History students in a seminar

History and Philosophy BA

Department of History

Department of Philosophy

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    You are viewing this course for 2022-23 entry. 2023-24 entry is also available.

    Key details

    Course description

    Three philosophy students in a seminar

    A knowledge of philosophy can make you a very effective student of history, and your history modules will help you to understand the context of some of the great works of philosophy. You'll also develop a deeper understanding of human behaviour across time and place.

    In history, you'll study past societies from the late Roman through to the modern period, and explore political, social and cultural themes. You'll be engaged in real research from the very beginning of your course, learning to exercise independent judgement, to be critical of accepted opinion and to present your arguments effectively. We keep our seminar groups small because we want to make sure everyone takes part in the discussion.

    In philosophy, you'll study the essential cornerstones of the subject (including philosophy of language, ethics, metaphysics and logic) alongside specialist modules. Topics range from philosophy of education, law or medicine, to film and philosophy, or feminism. You'll also study the history of the subject from Plato to the French existentialists.

    As a dual honours student, you'll divide your studies between the Department of Philosophy and the Department of History. Choice and flexibility are at the heart of our teaching, which means you can pursue and develop your own interests.

    At every level, there is a wide variety of modules to choose from. You will be taught by world-leading experts from both departments.

    You'll be required to take a minimum number of credits within both departments each year, but how you choose to divide your modules after this is up to you: split your modules evenly between philosophy and history or choose to weight your degree in favour of one subject or the other.

    Throughout your degree, you'll be studying in an environment dedicated to high-quality teaching, world-leading research, and innovative public engagement.

    Outside of your degree, there are many ways to develop your interests, insights and critical faculties. For example, our award-winning student-led volunteering project Philosophy in the City introduces school children to philosophical ideas they can apply to everyday life.

    Dual and combined honours degrees

    Modules

    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:

    Title: History and Philosophy BA course structure
    UCAS code: VV15
    Years: 2022, 2023

    For history, the first year programme is designed to help you to make the transition from studying History at school or college to studying it at degree level. Building your confidence and broadening your knowledge.

    It introduces you to core academic skills and provides a solid grounding in historical study and research, giving you the foundations you'll need to deepen your understanding of historical events and processes throughout your degree and setting you off on the path to becoming an independent historian.

    Our first year history option modules introduce you to our main areas of teaching and research and give you insight into what you can study in the coming years, so that you can better shape your degree to your individual interests.

    You will take one core module and have 40 credits available to use on option modules.

    For philosophy, dual honours students can select any modules from group A and/or B and normally choose a minimum of 40 credits in Philosophy. Depending on the credit requirements of your other subject, you may also be able to take optional modules outside of these subjects.

    History core module:

    History Workshop

    What does it take to be a historian? In this module, you will study the process of historical research, learning discipline-specific methods and essential study and writing skills through close engagement with a historical text (usually a work of narrative non-fiction) linked to your tutor's research interests. You will develop skills in critical reading, historiography, essay writing, bibliographic techniques, and reflection.

    The assessment for this module is aimed at giving you a strong foundation in the skills you will need throughout your degree and beyond: critical reading and writing, bibliographic techniques, and the ability to reflect on and articulate your skills as a historian.

    20 credits

    History option module examples:

    Empire: From the Ancient World to the Middle Ages

    Covering the period from the 4th century BC to the 15th century AD, this module invites students to explore the ancient and medieval worlds through the lens of 'empire'. It provides an introduction to ancient and medieval types of empire, their contacts with and legacies to each other, and the connectedness between East and West in this period. Using a wealth of primary evidence and drawing on corresponding historiographical debates, students explore what it meant to live in ancient and medieval empires, what kind of social, cultural and religious encounters they engendered, and whether there was any space for resistance.

    20 credits
    Land of Liberty? Rights in the USA, 1776-2016

    In 1776, the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that men were created with 'certain unalienable rights'. Yet the new United States denied those rights to large swathes of its people. Examining themes which resonate powerfully today, this module explores American history as a struggle over how rights have been defined and debated, expanded and contracted, and secured and denied. Linking the history of ideas to the efforts of ordinary people, we will look at debates over liberty and slavery, democracy and disenfranchisement, capital and labour, integration and
    segregation, gender and sexuality, nationalism and internationalism, and conservatism and liberalism.

