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Course overview

Ancient Greece and Rome played an important part in the development of European philosophies. Understand the societies of Aristotle and Cicero by studying their:

  • political and social structures
  • art and visual culture
  • religion and social life

Take the opportunity to learn ancient Greek and/or Latin. Start as a complete beginner or develop your existing knowledge.

In Philosophy we cover traditional areas such as ethics and philosophy of mind. You can also address emerging topics such as social philosophy and environmental ethics. We include the Indian and Chinese traditions as well as the Western one that began in Greece.

If you're interested in particular themes you can complement these across both subjects. For example, take modules that look at:

  • what it meant to be a man in Greece and Rome and how gender operates in today's society
  • Greek and Roman painting and the philosophy of art

Find out more about the Department of Classics and Archaeology and the Department of Philosophy.

Why choose this course?

  • An ideal degree for people interested in both how the past worked and the shape of the future
  • No compulsory modules after the first year - build a degree that suits your interests
  • Innovative communication modules in both Philosophy and Classical Civilisation
  • Develop skills across both subjects vital to a wide range of professions
  • Work experience opportunities to enhance your CV
  • Option to study abroad - experience living and learning in different cultures

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer AAB/A*BB
Required subjects

No existing knowledge of Greek or Latin required.

IB score 34

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

If you have already achieved your EPQ at grade A you will automatically be offered one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject.

If you are still studying for your EPQ you will receive the standard course offer, with a condition of one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject if you achieve an A grade in your EPQ.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Different types of philosophy suit different methods of teaching. You might get involved in small-group study of texts or learn alternative styles of presentation - from press releases to legal briefs.

We also encourage you to produce novel resources to communicate your knowledge of ancient Greece and Rome. You might develop a database, construct a museum exhibit or develop a teaching plan (and test it in a local school).

Peer mentoring

All new undergraduate students are allocated a peer mentor, to help you settle into life at Nottingham.

Find out more about the support on offer.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Placements
  • Workshops
  • Field trips
  • Practical classes

How you will be assessed

Assessment methods

  • Commentary
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • In-class test
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Presentation
  • Reflective review
  • Written exam

Contact time and study hours

The minimum scheduled contact time you will have is:

  • Year one - 12 hours
  • Year two - 10 hours
  • Year three - 8 hours

Your lecturers will also be available outside this scheduled contact time to discuss issues and develop your understanding.

As well as your timetabled sessions you’ll carry out extensive self-study. This will include course reading and seminar preparation. As a guide 20 credits (a typical module) is about 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study).

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A popular lecture can have up to 200 students attending while a specialised seminar may only contain 10 students.

Your lecturers will usually be from our academic staff in Classics and Archaeology and Philosophy. Some of our postgraduate students also support teaching after suitable training.

As a joint honours student you will have a personal tutor from the Department of Philosophy as well as a Joint Honours advisor from the Department of Classics and Archaeology.

Study abroad

  • Explore the world, experience different cultures and gain valuable life skills by studying abroad
  • Options range from short summer schools, a single semester to a whole year abroad
  • Language support is available through our Language Centre
  • Students studying abroad for a semester pay reduced fees (Home/EU students - £6,480, International - 75% of the relevant international fee)
  • Boost your CV for prospective employers

Placements

Become 'workplace-ready' with our Work Placement module. It helps you develop the skills and experience that helps you stand out to potential employers.

Volunteer with our schools' projects and develop classroom and team working experience:

You will also have access to a range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

Impact of the Coronavirus on work placements, field trips and volunteering

We work with a range of organisations to provide work placements, field trips and volunteer opportunities. As you'll appreciate they are all disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

We expect opportunities to run as usual from the academic year 2021/22 but this cannot be guaranteed. We will do our best to arrange suitable activities as previous students always tell us how much they appreciate these opportunities.

Why study more than one subject?

Watch our animation about studying a joint honours degree with us.

Modules

The first year is split equally between core and optional modules.

A series of compulsory core modules (60 credits total) ensures all students are familiar with key concepts and have consistent subject knowledge.

Your optional modules (60 credits total) allow you to deepen your existing interests or explore new topics. You also have the choice to start learning Greek and/or Latin.

You must pass year one but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

Core philosophy modules

Reasoning, Argument, and Logic

This module introduces a series of key skills relevant to the aims and methods of philosophical inquiry. It is designed to:

  • help you understand the nature and structure of arguments
  • acquire critical tools for assessing the arguments of others
  • improve your ability to present your own reasoning in a clear and rigorous manner, particularly in essays
  • supply the basic minimum knowledge of logic and its technical vocabulary which every philosophy student requires
Mind, Knowledge, and Ethics

This module covers issues in ethics, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind. Topics might include the mind body problem, the nature of persons, perception, knowledge, free will, the nature of ethics, normative theories, the problem of moral motivation, and the nature of ethical judgements.

Optional philosophy modules

Metaphysics, Science, and Language

The module will cover topics from each of Metaphysics, Epistemology and the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of language. Indicative questions include:

  • metaphysics – why is there something rather than nothing? Does it make sense to talk of a telos, or purpose, to the universe? Is the universe deterministic, or is there chance
  • philosophy of science – is science the guide to all of reality? Is there a scientific method
  • philosophy of language – what is truth? Is truth relative? Does language create reality?
Philosophy of Religions

This module will explore the thought about religion of a few key philosophical thinkers chosen from more than one tradition. Representative thinkers might include, but are not limited to, atheists such as Feuerbach and Nietzsche, Buddhists such as Śāntideva and Dōgen, Christians such as Augustine, Pascal and Weil, Hindus such as the writers of the Upanisads and Shankara, Jews such as Spinoza and Buber, Muslims such as Mulla Sadra and Nasr, and Taoists such as Zhuangzi; in some years, more contemporary thinkers might be chosen.

The texts will be used to raise issues of wider philosophical significance, such as the variety of conceptions of ultimate reality; goals for the spiritual life; the nature of religious experience; the relations of religion and morality; explanations of suffering and evil; human nature and continuing existence after death; and problems of religious diversity. While such content may vary from year to year, each year will focus on a few key thinkers and themes.

Philosophy and the Contemporary World

This module will provide you with the resources necessary to critically understand and constructively engage with a variety of topical practical, social, and political issues and phenomena. These include a range of psychological phenomena of relevance to both university environments and social life, and large-scale political and cultural developments that invite moral and intellectual concern.

An overt aim of the module is to provide you with the intellectual skills necessary to undertake your duties as responsible citizens in a democratic society within a multicultural and multiracial world. 

