Philosophy, Politics and Ethics BA(Hons)
The degree in Philosophy, Politics and Ethics at the University of Brighton will develop your critical thinking and understanding of the modern world. These three complementary disciplines are at the heart of contemporary global issues and through the course you will learn to analyse the political and cultural conditions in which modern individuals act.
Do you think that philosophy should be about living the good life? Do you think that the study of politics should be ethical in orientation, aiming to understand and change the world in which you live? This degree brings insights from philosophy and politics to explore how best to live the good, life, what ethics might mean in a world divided by war and gross inequalities, and what responsibilities we have to the future. Whether learning about the history and politics of conflict, or reading leading political philosophers about how best to live, this course aims to teach ways of both interpreting and changing the world.
Drawing from the expertise of our academic staff, you will attend seminars in small groups of approximately twelve students and engage with a community of philosophers and critical thinkers that includes postgraduate and research students, all based in the heart of the city of Brighton. Many of our students stay with us, benefitting from the direct pathway to MA and PhD study. Others use their skills of critical thought and systematic analysis to join a wide range of rewarding professions.
Our Philosophy, Politics and Ethics degree investigates the ethical and political dilemmas of the modern world. You will critically analyse the political and cultural conditions in which modern individuals act. You will study the histories that contributed to these conditions, the philosophers that questioned them and explore alternatives to the dominant powers. Students on this degree are forced to confront their own prejudices, and to explore how they might contribute to changing this world.
A critical and independent attitude is developed through small group teaching in seminars no bigger than 12 as well as in personal tutorials, lectures and research project work. You will take six core units in year 1. Each unit has two lectures and one seminar per week, and four personal tutorials.
Areas of study
In year 1 you will develop the philosophical, political and historical knowledge needed to explore ethical questions in the contemporary world. This lays the ground for year 2 when you select your option for the rest of your degree from a number of possible options including Politics, History, Ideology; Self and Society; Living the Good Life: Ethics and Politics Today or Race and Racism. You will complete a compulsory unit, Critical Traditions, which deepens your knowledge of the historical, and theoretical origins of the present, and you participate in the broader Humanities Programme selecting from a range of lectures. In your final year you continue your option, attend lectures on all other options of your choice, and undertake research for your dissertation. Here all your skills, knowledge, and research come together. You challenge received opinions in a persuasive extended argument in both written and oral form. This degree asks you to consider the oldest philosophical question, how to lead the good life in today?s world.
Democracy: from Athens to Baghdad
Research project preparation
One of the following options: politics, history, ideology
Race and racismSelf and society;
Living the Good Life: Ethics, Politics and Philosophy in the Contemporary WorldElective lectures from eight courses on the Humanities Programme.
Continuation of your chosen option;
eight optional lectures available on Humanities Programme.
Career and progression opportunities
Our graduates take up careers in politics, in the public sector, teaching, journalism, law, social work and a variety of other areas including in business. Some students stay on to complete postgraduate study with us at the University of Brighton and commit to research careers. A number of our recent graduates work in politics, advising parliamentarians, and are involved in activist organisations.
UCAS code LV25
Full-time: 3 years
Part-time: 4 years (max 6 years)
Access to HE Diploma
pass with at least 45 credits at level 3. Humanities, history or politics diploma preferred.
GCSE (minimum grade C) or Access Equivalent
at least three subjects including English language and mathematics or a science.
For non-native speakers of English:
IELTS 6.0 overall, with 6.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in the other elements.
Applicants are required to attend an interview for this course as offers will be made primarily upon the interview.
The fees listed here are for full-time courses for the upcoming academic year only. Further fees are payable for subsequent years of study.
The tuition fee you have to pay depends on a number of factors including the kind of course you take, whether you study full- or part-time and whether or not you already have a higher education qualification. If you are studying part-time you will normally be charged on a pro rata basis depending on the number of modules you take. Different rules apply to research degrees - contact the course team for up-to-date information.
Visit www.brighton.ac.uk/money for more information, including advice on international and island fee paying status, and the government's Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) policy.
BA(Hons) Philosophy, Politics, Ethics
UK/EU (FT) - 9,000 GBP
Island Students (FT) - 9,000 GBP
International (FT) - 10,900 GBP
Why study a degree within the Humanities Programme at the University of Brighton?
Our four undergraduate degrees are offered within an overall Humanities Programme designed to give a coherent experience of interdisciplinary study while allowing for specialization in distinct areas. Degrees share a common first year, and a core second year course, while the specialist work that gives each degree its particular identity takes place in Options courses in the second and third years and in your Project work.
Three central features of the Humanities undergraduate programme combine to determine a student experience that is possibly unique in British higher education. These are our commitments to:
- Small group teaching
- Developmental, non-modular degree structures
Small group teaching
We maintain a focus upon teaching through classes small enough to foster the particular skills of oral presentation, debating and listening. In practice this means that you will be taught in seminar groups of no more than 12 students, a size large enough to ensure a diversity of opinion and hence productive debates, but small enough to allow every individual a space to raise issues, present arguments and to voice his or her particular intellectual concerns.
Since we place a particular emphasis upon seminar participation as one of the routes through which students develop important life and career skills such as confidence in oral communication, our seminars are student-led; this means that while a lecturer is always present to oversee proceedings and to ensure the academic content, the expectation is that you and your fellow students will increasingly develop the skills to manage seminar discussions together.
Every seminar is supported by a preceding lecture. In first year courses, and for the second year core course Critical Traditions, lectures are delivered to the whole year group. However, for the Options and Special Study pathway courses, we lecture to the small seminar group, ensuring that there is the opportunity for substantial interaction, with questions and feedback from students.
A large part of the distinctiveness of the humanities programme at Brighton is the emphasis upon interdisciplinarity.
The programme will enable you to develop the analytical skills of a variety of disciplines and the capacity to apply these to real world problems. This means that you will be introduced to the modes of inquiry that are particular to a range of traditional academic disciplines - to philosophy, history, literature, politics and cultural studies - but in order to be able to take the conceptual tools of each discipline and use these in the context of an interdisciplinary study.
For example, students on the Option pathway ‘Globalisation and Identity’ might spend a term looking at relations between Islam and the West by drawing upon skills from the disciplines of history (by learning about the Crusades), of cultural studies (by examining 19th century Orientalist paintings, by reading some Arabic literary fictions), and of political philosophy (by analysing Huntingdon’s ‘clash of civilisations’ thesis). This interdisciplinarity underpins all of our Option pathways as well as the core course Critical Traditions, and is typically a feature of the research project undertaken by students in their final year.
In contrast to degrees which are built around self-contained, discrete ‘modules’ of study, our programme is designed to build knowledge and skills progressively. This means that the work you do in the early units of the degree establishes a foundation for work in later units, and that later units will ask you to draw upon skills and knowledges that you have been developing continually since the first year. This developmental structure also provides the opportunity to revisit topics and questions considered earlier, in the light of the deepened understanding you will have gained as you have progressed through the programme.
An important and exciting part of the undergraduate programme is the research project. Your work towards this begins in the second year with a preparatory programme in which you will be introduced to the principles of designing and pursuing a research project, and have small-group tutorials to assist you in arriving at a provisional topic. You will then be allocated an appropriate supervisor with whom you will have regular one-to-one meetings in the second and third years.
The project typically results in the writing of a dissertation of between 8,000 and 12,000 words. However, alternatively, students may undertake an Independent Study - in which academic skills are related to the wider, non-academic world, and which may issue in either a substantial piece of written work or written work plus audio and/or visual presentations of reports or a Joint Project which is undertaken jointly by two students and which places particular emphasis upon the work-related skills involved in collaborative investigation.
The project will allow you to determine a topic of particular interest which you wish to explore in detail; to pursue this in the context of a regular supervisions with a member of faculty with expertise in that area; and to develop some of the skills of conducting independent research. The project is assessed both through the piece of writing (and/or presentation) in which it results and via an oral presentation at the end of the final year.
Some projects of recent graduates include:
- Nietzsche’s ‘truth’: an ineffectual relativism?
- Globalisation and the Nation State
- Representations of witchcraft in early modern Europe
- Psychoanalysis and Literary Criticism: a critical investigation
- Women in the Bible: Mary Magdalene a feminist approach
- Corporate Branding and the Culture Industry: Adorno and Horkheimer Today
- Kennedy and the Cold War
- Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar: misogyny or mental illness?
- The Crusaders and the Knights Templar
- Rwanda and genocide: the colonial legacy
- Slavery: the reparations debate
- Prozac: a cultural analysis
- Siegfried Sassoon and World War One
- Contemporary cults of sexuality and changing masculinity
- ‘Race’, gender and colonialism in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea
- Algerian women and Islamic fundamentalism: civil and political rights
- Modernity, Freud and the Frankfurt School
- Victorian freak shows
- Representation and genocide: the Holocaust
- The ‘Machiavellian’ in Elizabethan and Jacobean Literature
- Nature vs nurture revisited: genetics and concepts of human behaviour
The School offers a high level of student support and places a priority upon regular contact with teaching staff. All tutors have regular and frequent office hours. General academic support is provided through the Personal Tutoring system. You will be designated a Personal Tutor (who will normally remain the same throughout the three years) with whom you should meet regularly to discuss academic progress. The Personal Tutor alsos provide a first point of contact if a student is experiencing particular needs (academic or personal) and can direct students to the range of assistance and support that is available from Student Services. More specific course-related support is provided by Course Tutors. You will be supported in developing your essay-writing skills through the provision of individual pre- and post-essay tutorials with Course Tutors in which you will be guided in the preparatory stages of writing a course-essay and then given face-to-face feedback after the essay has been marked.
The student community
The student community is diverse and friendly. Since all four degrees share a common first year and then the second year core course Critical Traditions, you will work with and get to know students from the other three degrees and the other Options pathways offered within your degree. This leads to an exciting mix socially and to productive intellectual cross-fertilisations: for example, in a Critical Traditions seminar on the First World War, a student from Cultures, Histories, Literatures who knows about the impact of the First World War upon literature, may be in conversation with somebody from the Globalisation degree who has learnt about the reversal of globalisation processes brought about by the War. There are also opportunities for activities outside of the academic curriculum: there is the student-organised Philosophy Society which meets fortnightly during term-time with invited speakers such as academics from around the UK or speakers from organisations such as Amnesty International; there are opportunities for students to become involved in organising faculty-led events, such as the Holocaust Memorial Day.
10-11 Pavilion Parade, University of Brighton Faculty of Arts, Humanities Programme
"we offer interdisciplinary degrees in the Humanities… we've got a very simple principle: if you're studying the humanities and you want to understand the world that human beings live in, then you need to be able to see that world from a variety of different perspectives…" Dr Mark Devenney, programme leader.
Our film of life on the Humanities Programme at the University of Brighton Faculty of Arts was made by Ian McDonald of interventions. Filmed in 2010/11, it is titled 10-11 Pavilion Parade after the building in the heart of Brighton's cultural quarter that is home to our Humanities and the History of Art and Design subject areas, and in which students quickly build a unique and intimate community.
The film includes staff and students and will help you understand why the humanities degree at Brighton is a special academic experience.