History and Philosophy and Ethics

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A challenging and dynamic approach to the study of history and its impact on the contemporary world.

  • A rich variety of historical topics and approaches
  • Committed, expert and friendly staff
  • Combine the study of the past with an understanding of its application in the present

"I loved the fact that the course was really challenging, and gave me the opportunity to learn about a wide and varied period of history. The tutors were always friendly, encouraging and approachable. It was a life changing experience, and the best thing I have ever done."
– Nicola Tallis, History graduate

Why study History?

History is an exciting and challenging discipline, whether studied as a single honours degree or as a component of a combined award. It provides an essential foundation for exploring fundamental questions about beliefs, values and identity; it is impossible to comprehend the contemporary world without it.

We offer you the opportunity to study a wide range of sources, periods and themes. Our teaching offers local, national and international perspectives, broad surveys, and in-depth study.

You can study history as a single honour degree, or in combination with subjects such as English Literature, Philosophy and Ethics, Geography or Heritage.

Course structure

We combine the academic study of history with an investigation into its public role and purpose – heritage and memory; people and places. You’ll gain broad historical skills and expertise, including:

  • how to read historical texts;
  • how to use historical sources – visual, written, material; and
  • how to discuss and debate historical subjects.

Our modules range from the study of broad historical periods to focused explorations of specific topics. These reflect the research interests of our staff, and their most recent investigations and discoveries.

You’ll graduate with a wide range of personal, intellectual and transferable skills, relevant both to academic study and your ambitions beyond university.

Modules

  • Year 1
    We provide the foundations for you to develop historical skills and expertise. At the heart of this is a core module, which can be accompanied by a range of optional modules. You may cover, for example, the social history of 16th and 17th century England, or politics and people in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Year 2
    We offer you the chance to specialise a little more. You’ll build on and extend your knowledge and develop your confidence to deal with new subjects and approaches. Underpinning this, you’ll explore the history and philosophy of our subject: how ideas about the past and its study have changed over time, and how the study of history has influenced and been influenced by wider changes in society.
  • Year 3
    The focus of the third year will be on your dissertation. You’ll identify and develop your own historical question, conduct research and prepare an extended piece of writing. New topics are offered through optional modules, such as political, social and cultural history; public history; and the impact of the past on the modern world.

Course assessment

Work is assessed in a variety of ways including essays, research papers, group presentations, projects, portfolio and reports. There are timed assessments and end of year examinations in some modules. Different assessment methods allow you to develop and demonstrate different skills, many of which are also useful in other settings, such as planning ahead, working to deadlines, and managing priorities.

Study abroad

Our students make good use of the opportunities to study abroad through Erasmus and other programmes, usually in the second year, with one of our many partner universities. You’ll be able to find out more about this during your first year, including meeting up with students who have already benefited from the experience.

Students opting to join one of the study abroad programmes might find themselves in Denmark, Spain, Australia or North America. We have developing partnerships with universities in China and the Far East.

Field trips

Our field trips take us a few miles away to Bristol and its historic dockside, to major national museums and galleries, and further afield to Rome or Florence. Linked to our teaching, trips change from year to year, but there are always opportunities to learn outside the seminar room.

Work placements, industry links and internships

Placement modules prepare you for the world of work. We have an extensive network of partners across local, regional and national organisations, and can help you make the most of the opportunity to work with them.

You’ll have the opportunity to work on projects with our partners in the city and region. This might involve research in a historic house, oral history projects, or devising public events and exhibitions. Through these projects you’ll work collaboratively, manage your time, develop project management skills, and prepare for a future career

Teaching methods

We run lectures, seminars and workshops. You’ll also attend individual tutorials, where you might rehearse ideas for a project or piece of research, or to talk through how you did in an assignment – and what you might do differently next time.

As well as the history team, you can take advantage of the learning support provided across the University, whether to develop your writing skills or to learn how to use new techniques and technologies.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Enquires should be directed to Dr Alan Marshall, Head of Humanities:

a.marshall@bathspa.ac.uk

01225875595

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grades BCC- CCC accepted with Grade C in History or related subject preferred
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Merit, Merit, Merit (MMM) preferred in a related subject.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum score of 26 points required.
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher).

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Career opportunities

Employers welcome the analytical and problem-solving skills and the flexible approach to learning that history students acquire. You’ll not only gain knowledge and understanding of history as a scholarly discipline, but you’ll also develop a multitude of skills that will be useful in your future working life. As a result our history students find employment in a wide variety of careers:

List of current alumni careers

Our history graduates have entered careers in:

  • education (at all levels);
  • the police force;
  • social services;
  • the charitable sector;
  • events management;
  • the National Health Service; and
  • museums and heritage.

You may also choose to continue your studies at postgraduate level.

Since 2011, employers such as Unilever, The National Trust, Don Foster (MP),  The Jane Austen Centre, The Bishop's Palace Trust (Wells)  and The Association of Learning Providers have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Archives and Records Assistant, Historical Researcher, Curriculum Assistant, Part time lecturer and Historical Educator.

What students say...

Recent graduates:

“Studying History at Bath Spa University has proved an excellent foundation for my future academic pursuits. Prior to studying History at Bath Spa I had no real sense of my future career plans. However, the course has provided me with the inspiration, enthusiasm and skills to pursue postgraduate study. The course has also provided me with transferable skills should my projected career plans change.”

“I have found studying History at Bath Spa University immensely enjoyable and rewarding. The History faculty has been supportive, knowledgeable and approachable. I found the course offered real value to my professional and personal development.”

Kindra Jones, History, graduated 2011:

“I run my own business, KITHE, providing historical characters and events to museums, schools and heritage sites in the UK. Covering from early medieval through to the Second World War, I am constantly researching and adding to my wardrobe and artefacts.

