BA (Hons) History and Philosophy

About the course

Our BA History and Philosophy gives you the opportunity to study two subjects that will help you to make sense of the world around you.

Through our diverse and inclusive History curriculum you will learn about an array of cultures and identities.  What links our work is our focus on people’s history and everyday lives. This is represented strongly in our first year programme, which will give you an insight into the making of the modern world through exploration of beliefs, magic and medicine, campaigns for freedom and equality, Africa and the world, and America from Hamilton to Trump.

In your philosophy modules, you will be introduced to a variety of philosophical issues ranging from the nature of reality, knowledge and mind, to questions about how we should live, what we should value, and what would be the best way of organizing society.

Throughout your degree, the common link between the two disciplines will be the development of analytical skills. As historians you will learn to analyse historical documents and debates among historians, while in Philosophy you’ll assess the arguments of others, arriving at your own conclusions on deep, important issues. 

These analytical skills, honed over the course of your studies, will benefit you in the final year, if you choose to write a dissertation. This extended piece of work, available either in History or in Philosophy, will grow out of a topic that interests you. Previous students have been inspired by their year of study abroad. Others have worked on the history of jiu jitsu, women code breakers at Bletchley Park, the Notting Hill riots, and vice and sexuality in 17th-century London.  And Philosophy students have worked on the ethical issues of playing video games, the nature of the imagination, and environmental philosophy and the obligations of the state.

Why choose this course?

We give you:

  • An exceptional History team, conducting world-leading research (REF 2014), and a Philosophy team ranked in the 100 best Philosophy departments worldwide (2017 QS rankings). 
  • Stimulating, innovative courses - History students reported almost 94% overall satisfaction with their course (2018 National Student Survey)
  • A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting and the scope to write a dissertation on a topic about which you are passionate
  • The opportunity to expand your horizons by studying abroad at the end of your second year
  • CV-building potential through work placements and extra-curricular activities

What will I study?

Our students benefit from being part of a diverse and active academic community. Our interactive seminars and workshops help you find your feet in the academic environment, and establish ways of working confidently, creatively and collaboratively. We see our students as fellow researchers, and we place a great deal of importance on sharing and developing skills.

As one of our students, you will have the opportunity to get involved in activities that will complement your studies. Not only do these enhance your experience, they also make for a more impressive CV. Our renowned staff-student Oral History team has taken students to Australia and produced a BBC Radio 4 documentary, which was commended at the 2018 Royal Historical Society Public History Awards. There is also an active student Philosophy Society.

What job can I get?

Employability is central to everything we do.  History offers you the possibility of a placement in a local museum, archive or heritage site, enabling you to gain valuable transferable skills. As well as working in the huge heritage industry, past students have gone on to careers in teaching, the law, civil service, librarianship, retail management, marketing, the voluntary sector, publishing and the media.