UCAS Code
GV15
Entry Year
2017
A Level Requirements
AAB
see all requirements
see all requirements
Duration
Full time 3 Year(s)
Lancaster’s joint Mathematics and Philosophy degree is delivered by internationally renowned academics in our Department of Mathematics and Statistics – ranked ninth in the UK by The Times Good University Guide, 2016 - and our Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion.
Both Mathematics and Philosophy seek to find the truth behind the underlying workings and meanings of the universe. Over the course of your degree, you’ll learn about the fundamentals of pure mathematics as well as the formulation of proofs and concepts. Through your studies in Philosophy, you’ll look into the nature of values and the theoretical basis of our social organisation and social relationships.
You’ll begin your degree with courses including Numbers and Relations and an Introduction to Philosophy. In your second and final years, you’ll study subjects such as Real Analysis, Linear Algebra, and Philosophy of the Mind. You’ll also be able to tailor your studies to your own interests by choosing from various options.
Grade Requirements
A Level AAB including A in A level Mathematics or Further Mathematics OR ABB including AB in A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics
International Baccalaureate 35 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects including 6 in Higher Level Mathematics
BTEC Considered alongside A level Mathematics (A) and Further Mathematics (A)
Other Qualifications We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international qualifications webpage or contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office directly.
Essential Subjects
Advanced/Higher level Mathematics or Further Mathematics are required for entry.
IELTS 6.5 (with at least 5.5 in each component)
Further Information
General Studies Offers normally include General Studies if it is taken as a fourth A level.
Combination of Qualifications Applications from students with a combination of qualifications are welcomed, for further advice please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office directly.
STEP Paper or the Test of Mathematics for University Admission Please note it is not a compulsory entry requirement to take these tests, but for applicants who are taking any of the papers alongside Mathematics or Further Mathematics we may be able to make you an alternative, more favourable, offer. Full details can be found on the Mathematics and Statistics Department webpage.
Taking a gap year Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
Contact Undergraduate Admissions Office + 44 1524 592028 or via ugadmissions@lancaster.ac.uk
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
Core
This module provides the student with an understanding of functions, limits, and series, and knowledge of the basic techniques of differentiation and integration. We introduce examples of functions and their graphs, and techniques for building new functions from old. We then consider the notion of a limit and introduce the main tools of calculus and Taylor Series. Students will also learn how to add, multiply and divide polynomials, and be introduced to rational functions and their partial fractions.
The exponential function is defined by means of a power series which is subsequently extended to the complex exponential function of an imaginary variable, so that students understand the connection between analysis, trigonometry and geometry. The trigonometric and hyperbolic functions are introduced in parallel with analogous power series so that students understand the role of functional identities. Such functional identities are later used to simplify integrals and to parametrise geometrical curves.
Students are introduced to the basic ideas and notations involved in describing sets and their functions. The module helps students to formalise the idea of the size of a set and what it means to be finite, countably infinite or uncountably finite. For finite sets, we can say that one is bigger than another if it contains more elements. What about infinite sets? Are some infinite sets bigger than others? We develop the tools to answer these questions and other counting problems, such as those involving recurrence relations, e.g. the Fibonacci numbers.
Rather than counting objects, we might be interested in connections between them, leading to the study of graphs and networks – collections of nodes joined by edges. There are many applications of this theory in designing or understanding properties of systems, such as the infrastructure powering the internet, social networks, the London Underground and the global ecosystem.
This module extends the theory of calculus from functions of a single real variable to functions of two real variables. Students will learn more about the notions of differentiation and integration and how they extend from functions defined on a line to functions defined on the plane. We see how partial derivatives help us to understand surfaces, while repeated integrals enable us to calculate volumes. Students will also investigate complex polynomials and use De Moivre’s theorem to calculate complex roots.
In mathematical models, it is common to use functions of several variables. For example, the speed of an airliner can depend upon the air pressure, temperature and wind direction. To study functions of several variables, we introduce rates of change with respect to several quantities. We learn how to find maxima and minima. Applications include the method of least squares.
A vast number of naturally occurring phenomena are modelled by differential equations, for which solutions are required to explain the behaviour of these phenomena. This module provides the student with techniques for solving a number of standard types of differential equation.
Students will apply these methods to naturally occurring phenomena, such as bacterial-population growth, tumour expansion and oscillating systems subject to forcing and friction, in order to explain their behaviour and seek solutions. The method of solution by Laplace transforms is also introduced.
This module introduces students to some of the central problems of philosophy and the theories produced in response to them. It also introduces some of the subject's technical concepts and vocabulary, and some of its techniques of reasoning and analysis. Reading includes both classical and contemporary material.
Philosophy has a significant role to play, both in acquainting students with some of the ideas which have helped shape Western culture, and in the critical understanding of ideas and methods in many other disciplines. The level of the module does not presuppose previous knowledge of philosophy. If students have studied philosophy before, the module will enable them to deepen and broaden their understanding of the subject and to improve their philosophical skills. The module aims not only to inform students with what philosophers have said but also to encourage them to engage with the issues. Topics will be drawn from the range of philosophical problems, approaches, and canonical figures.
To enable students to achieve a solid understanding of the broad role that statistical thinking plays in addressing scientific problems, the module begins with a brief overview of statistics in science and society and then moves on to the selection of appropriate probability models to describe systematic and random variations of discrete and continuous real data sets. Students will learn to implement statistical techniques and to draw clear and informative conclusions.
The module will be supported by the statistical software package ‘R’, which forms the basis of weekly lab sessions. Students will develop a strategic understanding of statistics and the use of associated software, and this underpins the skills needed for all subsequent statistical modules of the degree.
This module introduces the student to logic and mathematical proofs, with emphasis placed on proving general theorems than on performing calculations. This is because a result which can be applied to many different cases is clearly more powerful than a calculation that deals only with a single specific case.