History of Philosophy

Through considering some of the greatest thinkers who have ever lived, students on this module will become familiar with some of the main philosophical ideas which have shaped philosophy. You will understand how and why these ideas arose and developed across the history of philosophy in response to wider contexts and movements. The historical scope runs from the ancient to the modern period.

Typical figures might include: Plato, Aristotle, Ibn-Tufayl, Ibn-Rushd, Montaigne, Locke, Wollstonecraft, Marx, Gandhi, Fanon, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Murdoch. Typical topics might include: ancient Greek conceptions of the good life, reason and tradition in classical Islamic philosophy, medieval philosophy, existentialism, and Afro-Caribbean philosophy.

Gender, Justice, and Society

Proposed topics include:

  • What is justice?
  • What is gender justice?
  • What would a just organisation of labour and resources look like?
  • How does the gendered distribution of labour and resources affect this?
  • What is autonomy?
  • How does gender affect the way we understand autonomy?
  • What is culture, and why does it matter?
  • How should the state respond to cultural differences?
  • What should feminists say about this?
  • Is violence justified?
  • How can we make sense of gender-based violence?
  • Should there be a distinction between the public and the private?
  • Does it make sense to think of our personal lives as ‘political’?

Core classics modules

Studying the Greek World
This module provides a wide ranging interdisciplinary introduction to the history, literature and art of the Greek World from c.1600-31 BC; that is from the Bronze Age to becoming part of the Roman Empire. As well as examining all the major chapters of Greece's history from the Mycenaean Period and the Dark Ages, to the rise of the polis in the Archaic period, to the height of Greek civilisation in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, and finally its conquest and absorption into the Roman Empire, it also explores synchronous developments in Greek literary and artistic culture, and considers aspects of the reception of ancient Greece in modern western culture. This module will also examine the relationship of the Greek world to the Roman World, and will be complemented by the Spring semester module Studying the Roman World. No prior knowledge of the Greek world is assumed.
Studying the Roman World
This module provides a wide-ranging interdisciplinary introduction to the history, literature and art of the Roman world from the beginnings of the city of Rome to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. As well as examining all the major chapters of Rome's history such as the Roman Republic, the rise of the empire, the establishment of the Principate, and the fall of Rome, it also explores synchronous developments in Roman literary and artistic culture, and considers aspects of the reception of ancient Rome in modern western culture. This module will also examine the relationship of the Roman world to the Greek world, and will complement the Autumn semester module Studying the Greek World by continuing training in a number of basic study skills. No prior knowledge of the Roman world is assumed. 

Optional classics modules

Interpreting Ancient History
This full-year module is devoted specifically to the history of the ancient world, and investigates some of its major themes and approaches through a series of historical case studies. The range of topics introduces students to important historical issues from the major periods of Greek and Roman history, with an emphasis on the methodological questions raised by the relevant ancient source material and on the modern debates about those issues. As a result, students should gain a more detailed knowledge of important topics in ancient history, a clearer understanding of the evidential basis on which ancient historians rely, and some appreciation of how contemporary preoccupations can influence the perspectives of modern practitioners of the discipline and generate vigorous debate between them.
Interpreting Ancient Literature
This module will introduce students to the interpretation of ancient literary texts (in translation) as sources for ancient culture, by focusing on a representative range of texts and themes. The module will address issues such as ancient performance-contexts and audiences, the workings of genres, analysis of rhetoric and literary style, representations of gender and sexuality, study of classical reception, and how to compare translations. The focus will be on Greek texts in autumn and Latin texts in spring.
Interpreting Ancient Art and Archaeology
This module explores Greek and Roman art in detail and it aims is to give students a broad overview of visual material from classical antiquity, whilst concentrating on a cross-section of the most famous and talked about objects and monuments of Greek and Roman culture. More specifically, it offers an introduction to sculpture in the public and private sphere, vase-painting, numismatics, architecture and urban structures from 8th century BC Greece to the 4th century AD Rome. The module covers the Greek world in Autumn and the Roman world in Spring. Rather than proceeding chronologically, the material is organised by themes and media, starting with topography, then sculpture, vase painting etc. This is meant to give students a grasp of formal and stylistic developments within each of these media through the centuries, along with the meanings attached to them.
Greek and Roman Mythology
This module will introduce students to the interpretation of ancient Greek and Roman myth by focusing on a representative range of texts and themes. The module will be team-taught exposing students to a wide range of material and approaches to the use of myth in the ancient world. The module will consider how mythology is used not only in ancient literature such as epic and drama, but also in historical texts, in religious contexts and in the material culture of the ancient world such as statuary, paintings and sarcophagi. It will also introduce students to the variety of methodologies that scholars have used over the years to help interpret and understand these myths and their usages.
Beginners Latin: 1
This module provides an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of Latin; no previous knowledge is assumed. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.
Beginners Greek: 1
This module provides an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek; no previous knowledge is assumed. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to read Greek; the basis of the course is the study and translation of passages adapted from classical Greek texts.
Beginners Latin: 2

This module continues the introduction to Latin begun in Beginners' Latin: 1. Study of the structure of the language continues, and reading skills are further developed until almost unadapted passages from Latin texts are read.

Beginners Greek: 2

This module continues the introduction to classical Greek begun in Beginners' Greek: 1. Study of the structure of the language continues, and reading skills are further developed until almost completely unadapted passages from classical Greek texts are read.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

You have a free choice of modules split equally between the two subjects (60 credits in each). Carry on with a particular topic or investigate something new as your interests develop.

If you want to do a Classical Civilisation dissertation in year three you'll need to take the Extended Source Study module.

Our Work Placement module allows you to develop valuable professional experience.

You must pass year two which counts one third towards your final degree classification.

Optional classics modules

Intermediate Latin: 1

This module continues the study of Latin from the level reached in Beginners' Latin 2. It provides the opportunity to revise basic aspects of the Latin language and enables students to proceed to the reading of Latin texts. The assessment-pattern emphasises comprehension and analysis of grammatical structures over memorisation and translation.

Intermediate Greek: 1

In this module you will study classical Greek from the level reached in Beginners Greek 2. This will complete instruction in the basic aspects of the Greek language and enables students to undertake the detailed linguistic and literary study of an unadapted Greek text, such a Lysias 1. 

Beginners Greek for second and third years

Covering the same material as Beginners' Greek in year one this module allows you to take up the language at a later point in your degree.

You'll get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek; no previous knowledge is assumed.

Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to read Greek; the basis of the course is the study and translation of passages adapted from classical Greek texts.

 

Beginners Latin for second and third years

Covering the same material as Beginners' Latin in year one this module allows you to take up the language at a later point in your degree.

You'll get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of Latin; no previous knowledge is assumed.

Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.

