BA (Hons) Philosophy and Journalism

About the course

In our so-called ‘post-truth’ era of fake news and alternative facts, what does it mean to communicate the truth? What are the ethical and philosophical issues journalists face in today’s globalised world?

Our BA Philosophy and Journalism degree allows you to examine our fundamental desire to communicate and discuss important shared events and experiences, through two distinct approaches. You’ll develop a range of journalistic skills while exploring and challenging the assumptions that frame the way we think, act and see the world around us.

In your first year you’ll be introduced to the practical craft of journalism, explore the law and ethics surrounding journalism and learn to think critically by examining reason and persuasion in the media, including the use of rhetoric and propaganda. You’ll also study social and political philosophy, covering topics such as freedom of speech and terrorism, and examine the nature of knowledge and reality.

All our philosophy 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.

Our journalism team are highly experienced practitioners, who’ll help you develop the skills to produce work in different styles and for diverse markets. You’ll learn how to source stories and get hands-on experience as part of a vibrant student community and through work placements. You’ll take part in News Lab workshops, conduct interviews, write features and join lively group discussions.

In your second year you’ll delve into influential works of philosophy and political theory such as the themes in Plato’s Republic. You’ll also have the opportunity to specialize in news or feature writing, radio journalism or social media.

In your final year you’ll develop your journalism skills portfolio, examine journalism, government and the people and have the opportunity to develop your interests in topics such as political or feminist philosophy, or the philosophy of language.

Why choose this course?

We give you:

  • A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
  • An exceptional academic team, conducting internationally renowned research
  • Stimulating, innovative courses that allow you to make rewarding connections between two disciplines
  • CV-building potential through work placements and extra-curricular activities

What will I study?

Our philosophy students benefit from being part of a lively and active academic community. You’ll learn through formal courses and extracurricular 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.

Our journalism students gain practical skills through work placements and writing for the University’s newspaper, TV or digital channels. You’ll be able to network with invited speakers and take short industry summer courses.

What job can I get?

Our hands-on journalism training equips you to pursue a career in the media, whether in features, news, radio or online. You’ll have opportunities to go on work placements at local newspapers, radio stations or TV channels, where many students have work published.

Studying philosophy teaches you to ask penetrating questions and identify flawed arguments – skills integral to news and investigative reporting, as well as the practice of law. You’ll 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. 

'I certainly developed professionalism and employability through studying Philosophy, primarily through the methods of rational and logical problem solving. I acquired a skill that is useful in whatever field one works in. However, it is enterprise that I most notably improved on while at Herts. I had never really considered starting a businesses or working for myself, but while studying Philosophy (particularly my Masters by Research and my undergraduate dissertation) I realised I was learning self-management and combining this with my new proficiency at problem solving sent me down a new path. Since leaving Herts I have set up multiple small business which are growing healthily. This individuality has really helped me find out what I want to do in life.'

Rob Baggs

BA(Hons) Philosophy, MA(Res) in Philosophy