    20 credits
    Paths from Antiquity to Modernity

    The aim of this module is to introduce you to the broad structures of Western history from the end of the Roman Empire to the present day. It provides students intending to take History Single or Dual Honours degree modules with a common framework for the more detailed modules that you will be studying at Levels Two and Three. At the same time, it provides non-historians with a fundamental appraisal of the shape of the past, to which courses in other departments will readily relate. Our aim is to equip you with an understanding of the periodisation of western history and of the major transitions in the process of modernisation. In the process, you will become more critically aware of the essential conceptual tools that modern historians readily use to analyse the past. The module aims to provide the essential training in the skills and methods needed for University level historical study.

    20 credits
    The 'Disenchantment' of Early Modern Europe, c. 1570-1770

    This module explores the fundamental shifts in mental attitudes and public behaviour that occurred in Europe between the age of the Reformation and the age of the Enlightenment. The central focus of the course will be the examination of the supernatural - religious beliefs, but also witchcraft and magic. You will explore the changing ways in which beliefs impinged on people's lives at various social levels. You will also have an opportunity to study the impact on people's world views of such changes as rising literacy, urbanisation, state formation and new discoveries about the natural world. All these will be investigated in the institutional contexts of state and church and the ways in which they sought to channel and mould beliefs and behaviour. This module enables you to understand how the early modern period is distinctive from and links medieval and later modern historical studies.

    20 credits
    The Making of the Twentieth Century

    This module considers the twentieth century as a time that transformed the social and political order in the world, calling into question the role of the European powers in global contexts, and dramatically reorienting the relationship between states and societies. You will engage with case studies representing key themes in twentieth-century global history: imperialism and the processes of decolonisation; the challenges of building the postcolonial nation; revolutions and the emergence of new states; war, genocide and conflict; and the institutions of international order.

    In addressing these themes, The Making of the Twentieth Century has a particular aim of counteracting prevailing tendencies towards Eurocentrism.  You will gain a considerable body of knowledge on the histories of Asia, Africa and Latin America especially.  At the same time, emphasis is placed on the empirical and theoretical grounds upon which competing interpretations rest in order to encourage you to develop critical awareness of the character of historical analysis.  More generally, this module aims to develop analytical, conceptual and literary skills through class discussion and written assignments.  Communication skills will also be emphasised in weekly seminars that will allow specific issues to be discussed in more depth, often with reference to primary source material.  Above all, the module seeks to stimulate an interest in history and an appreciation of cultural diversity.

    20 credits
    The Transformation of the United Kingdom, 1800 to the Present

    This module explores the central political, social, economic, cultural and diplomatic developments that have transformed Britain since 1800. Unlike most of its European neighbours, Britain did not experience dramatic moments of revolution, constitution-building, invasion or military defeat; indeed the belief that the nation was set on a course of gradual evolutionary progress was central to many versions of British identity. This course examines how, when and why change occurred in Britain. Key themes include the transition to mass democracy; the impact of industrialisation; shifts in social relationships based on class, gender and ethnicity; and the rise and fall of Britain as an imperial power.

    20 credits

    Philosophy Group A modules:

    Elementary Logic

    The course will provide students with knowledge of the fundamental parts of formal logic. It will also teach them a range of associated formal techniques with which they can then analyse and assess arguments. In particular, they will learn the languages of propositional and first-order logic, and they will learn how to use those languages in providing formal representations of everyday claims. They will also learn how to use truth-tables and truth-trees.

    10 credits
    History of Philosophical Ideas

    The history of philosophy is made up of a series of debates between competing philosophical traditions and schools: for example, idealists argue with realists, rationalists with empiricists. And at different times, distinctive philosophical movements have dominated the discussion, such as pragmatism, existentialism, phenomenology, analytic philosophy, and critical theory. This module will introduce you to some of these central movements and traditions in the history of philosophy from Plato onwards, and the key philosophical concepts and issues that they have brought in to western thought.

    10 credits
    Knowledge, Justification and Doubt

    In our age of post-truth politics and fake news, this course aims to introduce students to philosophy by investigating some basic problems in epistemology (i.e. the philosophical study of knowledge). We will address questions such as: what knowledge is and why it is important; what truth is; what kinds of things can be known and how; if and how perceptual experience gives us knowledge of an external world; whether all knowledge has to be grounded in experience; whether knowledge is socially constructed (and if so whether that is necessarily problematic); what role justice plays in our epistemic practices.