Intermediate Latin: 2

This module is for students in their fourth semester of Latin. You will read a text such as Cicero Pro Archia or Virgil Aeneid 2 in some depth, and practise close reading of Latin literature, as well as continuing to revise and consolidate Latin grammar. 

Intermediate Greek: 2

This module continues the study of classical Greek from the level reached in Intermediate Greek 1. It continues with the study of Greek grammar and focuses on the reading of one or more classical Greek texts. 

Extended Source Study
This module is designed to develop your skills of research, analysis and written presentation as preparation for a third year dissertation in classical civilisation. You will write a 5,000 word essay chosen from a range of topics, each focusing on a single piece of ancient source material. You will be provided with a topic for investigation, starter bibliography and tips on how to approach the question. The questions will suggest a range of possible approaches, from evaluation of historical source material to exploration of literary effects, relationships with other material, discussion of context or reception. For this module you will have a mixture of lectures and four 2-hour seminars over a period of 10 weeks.
Animals in the Ancient World

Awaiting final description of module content

The Peloponnesian War

The Peloponnesian war lasted for more than 25 years, and came to involve much of the Greek world, as diverse states and peoples felt compelled to become allies of either Sparta or Athens – the central protagonists. The scale of this struggle, and its repercussions, make this a highly significant period of Greek history. You will consider this conflict in detail - its causes and background, protagonists, character and consequences.

You will also consider the disproportionate role that one man, the Athenian historian Thucydides, plays in shaping our knowledge and understanding of this conflict. You will seek to look beyond this major (but imperfect) source using other ancient authors and other types of evidence.

Writing History in Ancient Rome

This module will examine the writing of narrative histories in ancient Rome and their importance in the study of Roman history, particularly in the late Republic and Imperial periods. The works of ancient historical writers differ significantly from modern historians in their approach to evidence, narrative, and impartiality, and we need to be aware of these differences when using these texts as sources. This module will therefore consider the importance of the works of historians like Livy, Tacitus, and Ammianus not only as sources for the study of history, but as literary works in their own right, examining issues of historical accuracy and reliability alongside generic conventions, narrative structures, and issues of characterisation. 

Religion and the Romans

Religion was central to all aspects of Roman life; but did Romans really "believe"? This module explores the traditions and rituals that operated in Roman society from the earliest stages of archaic Rome through to the advent of Christianity. It helps the student to make sense of customs and practises that could baffle even the Romans themselves, and shows how the religious system permeated and controlled Roman social, political and military activities.

This course will be principally concerned with evidence drawn from the late Republic and early Principate, and will use literature and images from the Augustan period as a central hinge for studying the dynamics of religion in Rome. Topics to be covered will include:

  • the definition of "religion" and comparative studies
  • early Rome and the origins of religion
  • the calendar
  • temples and other religious buildings
  • priesthoods and politics
  • sacrifice
  • the deification of the emperor
  • foreign cults in Rome
  • the supposed "decline of religion"
  • early Christianity
Communicating the Past

This module is your opportunity to expand your knowledge of an aspect of Classics or Archaeology which interests you, and to experiment with methods of communicating that knowledge which take you beyond the usual assessment practices of essays and exams. You might undertake research that leads to (for example) the creation of a museum exhibition, the reconstruction of an ancient artefact, or the design of a new public engagement strategy for a historic site. You might acquire experience of a communication method which could be of use to you in a future career, e.g. by constructing an education pack, writing in a journalistic style, or creating an archaeological site management plan. You might choose to experiment with a different medium of communication such as video, website or phone app. The topic and form of the project chosen must both be approved by the module convener. This module is ideal for any student who is interested in pursuing a career in heritage, museums or education, while developing skills in research, project design and communication are essential for a wide range of career choices as well as being excellent preparation for your third-year dissertation.

Studying Classical Scholarship

This module focuses on the history and development of the scholarship on ancient Greece and Rome and on specific theories, approaches and methods used by modern scholarship. The aim is to sharpen your engagement with and understanding of scholarship, and to give a deeper appreciation of the ways the ancient world has been appropriated. Studying the history of scholarship in its socio-political context will show you how the questions we ask depend on the situations we live in; it will also allow you to judge the merits and limitations of scholarly approaches and will develop your skills of research and analysis, as preparation for your third-year dissertation. As with the Extended Source Study, you will choose a work-sheet relating to an area of the ancient world which particularly interests you; the module is assessed by an oral presentation and a 4,500-5,000 word essay.

Classics and Comics

Awaiting final description of module content

The World of the Etruscans

When Rome was still a small town and before Athens became a city of international significance the Etruscan civilisation flourished in Italy and rapidly gained control of the Mediterranean. Who were the Etruscans?

The Greeks and the Romans regarded them as wealthy pirates renowned for their luxurious and extravagant lifestyle and for the freedom of their women. Archaeology, however, tells us much more, about their daily life and funerary customs, their religious beliefs, their economy, their language, and their technical abilities and artistic tastes.

In this module, you will examine visual and material culture, as well as epigraphic and literary sources, in order to lift the shroud of mystery that often surrounds the Etruscans. You will also place them in the context of the wider Mediterranean world in the 1st millennium BC, examining their exchanges with the Near Eastern kingdoms, their cultural interactions with Greece and the Greek colonial world, and their role in the early history of Rome.

By exploring Etruscan cities and cemeteries from the 9th to the 3rd centuries BC, with their complex infrastructures and technologies, lavish paintings, sculptures and metalwork, you will discover a most advanced civilisation that shared much with the classical cultures and yet was very different from them.

Britain in the Later Roman Empire (c. 250-450)

You will examine Britain in the later-Roman Empire, from the crisis that marked the middle years of the third century to the disappearance of Roman power in the early fifth and the rapid economic collapse and social transformation that followed. This is a fascinating period: an era of prosperity, integration, and sophistication, and yet marked also by rebellion, civil war, and the sundering of the links that had bound Britain to the continent so deeply for so long.

You will take an interdisciplinary approach, familiarising yourself with a wide range of types of archaeological and historical evidence. You will examine the political framework of the later-Roman Empire, the textual and archaeological evidence for Britain’s society and economy, the barbarian peoples who threatened and interacted with it, and the question of how it ended up leaving the Roman Empire.

You will be encouraged to consider the integration of different types of source material and to think about Britain’s place in the wider world in a broader context.

The Silk Road: Cultural Interactions and Perceptions

This discipline-bridging cross-campus module will involve colleagues from across the School of Humanities. The Silk Road will be presented as a range of archaeological, historical and scientific themes. Broad cultural themes will be balanced with the presentation of specific case studies, such as the definitions of the Silk Roads, Byzantine, Islamic and later medieval Silk Roads, luxury production, trade and exchange from the Roman and later periods, and Ming Dynasty links with the west. Scientific techniques for the analysis of materials and their role in the interpretation of trade and exchange along the Silk Roads will also be considered, between for example China, central Asia, Scandinavia and the Middle East.

Oedipus Through the Ages

You will explore the ancient evidence for the myth of Oedipus and selected representations of the myth in the post-Classical world. In terms of evidence, you will have the opportunity to explore ancient drama and other poetry as well as visual culture and mythographic writings. In terms of post-Classical representations, there will be a particular focus on performance and on modern popular culture, including (but not necessarily limited to)

  • film
  • popular mythology books,
  • material aimed at children,
  • on-line representations,
  • humour

Optional philosophy modules

Social Philosophy

This module addresses issues in social metaphysics and social epistemology. We will examine the metaphysics of social kinds and explore different accounts of social kinds that have been offered. We will also examine how the fact that we are situated in a social world can affect what we can or cannot know or understand about ourselves, each other, and the social world itself. We will also address ethical and/or political issues that arise once we take account of social metaphysics and social epistemology.

In particular, we might consider whether there are special kinds of injustices that arise due to our social reality. What is epistemic injustice and how does it relate to social injustice? How do certain privileged groups structure the social world that create and maintain privilege and patterns of ignorance that perpetuate that privilege? What are some obligations that we have given metaphysical and epistemological concerns we have explored? 

The Nature of Meaning

The module begins with an exploration of various theories of naming, paying particular attention to the works of Frege, Russell (including the theory of descriptions), and Kripke. We then turn our attention to various puzzles concerning the nature of meaning, including the distinction between analytic and synthetic sentences.

In the final part of the module, we move on to a discussion of some of the mainstream theories of meaning; particularly, a truth-conditional semantics, and we explore how this might be developed to take into account indexical terms such as 'I', 'now', and 'here'. Some of the skills acquired in Elementary Logic will be applied in this module.

Freedom and Obligation

Are you obliged to obey the law even when you disagree with it? What features must a state have in order to be legitimate? In this module we will approach these classic questions of political philosophy by examining the work of a number of important past political philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (this list is suggestive, and the line up each year may vary).

The emphasis of the module is partly exegetical and partly evaluative. That is, we will seek both to understand why the thinkers' works have been open to different interpretations, and to evaluate their arguments under these different interpretations.

Mind and Consciousness

This module aims to introduce you to some of the major issues within contemporary philosophy of mind. We will examine four topics and the interactions between them:

  • Intentionality
  • Consciousness
  • Mental Causation
  • The Status of Physicalism
Knowledge and Justification

This module explores contemporary treatments of issues pertaining to knowledge and the justification of belief. It addresses issues such as the following:

  • the structure of justification and its relation to one's mental states and evidence (foundationalism vs. coherentism; internalism vs.externalism; evidentialism)
  • the justification of induction; the notion of a priori justification
  • the relation between your evidence and what you know
  • the natures of perceptual experience and perceptual knowledge
  • safety and contextualist theories of knowledge
  • Moore's response to skepticism
  • testimonial knowledge, "virtue" epistemology and its relation to "reliabilist" epistemology
Normative Ethics

We all have opinions about moral matters. But for most of us, our moral opinions are not very well-organised. Indeed, upon reflection we may discover that some of our beliefs about morality are inconsistent. One of the main projects of moral theorising over the past few hundred years has been the attempt to systematically denominate right and wrong actions.

In this module you will examine some of these, including consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics. 

Being, Becoming and Reality

We look at some fundamental metaphysical questions about the cosmos. A selection of the following topics will be studied:

  • Objects: concrete vs. abstract; existence and nothingness
  • Sets and mereology
  • Properties, Property bearers, Relations
  • States of affairs and non-mereological composition
  • Modality (including counterfactuals) and possible worlds
  • Time, persistence, change, and the non-present
Philosophy of Art

This module aims to promote a deeper understanding of philosophical issues pertaining to art. By the end of the module, you should be able to engage critically with positions and arguments in a wide range of areas within the philosophy of art.

These include debates such as those concerning the nature of art, the relationship between art and ethics, and the relationship between art and emotion.

Topics in Asian Philosophy

This module explores some of the major figures, texts, and schools of the philosophical traditions of India, China, and Japan. The Asian traditions address familiar philosophical themes – in ethics, epistemology, and aesthetics - but often approach them in ways that may seem unfamiliar. Studying them can challenge our culturally inherited presuppositions in instructive ways, as well as illuminating the history and current state of those cultures – an important thing in an age when many Westerners are ‘looking East’.

Topics may include:

  • Confucianism, Mohism, Daoism, and Hinduism
  • the Analects, Bhagavad Gita, and Zhuangzi
  • the relationship between morality and religion
  • etiquette, ethics and aesthetics
  • the nature of ultimate reality and the good life
  • the relation of Asian philosophies to the Western tradition
Ancient Greek Philosophy

This module explores some of the major thinkers, texts and themes of Ancient Greek philosophy. Ancient Greek philosophy stands at the beginning of the western philosophical tradition and western philosophy has been shaped by a sustained engagement with Ancient Greek thought in areas of philosophy, such as epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and political theory.

Topics and thinkers may include: Presocratic Philosophy; Heraclitus; Parmenides; the Sophistic movement; Plato and Platonism; Socrates and the Socratic Schools (Cynics, Cyrenaics and Megarics); Aristotle (ethics, political theory, natural philosophy, metaphysics); Epicurus and Epicureanism; Stoicism; Academic and Pyrrhonian Scepticism; Plotinus and Neoplatonism; Pythagoreansim. No knowledge of the Ancient Greek language is required.

Intermediate Logic

This module takes formal logic beyond the basics (as covered in first year Reasoning, Argument, and Logic). We’ll cover Propositional Logic, First-Order Logic, and Modal Logic (going into more detail where these were covered in first year).

We’ll learn about existence, identity, possibility, and necessity; and we’ll learn formal techniques for testing the validity of arguments. We’ll apply these logical techniques to help us make sense of challenging concepts and arguments in metaphysics and philosophy of language.

Continental Philosophy

This module will introduce the European tradition of philosophical thinking prevalent over the past two centuries. It will begin with an introduction to the influence of Kant and Hegel and recurrent characteristics of European thought, before turning to focus on representative texts by key thinkers.

Texts for more in depth study might include, for example: Ludwig Feuerbach’s Principles of the Philosophy of the Future, Henri Bergson’s Creative Evolution, Friedrich Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols, Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time, Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition, and Luce Irigaray’s Speculum of the Other Woman.