We take a look at the language and structure of mathematical proofs in general, emphasising how logic can be used to express mathematical arguments in a concise and rigorous manner. These ideas are then applied to the study of number theory, establishing several fundamental results such as Bezout’s Theorem on highest common factors and the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic on prime factorisations.
The concept of congruence of integers is introduced to students and they study the idea that a highest common factor can be generalised from the integers to polynomials.
Introducing the theory of matrices together with some basic applications, students will learn essential techniques such as arithmetic rules, row operations and computation of determinants by expansion about a row or a column.
The second part of the module covers a notable range of applications of matrices, such as solving systems of simultaneous linear equations, linear transformations, characteristic equation and eigenvectors and eigenvalues.
Probability theory is the study of chance phenomena, the concepts of which are fundamental to the study of statistics. This module will introduce students to some simple combinatorics, set theory and the axioms of probability.
Students will become aware of the different probability models used to characterise the outcomes of experiments that involve a chance or random component. The module covers ideas associated with the axioms of probability, conditional probability, independence, discrete random variables and their distributions, expectation and probability models.
Core
This module starts by considering the limits of sequences and convergence of series. You'll then investigate the notion of a limit, and extend your knowledge to functions and the analysis of differentiation, including proper proofs of techniques learned at A-level and in the first year.
You'll spend time exploring the Intermediate Value Theorem, and will have the opportunity to prove it from the definitions, and discover its surprisingly wide range of applications. Finally, you'll turn to the Mean Value Theorem. Earlier results ensure that its proof is now easy, and you'll be able to show that it, too, has many applications of widely differing kinds.
This module will give you the opportunity to study vector spaces, together with their structure-preserving maps and their relationship to matrices.
You’ll consider the effect of changing bases on the matrix representing one of these maps, and will examine how to choose bases so that this matrix is as simple as possible. Part of your study will also involve looking at the concepts of length and angle with regard to vector spaces.
In this module you’ll take a thorough look at the limits of sequences and convergence of series. You’ll learn to extend the notion of a limit to functions, leading to the analysis of differentiation, including proper proofs of techniques learned at A-level.
You’ll spend time studying the Intermediate Value Theorem and the Mean Value Theorem, and will discover that they have many applications of widely differing kinds. The next topic is new: sequences and series of functions (rather than just numbers), which again has many applications and is central to more advanced analysis.
Next we put the notion of integration under the microscope. Once it’s properly defined (via limits), you’ll learn how to get from this definition to the familiar technique of evaluating integrals by reverse differentiation. You’ll also explore some applications of integration that are quite different from the ones in A-level, such as estimations of discrete sums of series.
Further possible topics include Stirling's Formula, infinite products and Fourier series.
Optional
Complex Analysis has its origins in differential calculus and the study of polynomial equations.
In this module you’ll consider the differential calculus of functions of a single complex variable and study power series and mappings by complex functions. You’ll use integral calculus of complex functions to find elegant and important results, including the fundamental theorem of algebra, and you’ll also use classical theorems to evaluate real integrals.
The module ends with basic discussion of harmonic functions, which play a significant role in physics.
This module explores the emergence and construction of ethics within the context of two world religions: Christianity and Islam. It examines the ways in which religious attitudes to ethical concern and practice are influenced by traditional, textual and cultural factors.
Some of the ethical concerns to be covered throughout the module are: politics and economics; justice and war; sex and sexual practice; and rights and law. Finally, the module will encourage students to explore some of these areas cross-culturally through the consideration of questions of difference and otherness.
The aim of this module is to provide students with a good, broad introduction to some of the key themes in epistemology -the theory of knowledge.
It begins with a core question; What is knowledge? This leads on to questions about how knowledge relates to other things, like belief, and truth. Throughout the term students will see that it is much harder to answer the core question than one might initially think, raising a question of why it is so hard to give a clear and general, account of what knowledge is. Students will also look at sources of knowledge - especially, perception, self-knowledge and testimony. The module also explores some of the relationships between epistemology and ethics, ending with the question of whether we ever ought to refrain from seeking knowledge.
By the end of this module, students will be able to understand and discuss critically the central problems and theories of epistemology, and explain how epistemology relates to other areas of philosophy.
This module aims to provide students with an understanding of some historical and contemporary approaches to the subject of ethics. It addresses central issues by engaging with classical texts in the history of the subject, such as Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals and John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism.
The module will also explore selected topics in moral philosophy, such as the nature, strength and weakness of consequentialism, deontology, and virtue theory. In addition to this, students will study topics in meta-ethics, such as the ‘moral problem’, non-cognitivist realism, and quasi-realism.
Other topics covered include topics in applied and practical ethics, such as issues of life and death in biomedical practice, the ethics of war, and the ethics of personal life; as well as the nature of moral motivation and moral psychology.
This module builds on the binary operations studies in previous modules, such as addition or multiplication of numbers and composition of functions. Here you’ll select a small number of properties which these and other examples have in common, and use them to define a group.
You’ll also consider the elementary properties of groups. It turns out that several surprisingly elegant results can be proved fairly simply! By looking at maps between groups which 'preserve structure' you’ll discover a way of formalizing (and extending) the natural concept of what it means for two groups to be 'the same'.
Ring theory provides a framework for studying sets with two binary operations: addition and multiplication. This gives us a way to abstractly model various number systems, proving results that can be applied in many different situations, such as number theory and geometry. Familiar examples of rings include the integers, the integers modulation, the rational numbers, matrices and polynomials, but you’ll meet several less familiar examples too.
Western philosophy has a long and rich history, and many of the questions occupying present-day philosophers have been around for hundreds or even thousands of years.
The exact structure of this module may vary from year to year, but core themes will normally include:
Students will study these problems, amongst others, by close consideration of a selection of texts from the history of Western philosophy. This may include selections from the ancient (classical), medieval, early modern (17th/18th centuries) period, and the 19th century. Thinkers who may be considered include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Scotus, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche.
This module is designed to improve students' knowledge and understanding of some key issues in metaphysics as determined by the syllabus. The module will focus primarily on some issues concerning space and time, the nature of physical objects and persons, and some key philosophical distinctions. Topics will include:
Studying this module should enable students to see connections between various philosophical issues that should be of value to them with regard to other philosophy modules that they are studying.
