The University of Southampton

VV51 BA Philosophy and History (3 years)

Introducing your degree

A Philosophy and History degree at Southampton provides you with an excellent and rigorous education exploring the events and ideas which have shaped, and continue to shape, the world around us. During the BA in Philosophy and History at Southampton you will gain an in-depth knowledge of core issues within philosophy and history while also pursuing your own interests through optional modules.

Your time here will be rich, stimulating and enjoyable, and you will graduate as an independently-minded, confident individual with the skills required for a successful career.


What is this? (More Information) This information is based on historical data and may have been aggregated. Find out more.

Programme Structure

Over each year, you must take eight modules, or the equivalent, including at least three modules in each subject. You take four modules each semester.

Our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers our students the chance to take optional modules outside their core disciplines.  This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future.

In your final year you will consolidate your knowledge and skills as a philosopher and historian by completing a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either of your main subjects.

View the programme specification document for this course

Key Facts

  • An unusually wide range of courses, with much of our teaching conducted in genuinely small groups.
  • We teach in many fields of history rarely taught in most other UK universities, such as East and Central European history, South East Asian history and Jewish history.
  • Philosophy at Southampton was ranked first in the Russell Group for overall student satisfaction (NSS 2016).
  • You can spend a period studying abroad at one of our partner institutions across the world.

Did you know?

You can take this programme with a year abroad at one of our 173 partner institutions in over 24 countries – use code VV52 when you apply through UCAS.

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Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
GCE A-level

AAB to ABB including a Grade B in History (or a related subject*).

Applicants taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) will also be made an alternative offer one grade below the standard offer, conditional on an A grade in the EPQ.

International Baccalaureate34 to 32 points overall with 17 to 16 at Higher Level, including 6 in Higher Level History (or related subject*).  

*Related subjects include English, Philosophy, Religious Studies or Classical Civilisation or other humanities based essay writing subjects. Students applying without History will need to make a case in their personal statement.

Preferred subjects


Applicants who are taking an A Level or International Baccalaureate module in one of our below preferred subjects will usually receive an offer of ABB or 32 points with 16 at Higher Level. Applicants who are not taking an A Level or International Baccalaureate module in one of our below preferred subjects will usually receive an offer of AAB or 34 points with 17 at Higher Level.


  • Philosophy
  • History
  • English
  • Religious Studies
  • Classical Civilisation
  • Sociology
  • Government and Politics



International applications

We welcome applications from international students. Helpful information on applying, meeting a University representative in your country, or improving your English language levels can be found on the International Office website. If English is not your first language you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with not less than 6.5 in Reading and Writing, 6.0 in Listening and Speaking

Alternative qualifications

We welcome applications from candidates offering qualifications other than A and AS levels (including BTEC, European Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate and Scottish Highers). You will be expected to attain an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University to an A level applicant. Contact us for further information on equivalencies for these qualifications and others not listed here.

Contextual Offers

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students who flagged in this way will be made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that programme.

A typical contextual offer is ABB to BBB from three A levels including History or a related subject* or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Please see our contextual admission pages for more information.

Selection process:
Average applications per place:

Selection is normally based on actual or predicted grades plus the reference and personal statement on your UCAS application. Exceptionally we may ask you to come for an interview before making an offer.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

Over each year, you must take eight modules, or the equivalent, including at least three modules in each subject. You take four modules each semester.

You may take up to two optional modules from outside your degree subjects.  This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future.

Innovation modules outside of your subject area

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Year 1

The following is an indicative list of available optional modules, which are subject to change each academic year. Please note in some instances modules have limited spaces available.

Semester Two

You must take two History option courses in semester two. One of these must be a pre-1750 course.