Emphasis will be placed on the different images of thought at work in European philosophical texts, as well as on how differing approaches to metaphysics, ethics and politics are grounded in newly-created perspectives.

An Introduction to Metaethics
Are there moral facts? What is moral truth? Do psychopaths really understand moral language? These are just some of the questions we’ll be asking on this module. Metaethics isn’t anything like normative or applied ethics; rather it is about asking how ethics works. This means we’ll be thinking about, amongst other things, moral ontology, moral language, moral psychology and moral reasons. Introductory reading Andrew Fisher (2011) Metaethics: An Introduction (Routledge).
Philosophy of Science: From Positivism to Postmodernism

What is science? Is there a scientific method, and if so, what is it? Can science tell us what the world is really like? Is it the only way to know what the world is really like? Does science progress? What is a paradigm and when/how does it shift? Is science socially constructed? Can a sociological study of the practice of science tell us anything about the nature of science? Is science "value-neutral"? Should we save society from science? What are "the science wars" and who won?

These are some of the questions we will explore in this module. We will start with the positivism-empiricism of the early 20th century and culminate with the postmodernism-relativism of the late-20th century and its aftermath.

Readings will include seminal works by Ayer, Hempel, Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyeraband, Bloor, and Laudan. While we may consider various examples from the history of science, no background knowledge of science or logic (beyond elementary first-year logic) is presupposed. 

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

You again have a free choice of modules up to 120 credits. To allow you to specialise you can choose up to 80 credits in a particular subject.

If you opt to write a dissertation you can do this in either subject or combine both into a single piece of work.

If you've studied Greek or Latin in previous years you'll be able to take your study to an advanced level.

You must pass year three which counts two thirds towards your final degree classification.

Optional classics modules

Dissertation in Classics

The dissertation is your opportunity to carry out an in-depth investigation of a chosen area, to be agreed with a supervisor in advance. You will use the skills that your degree has equipped you with thus far to plan, research and complete a 10-12,000-word essay. There will be a mix of contact to achieve this, including workshops, lectures and one-to-one tutorials.

Augustus

The year-long Special Subject module involves 3 hours of seminars per week, and provides an opportunity for intensive study of one of the most influential figures in Roman history. The module examines the ways in which, after his victory in the civil wars, Augustus established his rule over the Roman world on a secure and generally acceptable basis. Attention is paid to the ancient sources (studied in translation): these include not only historical and literary texts, but inscriptions, coins, art and architecture. This module covers not only political aspects of the theme but also Augustus' impact on society, religion, culture, and ideology. It is assessed through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.

Jason and the Golden Fleece

Jason and Medea, the quest for the golden fleece, the journey of the first ship, Greek civilisation meets Colchian barbarism: the myth that pre-dates Homer and brings together the famous fathers of Homeric heroes (Peleus, Telamon); the gathering of the marvellous, the semi-divine and the ultra-heroic; a quest that replaces war with love. The central texts will be the Hellenistic Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius and the Roman epic version of Valerius Flaccus, both read in translation, but a wide range of texts, images and films, Greek, Roman and beyond will be part of the module. Things to think about: how does myth work in the ancient world? How do representations in different media interact? When does myth-making become reception? How do the Greeks represent Greek culture and the barbarian other? How does Roman literature re-appropriate and re-work Greek myth? How do modern versions reflect on and construct the ancient world? Themes include: the Greeks and the other; civilisation and colonisation; Jason and Medea; gender and sexuality (the Lemnian women, Hercules and Hylas); the nature of heroism (Cyzicus and friendly fire); monsters, marvels and magic.

Greek Work, Class and the Economy: Good and Bad Strife

The title (Good and Bad Strife) is derived from the opening lines of Hesiod’s Theogony, in which the poet explains that there are two goddesses called Eris (Strife), one who stirs men to productive labour and another who fosters domestic conflict. We will examine both forms of strife: on the one hand the division of labour in antiquity and attitudes towards work and, on the other, notions of class struggle between a ‘leisured elite’ and a working ‘mass’. This module thus aims to provide students with an introduction to the economic and social history of archaic and classical Greece.

These two areas of endeavour, work and class conflict, are of central importance to the history of the Greek city and a much-contested field of research. We will examine key methodologies that have been applied to the study of ancient society and its economy, including Marxist approaches to class and sociological theories of professions. Students will engage in ongoing debates that are currently shaping our understanding of ancient work. These include recent challenges to the notion that the Greeks believed work to be inherently low-status. How does work affect status in antiquity? Could the ‘elite’ have included not only those who possessed land and slaves but also those who had obtained wealth and status through the practice of a valuable skill? We will thus attempt to broaden the subject of work beyond its usual parameters of agriculture and estate management to include manufacturing and the ‘learned professions’, such as doctors, seers, poets and sculptors. The first semester considers what has been termed ‘the aristocratic ideal’: the concept of a leisured elite of rentiers, the importance of agriculture, the spectre of class conflict and finally the different forms of education (both liberal education and training for specific work). The second semester will cover the existence of a labour market, the division of labour and the role of a professional class of skilled workers in ancient society.  

From Petra to Palmyra: Art and Culture in the Roman Near East

This module focuses on the variety of local cults and cultures in the Near East (modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Jordan) under Roman rule. We will zoom in on a number of localities in order to look at social, cultural and religious interactions between Greeks, Romans, Jews, Arabs and various other local cultures through literary, epigraphic, visual and archaeological evidence. In the great urban centres such as Palmyra, Tyre, Damascus, we will observe the adoption of the trappings of Graeco-Roman urbanism and public life (from peristyle temples to honorific statues) and their significance within the Second Sophistic.

On the other hand, we will explore alternative “pockets” of non-Hellenisation such as the lava lands of southern Syria with their distinct style of art and architecture in black basalt. ‘Oriental’ gods feature prominently in this module: We will explore their great sanctuaries (Temple of Jupiter at Heliopolis-Baalbek, Temple of Bel at Palmyra, Temple of Zeus at Damascus) in terms of architecture and ritual, and investigate their iconographies (Jupiter Heliopolitanus, Bel, Baalshamin, Atargatis of Hierapolis and myriads of other local gods). In contrast to Judaism and Christianity, there is a colossal lack of literary sources for these gods, and as a consequence, our understanding of their function and character hinges on how their worshippers depicted them in reliefs, statues, figurines and paintings.

Advanced Greek: 1

In this module you will do detailed guided study of a prose or verse text in Greek. Those who have taken Greek A-level and third-years who began the study of Greek in their first year at Nottingham are taught together. Attention is paid to the development of translation skills, but the focus of the module will not be merely linguistic as you will be encouraged to explore the set text’s interrelation with its literary tradition and its socio-political background, as well as to appreciate style and imagery through your access to the text in the original language. You might study a book of Homer, a tragedy of Euripides or Sophocles, a selection from the works of Lucian, a speech by Demosthenes or a book of Herodotus.

Advanced Latin: 1

Detailed guided study in Latin of a prose or verse text designed for those who have begun the study of Latin as part of their University course. Careful attention will be paid to the development of translation skills, but the focus of the module will not be merely linguistic. Students will also be encouraged to explore the set text's interrelation with its literary tradition and its background as well as to appreciate style and imagery through their access to the text in the original language.

Greek Texts: 5

This module examines, in the original Greek, a range of texts representative of an author, genre, period or style of Greek literature, paying special attention to matters of language and style. Literary appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of the original Greek. The position of the texts in the development of the genre will be explored, as well as their relationship with their social context.

Latin Texts: 5

This module examines, in the original Latin, a range of texts representative of an author, genre, period or theme of Latin literature, paying special attention to matters of language and style. Literary appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of the original Latin. The position of the texts in the development of the genre will be explored, as well as their relationship with their social context. A recent example is to focus on a selection of Martial’s epigrams and Statius Silvae 2, studying the poems as part of life in Flavian Rome. Themes include: the emperor, patronage, daily life, gender and sexuality, genre, satire, the city of Rome.

Beginners Greek for second and third years

Covering the same material as Beginners' Greek in year one this module allows you to take up the language at a later point in your degree.

You'll get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek; no previous knowledge is assumed.

Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to read Greek; the basis of the course is the study and translation of passages adapted from classical Greek texts.

 

Beginners Latin for second and third years

Covering the same material as Beginners' Latin in year one this module allows you to take up the language at a later point in your degree.

You'll get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of Latin; no previous knowledge is assumed.

Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.

Advanced Greek: 2

This module involves detailed guided study in Greek of a significant literary text, designed for those who have begun the study of Greek as part of their University course. Special attention will be paid to matters of language and style, but students will also be encouraged to explore the set text's interrelation with its literary tradition and its socio-political background as well as to appreciate style and imagery through their access to the text in the original language.

Advanced Latin: 2

This module involves detailed guided study in Greek of a significant literary text, designed for those who have begun the study of Greek as part of their University course. Special attention will be paid to matters of language and style, but students will also be encouraged to explore the set text's interrelation with its literary tradition and its socio-political background as well as to appreciate style and imagery through their access to the text in the original language.

Greek Texts: 6

This module examines, in the original Greek, a significant literary text, paying special attention to matters of language and style, but also to the text's literary and broader contexts. The module reinforces students' knowledge of the Greek language and develops students' ability to read Greek with fluency and understanding.

Latin Texts: 6

This module examines, in the original Latin, a text or range of texts representative of an author, genre, period or theme of Latin literature, paying special attention to matters of language and style. Literary appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of the original Latin. The position of the text or texts in the development of the genre will be explored, as well as relationships with social context.

Animals in the Ancient World

Awaiting final description of module content

The Peloponnesian War

The Peloponnesian war lasted for more than 25 years, and came to involve much of the Greek world, as diverse states and peoples felt compelled to become allies of either Sparta or Athens – the central protagonists. The scale of this struggle, and its repercussions, make this a highly significant period of Greek history. You will consider this conflict in detail - its causes and background, protagonists, character and consequences.

You will also consider the disproportionate role that one man, the Athenian historian Thucydides, plays in shaping our knowledge and understanding of this conflict. You will seek to look beyond this major (but imperfect) source using other ancient authors and other types of evidence.

Writing History in Ancient Rome

This module will examine the writing of narrative histories in ancient Rome and their importance in the study of Roman history, particularly in the late Republic and Imperial periods. The works of ancient historical writers differ significantly from modern historians in their approach to evidence, narrative, and impartiality, and we need to be aware of these differences when using these texts as sources. This module will therefore consider the importance of the works of historians like Livy, Tacitus, and Ammianus not only as sources for the study of history, but as literary works in their own right, examining issues of historical accuracy and reliability alongside generic conventions, narrative structures, and issues of characterisation. 

Religion and the Romans

Religion was central to all aspects of Roman life; but did Romans really "believe"? This module explores the traditions and rituals that operated in Roman society from the earliest stages of archaic Rome through to the advent of Christianity. It helps the student to make sense of customs and practises that could baffle even the Romans themselves, and shows how the religious system permeated and controlled Roman social, political and military activities.

This course will be principally concerned with evidence drawn from the late Republic and early Principate, and will use literature and images from the Augustan period as a central hinge for studying the dynamics of religion in Rome. Topics to be covered will include:

  • the definition of "religion" and comparative studies
  • early Rome and the origins of religion
  • the calendar
  • temples and other religious buildings
  • priesthoods and politics
  • sacrifice
  • the deification of the emperor
  • foreign cults in Rome
  • the supposed "decline of religion"
  • early Christianity
Classics and Comics

Awaiting final description of module content

The World of the Etruscans

When Rome was still a small town and before Athens became a city of international significance the Etruscan civilisation flourished in Italy and rapidly gained control of the Mediterranean. Who were the Etruscans?

The Greeks and the Romans regarded them as wealthy pirates renowned for their luxurious and extravagant lifestyle and for the freedom of their women. Archaeology, however, tells us much more, about their daily life and funerary customs, their religious beliefs, their economy, their language, and their technical abilities and artistic tastes.

In this module, you will examine visual and material culture, as well as epigraphic and literary sources, in order to lift the shroud of mystery that often surrounds the Etruscans. You will also place them in the context of the wider Mediterranean world in the 1st millennium BC, examining their exchanges with the Near Eastern kingdoms, their cultural interactions with Greece and the Greek colonial world, and their role in the early history of Rome.

By exploring Etruscan cities and cemeteries from the 9th to the 3rd centuries BC, with their complex infrastructures and technologies, lavish paintings, sculptures and metalwork, you will discover a most advanced civilisation that shared much with the classical cultures and yet was very different from them.

Britain in the Later Roman Empire (c. 250-450)

You will examine Britain in the later-Roman Empire, from the crisis that marked the middle years of the third century to the disappearance of Roman power in the early fifth and the rapid economic collapse and social transformation that followed. This is a fascinating period: an era of prosperity, integration, and sophistication, and yet marked also by rebellion, civil war, and the sundering of the links that had bound Britain to the continent so deeply for so long.