The aim of this module is to provide a broad grounding in some important aspects of the discipline of politics that are conceived of as both an attempt to understand the nature of politics and to assess the worth of various political arrangements. It involves consideration of notions such as politics, citizenship, democracy, government, state, welfare, individualism, utilitarianism, conservatism, socialism and, social democracy, together with an examination of the various ways in which political studies have been understood as a disciplined investigation of things political. The module covers four broad topics: freedom, markets and the state; citizenship, nationalism and democracy; equality and welfare; and politics and political science.
The module is divided into two sections over two terms. In the first term students will read, examine and discuss thinkers who make a contribution to the understanding of the notions of liberty and the individual (Hobbes, Locke, J S Mill, and Hayek). In the second term students will explore the thought of thinkers who are associated with the ideas of equality and community (Rousseau, Marx, the Fabians, and Rawls).
This module considers some of the difficulties involved in gaining knowledge about human societies. It focuses especially on economics and politics, disciplines which raise some of the largest questions about society – for example: Who gets what? Who rules whom? Can individual choices generate social change?
In this module students will not address such questions empirically, but instead step back to ask what sort of methods have been used to answer them, what sorts of modes of explanation or understanding are appropriate, and what assumptions are built into the ways economists and political scientists frame their enquiries. The aim of the module, then, is to critically examine methods and assumptions in both disciplines, in order to appreciate the scope and limits of their claims to knowledge.
This module considers philosophical issues that arise in both the natural and social sciences. With regard to the natural sciences, students will consider traditional accounts of scientific method and theory-testing, then examining philosophical challenges to the status of science as a rational form of enquiry. Particular consideration is given to four of the most important twentieth-century philosophers of science: Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos and Feyerabend.
With regard to the social sciences, the module will ask whether endeavours such as sociology, economics, anthropology and history should really be counted as sciences, and then consider some of the special issues that arise in the study of human society. For example, how are we to understand other societies (for instance, in anthropology)? What is the place for individualism versus collectivism in social explanation (for example, in sociology and history)? What is the scientific status of social models based on postulates of rational choice (for example, in economics and politics)?
No scientific background is assumed on this module.
This module aims to introduce students to a wide range of connected topics in the theory of knowledge, philosophy of mind and philosophy of language, drawing on both classical and contemporary writings. It examines issues such as: the nature and justification of our knowledge of the external world, and the relations between knowledge and belief; the mind-body (or mind-brain) problem; the place of mental life and bodily continuity in the identity of individuals; and the different theories of truth, meaning and the language-world relationship, including logical positivism.
This module begins by examining issues in the metaphysics of mind, before moving on to epistemological issues: How can we gain knowledge of our own mental states, or of other people’s? How should psychologists seek to investigate the mind?
For the most part, this module will be structured around contemporary texts.
This module aims to encourage students to think philosophically about religious issues. Using the work of both classical and contemporary philosophers and religious thinkers, it addresses some of the central philosophical questions raised by religious belief. In addition, students will be encouraged to think historically ad contextually, in order to understand the ways in which the role of philosophy in relation to religion in the west has changed over time.
The module introduces students to the work of some of the most important philosophers from Plato to Wittgenstein and the implications of their thought for religion. It will also address themes and issues which may vary from year to year but will be drawn from the following: the nature of theism; immortality; the problem of evil; religious experience; and the implications of postmodern thought for religious belief.
Optional
This module introduces central issues, problems and theories in philosophical aesthetics by critically examining specific topics in the philosophy of art, and by examining the theories of major figures who have contributed to the tradition of philosophical aesthetics. The module uses concrete examples from most of the arts, including painting, literature, film, and music, to illuminate theoretical debates and issues.
Topics and major aesthetic theorists covered may include the following (note that this list is not exhaustive and indicative only, not all topics will be covered) :
This module focuses on selected topics in Applied Philosophy. It involves the application of philosophical methods and knowledge to a range of problems that face institutions, professions, policymakers and regulatory bodies. Further questions arise about the nature and limits of Applied Philosophy.
Examples of topics that may be studied include:
Combinatorics is the core subject of discrete mathematics which refers to the study of mathematical structures that are discrete in nature rather than continuous (for example graphs, lattices, designs and codes). While combinatorics is a huge subject - with many important connections to other areas of modern mathematics - it is a very accessible one.
In this module you’ll be introduced to the fundamental topics of combinatorial enumeration (sophisticated counting methods), graph theory (graphs, networks and algorithms), and combinatorial design theory (Latin squares and block designs). You’ll also explore important practical applications of the results and methods.
This module aims to introduce the work of some key figures in 19th and 20th century continental philosophy, such as Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Hannah Arendt and Habermas. The approach taken is predominantly philosophical rather than historical, and will involve critically examining claims and arguments about such matters as the existence and nature of human freedom, the relationships between knowledge, truth, power and morality, alienation and human labour, and the possibility of mutual recognition and community. It is expected that students will engage with the original texts, formulate the central arguments to be found in them and assess their cogency.
The module begins by looking at Nietzsche’s Toward a Genealogy of Morality, before turning to Foucault, who adapts Nietzsche’s method of historical analysis in order to challenge assumptions about progress toward freedom and welfare in modern societies. Finally students will study Arendt and her political thought on totalitarian politics using a parallel method of historical analysis.
This module will examine philosophical issues that arise in connection with specific sciences, in particular biology and medicine, as opposed to the general philosophy of science.
The following topics will be covered:
This module considers questions relating to linear ordinary differential equations. While explicit solutions can only be found for special types of equations, some of the ideas of real analysis allow us to answer questions about the existence and uniqueness of solutions to more general equations as well as allowing us to study certain properties of these solutions.
This module provides an opportunity for students to choose a topic related to some aspect of Politics and International Relations, Philosophy and Religious Studies which particularly interests them, and to pursue it in depth. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. The intention is that students will develop their research skills and their ability to work at length under their own direction.
Students are expected to start thinking seriously about the 9,000-10,000 word dissertation towards the end of the Lent term of their second year, and to submit a provisional topic by the end of that term. Work should be well advanced by Christmas in the third year. The completed dissertation must be submitted by the end of the Lent term in the third year.
This module aims to allow students to pursue independent in-depth studies of a topic of their choice, within the scope of their scheme of study. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work.
Students will develop their employability and research skills, and their ability to work independently at length under their own direction with input from an academic supervisor.
The external collaboration will enhance students’ ability to reflect on the impact of academic work. One option is to incorporate work done through the Richardson Institute Internship Programme, but students may also discuss other forms of collaboration with their supervisor.
This module gives you a solid foundation in the basics of algebraic geometry. You’ll explore how curves can be described by algebraic equations, and learn how to understand and use abstract groups in dealing with geometrical objects (curves).
You’ll also gain an understanding of the notions and the main results pertaining to elliptic curves, and the way that algebra and geometry are linked via polynomial equations. Finally you’ll learn to perform algebraic computations with elliptic curves.
What moral obligations do we have towards future generations -to those yet to be born, and to people whose very existence (or non-existence) depends on how we act now?
This module explores this question by examining both a series of practical case studies and some of the main concepts and theories philosophers use when thinking about these issues.
Questions considered include, among a range of others:
This module is an introduction to smooth curves and surfaces in three-dimensional space. You’ll encounter various geometrical properties of these objects, such as length, area, torsion and curvature, and will have the opportunity to explore the meaning of these quantities. You’ll use a variety of examples to calculate their values, and will use them to apply techniques from calculus and linear algebra.
In this module you’ll develop the knowledge of groups that you’ve gained in second year. You’ll study ‘direct products’ which are used to construct new groups, while any finite group is shown to ‘factor’ into ‘simple’ pieces. You’ll also consider situations in which a group ‘acts’ on a set by permuting its elements; this powerful idea is used to identify the symmetries of the Platonic solids, and to help study the structure of groups themselves.
In this module you’ll examine the notion of a norm, which introduces a generalized notion of ‘distance’ to the purely algebraic setting of vector spaces. You’ll learn several quite natural ways to do this, both for vectors of any dimension and for functions. You’ll then focus on the more special notion of an inner product which generalizes angles at the same time as distances.
Once we’ve established these concepts, you’ll have the opportunity to study geometrical ideas like orthogonality, which can be seen to apply to much more general spaces than Euclidean spaces of three (or even n) dimensions, notably to infinite dimensional spaces of functions. For example, Hilbert space theory shows how Fourier series are really another case of expressing an element in terms of a basis, and how you can use orthogonality to find best approximations to a given function by functions of a prescribed type. Finally, you’ll look at some of the main results of linear algebra, which generalize very nicely to linear operators between Hilbert spaces.
This module focuses upon some key aspects of the history of 20th Century Philosophy.
The module begins by examining a revolution in philosophy at the very start of the 20th century with the origins of analytic philosophy. It then focuses on Wittgenstein’s radical philosophy (or anti-philosophy). Wittgenstein’s own philosophical development brings to the fore a deep schism, or tension, that has existed throughout the century’s philosophy, one which lays between those who hold that philosophy should align itself with natural science and mathematics, and those who reject this view. Students will examine whether philosophy should seek to emulate the natural sciences and illustrate the tension between scientistic and humanistic philosophy via mid-20th century debate about the nature of historical explanation.
The final lectures look at the distinction between analytic and continental philosophy in the 20th century, and upon the emergence of applied philosophy later in the century, asking whether philosophy can ever really be applied to real-life problems.
This module will introduce major themes and issues in Indian philosophy, focusing on the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical traditions. Beginning with philosophical sections in the Upanishads and the dialogues of the Buddha, the module will trace the development of Indian philosophy from the early to the classical periods. Various ethical, metaphysical, and epistemological concepts will be covered, such as: order and virtue (dharma), consequential action (karma), ultimate reality (Brahman), the nature of the self (atman), the highest good (moksha), and the means for attaining knowledge (pramana).
Throughout the module, students will look at the dialogical relationship between the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical traditions, particularly the shared practice of debate.
This module will introduce students to some advanced topics in the philosophy of mind. Through the debates examined students will be exposed to a number of methodological approaches in the philosophy of mind - including the use of empirical evidence in philosophy, conceptual analysis, ordinary language philosophy and thought experimentation.
Topics examined will vary from year to year but may include:
Introducing the Lebesgue integral for functions on the real line, this module features a classical approach to the construction of Lebesgue measure on the line and to the definition of the integral. The bounded convergence theorem is used to prove the monotone and dominated convergence theorems, and the results are illustrated in classical convergence problems including Fourier integrals.
Among the range of topics addressed on this module, students will become familiar with Lebesgue's definition of the integral, and the integral of a step function. There will be an introduction to subsets of the real line, including open sets and countable sets. Students will measure of an open set, and will discover measurable sets and null sets. Additionally, the module will focus on integral functions, along with Lebesgue's integral of a bounded measurable function, his bounded convergence theorem and the integral of an unbounded function. Dominated convergence theorem; monotone convergence theorem.
Other topics on the module will include applications of the convergence theorems and Wallis's product for P. Gaussian integral, along with some classical limit inversion results and the Fourier cosine integral. Students will develop an understanding of Dirichlet's comb function, Archimedes' axiom and Cantor's uncountability theorem, and will learn to prove the structure theorem for open sets. In addition, students will be able to prove covering lemmas for open sets, as well as understanding the statement of Heine—Bore theorem, as well as understanding the concept and proving basic properties of outer measure. As well as understanding inner measure. Finally, students will be expected to prove Lebesgue's theorem on countable additivity of measure.
This module examines the central debates about politics and justice between liberals and communitarians in contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy. Whereas liberals stress the importance of the individual and the need for them to pursue their own good in their own way, communitarians stress the embedded, interconnected, and social nature of the persons and politics.
The module asks three major questions. Firstly what it means to be engaged in political theory. Secondly, how the idea of justice should be understood, and finally, what implications does our view of justice have for our political arrangements?
The module is divided into two main sections. Concentrating first on the central figure of this debate: John Rawls and his seminal work A Theory of Justice. Then looking at how the debate has widened, initially looking at the libertarian criticisms raised by Nozick before moving on to consider the communitarian positions advanced by Sandel, Walzer, Okin, and Pateman; finally considering alternative forms of liberalism offered by Raz, Rorty, and Gray.
This module provides an introduction to formal logic together with an examination of various philosophical issues that arise out of it. The syllabus includes a study of the languages of propositional and quantificational logic, how to formalize key logical concepts within them, and how to prove elementary results using formal techniques.
Additional topics include identity, definite descriptions, modal logic and its philosophical significance, and some criticisms of classical logic.
This module gives an introduction to the key concepts and methods of metric space theory, a core topic for pure mathematics and its applications. Studying this module will give you a deeper understanding of continuity as well as a basic grounding in abstract topology.
You’ll also gain a firm foundation for further study of many topics including geometry, Lie groups and Hilbert space, and learn to apply your knowledge to areas including probability theory, differential equations, mathematical quantum theory and the theory of fractals.
This module, for the most part, concentrates on (Protestant) Christian thinkers from the German-speaking world. These thinkers have dominated the development of Christian thought in Europe and America until very recent times, when various 'political theologies' (Black, feminist and liberationist) started to erode their influence.
The point of departure on this module must be the Enlightenment and its definitive philosopher - Immanuel Kant. The module begins, therefore, by looking at the challenges facing early nineteenth century theologians, consider the responses of five major Christian thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and shall end by exploring the challenges facing Christian thought today.
This module will examine some of the major debates in religious and atheistic thought, looking in particular at the way in which these debates are framed by a specifically modern epistemological framework, and the ways in which religious thought and atheistic thought might be though to be mutually constitutive and mutually implicated rather than simply oppositional.
The aim of this module is to examine and evaluate some of the most central issues in Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment Western religious and atheistic philosophical debates. The module will begin by looking the philosophy of G W F Hegel and its implications for subsequent religious and atheistic thought. It will then proceed to consider the thought of the post-Hegelian masters of suspicion: Feuerbach, Marx, Freud and Nietzsche. After this, it will look at ways in which religious and atheistic thought have been brought together, as manifested in various forms of Christian atheism. Finally, it will consider postmodern critiques of modern atheism and the nature of the associated return of religion.
This module will address central issues in contemporary ethical (including meta-ethical), legal and political philosophy, and will allow a systematic critical exploration of the connections between ideas and arguments in each of the three areas of the subject.
Topics covered will include some of the following: modern theory of moral motivation, value theory, contractualism, the 'moral problem'; responsibility and criminal liability, the justification of punishment, the proper scope of the law; democratic theory, egalitarianism, justice, nationalism, multiculturalism, liberty and human rights.
Number theory is the study of the fascinating properties of the natural number system.
Many numbers are special in some sense, eg. primes or squares. Which numbers can be expressed as the sum of two squares? What is special about the number 561? Are there short cuts to factorizing large numbers or determining whether they are prime (this is important in cryptography)? The number of divisors of an integer fluctuates wildly, but is there a good estimation of the ‘average’ number of divisors in some sense?
Questions like these are easy to ask, and to describe to the non-specialist, but vary hugely in the amount of work needed to answer them. An extreme example is Fermat’s last theorem, which is very simple to state, but was proved by Taylor and Wiles 300 years after it was first stated. To answer questions about the natural numbers, we sometimes use rational, real and complex numbers, as well as any ideas from algebra and analysis that help, including groups, integration, infinite series and even infinite products.
This module introduces some of the central ideas and problems of the subject, and some of the methods used to solve them, while constantly illustrating the results with exercises and examples involving actual numbers.
Are psychopaths evil or sick? Should the NHS pay for the treatment of nicotine addiction? Is it right for shy people to take character-altering drugs?
Whether a condition is considered a disease often has social, economic and ethical implications. It tends to be taken for granted that what it is to be healthy can be identified and is desirable. Similarly, it is assumed that those who are diseased or disabled can be diagnosed and require help. In this module we question these assumptions via examining the key concepts of normality, disease, illness, mental illness, and disability.
This module considers key philosophical issues in the sciences of human societies and social structures, such as sociology, economics or history.
As well as considering whether these subjects should be considered as sciences the module looks at a number of philosophical issues, such as those arising in the understanding of other societies (for instance, in anthropology), individualism versus collectivism in social explanation (for example, in sociology and history), and the scientific status of social models based on postulates of rational choice (for example, in economics and politics).
This module examines central themes in the liberal branch of contemporary Anglo-American analytic political philosophy. The liberal positions on justice, liberty, equality, the state, power, rights and utility are all explored. The approach is philosophical rather than applied; focusing on the ideas of liberal politics: how individual liberty can be maximised while not harming others; how an individual philosophical position can guide political determinants of a society and places the developments of liberal ideas in their appropriate historical contexts.
The module also examines the connection between the ideas of liberalism and the idea of democracy to explore the philosophical tensions between the two and how these might be resolved.
The module will include among other topics: questions about justice: analytic philosophy and liberalism; visions of the state: liberalism, republicanism, socialism; liberty and individuality; liberalism and democracy; negative and positive liberty; equality; utility and rights; and toleration and multiculturalism: responses to diversity.
This module will look at Indian source texts on politics and ethics. In particular, it will be looking at sources that explore the concept of dharma, a term that incorporates issues of justice, religion, ethics, duty, and law. The module will examine the sources of dharma both in their own historical and cultural contexts, as well as in the context of contemporary debates in political theory and ethics. The texts examined will include: the inscriptions of Ashoka, the Buddhist Nikayas, the Arthashastra, the Law Codes of Manu, the Mahabharata, and the Kamasutra. These sources are examined in connection with modern political figures, such as Gandhi and Savarkar, as well as in connection with recent debates in India about secularism, democracy and pluralism.
This module is designed to allow students to gain experience of educational environments, to develop transferable skills, and to reflect on the role and communication of their own discipline. The module is organised and delivered collaboratively between Lancaster University Students’ Union LUSU Involve, the school/college where the placement is based, and the department.
The module will give students experience of classroom observation and experience, teacher assistance, as well as teaching small groups (under supervision). In particular, the module will not only give students the opportunity to observe and experience teaching and learners for themselves, it will also require them to reflect on how their own subject area (Religion, Politics and International Relations, or Philosophy) is experienced by learners, delivered in other parts of the educational sector, and applied in a classroom setting. Students will also be asked to reflect on how teaching and learning at this earlier level combines with what is taught and promoted at the level of Higher education (as experienced in the University).
This module is ideal for students who want to develop an analytical and axiomatic approach to the theory of probabilities.
First you’ll examine the notion of a probability space through simple examples featuring both discrete and continuous sample spaces. You’ll then use random variables and the expectation to develop a probability calculus, which you can apply to achieve laws of large numbers for sums of independent random variables.
You’ll also use the characteristic function to study the distributions of sums of independent variables, which have applications to random walks and to statistical physics.
Students will study the thought of two seminal thinkers in political theory. This module provides an opportunity to explore texts slowly, methodically and in depth, allowing students to link that thought to wider literature that has developed as a response to the thinkers' ideas, and see how those ideas link-up into a wider systematic and philosophic whole.
Topics include among many others:
This module covers the basics of ordinary representation theory. You’ll learn the concepts of R-module and of group representations, the main results pertaining to group representations, and will handle basic applications in the study of finite groups. You’ll also learn to perform computations with representations and morphisms in a selection of finite groups.
This module furthers your knowledge of commutative rings from your second year study.
You’ll be introduced to two new classes of integral domains called Euclidean domains, where you have a counterpart of the division algorithm, and unique factorization domains, in which an analogue of the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic holds.
You’ll also explore how well-known concepts from the integers such as the highest common factor, the Euclidean algorithm, and factorization of polynomials, carry over to this new setting.
This module will examine philosophical accounts of the imagination. It will look at theories of the nature of the imagination and its connections to other mental states, such as attention, emotion, memory, beliefs, intentions, and desires.
In addition, a range of topics focusing on the role of imagining in a number of different domains will also be explored, including moral judgement, practical reasoning, perception, pictorial experience, and modal thought.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Your degree will allow you to develop a host of analytical, logical-thinking and problem-solving skills that will serve you well in any career field. Our Philosophy graduates have gone on to a great variety of careers, using their skills in jobs requiring analysis, assessment and evaluation of arguments. Recent Philosophy graduates have been employed in law, computing consultancy, finance and government positions.
Career paths include roles in computing, accounting, information technology and teaching. Your transferable skills will open doors into management, consulting, journalism and the Civil Service.
You may also choose to continue your education and gain a postgraduate qualification in Philosophy or Mathematics from Lancaster University or another institution.
Our annual tuition fee is set for a 12-month session, starting in the October of your year of study.
Our Undergraduate Tuition Fees for 2017/18 are:
UK/EU | Overseas |
---|---|
£9,250 | £16,620 |
Tuition fees for programmes are set annually for all new and continuing students. If you are studying on a course of more than one yearâ€™s duration, the fees for subsequent years of your programme are likely to increase each year. Such increases are normally calculated based on increases in the costs incurred by the institution, or in relation to UK government regulations which set the maximum fee for certain categories of student.
For the majority of undergraduate students, the most recent annual increase was 2.8%. Any change in fee rates will be communicated to students and applicants prior to the start of the academic year in question, and normally at least eight months prior to enrolment. Further details can be found in our Terms and Conditions.
Lancaster University's priority is to support every student to make the most of their life and education and we have committed £3.7m in scholarships and bursaries. 400 students each year will be entitled to bursaries or scholarships to help them with the cost of fees and/or living expenses. Our financial support depends on your circumstances and how well you do in your A levels (or equivalent academic qualifications) before starting study with us.
Scholarships recognising academic talent:
Bursaries for life, living and learning
Any financial support that you receive from Lancaster University will be in addition to government support that might be available to you (eg fee loans) and will not affect your entitlement to these.
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
Lancaster’s joint Mathematics and Philosophy degree is delivered by internationally renowned academics in our Department of Mathematics and Statistics – ranked ninth in the UK by The Times Good University Guide, 2016 - and our Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion.
Both Mathematics and Philosophy seek to find the truth behind the underlying workings and meanings of the universe. Over the course of your degree, you’ll learn about the fundamentals of pure mathematics as well as the formulation of proofs and concepts. Through your studies in Philosophy, you’ll look into the nature of values and the theoretical basis of our social organisation and social relationships.
You’ll begin your degree with courses including Numbers and Relations and an Introduction to Philosophy. In your second and final years, you’ll study subjects such as Real Analysis, Linear Algebra, and Philosophy of the Mind. You’ll also be able to tailor your studies to your own interests by choosing from various options.
Grade Requirements
A Level AAB including A in A level Mathematics or Further Mathematics OR ABB including AB in A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics
International Baccalaureate 35 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects including 6 in Higher Level Mathematics
BTEC Considered alongside A level Mathematics (A) and Further Mathematics (A)
Other Qualifications We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international qualifications webpage or contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office directly.
Essential Subjects
Advanced/Higher level Mathematics or Further Mathematics are required for entry.
IELTS 6.5 (with at least 5.5 in each component)
Further Information
General Studies Offers normally include General Studies if it is taken as a fourth A level.
Combination of Qualifications Applications from students with a combination of qualifications are welcomed, for further advice please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office directly.
STEP Paper or the Test of Mathematics for University Admission Please note it is not a compulsory entry requirement to take these tests, but for applicants who are taking any of the papers alongside Mathematics or Further Mathematics we may be able to make you an alternative, more favourable, offer. Full details can be found on the Mathematics and Statistics Department webpage.
Taking a gap year Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
Contact Undergraduate Admissions Office + 44 1524 592028 or via ugadmissions@lancaster.ac.uk
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
Core
This module provides the student with an understanding of functions, limits, and series, and knowledge of the basic techniques of differentiation and integration. We introduce examples of functions and their graphs, and techniques for building new functions from old. We then consider the notion of a limit and introduce the main tools of calculus and Taylor Series. Students will also learn how to add, multiply and divide polynomials, and be introduced to rational functions and their partial fractions.
The exponential function is defined by means of a power series which is subsequently extended to the complex exponential function of an imaginary variable, so that students understand the connection between analysis, trigonometry and geometry. The trigonometric and hyperbolic functions are introduced in parallel with analogous power series so that students understand the role of functional identities. Such functional identities are later used to simplify integrals and to parametrise geometrical curves.
Students are introduced to the basic ideas and notations involved in describing sets and their functions. The module helps students to formalise the idea of the size of a set and what it means to be finite, countably infinite or uncountably finite. For finite sets, we can say that one is bigger than another if it contains more elements. What about infinite sets? Are some infinite sets bigger than others? We develop the tools to answer these questions and other counting problems, such as those involving recurrence relations, e.g. the Fibonacci numbers.
Rather than counting objects, we might be interested in connections between them, leading to the study of graphs and networks – collections of nodes joined by edges. There are many applications of this theory in designing or understanding properties of systems, such as the infrastructure powering the internet, social networks, the London Underground and the global ecosystem.
This module extends the theory of calculus from functions of a single real variable to functions of two real variables. Students will learn more about the notions of differentiation and integration and how they extend from functions defined on a line to functions defined on the plane. We see how partial derivatives help us to understand surfaces, while repeated integrals enable us to calculate volumes. Students will also investigate complex polynomials and use De Moivre’s theorem to calculate complex roots.
In mathematical models, it is common to use functions of several variables. For example, the speed of an airliner can depend upon the air pressure, temperature and wind direction. To study functions of several variables, we introduce rates of change with respect to several quantities. We learn how to find maxima and minima. Applications include the method of least squares.
A vast number of naturally occurring phenomena are modelled by differential equations, for which solutions are required to explain the behaviour of these phenomena. This module provides the student with techniques for solving a number of standard types of differential equation.
Students will apply these methods to naturally occurring phenomena, such as bacterial-population growth, tumour expansion and oscillating systems subject to forcing and friction, in order to explain their behaviour and seek solutions. The method of solution by Laplace transforms is also introduced.
This module introduces students to some of the central problems of philosophy and the theories produced in response to them. It also introduces some of the subject's technical concepts and vocabulary, and some of its techniques of reasoning and analysis. Reading includes both classical and contemporary material.
Philosophy has a significant role to play, both in acquainting students with some of the ideas which have helped shape Western culture, and in the critical understanding of ideas and methods in many other disciplines. The level of the module does not presuppose previous knowledge of philosophy. If students have studied philosophy before, the module will enable them to deepen and broaden their understanding of the subject and to improve their philosophical skills. The module aims not only to inform students with what philosophers have said but also to encourage them to engage with the issues. Topics will be drawn from the range of philosophical problems, approaches, and canonical figures.
To enable students to achieve a solid understanding of the broad role that statistical thinking plays in addressing scientific problems, the module begins with a brief overview of statistics in science and society and then moves on to the selection of appropriate probability models to describe systematic and random variations of discrete and continuous real data sets. Students will learn to implement statistical techniques and to draw clear and informative conclusions.
The module will be supported by the statistical software package ‘R’, which forms the basis of weekly lab sessions. Students will develop a strategic understanding of statistics and the use of associated software, and this underpins the skills needed for all subsequent statistical modules of the degree.
This module introduces the student to logic and mathematical proofs, with emphasis placed on proving general theorems than on performing calculations. This is because a result which can be applied to many different cases is clearly more powerful than a calculation that deals only with a single specific case.
We take a look at the language and structure of mathematical proofs in general, emphasising how logic can be used to express mathematical arguments in a concise and rigorous manner. These ideas are then applied to the study of number theory, establishing several fundamental results such as Bezout’s Theorem on highest common factors and the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic on prime factorisations.
The concept of congruence of integers is introduced to students and they study the idea that a highest common factor can be generalised from the integers to polynomials.
Introducing the theory of matrices together with some basic applications, students will learn essential techniques such as arithmetic rules, row operations and computation of determinants by expansion about a row or a column.
The second part of the module covers a notable range of applications of matrices, such as solving systems of simultaneous linear equations, linear transformations, characteristic equation and eigenvectors and eigenvalues.
Probability theory is the study of chance phenomena, the concepts of which are fundamental to the study of statistics. This module will introduce students to some simple combinatorics, set theory and the axioms of probability.
Students will become aware of the different probability models used to characterise the outcomes of experiments that involve a chance or random component. The module covers ideas associated with the axioms of probability, conditional probability, independence, discrete random variables and their distributions, expectation and probability models.
Core
This module starts by considering the limits of sequences and convergence of series. You'll then investigate the notion of a limit, and extend your knowledge to functions and the analysis of differentiation, including proper proofs of techniques learned at A-level and in the first year.
You'll spend time exploring the Intermediate Value Theorem, and will have the opportunity to prove it from the definitions, and discover its surprisingly wide range of applications. Finally, you'll turn to the Mean Value Theorem. Earlier results ensure that its proof is now easy, and you'll be able to show that it, too, has many applications of widely differing kinds.
This module will give you the opportunity to study vector spaces, together with their structure-preserving maps and their relationship to matrices.
You’ll consider the effect of changing bases on the matrix representing one of these maps, and will examine how to choose bases so that this matrix is as simple as possible. Part of your study will also involve looking at the concepts of length and angle with regard to vector spaces.
