Undergraduate Course

BA Philosophy with Human Rights

(Including Foundation Year)

BA Philosophy with Human Rights

Overview

The details
Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year)
V5M8
October 2020
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

On our four-year BA Philosophy with Human Rights (including foundation year), we work with you to develop your subject-specific knowledge, and to improve your academic skills. You receive a thorough grounding in these areas during your foundation year (known as Year Zero) to prepare you for a further three years of undergraduate study at Essex. Our five-year version of this course enables you to study abroad during your fourth year of study.

This course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three or four years of study, depending on whether you choose to study abroad for a year. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our School of Philosophy and Art History.

Our course brings philosophy together with one of its most powerful practical ideas: that all human beings have the same rights, which is an idea that dominates the modern world. We provide a grounding in philosophy and also involve the study of human rights from the perspectives of philosophy, politics, law and sociology.

You study topics including:

  • Ethics
  • Philosophy of religion
  • Global distributive justice and human rights
  • The protection of human rights in the UK
  • Freedom of thought and expression

Our School of Philosophy and Art History has been ranked in the Top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).

At Essex we specialise in commercial law, public law, and human rights law. We are ranked among the top 200 departments in the QS World University Rankings (2019) and we are top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).

Why we're great.
  • We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
  • Guarantee a place on your chosen course upon successful completion of your foundation year.
  • Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond our University campus. We support you extending your education through providing the option of an additional year. The five-year version of our degree allows you to spend the fourth year studying abroad or employed on a placement, while otherwise remaining identical to the four-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. We have exchange partners in the following areas:

  • The United States
  • Europe
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Latin America
  • The Middle East
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Our expert staff

We have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department, all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.

In our School of Philosophy and Art History our courses are taught by world-class academics, and over three quarters of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014), which puts us fifth in the UK for research outputs.

Our open-minded and enthusiastic staff have an exceptionally broad range of research interests, so whatever questions in philosophy catch hold of your imagination, there is certain to be someone you can approach to find out more.

Our internationally diverse community of staff within our School of Law and students gives us a breadth of cross-cultural perspectives and insights into law and justice around the world.

Our community, combined with opportunities to study abroad during your time with us, ensures you graduate with a genuine worldview and a network of international contacts.

Members of our Human Rights Centre work closely with our alumni and extensive practitioner network to ensure that our research is focused on priority issues that are of direct relevance to beneficiaries such as victims of human rights violations, governments, NGOs, and international organisations such as the UN.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials.
  • Our Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends.

Take advantage of our other extensive learning resources to assist you in your studies:

  • An exciting programme of research seminars, reading groups and mini-courses that help you expand your philosophical knowledge beyond what you learn on your course
  • A comprehensive student support system which will direct you to the best source of advice and support in the case of personal or academic difficulties
  • Work on key human rights projects at our Human Rights Clinic
  • Join our Model United Nations society, which can improve your skills of argumentation, oral presentation and research

We also offer a range of opportunities for working with projects associated with our Human Rights Centre:

  • Essex Transitional Justice Network
  • International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy
  • Human Rights in Iran Unit
  • Essex Autonomy Project
  • Detention, Rights and Social Justice Programme
  • Your future

    Many employers want graduates with critical thinking skills who can think logically and creatively about practical problems.

    Our students are in demand from a wide range of employers in a host of occupations, including law, PR, project management, journalism and the media, teaching, librarianship, the Civil Service, banking, the police and fashion design.

    Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies.

    Philosophy develops your transferable skills, providing you with:

    • The ability to understand all sides of a dispute objectively and without forming a premature opinion
    • The ability to work in a team, taking a collaborative approach to problems
    • The ability to interpret dense text and to communicate effectively
    • Analytical and problem-solving skills

    We also work with the university's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

    Entry requirements

    UK entry requirements

    UK and EU applicants should have, or expect to have:

    72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

    Examples of the above tariff may include:

    • A-levels: DDD
    • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP

    Essex Pathways Department accepts a wide range of qualifications from applicants. If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

    Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

    International & EU entry requirements

    We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

    Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

    English language requirements

    English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

    Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

    If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

    If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

    Additional Notes

    Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College.

    Structure

    Example structure

    We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

    Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

    Philosophy: Fundamental Questions, Major Thinkers

    What can we know? How should we live? Study two important areas of philosophy – epistemology and ethics. Examine the work of key thinkers and understand the major themes in Western philosophy. Analyse contemporary issues using philosophical arguments. Become confident in the expression of your own thoughts and ideas.

    View Philosophy: Fundamental Questions, Major Thinkers on our Module Directory

    Introduction to UK Human Rights

    How do you construct legal arguments in human rights cases? Can you defend these arguments in a discussion? Understand the principles of the Human Rights Act 1998 and examine how rights are protected within the UK jurisdiction. Explore legal issues and identify abuses of human rights through real-life case studies.