You will take an interdisciplinary approach, familiarising yourself with a wide range of types of archaeological and historical evidence. You will examine the political framework of the later-Roman Empire, the textual and archaeological evidence for Britain’s society and economy, the barbarian peoples who threatened and interacted with it, and the question of how it ended up leaving the Roman Empire.

You will be encouraged to consider the integration of different types of source material and to think about Britain’s place in the wider world in a broader context.

The Silk Road: Cultural Interactions and Perceptions

This discipline-bridging cross-campus module will involve colleagues from across the School of Humanities. The Silk Road will be presented as a range of archaeological, historical and scientific themes. Broad cultural themes will be balanced with the presentation of specific case studies, such as the definitions of the Silk Roads, Byzantine, Islamic and later medieval Silk Roads, luxury production, trade and exchange from the Roman and later periods, and Ming Dynasty links with the west. Scientific techniques for the analysis of materials and their role in the interpretation of trade and exchange along the Silk Roads will also be considered, between for example China, central Asia, Scandinavia and the Middle East.

Oedipus Through the Ages

You will explore the ancient evidence for the myth of Oedipus and selected representations of the myth in the post-Classical world. In terms of evidence, you will have the opportunity to explore ancient drama and other poetry as well as visual culture and mythographic writings. In terms of post-Classical representations, there will be a particular focus on performance and on modern popular culture, including (but not necessarily limited to)

  • film
  • popular mythology books,
  • material aimed at children,
  • on-line representations,
  • humour

Optional philosophy modules

Dissertation in Philosophy

The aim of this module is to provide you with an opportunity to write an 8,000-word dissertation on a philosophical topic, the precise subject of which is by agreement with the supervisor. At the completion of the module, you will have had an opportunity to work independently, though with the advice of a supervisor.

Marx

You will be introduced to the thought of Karl Marx thematically via texts selected from the Marx canon. Marxian themes considered will include:

  • Alienation
  • The Materialist Conception of History
  • Ideology
  • The Labour Theory of Value

Gaining an overview of Marx's attempt to synthesise German philosophy, French political theory, and British economics will be an important objective for the course.

Advanced Logic

This module investigates different kinds of contemporary logic, as well as their uses in philosophy. We will investigate the syntax and semantics of various logics, including first order logic, modal logics, and three-valued logics, as well as ways to apply formal techniques from these logics to philosophical topics such as possibility and necessity, vagueness, and the Liar paradox.

We’ll cover ways to reason and construct proofs using the logics we study, and also ways to reason about them. We’ll look at proofs regarding the limits of formal logic, including proofs of soundness, completeness, and decidability.

Free Will and Action

This module involves the study of a set of related issues concerning the nature and explanation of action and the requirements for free action and free will. Questions to be discussed are likely to include all or most of the following:

  • What would it take for an action to be free (or an exercise of ‘free will’) in a sense that would make it an action for which we are morally responsible?
  • Is there is any way in which our actions could be free in the relevant sense, whether or not determinism is true?
  • How do actions differ from bodily movements that are not actions?
  • Actions are typically (perhaps always) done for reasons, but what exactly is the relation between the reasons and the actions?
  • Do the reasons cause the corresponding actions – and if they do, can this be the same kind of causation as is involved in ordinary ‘mechanistic’ causal explanation?
  • And what about the fact that at least some of our actions seem to have purely physical causes?
  • If they do, doesn’t this make any ‘mental causes’ of those actions redundant?
  • What is the connection between intentional or voluntary action and rational action?
  • In particular, it seems that we sometimes intentionally and voluntarily do things that we ourselves regard as irrational – but how is such ‘weakness of will’ possible?
Environmental Ethics

Environmental ethics addresses the issue of how human beings should interact with the non-human natural world. This module will cover a range of topics from contemporary philosophical literature on environmental ethics.

Representative topics include:

  • the scope of moral concern (ie whether and how our moral theory should concern itself with animals, plants, rocks, ecosystems)
  • whether nature is intrinsically valuable, or whether it possesses value only by being valuable to us
  • whether it is reasonable to search for just one overarching ‘environmental ethic’ (ie the debate between monism and pluralism in ethics)
  • the metaphysics, ethics and politics of the ‘deep ecology’ movement; whether there is any connection between the twin oppressions of women and nature (as ecofeminists claim)
  • the ethics of zoos
  • the nature of sustainability
  • ethical issues relating to climate change
  • the ethics of restoring nature after it has been damaged by human development
  • whether there are any distinct environmental virtues
Communicating Philosophy

This module will teach you how to communicate philosophy through a variety of different mediums, assessing them in each. We will look at how philosophy can be communicated through legal documentation, press releases, handouts, lesson plans, webpages, funding bids and posters (with optional presentations).

A number of the sessions will be delivered by professionals from outside the University, with support from the module convener. Seminars will be used to develop each of the items for assessment. You will be invited to draw upon your prior philosophical learning to generate your assessments, except in the case of handout where you will be set a specific philosophical task and asked to complete some (very basic) independent research.

Taking Utilitarianism Seriously

This module is an extended discussion of utilitarian approaches to moral and political philosophy, including utilitarian accounts of:

  • the nature of wellbeing
  • reasons and rightness
  • rights and justice
  • democracy
  • individual decision-making
  • praise and blame
Philosophy and Mortality

The module explores philosophical issues related to human mortality – illness, ageing, death and dying, and other dimensions of our embodied vulnerability. Typical topics might include:

  • the phenomenology of chronic somatic illness
  • psychiatry and mental health
  • the oppression of ill persons
  • the nature and practice of pathography (narrative accounts of the lived experience of illness)
  • the social experiences of ill persons
  • the moral and spiritual significance of illness and ageing
  • anti-natalism
  • the experience of dying
  • empathy, grief, and mourning
  • death and the meaning of life
  • the significance of human mortality to wider philosophical issues and concerns

By the end of the module, you should be able to identify and articulate the ethical and existential significance of various experiences of human mortality; to employ a range of different methods and approaches to understanding those experiences; and to think sensitively and humanely about human experiences of ageing, illness, and dying.

Philosophy of Recreation

We expect recompense when we work but appear to do recreational activities just for their own sake.

You'll use philosophical tools to examine the meaning and value of such recreational activities, exploring questions such as:

  • Is recreational sex and drug consumption merely about pleasurable sensations?
  • Why do we put such great effort into achieving seemingly arbitrary goals in sport?
  • Does it make sense for fans to feel elated if they played no part in a team’s success?
  • Is there something special about being in a zone of effortless attention whilst playing an instrument?
  • Could risking death seeking sensations of the sublime by climbing a mountain be better than safely siting on your sofa watching trash tv?
Advanced Topics in the Philosophy of Mind

The philosophy of mind addresses philosophical questions about the mind and aspects of the mind: mental or psychological states and capacities. Advanced topics in the philosophy of mind will focus on a specific area (or areas) of the philosophy of mind.

