Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year)

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Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

UK and EU applicants:

All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you

  • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
  • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
  • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
  • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

Standard offer:

Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP
  • T-levels: Pass with E in core

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

International applicants:

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Student 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 required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Student 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

Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen 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.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Dr Josiah Saunders

Associate Professor

Durham University

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 23 October 2023 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.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
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.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 0 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  IA108-3-FY-CO  The United Kingdom During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II (1952 – 2022)  Core  30  30 
02    IA118-3-FY or IA111-3-FY or IA101-3-FY  Core with Options  30  30 
03  IA145-3-FY-CO  Research and Academic Development Skills  Core  30  30 
04  IA121-3-FY-CO  Philosophy: Fundamental Questions, Major Thinkers  Core  30  30 

Year 1 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  PY111-4-FY-CO  Introduction to Philosophy  Compulsory  30  30 
02  HR173-4-FY-CO  Rebellious Pasts: Challenging and Creating Histories  Compulsory  30  30 
03    PY113-4-FY or option(s) from list or Outside option(s)  Optional  30  30 
04    Option(s) from list or Outside option(s)  Optional  30  30 
05  CS711-4-FY-CO  Skills for University Studies  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  HR242-5-FY-CO  Exploring History: Research Workshop  Compulsory  30  30 
02    History option from list  Optional  15  15 
03    Recommend PY400-5-AU and/or Philosophy option(s) from list or History option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04    Recommend PY437-5-AU and/or Philosophy option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
05    CS200-5-AU or (CS712-5-FY and Philosophy option)  Optional  15  15 

Year 3 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  PY455-6-SU-CO  Philosophy Capstone Module  Compulsory  30  30 
02    Final year History option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
03    Final year Philosophy or History option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04    Final year Philosophy or History option from list  Optional  15  15 
05    Philosophy option from list  Optional  15  15 

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 sound academic grounding in the disciplines of philosophy and history.
  • To encourage students to identify the relevance of philosophy to other forms of enquiry (e.g. social, political, cultural, historical), its interconnections with other disciplines, in particular history, and its applicability to issues in public and political life.
  • To equip students with a range of subject-specific skills fostered by the study of philosophy and history, preparing them for subsequent research or further study.
  • To develop students' general intellectual capacities for independent thought and critical reflection with a view to enhancing their future professional and personal trajectories.

  • 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 philosophical texts from a variety of traditions (analytic and continental) and/or of a range of historical and social developments in European and extra-European' history in the early modern and/or modern eras.

    A2: Knowledge and understanding of significant figures, themes, problems and philosophical systems in the history of philosophy and/or of thematic historical topics

    A3: Knowledge and understanding of major issues currently being debated by philosophers and those at the interface between philosophy and history.

    A4: Command of techniques of philosophical reasoning and of philosophical method, embracing diverse approaches and/or of key concepts and fundamental principles of historical analysis, such as concepts of continuity, change and comparative analysis.

    A5: Knowledge and understanding of sources and methods available for historical research.

    Learning methods

    Outcomes A1-A5 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 independent use of all library resources (databases, books, articles) in writing coursework and preparing for examinations.

    Assessment methods

    Outcomes A1-A5 are assessed through continuous coursework and unseen written examinations.

    Coursework in history consists of essays, document analysis and a self-reflexive journal (which includes a review). Coursework in philosophy 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.

    Most examinations consist of essay-based questions, but the examination for PY114 includes 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: Capacity to summarise complex and demanding texts, and to assess critically the strengths and weaknesses of the views they propose.

    B3: Ability to gather and assimilate large amounts of information and data (both primary and secondary), and analyse such material for deployment in reasoned argument, with use of historical evidence and philosophical tools appropriate to the discipline.

    B4: Capacity to identify underlying issues in various kinds of debate, philosophical or historical, and to highlight deficiencies such as unquestioned assumptions, superficial analogies and unsubstantiated claims.

    B5: Capacities for abstract discursive reasoning and, where relevant, for historical explanation and interpretation.

    B6: Capacity to reconstruct the mentalities of past societies and/or to engage in history of ideas.

    Learning methods

    Skills B1-B6 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-B6 are assessed through continuous coursework and unseen written examinations.

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

    C: Practical skills

    C1: Ability to write an analysis assimilating complex arguments and significant amounts of data, expressing oneself clearly and with argumentative cogency.

    C2: Ability to abstract and synthesize relevant information from a range of primary and secondary sources, using printed, internet and - if required - archival sources.

    C3: Ability to use accepted conventions for presentation of footnotes, references and bibliographies in written work.

    C4: Ability to use a range of methods (library and internet resources) to perform bibliographical searches.

    Learning methods

    Skills C1-C4 are acquired and developed primarily by the preparation for and writing of coursework, in conjunction with feedback on essays, guidance given in teaching, and discussion with the lecturer during class and office hours.

    Assessment methods

    Outcomes C1-C4 are assessed through continuous coursework and unseen written examinations.

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

    D: Key skills

    D1: Ability to produce fluent and effective communication, both oral and written.

    D2: Use of relevant information technology to research and present written work.

    D4: Ability to identify precisely the problem to be solved, to articulate critically the underlying assumptions relevant to the problem, to analyse presuppositions and operative concepts, to analyse data and distinguish relevant from irrelevant detail, to compare and critically assess different and possibly contradictory solutions to a problem and identify their respective costs, to provide argument and evidence in defence of one's preferred solution or interpretation.

    D6: Ability to organize one's reading, thinking and writing in relation to specific topics, to work independently, to work to a deadline, to learn from written feedback on coursework and oral communication from teachers.

    Learning methods

    Skills D1,2,4 & 6 are acquired and developed through the teaching and learning methods described above, including class/seminar discussions.

    Students are encouraged to use the University key skills on-line package.

    They are expected to make routine use of word processing packages, library searches, internet philosophy and history resources, and email, as part of effective course participation.

    The use of word-processing, electronic library catalogues and other relevant electronic bibliographic resources, and the use and interpretation of relevant material via the internet is introduced in the first year.
    Students build on these skills in subsequent years.

    Where relevant, students are encouraged to use, present or evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form.

    Assessment methods

    Outcomes D1,2,4 & 6 are assessed through continuous coursework, including class/seminar performance, and unseen written examinations.

    Coursework consists of essays, and in the case of History, document analysis and a self-reflexive journal (which includes a review), 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 coursework journal for HR211 requires students to reflect on their progress.

    For those students who elect to write a dissertation (HR831), the outcomes are reinforced through the process of researching and writing a substantial independent study.


    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.


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