    10 credits
    Mind, Brain and Personal Identity

    What is it to have a mind? Is your mind a physical thing, such as your brain? Or is it a non-physical soul? Do human beings have free will; the ability to freely choose their own actions and, if so, how? What makes you the same person you were when you were a young child? Do non-human animals have minds? Could computers or robots have artificially created minds? If animals or computers had minds would they have souls? Could they have free will? This course examines these issues and some historical and contemporary attempts to understand them.

    20 credits
    Philosophy of Science

    Science plays an important role in modern society. We trust science on a day to day basis as we navigate our worlds. What is about science that makes it so trustworthy? Why is science a good guide for understanding the world? The aim of this half-module is to introduce some of the philosophical issues that arise in science and through reflecting on science. Most of the questions considered concern the epistemology of scientific knowledge and methodology: what are scientific theories, what counts as evidence for these theories, what is the relationship between observation and theory, is there a scientific method, what distinguishes science from other ways of understanding the world, and how does the social structure of science help or hinder science in studying the world. This module aims to introduce these questions as philosophical issues in their own right and within in the context of the history of the philosophy of science.

    10 credits
    Reason and Argument

    Arguments are everywhere - in our newspapers, on our television screens and radios, in books and academic papers, on blogs and other websites. We argue with our friends, families, teachers and taxi drivers. These arguments are often important; they help us to decide what to do, what to believe, whom to vote for, what car to buy, what career path to follow, or where we should attend university (and what we should study). The ability to recognise, evaluate and produce arguments is therefore immeasurably valuable in every aspect of life.

    This course will teach you how to recognise an argument, how to understand it, how to evaluate and criticise it, and how to produce your own. Students in this module will learn how to extract an argument from a complex text, how to uncover hidden assumptions, and how to recognise and critique bad reasoning

    10 credits
    Writing Philosophy

    Philosophical writing is a skill that you, the student, must hone early on in order to succeed in your degree. It is also a transferable skill that will serve you in your post-academic career. Philosophical writing combines the general virtues of clarity, organisation, focus and style found in other academic writing with particular philosophical virtues, namely, the ability to expose the implicit assumptions of analysed texts and to make explicit the logical structure of one's own and other people's arguments. A precondition of philosophical writing is a unique form of textual analysis that pays particular attention to its argumentative structure. In this module you will learn and practice philosophical writing. You will learn how to read in preparation for philosophical writing, learn how to plan an essay, learn how to rework your drafts and learn how to use feedback constructively. You will write five drafts and five essays and will have one on on tutorial on each essay you write. The lectures in the course will be split between lectures of the art of writing and lectures on philosophical topics in the domain of fact and value. Essay topics will be based on the topical lectures and their associated readings

    20 credits

    Philosophy Group B modules:

    Death

    This module is mainly about death itself . What is death? What happens to us when we die? Could there be an afterlife? Would it be a good thing if there were? What is it about death that we dislike so much, or that makes it bad? Is it rational, or even possible to fear death? What is the right attitude towards our own death? Do we have moral duties towards the dead? The course will clarify these questions and attempt to answer them. Readings will be taken from both historical and contemporary sources.

    10 credits
    Film and Philosophy

    This module introduces central themes in philosophy through the medium of films. Many films have clear philosophical themes and resonance, and we would choose a selection to cover a range of philosophical topics. For example: free will (The Matrix), death (The Seventh Seal), mind (Her), time travel (Back to the Future), technology (I, Robot), hope (The Road), evil (The Dark Knight). (The exact films shown will change from year to year.)

    10 credits
    History of Ethics

    How should we live? What is the right thing to do? This module offers a critical introduction to the history of western ethical thought, examining some of the key ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Wollstonecraft, Douglass, Bentham, Mill, Taylor Mill, Nietzsche, Rawls and Gilligan. It provides a textual introduction to some of the main types of ethical theory: the ethics of flourishing and virtue; rights-based approaches; utilitarianism; contractualism. We explore the close interconnections between ethics and other branches of philosophy (e.g. metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics), as well as the connections between ethics and other disciplines (e.g. psychology; anthropology).

    10 credits
    Matters of Life and Death

    This course will look at the value of life and the wrongness of killing. We will look at various issues of important practical concern, such as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, war, as well as the case of allowing people to die from need whom we could have saved. We will look at how best to understand the principles that guide, and ought to guide, our judgements about what to do when confronted with these issues. Students will gain a better understanding of how to think about these issues, and in particular will be introduced to the benefit of thinking about them philosophically.

    20 credits
    Philosophy of Religion

    This course will pose and try to answer philosophical questions about religion. These include questions about the nature of religion. For instance does being religious necessarily involve believing in the existence of a God or Gods? And is religious faith compatible with adherence to the scientific method? Other questions that the course will cover include questions about the theistic notion of God. Does the idea of an all-powerful being make sense? Is an all-knowing God compatible with human freedom? And is an all-powerful, all-knowing and perfectly good creator of the universe compatible with the existence of evil? Further questions concern God and morality. Is it true that if there is no God, then there is no right and wrong? The course will examine philosophical arguments for the existence of God, and question whether these arguments are sound.

    10 credits
    Philosophy of Sex

    Sex is one of the most basic human motivators, of fundamental importance in many people's lives, and a topic of enormous moral, religious, and political contention. No surprise, then, that it turns out to be of great philosophical interest. We will discuss moral issues related to sex' asking when we might be right to judge a particular sex act to be morally problematic; and what political significance (if any) sex has. We will also discuss metaphysical issues, such as the surprisingly difficult questions of what exactly sex is and what a sexual orientation is. Throughout our study, we will draw both on philosophical sources and on up-to-date contemporary information.

    10 credits
    Self and Society

    This course introduces students to central questions in political philosophy: Do we need a state, and if so, must we obey its laws? When, why and how may states punish citizen for failing to obey the law? What is freedom, and when are we free? Is equality a moral value, and if so, what are its implications for how governments ought to act? What is justice, and how does it relate to freedom, equality, and punishment? Should states be organised democratically, and what does it mean to live in a democracy? The course encourages students to think carefully and clearly about the relationship they have, as citizens, to each other and the state, and to develop their analytical and critical skills in the process. Readings will include influential, historical and contemporary discussions of the state, equality, freedom, justice, and democracy.

    20 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

    Learning and assessment

    Learning

    You'll learn through a mix of interactive lectures and lively discussion-based seminars. Research is central to the student experience here in Sheffield and all our teaching is informed by the latest findings. In your final year, you'll have the opportunity to take our Special Subject module, which allows you to spend a year specialising in a topic that really interests you.

    We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

    Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

    Learning support facilities and library opening hours

    You'll be taught by world-leading experts in both departments. In the Department of History, our internationally renowned tutors offer modules spanning four thousand years and criss-crossing continents, allowing you to explore great events, extraordinary documents, remarkable people.

    In the Department of Philosophy, you'll be taught by researchers working at the cutting-edge of their field, meaning your lectures and seminars are informed, relevant and exciting.

    Programme specification

    This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

    Find programme specification for this course

    Entry requirements

    With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    AAB
    typically including History or Classical Civilisation

    A Levels + additional qualifications ABB, typically including History or Classical Civilisation + B in a relevant EPQ

    International Baccalaureate 34, typically with 5 in Higher Level History

    BTEC Extended Diploma DD in a relevant subject + A at A Level typically in History or Classical Civilisation

    Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher AAABB + B typically in History

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AA, typically including History or Classical Civilisation

    Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 36 credits at Distinction (to include History units) and 9 credits at Merit

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    ABB
    typically including History or Classical Civilisation

    A Levels + additional qualifications ABB, typically including History or Classical Civilisation + B in a relevant EPQ

    International Baccalaureate 33, typically with 5 in Higher Level History

    BTEC Extended Diploma DD in a relevant subject + B at A Level typically in History or Classical Civilisation

    Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher AABBB + B typically in History

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AB, typically including History or Classical Civilisation

    Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 credits at Distinction (to include History units) and 15 credits at Merit

    English language requirements

    You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

    Equivalent English language qualifications

    Visa and immigration requirements

    Other qualifications | UK and EU/international

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Department of History

    As a history student at Sheffield, you'll develop your understanding of the past in a friendly and supportive environment.

    Our internationally-renowned tutors offer modules spanning four thousand years and criss-crossing continents - allowing you to explore great events, extraordinary documents, remarkable people, and long-lasting transformations, from the ancient period to the modern day and across the globe.

