think, act and see the world around us.
Here at Hertfordshire, you won’t just be learning about philosophers and understanding their theories, you’ll be doing rigorous and creative thinking of your own. Our internationally regarded academics will help you learn to address the arguments of others, to understand and engage with them so that you can arrive at your own conclusions and create your own original work.
All our lecturers are active researchers, so you’ll share the excitement of doing original work in a supportive and highly-rated academic community. Our Philosophy team is in the top 15 in the Guardian League Table 2019 and rates as one of the 100 best Philosophy departments worldwide in the 2017 QS rankings.
On this course no prior knowledge of philosophy is assumed, although students with Religious Studies A-level may be familiar with topics such as ethics, mind, knowledge and reality. In your first year you’ll explore new dimensions to these topics and consider questions about the meaning of life. You’ll also study social and political philosophy, the central concern of which is the best way of organising society. A first-year module on the philosophy of film and literature takes you beyond the mainstream. Studying fiction and films such as Back to the Future allows you to address the assumption that anything is possible in fiction and consider to what extent that is true.
In your second year you’ll be able to delve deeper into areas such as philosophy of art and philosophy of mind. A module on virtues, vices and ethics focuses on specific virtues, such as forgiveness, hope or love, from both a secular and religious point of view and examines what it means to live a good life.
In your final year you can pursue your own research interests through a dissertation. Recent topics have included the ethical issues of playing video games, the nature of the imagination, environmental philosophy and the obligations of the state, and a proposed solution to the paradox of the liar. You’ll also build on previous specialisms to explore in more depth philosophers such as Nietzsche or Wittgenstein, feminist or political philosophy, contemporary moral philosophy, or the philosophy of psychology.
Why choose this course?
We give you:
- An exceptional academic team, conducting internationally renowned research
- A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
- The opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic about which you are passionate
- CV-building potential through extra-curricular activities
What will I study?
Our philosophy students benefit from being part of a lively and active academic community. You’ll learn from formal courses and extra-curricular seminars, while our small group teaching helps you to find your feet in the academic environment. There are plenty of opportunities to discuss critical issues with staff and fellow students, including an optional residential weekend each year.
You’ll have the opportunity to get involved in activities that will complement your studies and enhance your CV. These include our Philosophy Society, run by students, which hosts fortnightly research seminars led by distinguished external philosophers. All students are welcome to participate and become part of a professional philosophy community.
We host the Francis Bacon annual lecture series, funded by the Royal Institute of Philosophy, which focuses on showing the relevance of philosophy beyond the academic world. We are also the home of the British Wittgenstein Society, reflecting our academics’ research interests.
What job can I get?
Studying philosophy teaches you to ask penetrating questions and identify flawed arguments – skills highly valued in a number of professions, including law. It enables you to develop many other transferable skills sought by employers, such as creative and critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to communicate ideas in a structured, productive way.
Our graduates have an excellent record of securing roles in a range of industries including teaching, the media, publishing and information management.
For those interested in teaching, all Humanities graduates are guaranteed an interview with our School of Education. Many graduates go on to higher levels of study, engaging in research in their chosen fields.
All Humanities students have the option to gain valuable career experience through a work placement or a year studying abroad.