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Philosophy and Law

Course overview

(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Philosophy and Law
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree

A-levels: BBB

IB: 30 points. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

External Examiners

Dr Thomas Joseph Stern
University College London
Senior Lecturer

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 LW105-4-AU Legal Skills Core 15
02 LW109-4-SP Foundations of Property Law Compulsory 15
03 LW103-4-FY Foundations of Public Law Compulsory 30
04 PY111-4-FY Introduction to Philosophy Core 30
05 CS101-4-FY or PY113-4-FY or Option(s) from list or Outside Option(s) Optional 30
06 CS711-4-FY Skills for University Studies Compulsory 0

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 LW104-5-FY Criminal Law Compulsory 30
02 LW108-5-AU Foundations of the Law of Obligations Compulsory 15
03 Recommend PY400-5-AU or Philosophy option from list Optional 15
04 PY408-5-SP or Philosophy option from list Optional 15
05 LW301-5-AU Jurisprudence Compulsory 15
06 CS200-5-AU or CS712-5-FY and a Philosophy option Compulsory with Options 15
07 Recommend PY437-5-SP or Philosophy option Optional 15

Year 3 - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 Law option(s) Optional 30
02 PY413-6-SP Contemporary Political Philosophy Compulsory 15
03 Law option(s) Optional 30
04 PY453-6-AU or PY428-6-SP or Philosophy option Optional 15
05 PY455-6-SU Philosophy Capstone Module Compulsory 30

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

The aims of this programme are to:

1. provide a sound academic grounding in the disciplines of philosophy and law;

2. develop an awareness of the interactions of these disciplines;

3. equip students with a range of subject-specific and general intellectual skills fostered by the study of philosophy and law, preparing them either for a wide variety of careers or for postgraduate study;

4. develop students' capacities for independent thought and critical reflection The outcomes listed below represent the minimum that might be expected of a graduate of the Departments of Philosophy and Law of the University of Essex.

It is the intention of the Departments that the vast majority of graduates will achieve significantly more.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Knowledge and understanding of some philosophical texts and some major issues in philosophy, and/or those at the interface between philosophy and law.
A2 Knowledge and understanding of the fundamental doctrines and principles of the law, and some substantive areas of the law in depth.
A3 Knowledge and understanding of the techniques of reasoning appropriate to the discipline in question.
Learning Methods: A1-3 are acquired through lectures, classes which involve discussion, and in law through tutorials which allow students to work in small groups.

Where relevant and as the basis for an argument, students should use, present and evaluate relevant numerical or statistical information as appropriate.

Additionally A1-3 are acquired by means of the directed reading that students are required to undertake, and by means of writing coursework and preparing for exams.
Assessment Methods: Outcomes A1-3 are assessed through continuous coursework and unseen written examinations.

Coursework in philosophy consists of essays, essay plans, essay drafts, abstracts, peer reviews of draft student essays, reading summaries, reading analyses, in-class reading quizzes, logic exercises, take-home exams, as well as individual and group oral presentations. In law it consists of essays, problem analysis, oral presentations and group projects.

Coursework tests the ability to research a topic using, for example, library and internet resources, expound specified texts and enter into detailed argumentation with them.

Unseen exams test the ability to rehearse and assess arguments in relation to specific questions posed within a limited time frame.

Philosophy modules include examinations in the first year only.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Capacity to follow complex arguments, and to present one's own evaluation of them.
B2 Capacity to summarise complex and demanding texts, and to assess critically their strengths and weaknesses.
B3 Capacity to argue coherently and persuasively.
B4 Ability to gather and evaluate large amounts of information and data.
B5 Capacity to analyse legal problems.
Learning Methods: Skills B1-5 are obtained and developed through the teaching and learning methods described above under A (Knowledge and Understanding).
Assessment Methods: Outcomes B1-5 are assessed by the assessment methods described above under A (Knowledge and Understanding).

C: Practical skills

C1 Ability to abstract and synthesise relevant information, from a range of sources, using books, journal articles, cases and internet resources.
C2 Ability to use and apply legal terminology and legal concepts.
C3 Ability to plan and undertake tasks in areas of law already studied, and to undertake independent research in areas of law not previously studied, starting from standard legal information sources.
Learning Methods: Skill C1 is acquired and developed primarily by the preparation for and the writing of coursework, and the feedback given on it.

Skills C2 and 3 are developed through tutorials by way of the medium of problem solving and group discussion.
Assessment Methods: Outcomes C1 and 2 are assessed through coursework and unseen written examinations.
C3 is assessed through coursework.

D: Key skills

D1 Ability to produce fluent and effective communication.
D2 Use of relevant information technology to research and present written work.
D3 Not applicable.
D4 Ability to identify the problem to be solved, to analyse it carefully, to distinguish relevant from irrelevant detail, to compare and assess different solutions to it, to provide argument and evidence for one's preferred solution.
D5 Not applicable.
D6 Ability to organize one's reading and thinking in relation to specific topics, to work to a deadline, and to learn from comments on coursework and oral communication from teachers.
Learning Methods: Skills D1, 2, 4 and 6 are acquired and developed through the teaching and learning methods described above.
Assessment Methods: Outcomes D1, 2, 4 and 6 are assessed through coursework and unseen written examinations.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: