BA (Hons) Philosophy and Media

About the course

We are continually dealing with representations of the world, through cinema, television, magazines, the internet, and through how people speak to each other. What should we think of the relation between these representations and the reality they attempt to represent?

Our BA Philosophy and Media degree allows you to learn more about how various media function and to examine the philosophical issues surrounding our attempts to represent the world. You’ll develop practical and theoretical knowledge of how various media techniques are implemented, whilst 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 a variety of ways in which communication can be achieved. You will learn to think critically by examining reasoning and persuasion and how that might be inflected by the medium in which it is conveyed, including the use of rhetoric and propaganda. You’ll also study social and political philosophy, covering topics such as freedom of speech, as well as examine the nature of knowledge and reality. There is also a philosophy module dedicated to exploring the scope and limits film and literature in what they can represent about 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. The media staff are academics and practitioners in the creative industries and will give you the knowledge and understanding to be successful for a career in media.

In your second year, you’ll be able to select areas on which to focus, such as on influential works of philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and social and political philosophy. There is also a philosophy of art module, which tackles the question of the relation between artistic representations (in various media) and reality. You’ll also gain knowledge of research methods in the communications industry and learn about publishing.

In your final year, you’ll delve deeper into the media industry and into more specialist areas of Philosophy, including the opportunity to develop your understanding of the nature of communication in the philosophy of language module, or on the nature of the representation of women in the module on feminist philosophy.

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.

In Media, the delivery of teaching varies according to the characteristics of each module. Many are taught via weekly lectures and weekly seminars. Workshops are used for modules where the degree of practical skills taught is enhanced by the supervision of experts in their field. Attainment of learning outcomes is also assessed in a range of formats. Sometimes you will have to present the findings of your research to your fellow students in the seminars. You will be expected to contribute to online discussions and to download and read lecture notes from StudyNet, our virtual learning environment.

What job can I get?

Studying philosophy teaches you to ask penetrating questions and identify flawed arguments – skills integral to many professions, such as law and journalism. 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. In also studying Media, you will have practical and theoretical knowledge which will be suitable for a career in the media industry.

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