Wonderful things: World history in 40 objects
A Tudor Revolution in Government?
The First World War
Who is Anne Frank?
Masada: History and Myth
The First Crusade: Sources and Distortions
Childhood and Youth in Early Modern Society
The Battle of Agincourt
God’s Own Land: Exploring Pakistan’s Origins and History
Cities of the Dead: Death, Mourning and Remembrance in Victorian Britain
German Jews in Great Britain
Papal power in medieval Europe: crusades, heresy and clashes with kings
Histories of Empire
The End of the World: Apocalyptic Visions of History
The End of the World: Apocalyptic Visions of History
The Crimean War
The Long Summer? Edwardian Britain 1901-1914
When an empire falls: Culture and the British Empire, 1914-1960
Siena to Southampton: Medieval Towns and Cities
From Shah to Ayatollah: The Establishment of the Clerical Power in Iran (1979 to Today)
Joan of Arc: History behind the Myth
Castles: Military technology and social change from the middle ages to the modern
Alexander the Great and his legacy
Eisenhower and the World: U.S. Foreign Policy in the 1950s
Twentieth-Century China
Ancient Greek Philosophy
Existentialism and its Origins
Applied Ethics
Freedom and Responsibility

Year 2

The following is an indicative list of available optional modules, which are subject to change each academic year. Please note in some instances modules have limited spaces available.

You must take at least three Philosophy modules and three History modules across the year.  One of the History modules must be a pre-1750 course.

Semester One
Appearance and Reality
Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy of Language
Moral Philosophy
Philosophy of Religion
Power, Patronage and Politics in Early Modern England 1509-1660
The Struggle of the Czechs: From Serfdom to Stalinism
Imperialism and Nationalism in British India
Sin and Society, 1100-1500
The British Atlantic World
Ancient Rome: the First Metropolis
The Space Age
Knights and Chivalry
Celebrity, Media and Mass Culture, Britain 1888-1952
Jews in Germany before the Holocaust
Nelson Mandela: A South African life
Rebels with a Cause: The Historical Origins of Christianity
Wellington and the war against Napoleon
Napoleon and his legend
Retail Therapy: A journey through the cultural history of shopping
Discipline and Punish: Prisons and Prisoners in England 1775 - 1898
Self-inflicted - Extreme Violence, Politics and Power
In Hitler's Shadow: Eastern Europe 1918-1939
The Fall of imperial Russia
The Global Cold War
The Age of Discovery? c.1350-c.1650
Oil Burns The Hands: Power, Politics and Petroleum in Iraq, 1900-1958
From the mafia to the ultras: Conflict, violence and the Italian Republic from 1945 to the 1990s
Sex, Death and Money: the United Kingdom in the 1960s
Ritual Murder: The Antisemitic Blood Libel from Twelfth-Century England to twentieth-century Russia
Modern Germany, 1870-1945

Year 3

The following is an indicative list of available optional modules, which are subject to change each academic year. Please note in some instances modules have limited spaces available.

You must do a dissertation in either Philosophy or History.  If doing a Philosophy dissertation you must do a History Special Subject module in each semester.  If doing a History dissertation you must do either a History Special Subject module or an Alternative History module in Semester 1.

Semester One
History Dissertation
From Tyranny to Revolution: England 1625-49: Part 1
The Third Reich 1
The Holocaust 1
The Late Russian Empire, Society, Ethnicity and Culture l
Between Private Memory and public history
Music and History
Slavery and Freedom in the British Caribbean- part 1
Fashioning the Tudor Court 1
Medieval Love, Sex and Marriage: Part 1
Conflict, Transformation and Resurgence in Asia: 1800 to the Present
Heresy and Inquisition in the Early Modern Iberian World (Part 1)
Passions and Profits: Wealth, Freedom and Virtue in the Age of Adam Smith (Pt. 1: Texts)
Travellers’ Tales
The Long life of the Indian Mutiny 1 (1857-58): Event, Metaphor, Memory
The Crisis of Austria-Hungary Part 1
When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the 1970s, Part 1: 1970-1974
The rise and fall of the British Empire in Africa: Conquest, colony, and rebellion, 1900-60, part 1
Alternative Conquests: Comparisons and Contrasts
The Bible and History
Islam, Conquests and Caliphates, Part 1
The American Empire Part 1
The Long Sexual Revolution Family Life in Twentieth Century Europe, Part 1
Racism in the United States 1785-1915 Part 1
Nuclear War and Peace, Part I
Alternative histories: Fascism and the far right
Emperor Julian and the Last Pagans of Rome Part 1, Julian: hero and apostate
The Great Exhibition of 1851 Part one: Art, Industry and the making of a Nation
Sweet Charity?
The Ethics of War
Contemporary Theories of Justice
Wittgenstein’s Later Philosophy
Fiction and Fictionalism
Puzzles and Paradoxes
Advanced Aesthetics: Aesthetic Creativity
Other Minds

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

NameYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternationalChannel Islands
BA Philosophy and History2018Full-time£9,250£16,536£9,250
View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationary items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.).
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentLaboratory Equipment and Materials: All laboratory equipment and materials are provided. IT Computer Discs or USB drives: Students are expected to provide their own portable data storage device. Software Licenses: All software is provided. Hardware: It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.
Printing and copyingWhere possible, coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. The University printing costs are currently: A4 - 5p per side (black and white) or 25p per side (colour) A3 - 10p per side (black and white) or 50p per side (colour) Please Note: Paper sizes not recognised by the printing devices will prompt you to select the size and then charge a minimum of 50p per black and white copy and a maximum of £1 per colour copy. You can pay for your printing by using the money loaders or by using print copy payment service by going to The University Print Centre also offers a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service.
PlacementsStudents on placement programmes can expect to cover costs for health and travel insurance, accommodation and living expenses; travel costs; visa costs. This will vary depending on which country you are travelling to. Specific details on what additional costs there will be are detailed in the individual module profiles which can be found under the modules tab of the programme details of your programme.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

What can you do with a Philosophy and History degree? Almost anything! That's because Philosophy and History teach you not what to think, but how to think. This is, as a Times report on Philosophy put it, "the ultimate transferable work skill".

Our students have gone on to succeed in a dazzling range of careers, including business, law, medicine, journalism, teaching, IT, the civil service, advertising, film and television, and finance. The 2013 Destination of Leavers of Higher Education (DLHE) survey found that 90% of our Philosophy graduates were in work or study six months after finishing their degree, with 80% of those in full-time employment occupying professional or managerial roles. You can find out more about some of our graduates on the university's Alumni pages.

During your degree you will learn skills such as:

  • Critical thinking
  • Analysis
  • Clear oral and written communication
  • Mental agility
  • The ability to appreciate different points of view
  • Working in groups

Don't just take our word for it. In a survey of results in the American GRE tests (tests of verbal, quantitative and analytical skills), Philosophy graduates achieved better average scores than graduates of any other humanities or social science subject.

Career skills are embedded throughout every stage of our course and are developed at every moment of study. Certain modules offer specific teaching in reasoning and communications skills. In addition, there are work experience opportunities to help you understand how your transferable skills apply in the workplace. The university's Excel placement scheme offers around 150 Christmas, Easter and summer placements in a range of companies.

Learning & Assessment

Combine pleasure with learning
Combine pleasure with learning

Our teaching draws upon the cutting-edge research of Southampton's academics, all of whom are actively engaged in presenting and publishing their work in philosophy and history to international audiences.

We place special emphasis on small group teaching. Alongside lectures, you will participate from your first year of study in tutorials and seminars in which you will explore and develop your own ideas in discussion with fellow students and staff.

You will be assessed by more than just essays and exams. Depending on the modules you choose, you will work in teams, give presentations, submit group projects, develop websites, and manage larger research projects such as dissertations.

Each student is assigned a personal academic tutor, a leading academic who provides help and support at every stage of study.

Throughout your degree, we impart advanced skills in reasoning, research, communication, and analysis, skills which, alongside the support offered by the University's career service, will prepare you for further study or a future career.

Breakdown of study time and assessment

Proportion of time spent in scheduled learning, teaching and independent study
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Scheduled learning & teaching study19%19%14%
Independent study81%81%86%
Placement study0%0%0%
Proportion of assessment by method
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Written exam assessment23%44%19%
Practical exam assessment5%5%0%
Coursework assessment72%51%81%

Study Locations

Avenue campus

Avenue campus

Only a few minutes walk from Highfield Campus, Avenue provides a purpo...Find out more

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