    View Introduction to UK Human Rights on our Module Directory

    Becoming Enlightened Citizens: Foundations in Politics and Government

    How did Plato and Aristotle influence Western political thought? How do you study class or gender today? What impact does globalisation have? Examine the history of social and political theory, critically analysing current issues. Understand key topics in politics and sociology for further study of the social sciences and humanities.

    View Becoming Enlightened Citizens: Foundations in Politics and Government on our Module Directory

    Introduction to Philosophy

    Begin your study of philosophy with an exploration of knowledge, agency, selfhood, and the vices and virtues of the mind. What does it mean to say that we ‘know’ something? How do our modes of practical interaction with the world and each other shape our ability to know different kinds of objects? How should we address questions about selfhood and identity? Are there vices of the mind that undermine our reasoning and lead our practical deliberations astray? Can the study of philosophy help us transcend such barriers to good reasoning? And can we flourish as intellectual agents?

    View Introduction to Philosophy on our Module Directory

    Foundations of Human Rights

    What are human rights? How do we protect them? And what challenges do we face when promoting human rights on an international level? Discover the fundamental principles and practices, including topics related to international law and philosophy, which underpin the protection and promotion of our human rights.

    View Foundations of Human Rights on our Module Directory

    Death, God and the Meaning of Life

    Ask life’s big questions: What, if anything, is the meaning of our lives? How can we become wise? Can we make sense of human suffering? How should we think about our own deaths? You take up these questions, first, by examining a series of ancient narratives, including The Myth of Sisyphus and Eden and the Fall; and then through the study of key works of modern philosophers including Nietzsche, Weber and Freud.

    View Death, God and the Meaning of Life on our Module Directory

    Critical Reasoning and Logical Argument

    Sharpen your philosophical skills through learning how to construct and deconstruct arguments. You learn how to identify arguments in philosophical texts, how to assess arguments for logical soundness, and how to formulate your own arguments.

    View Critical Reasoning and Logical Argument on our Module Directory

    Skills for University Studies

    Making the transition from school to University studies can be challenging. This module will introduce you to University life and enable you to acquire the study skills to make a success of your degree. It also orients you to work, volunteering and extra-curricular activities so that you can acquire additional skills and experience while you study.

    View Skills for University Studies on our Module Directory

    Ethics

    This is a module in ethical theory rather than practical ethics. That is, it takes up theoretical questions about the status and justification of morality rather than philosophical issues raised by practical moral problems. In this module, we will explore some of the things that worry people about morality. These are matters that may be thought of as challenges to morality and that seem either to make morality impossible or to undermine our commitment to it. For instance, if morality is just a matter of what we happen to like or dislike, or it is only relative to the standards of one's culture, the idea that we can ask and give moral reasons appears to be undermined, or significantly limited. Analogously, the fact that moral discussions (unlike arguments about matters of fact) often end up in irresolvable disagreements seems to threaten the rationality of moral arguments. The role that matters of luck play in our moral evaluations seems to involve holding people responsible for things that are not really under their control, thus compromising the idea that we can really assess the moral value of their actions. In the first term, we will look at these and other challenges to morality, and we will also explore some of the metaethical questions that these challenges raise: can we say that our moral judgements are capable of being true or false? If they are, does their truth depend on certain moral facts? Can we describe these facts as natural?

    View Ethics on our Module Directory

    Human Rights Organisations: International and Regional Institutions

    While a lot of the emphasis in the study of human rights is placed on the normative dimensions of specific rights, in human rights practice, an understanding of the institutional machinery that provides for complaints procedures (including formal courts), monitoring of state obligations and the review of periodic reports is imperative. You’ll be equipped with the skills and knowledge required to give meaningful effect of specific individual rights. Human rights institutions on the universal level (United Nations), as well as the regional level, are covered.

    View Human Rights Organisations: International and Regional Institutions on our Module Directory

    Modern Social and Political Thought

    This module introduces students to key debates in modern social and political thought. We focus on seminal texts by authors such as Hobbes, Spinoza, and Rousseau, whose contributions have radically transformed our understanding of social and political life. We explore the roots of modern notions like the state and society, and scrutinise the nature of freedom, power and democracy. Finally, we consider whether these authors’ accounts of social misdevelopments can still guide critiques of contemporary society.

    View Modern Social and Political Thought on our Module Directory

    Capitalism and its Critics

    With the financial crisis, rising inequality, ecological degradation, and resource-driven wars, capitalism has once again come under intense critical scrutiny. Does it foster economic growth and protect individual freedom, as its proponents claim; or is it a destructive system out of control, as its detractors argue? Should the market be given even freer rein? Or should capitalism be reformed, restricted, or even abolished altogether?

    View Capitalism and its Critics on our Module Directory

    Social Dimensions of Human Rights

    You’ll be introduced to sociology and human rights, and will learn how to research human rights in a sociological manner. You’ll consider two competing contemporary attempts to formulate a sociology of rights, as well as the problem of universalism versus relativism. Study the concept of cosmopolitanism, as well as rights across borders, the position of trans-national migrants as compared with the citizens of host countries, and investigate how far universal human rights can over-come state sovereignty in the granting of rights to non-citizens. You’ll also look at specific examples related to gender, immigration and asylum seekers, and what rich countries owe to poor ones.

