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Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad)

Course overview

(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad)
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 PY111-4-FY Introduction to Philosophy Core 30
02 HU100-4-FY Foundations of Human Rights Core 30
03 PY113-4-FY or option(s) from list Optional 30
04 CS101-4-FY or option(s) from list or outside option(s) Optional 30
05 CS711-4-FY Skills for University Studies Compulsory 0

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 PY408-5-AU Ethics Compulsory 15
02 HU200-5-AU Human Rights Organisations: International and Regional Institutions Compulsory 15
03 PY437-5-SP Modern Social and Political Thought Compulsory 15
04 PY429-5-AU or Philosophy option from list Optional 15
05 HU201-5-SP Social Dimensions of Human Rights Compulsory 15
06 CS200-5-AU or (CS712-5-FY and a Philosophy option from list) Compulsory with Options 15
07 Philosophy options from list Optional 30

Year Abroad/Placement - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 AW600-6-FY Compulsory 60

Year 3 - 2022/23

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 HU300-6-FY Selected Issues in Human Rights Compulsory 30
02 PY413-6-SP Contemporary Political Philosophy Compulsory 15
03 PY428-6-SP or Philosophy option from list Optional 15
04 PY453-6-AU or Philosophy option from list Optional 15
05 Philosophy option from list Optional 15
06 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

To provide a wide-ranging and flexible philosophy curriculum, embracing both analytic (or Anglo-American) and Continental (Modern European) philosophical thought and a detailed focus on human rights.

To enable students to engage in a discourse on human rights principles informed by thinking on human rights from philosophical, political, sociological, economic and legal perspectives.

To encourage students to identify the relevance of philosophy to other forms of enquiry (e.g. social, political, cultural, aesthetic), its interconnections with other disciplines, and its applicability to issues in public and moral life.

To develop students' capacities for independent thought and critical reflection.

To provide students with the skills necessary for subsequent research or further study.

To provide students with opportunities to experience a different system of HE through a broad range of courses on the Year Abroad.

To develop students' intercultural skills necessary for living and studying in a different culture.

The outcomes listed below represent the minimum that might be expected of a graduate of the School of Philosophy and Art History of the University of Essex.

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

Details of the different standards expected for the various classes of degree can be found in the student handbook produced annually be the School.

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 of philosophical texts from a variety of traditions and a variety of historical and social contexts.
A2 Knowledge of significant figures in the history of philosophy, and of some central theories, arguments and issues connected with them.
A3 Knowledge of techniques of philosophical reasoning and conceptions of philosophical method, embracing diverse traditions and approaches.
A4 Knowledge of major issues currently being debated by philosophers.
A5 Awareness of the sources of human rights information.
A6 Knowledge and understanding of some philosophical, political, historical and legal perspectives on human rights in depth.
A7 Knowledge and understanding of the essential terms and concepts necessary to comprehend the field of human rights.
Learning Methods: A1-A7 are acquired through: teaching in lecture and class format; lecturers conveying module content in a general manner while allowing for, and encouraging, questions from students; classes generally focusing on specific textual, argumentative or practical examples, where emphasis is placed on student discussion.

The use of books and journal articles to convey module content.

The use of books, journal articles and internet resources to write coursework and prepare for examinations.
Assessment Methods: Outcomes A1-A7 are assessed through continuous coursework and unseen written examinations.

Outcomes A1-A7 are assessed through continuous coursework and unseen written examinations.

Coursework includes 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. Coursework is prepared during the academic year for a specified module, returned with a grade and written or oral feedback for the student.

Examinations include essay-based questions and (in the case pf PY114) logic exercises. Revision classes are provided.

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 Ability to gather and evaluate large amounts of information and data.
B3 Capacity to summarise complex and demanding texts, and to assess critically their strengths and weaknesses.
B4 Capacity to argue coherently and persuasively.
Learning Methods: Skills B1-B4 are obtained and developed through the teaching and learning methods described above.

Students are expected to read background material for lectures and classes, and to participate fully in class discussions.
Assessment Methods: Outcomes B1-B4 are assessed through continuous coursework and unseen written examinations.

Coursework consists of essays written during the academic year for a specified module returned with a grade and written feedback for the student.

Examinations consist of essay-based questions, for which revision classes are provided.

C: Practical skills

C1 Ability to write essays, expressing oneself clearly, effectively and to the point.
C2 Ability to abstract and synthesize relevant information from a range of sources, using books, journal articles and library and internet resources.
C3 Ability to use a range of methods (library and internet resources) to perform bibliographical searches.
C4 Ability to apply the necessary organisational and cultural skills for living and working abroad.
Learning Methods: Skills C1-C3 are gained by participation in class discussion, discussion with the lecturer during class and office hours, independent research for essays and exam preparation.
C4 is acquired through the guided but relatively independent process of organising and successfully completing a period of living and studying abroad.
Assessment Methods: Outcomes C1-C3 are assessed through continuous coursework and unseen written examinations.

Coursework and examinations are as described above under A (Knowledge and Understanding).

C4 is assessed throughout the Year Abroad.

D: Key skills

D1 Ability to communicate effectively.
D2 Use of relevant information technology to research and present written work.
D4 Ability to identify the problem to be solved; to articulate critically the assumptions underlying or connected with the problem; to compare and contrast differing and often contradictory solutions to the problem; and to provide argument and evidence in defence of one's solution to the problem in the areas of philosophy and human rights
D6 Ability to read closely and carefully; to organize one's reading and thinking in relation to specific topics; to learn from feedback from the lecturer in the form of written comments on coursework and oral communication; and to work to deadline
Learning Methods: Skills D1, D2, D4 and D6 are acquired and developed through the teaching and learning methods described above, and in class discussions.

Students are encouraged to use the University key skills on-line package, word processing packages, library searches and internet philosophy resources.
Assessment Methods: Outcomes D1, D2, D4 and D6 are assessed through continuous coursework and unseen written examinations.

Coursework consists of essays written during the academic year for a specified module, returned with a grade and written feedback for the student.

Examinations consist of essay-based questions, for which revision classes are provided.


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: