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Philosophy and Modern Languages & Cultures BA

School of Languages and Cultures

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

    Explore the connections between language and philosophical thought with this degree. Get an insight into how philosophical thought has shaped many of the cultures of modern Europe.

    Philosophical reflection requires a distinctive combination of imagination and exact reasoning. You'll develop these skills through a wide range of modules on the philosophy side of the degree. There are no compulsory modules so you can shape your own course. We cover key areas such as ethics, philosophy of mind, theory of knowledge, political philosophy, metaphysics and logic.

    The flexibility of the modern languages part of the degree means you have the option to study philosophy with either one or two of these languages: Catalan, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. You can study Italian on this degree but only alongside a second language as well as philosophy. Luxembourg Studies is available as an option from year two onwards, either on its own or with a second language and philosophy.

    You can take any language from beginner's level, and you can take French, German, Russian or Spanish post-A Level (or equivalent).

    You'll develop your communication skills in your chosen language or languages to a high level. Optional modules include linguistics, literature, society and politics, history, philosophy and film studies.

    We have recommended pathways through the languages and modules to enable you to create combinations that work well together. However, our flexible approach means you are not constrained by those pathways and we support you to make the choices that are best for you.

    You'll spend the third year of your course abroad. We have a wide range of destinations on offer, both within Europe and beyond. You can choose to study at a leading university, carry out an approved work placement, or in some cases take part in exciting volunteering opportunities.

    This degree opens up a wide range of career opportunities, close to home and further afield. You'll get extensive training in analytical writing and techniques, as well as other transferable skills. You'll develop highly valuable language skills, and you'll gain a sophisticated understanding of the countries where your chosen language or languages are spoken.

    Studying in another country will greatly enhance your transferable as well as language skills, making you even more attractive to employers.

    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.

    • You can find a comprehensive list of all of our languages and cultures modules broken down by language on the School of Languages and Cultures website
    • Examples of the philosophy modules on offer are below
    Title: Philosophy and Modern Languages & Cultures BA course structure
    UCAS code: RV60
    Years: 2022, 2023

    For philosophy, you can select any modules from the list below, and students normally choose a minimum of 40 credits in philosophy in their first year.

    Optional philosophy 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
    LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* and Queer) Studies

    This module introduces students to study of genders and sexualities, and LGBTQ scholarship, both historical and contemporary. It examines genders and sexualities in society, culture, media, and their academic study, as well as contemporary issues of inequality affecting sexual minorities in different global contexts. The module is team taught by experts in different departments at the University of Sheffield, who will introduce students to a wide range of theoretical and methodological perspectives, such as philosophy, history, social sciences, psychology, evolutionary biology, education, cultural studies, and critical study of religion. The module is assessed by a coursework portfolio, where students answer a number of short questions on different topics in the syllabus.

    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
    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
    Religion in Britain

    This module provides an introduction to the critical study of religion, engaging with definitions, key concepts and different methods used in studying Religion in our society. We will examine theories, social trends, and sociological research, as well as debates in the society and the media, in order to better understand religious diversity in Britain today. We will study religious rituals and traditions, as well as atheism, humanism, spirituality, and mindfulness. We will examine key themes in the contemporary sociology of religion, such as secularism, fundamentalism, and pluralism, and consider empirical research on global religious trends, and British religiosity.
    The students will also have an opportunity to do some fieldwork, as one of the assignments is a mini-ethnography project, as students choose a religious community and visit them to observe lived religion first-hand. This module provides an excellent foundation for further study of religion and social sciences, as well as general understanding of issues behind media headlines, and critical awareness of social change affecting our society.

    20 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 lectures, seminars and language classes. Language teaching is in small groups, so you'll get plenty of tailored support and will get to know your tutors well.

    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.

    Assessment

    We use a range of assessment methods during your course. In the language programme you will be given regular homework assignments and take a mix of coursework and exam assessments at appropriate points over the academic year. You will be assessed on the core skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Our assessment methods vary across our courses and include taking sit-down exams, developing a portfolio, writing essays, taking part in group projects or giving individual presentations.

    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:
    ABB
    typically including a modern foreign language

    A Levels + additional qualifications BBB, typically including a modern foreign language + B in the EPQ

    International Baccalaureate 33, typically with 5 in a Higher Level modern foreign language

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in a relevant subject

    Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher AABBB + B typically in a modern foreign language

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AB, typically including a modern foreign language

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

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    BBB
    typically including a modern foreign language

    A Levels + additional qualifications BBB, typically including a modern foreign language + B in the EPQ

    International Baccalaureate 32, typically with 5 in a Higher Level modern foreign language

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDM in a relevant subject

    Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher ABBBB + B typically in a modern foreign language

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + BB, typically including a modern foreign language

    Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 24 credits at Distinction and 21 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 are not studying a modern foreign language, the department will consider other evidence of aptitude for language learning (such as a languages GCSE at grade 4/C or, for non-native speakers of English, an English language qualification)

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

    School of Languages and Cultures

    At the School of Languages and Cultures you'll develop your linguistic skills to a very high level and deepen your understanding of the cultural context of the countries where your languages are spoken.

    We offer a particularly wide range of languages - Catalan, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Luxembourgish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

    Right from the start, you'll work with the school's top specialists and native speakers who will help you realise your linguistic potential. Language teaching is in small groups, so you'll get plenty of support tailored to your needs and get to know your tutors well.

    We're a leading centre for modern languages and cultures research. Our work spans identity, gender, linguistics, politics, migration and literary studies. This research informs our teaching, helping you to develop a global understanding of language and languages across cultures and countries.

    You'll be able to study optional modules either in your individual languages, or across the school so you'll acquire an in-depth understanding of your chosen languages and their cultures, and how they relate to other languages and cultures across modern languages disciplines.

    Our student-run language societies organise multilingual events, trips and creative projects. There are opportunities to volunteer in the community and in schools, inspiring others to try new languages.

    School of Languages and Cultures 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 Department of History and the School of English.

    School of Languages and Cultures

    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

    School of Languages and Cultures

    Top 10 in the Russell Group for research impact

    Research Excellence Framework 2014

    91% overall student satisfaction

    National Student Survey 2019


    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

    School of Languages and Cultures

    Our graduates are excellent communicators, adaptable and culturally aware. They work in international development organisations, business and banking, translating and interpreting, intelligence services, journalism, teaching, publishing, and international sales and marketing. Many go on to further study.

    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.

    John Student Profile

    Working in the humanitarian sector, being a linguist is indispensable

    John BA Modern Languages & Cultures

    John completed a BA that included Spanish and Portuguese

    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.

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    Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer

    2022-2023