Which specific area (or areas) of philosophy of mind is in focus may vary from year to year. So the topics for this area of philosophy of mind may include:

  • the nature of perception
  • the nature of perceptual consciousness
  • the directness or indirectness of perception
  • the perception-knowledge link
  • what properties or kinds perception can present
  • issues about the senses
  • specific issues about vision and audition
Advanced Topics in Aesthetics

This module is a discussion of some philosophical problems pertaining to art. Topics could include definitions of art, the objectivity versus the subjectivity of aesthetic evaluations, emotional response to art, the ontological status of artworks, and Walton's theory of make-believe.

This module aims to promote a deeper understanding of philosophical issues pertaining to art. By the end of the module, you should be able to discuss and evaluate different views of the expressive power of art, to explain certain current views on the status of aesthetic evaluations, and to present the main contemporary viewpoints pertaining to the nature of artworks.

Language, Metaphysics and Metametaphysics

Typically, this module introduces you to some advanced topics in contemporary analytic metaphysics. The module focuses on important topics, which have received recent attention. The topics covered will include:

  • metaphysical nihilism (why there is something rather than nothing, and the subtraction argument)
  • causation (the counterfactual theory and other accounts)
  • the metaphysics of grounding (and concerns with such a notion)
  • the metaphysics of absolute and relational space and time
  • vagueness and indeterminacy

The module presupposes a certain basic familiarity with general issues in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, but is designed to serve as an advanced introduction to new topics that is completely accessible to the uninitiated.

Buddhist Philosophy

The module will focus on a critical examination of core aspects of Buddhist thinking, with emphasis on some of its basic psychological, spiritual, and metaphysical conceptions.

These include, in particular: the origin and nature of suffering, the no-self thesis, enlightenment, consciousness, experiential knowing, and the doctrine of Emptiness (the lack of inherent nature in all things and impermanence).

Philosophy of Criminal Law

There is perhaps no more vivid example of the exercise of state power over individuals than through the institution of criminal law. The criminal law raises a host of important philosophical questions, such as these:

  • Is there a general obligation to obey the law? If so, what is the basis for this obligation?
  • What sorts of acts should be criminalised, and why?
  • What does it mean for someone to be responsible for a crime, or for the state to hold someone responsible?
  • What is the proper role for the presumption of innocence: Who must presume whom to be innocent of what? Is criminal punishment justified? If so, why?
  • Is the state ever justified in imposing legal restrictions on offenders even after they have completed their punishment?
  • How should the criminal law function in the international context?

Readings will include seminal works by historical figures such as Plato, Bentham, and Kant, as well as prominent work by more contemporary philosophers such as Hart, Hampton, Duff, and others. All reading assignments for this module are accessible to students with no training in criminal law.

Subjectivism and Relativism in Ethics

One often hears the opinion that ethics is subjective. But what does this mean, exactly?

And one often hears the view that ethics is relative. But relative to what?

And what is ‘ethics’ anyway?

And if ethics is subjective, or relative, what does that mean for ethics as a discipline? Does it mean, for example, that our ethical pronouncements can never be incorrect, never be challenged, or never disagreed with?

This module addresses these and other questions about the foundations of ethics, and gives students the material to develop their own views of this peculiarly human phenomenon.

Knowledge, Ignorance and Democracy

Politics and truth have always had a complicated relationship. Lies, bullshit, spin, and propaganda are nothing new. But we have allegedly entered the era of 'post-truth' politics in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the facts. Moreover, polarization is on the rise in many democracies and political disagreements have spread to disputes about obvious matters of fact.

In this module, we will attempt to answer questions such as:

  • Should the existence of widespread disagreement in politics make us less confident in our own views?
  • Are voters morally or epistemically obligated to vote responsibly?
  • Is it rational for citizens to base their political views on group identity rather than reasoned arguments?
  • Should we have beliefs about complex policy questions about which we are not experts?
  • Is democracy the best form of government for getting at the truth?
Philosophy of Education

Education plays a fundamental part of all our lives. It shapes who we are, our value systems, our political and religious outlooks etc. This means it changes how society looks, how it operates, and what we think society ought to be like. Education is then of the most profound importance.

As philosophers we are uniquely placed to think long and hard about education: what its role is, what it role should be, who gets to decide what is taught etc. Rising to this challenge this module creates the space, and provides the tools, for you to do just this.

Philosophy of Sex

This module considers the conceptual, moral, political, and metaphysical issues raised by sexual activity. It also considers philosophical questions arising from the experience of groups considered sexual and gender minorities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people.

Topics include:

  • the nature of sexual desire
  • sexual consent
  • sexual objectification
  • prostitution
  • pornography
  • sexual orientation
  • trans and intersex experiences

You will be encouraged to explore the relationships between these topics and to consider their application to debates and practices outside of philosophy.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2020*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

There are no extra compulsory fees to be paid as part of your course beyond your standard tuition fees. Essential course materials are supplied and recommended reading is available from our libraries.

Some limited modules have compulsory text books that you are required to buy.

For voluntary placements (such as work experience or teaching in schools) you may need to pay for transport and refreshments.

Scholarships and bursaries

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

We offer a range of Undergraduate Excellence Awards for high-achieving international and EU scholars from countries around the world, who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers. This includes our European Union Undergraduate Excellence Award for EU students and our UK International Undergraduate Excellence Award for international students based in the UK.

These scholarships cover a contribution towards tuition fees in the first year of your course. Candidates must apply for an undergraduate degree course and receive an offer before applying for scholarships. Check the links above for full scholarship details, application deadlines and how to apply.

Careers

Studying cultures and practising philosophy doesn’t lead to a single specific career but a huge range of professions.

Both of these subjects develop skills essential to professional careers:

  • analytical reasoning
  • synthesise and evaluate information and opinions
  • articulating complex arguments and lines of reasoning
  • constructive criticism and discussion
  • presenting and persuading
  • communicate effectively orally and in writing
  • planning research
  • independent study

Recent graduates have gone into a wide range of positions in:

  • heritage, museum and archaeology sectors
  • media, publishing and journalism
  • central and local civil service
  • politics
  • law
  • education
  • banking and finance

Find out more about opportunities for our graduates in Philosophy and Classics.

Average starting salary and career progression

75.1% of undergraduates from the School of Humanities secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,180*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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" I love what you can discover with this subject - it covers almost everything. I think they got the balance right between the classics and the new, current, happening philosophy that keeps the subject alive. "
Tom Ivens, BA Philosophy

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Disclaimer

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.