    View Social Dimensions of Human Rights on our Module Directory

    Social Entrepreneurs, Sustainability and Community Action

    Did you know that the not-for-profit sector is expanding fast in the UK, and offers meaningful jobs that can contribute to positive social change and ecological sustainability? This module introduces you to this sector and the concept and practice of social entrepreneurship using case studies of work has helped local communities, disadvantaged people and the environment. It also gives you the opportunity to develop your skills and use your creativity and imagination to design your own project or enterprise.

    View Social Entrepreneurs, Sustainability and Community Action on our Module Directory

    Philosophy and Religion

    Have you ever tried to discredit a belief by pointing out its backstory? “You only believe that because you grew up in X!” or “You only believe that because you have traits X, Y, or Z!” Philosophers call this a Genealogical Debunking Argument (GDA), because it aims to undermine some belief by describing its origin. GDAs exert significant influence in the philosophy of religion. Historically, figures like Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud wielded these arguments to great effect; and today one regularly encounters naturalistic GDAs, e.g., “You only believe in God because have a ‘god-shaped hole’ in your brain!” But are these arguments any good? That’s the question we will explore in this module.

    View Philosophy and Religion on our Module Directory

    Knowledge and Reality

    What is the nature and limit of human knowledge? What are the relations between faith and reason? What is the relation between the body and the mind? Study the philosophical texts of the modern era that helped lay the conceptual foundations for these questions and others. We will explore these issues through the study of some of the seminal works of Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz.

    View Knowledge and Reality on our Module Directory

    Contemporary Political Philosophy

    How should theory and theorists relate to real politics? What are the competing approaches in contemporary philosophy? In this module you study both the liberal, ideal theories of justice as shaped by John Rawls, but also compare them to alternative approaches. You also explore the notion of injustice through asking what, if anything, is wrong with inequality, applying this to cases such as exploitation, marketization, objectification and stereotyping.

    View Contemporary Political Philosophy on our Module Directory

    Selected Issues in Human Rights

    How important are human rights today? What role do they play in contemporary society? And can you analyse their impact on topics like freedom of expression or global justice? Learn to identify and evaluate human rights issues in range of real-life situations, within a regional, national and international context.

    View Selected Issues in Human Rights on our Module Directory

    Philosophy Capstone Module

    This is an intensive final-year module running over five weeks during the summer term. It involves a guided and structured approach to support students in completing a research project of their own. It will be co-taught on a particular theme, with the theme for Summer Term being Challenges to Human Flourishing. Students will be introduced to two major research traditions in Philosophy that bear on this theme: (1) Critical Theory and (2) Phenomenology and Existentialism. Students will be split into two groups that will be taught about these two respective traditions in alternating weeks.

    View Philosophy Capstone Module on our Module Directory

    Philosophy Dissertation

    Develop your research and written skills through writing a dissertation on a philosophical topic studied in either your second year or the autumn term of your final year.

    View Philosophy Dissertation on our Module Directory

    Philosophy and Medical Ethics

    Discover the philosophical questions that are raised by everyday medical practice and recent developments in medical science. You consider topics including suicide, euthanasia, abortion, cloning, reproductive medicine, resource allocation, medical research, confidentiality, patient autonomy, and biopolitics.

    View Philosophy and Medical Ethics on our Module Directory

    Nietzsche

    Devote yourself to a close study of Nietzsche`s 1887 On the Genealogy of Morality. You explore many of the most significant themes in Nietzsche`s work, including his account master and slave moralities, ressentiment, guilt, and nihilism.

    View Nietzsche on our Module Directory

    Year abroad

    On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

    Teaching

    • Your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students
    • A typical timetable includes a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your four modules every week
    • Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions
    • Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention

    Assessment

    • Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, book reviews, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects

    Fees and funding

    Home/EU fee

    £9,250

    International fee

    £16,050

    Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

    Home and EU fee information

    International fee information

    What's next

    Open Days

    Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

    • tour our campus and accommodation
    • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
    • meet our students and staff

    Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

    2019 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

    • Tuesday, December 17, 2019

    Applying

    Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

    Our UK students, and some of our EU students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Independent applicants in the UK or EU can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

    The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are 'L' and 'S' respectively.

    You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

    Please note that this course is not open to international applicants

    Applicant Days and interviews

    Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our applicant days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

    Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you're invited to one, this will take place during your applicant day. Don't panic, they're nothing to worry about and it's a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we'll send you all the information you need beforehand.

    If you're outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email applicantdays@essex.ac.uk so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

    Colchester Campus

    Visit Colchester Campus

    Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

    The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

     

    Virtual tours

    If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

    Exhibitions

    Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

    At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.


    Find out more

    The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Occasionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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