    You can tailor your course to suit you, discovering the areas of history that most inspire you most while preparing for the future you want with opportunities like studying abroad, work placements and volunteering.

    Department of History students are based in the Jessop West building at the heart of the university campus, close to the Diamond and the Information Commons. We share the Jessop West Building with the School of English and the School of Languages and Cultures.

    Department of History

    Department of Philosophy

    We pride ourselves on the diversity of our modules and the high quality of our teaching. Our staff are among the best in the world at what they do. They're active researchers so your lectures and seminars are informed, relevant and exciting. We'll teach you how to think carefully, analytically and creatively.

    Our staff and students use philosophy to engage with real world issues. You will be able to use what you learn to make a difference in the community, through projects like Philosophy in the City, an innovative and award-winning programme that enables students to teach philosophy in schools, homeless shelters and centres for the elderly.

    Our students run a thriving Philosophy Society and the only UK undergraduate philosophy journal. Our Centre for Engaged Philosophy pursues research into questions of fundamental political and social importance, from criminal justice and social inclusion to climate ethics, all topics that are covered in our teaching.

    Philosophy changes our perspective on the world, and equips and motivates us to make a difference.

    The Department of Philosophy is based at 45 Victoria Street at the heart of the University campus. We're close to the Diamond and the Information Commons, as well as Jessop West, which houses our fellow Arts & Humanities departments of History, English and Languages & Cultures.

    Department of Philosophy

    Why choose Sheffield?

    The University of Sheffield

      A top 100 university 2022
    QS World University Rankings

      92 per cent of our research is rated in the highest two categories
    Research Excellence Framework 2021

      No 1 Students' Union in the UK
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

    Department of History

    UK top 10 for History

    The Times and the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

    3rd in the UK for world-leading research

    Research Excellence Framework 2014


    Department of Philosophy

    1st in the Russell Group for Student Voice

    National Student Survey 2021

    3rd in the Russell Group for student satisfaction

    National Student Survey 2021


    Graduate careers

    Department of History

    Our history graduates are highly skilled in research, critical reasoning and communication. You'll be able to think and write coherently, to put specific matters in a broader context, and to summarise complex ideas in a discerning and creative way.

    Our graduates have gone on to become successful lawyers, marketing executives, civil servants, accountants, management consultants, university lecturers, archivists, librarians and workers in museums, tourism and the heritage industry.

    So, however you choose to use your degree, the combination of academic excellence and personal skills developed and demonstrated on your course will make you stand out in an increasingly competitive graduate world.

    Companies that have employed our graduates include Accenture, Ernst and Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and DLA Piper. You'll also find our graduates in organisations ranging from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to the Imperial War Museum and the National Archives, to BBC online and The Guardian.

    Department of Philosophy

    Studying philosophy will develop your ability to analyse and state a case clearly, evaluate arguments and be precise in your thinking. These skills will put you in a strong position when it comes to finding employment or going on to further study.

    Our graduates work in teaching, law, social work, computing, the civil service, journalism, paid charity work, business, insurance and accountancy. Many also go on to study philosophy at postgraduate level.

    Placements and study abroad

    Work experience

    There are lots of opportunities to get work experience, with hands-on projects integrated into several of our academic modules. Alternatively, you can undertake a placement with a heritage or culture organisation, or join our student-led volunteering organisations History in the City and Philosophy in the City.

    As part of these you can take part in activities that bring history to new audiences within the local community or introduce school children to philosophical ideas they can apply to everyday life. All of these experiences will help you build a compelling CV.

    You can also study our courses with the Degree with Employment Experience option. This allows you to apply for a placement year during your degree where you'll gain valuable experience and improve your employability.

    Study abroad

    There are opportunities to study abroad for a semester or a year, as part of a three or four-year degree programme. We have exchange agreements with universities in the USA, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Singapore and throughout Europe.

    Fees and funding

    Fees

    Additional costs

    The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

    Examples of what’s included and excluded

    Funding your study

    Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

    Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

    Visit us

    University open days

    There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

    Open days: book your place

    Taster days

    At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.

    Upcoming taster sessions

    Applicant days

    If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

    Campus tours

    Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

    Book your place on a campus tour

    Apply for this course

    Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

    How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:
    www.ucas.com

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

    Our student protection plan

    Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer

    2022-2023