All the skills that I need on my current career path were enhanced during my time at Bath Spa. When talking to the public my answers must be concise, well organised and backed by research, skills that the numerous essays and presentations helped me to develop. Professional correspondence and meetings with clients are critical for the bigger events, and I feel that my course prepared me for these very well. When I first started university I suffered from panic attacks when giving presentations, over the course these lessened until they stopped entirely. This was in large part due to my tutors working with me to find ways to make them less stressful and easier for me to cope with. I was so lucky to have great tutors.”

Nicola Tallis, graduated 2011:

“I loved the fact that the course was really challenging, and gave me the opportunity to learn about a wide and varied period of history. The tutors were always friendly, encouraging and approachable. It was a life changing experience, and the best thing I have ever done. The course prepared me for my career amazingly well. I went on to do an internship at Hampton Court Palace, and I could never have done this had I not done my course. I had to give a presentation at the end of my internship, and had I not done this many times at university, I would have had little confidence. As it was, I was complimented on my excellent verbal presentation skills! It improved my writing and referencing skills, and now I’m writing a book. It also made me consider the bigger picture in a way I never have done before, and this is crucial when you are carrying out historical research and writing a book.”

 

Truth, knowledge, meaning, reality – ask and answer crucial questions with this course.

  • Global – study philosophy from Western and Eastern perspectives
  • Contemporary – explore current debates, dilemmas and approaches
  • Applied – use philosophical concepts in real time, on real world projects

“I have been challenged, supported, and inspired during my time here ... My way of thinking has been changed by what I've studied, and I can happily say that I have become a confident critical thinker, and a more thoughtful human being.”
– Jessica Tamsin Milton, Philosophy with English Literature student

Why study Philosophy and Ethics?

 This Philosophy and Ethics course explores the assumptions, beliefs and values which shape human behaviour and our responses to it. You’ll explore our relationships with the natural world and our attitudes towards the past and in the present.

The course addresses the key questions which underpin all academic disciplines and concepts, so combines well with other subjects, contributing to your confidence in tackling them.

You must study another subject with Philosophy and Ethics; it’s offered as a Major, Joint or Minor component of a Combined Honours award. You can choose from a wide range of disciplines and build expertise in a related area or from a different perspective. Popular combinations include Psychology, Geography, History and Creative Writing. If you would like to take this with Study of Religions, you should apply for Religions, Philosophy and Ethics.

Course structure

Rather than teaching philosophy primarily as a history of ideas – although we do explore this – we focus on the application of current philosophical thinking in contemporary settings and circumstances. You’ll consider our responses to environmental crisis, for example, or questions of identity, belonging, roles and responsibilities.

We consider Western philosophical and ethical perspectives, and introduce you to the systems of thought of India and China. This mix and inclusiveness makes our Philosophy and Ethics course particularly distinctive.

Modules

  • Year One
    We introduce you to the principles of philosophical and ethical enquiry. We’ll equip you with some basic methods to philosophically analyse and critically examine core concepts in epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. There is an optional module in global religions and philosophy which looks at major traditions, movements and key thinkers.
  • Year Two
    You’ll focus on philosophy in the Indian and Chinese traditions. Optional modules explore ethics within humanist and religious traditions, medical ethics and social justice, and environmental politics and nonhuman rights.
  • Year Three
    You’ll bring together and develop philosophical ideas through the study of morality, identity, or gender. There are opportunities for in-depth study through a dissertation or an employment related project.

Course assessment

Assessment is mainly through coursework such as essays, projects, presentations, or online discussion.

Study abroad

Our students make good use of the opportunities to study abroad through Erasmus and other programmes, usually in the second year, with one of our many partner universities. You’ll be able to find out more about this during your first year, including meeting up with students who have already benefited from the experience.

If you opt to join one of the study abroad programmes, you might find yourself in Denmark, Spain, Australia or North America. We have developing partnerships with universities in China and the Far East.

Field trips

Fieldwork and visits are an integral part of the course. We visit religious communities, mosques, temples, gurdwaras and churches.

Teaching methods

Our focus is on ‘doing philosophy’ and developing your confidence and capacity for philosophical analysis and debate. We’ll support you through lectures and seminar work, as well as individual tutorials and support.

Special projects in years two and three and the dissertation in year three provide opportunities for independent work which builds on your own interests, adds new dimensions to your thinking, or relates to plans for future careers and personal development.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above)

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

Philosophy and Ethics develops many skills valued by employers such as clarity and precision in thinking, the ability to recognise unnoticed assumptions, the expertise to present a strong case, and to see the ethical issues involved in everyday decisions. Graduate careers for which Philosophy is good preparation include: law, civil service, local government, journalism, financial institutions, management, and IT. Some of some of our students have gone on to teach Religious Education, Philosophy and/or Citizenship in secondary or primary schools, where there is a shortage of specialists. Others have gone on to further academic study.

Since 2010, employers such as Global Xchange. Ethicall, Citizens' Advice Bureau and Birmingham University have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Healthcare Assistant, Fundraiser,  Children's Home Activities Coordinator and Assistant to the Communications Director.

What students say...

Lindsay Horler, Philosophy & Ethics with Study of Religions, Year 3:

“I chose to study this particular course because I was interested in studying Eastern as well as Western philosophy, and Bath Spa is probably the only University in the UK which offers such an in-depth enquiry into Eastern philosophical thought. While studying Philosophy & Ethics with Study of Religions at Bath Spa I have not only enhanced my intellectual skills, but I have also developed as a person. By thinking critically about philosophical ideas from Anglo-American, European and global perspectives, I have been able to think critically about my own philosophical beliefs.

What I enjoy most about Bath Spa University is that I can speak to my course tutors whenever I have questions to do with my course, or anything else for that matter.”