In this module you’ll take a thorough look at the limits of sequences and convergence of series. You’ll learn to extend the notion of a limit to functions, leading to the analysis of differentiation, including proper proofs of techniques learned at A-level.
You’ll spend time studying the Intermediate Value Theorem and the Mean Value Theorem, and will discover that they have many applications of widely differing kinds. The next topic is new: sequences and series of functions (rather than just numbers), which again has many applications and is central to more advanced analysis.
Next we put the notion of integration under the microscope. Once it’s properly defined (via limits), you’ll learn how to get from this definition to the familiar technique of evaluating integrals by reverse differentiation. You’ll also explore some applications of integration that are quite different from the ones in A-level, such as estimations of discrete sums of series.
Further possible topics include Stirling's Formula, infinite products and Fourier series.
Optional
Complex Analysis has its origins in differential calculus and the study of polynomial equations.
In this module you’ll consider the differential calculus of functions of a single complex variable and study power series and mappings by complex functions. You’ll use integral calculus of complex functions to find elegant and important results, including the fundamental theorem of algebra, and you’ll also use classical theorems to evaluate real integrals.
The module ends with basic discussion of harmonic functions, which play a significant role in physics.
This module explores the emergence and construction of ethics within the context of two world religions: Christianity and Islam. It examines the ways in which religious attitudes to ethical concern and practice are influenced by traditional, textual and cultural factors.
Some of the ethical concerns to be covered throughout the module are: politics and economics; justice and war; sex and sexual practice; and rights and law. Finally, the module will encourage students to explore some of these areas cross-culturally through the consideration of questions of difference and otherness.
The aim of this module is to provide students with a good, broad introduction to some of the key themes in epistemology -the theory of knowledge.
It begins with a core question; What is knowledge? This leads on to questions about how knowledge relates to other things, like belief, and truth. Throughout the term students will see that it is much harder to answer the core question than one might initially think, raising a question of why it is so hard to give a clear and general, account of what knowledge is. Students will also look at sources of knowledge - especially, perception, self-knowledge and testimony. The module also explores some of the relationships between epistemology and ethics, ending with the question of whether we ever ought to refrain from seeking knowledge.
By the end of this module, students will be able to understand and discuss critically the central problems and theories of epistemology, and explain how epistemology relates to other areas of philosophy.
This module aims to provide students with an understanding of some historical and contemporary approaches to the subject of ethics. It addresses central issues by engaging with classical texts in the history of the subject, such as Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals and John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism.
The module will also explore selected topics in moral philosophy, such as the nature, strength and weakness of consequentialism, deontology, and virtue theory. In addition to this, students will study topics in meta-ethics, such as the ‘moral problem’, non-cognitivist realism, and quasi-realism.
Other topics covered include topics in applied and practical ethics, such as issues of life and death in biomedical practice, the ethics of war, and the ethics of personal life; as well as the nature of moral motivation and moral psychology.
This module builds on the binary operations studies in previous modules, such as addition or multiplication of numbers and composition of functions. Here you’ll select a small number of properties which these and other examples have in common, and use them to define a group.
You’ll also consider the elementary properties of groups. It turns out that several surprisingly elegant results can be proved fairly simply! By looking at maps between groups which 'preserve structure' you’ll discover a way of formalizing (and extending) the natural concept of what it means for two groups to be 'the same'.
Ring theory provides a framework for studying sets with two binary operations: addition and multiplication. This gives us a way to abstractly model various number systems, proving results that can be applied in many different situations, such as number theory and geometry. Familiar examples of rings include the integers, the integers modulation, the rational numbers, matrices and polynomials, but you’ll meet several less familiar examples too.
Western philosophy has a long and rich history, and many of the questions occupying present-day philosophers have been around for hundreds or even thousands of years.
The exact structure of this module may vary from year to year, but core themes will normally include:
Students will study these problems, amongst others, by close consideration of a selection of texts from the history of Western philosophy. This may include selections from the ancient (classical), medieval, early modern (17th/18th centuries) period, and the 19th century. Thinkers who may be considered include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Scotus, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche.
This module is designed to improve students' knowledge and understanding of some key issues in metaphysics as determined by the syllabus. The module will focus primarily on some issues concerning space and time, the nature of physical objects and persons, and some key philosophical distinctions. Topics will include:
Studying this module should enable students to see connections between various philosophical issues that should be of value to them with regard to other philosophy modules that they are studying.
The aim of this module is to provide a broad grounding in some important aspects of the discipline of politics that are conceived of as both an attempt to understand the nature of politics and to assess the worth of various political arrangements. It involves consideration of notions such as politics, citizenship, democracy, government, state, welfare, individualism, utilitarianism, conservatism, socialism and, social democracy, together with an examination of the various ways in which political studies have been understood as a disciplined investigation of things political. The module covers four broad topics: freedom, markets and the state; citizenship, nationalism and democracy; equality and welfare; and politics and political science.
The module is divided into two sections over two terms. In the first term students will read, examine and discuss thinkers who make a contribution to the understanding of the notions of liberty and the individual (Hobbes, Locke, J S Mill, and Hayek). In the second term students will explore the thought of thinkers who are associated with the ideas of equality and community (Rousseau, Marx, the Fabians, and Rawls).
This module considers some of the difficulties involved in gaining knowledge about human societies. It focuses especially on economics and politics, disciplines which raise some of the largest questions about society – for example: Who gets what? Who rules whom? Can individual choices generate social change?
In this module students will not address such questions empirically, but instead step back to ask what sort of methods have been used to answer them, what sorts of modes of explanation or understanding are appropriate, and what assumptions are built into the ways economists and political scientists frame their enquiries. The aim of the module, then, is to critically examine methods and assumptions in both disciplines, in order to appreciate the scope and limits of their claims to knowledge.
This module considers philosophical issues that arise in both the natural and social sciences. With regard to the natural sciences, students will consider traditional accounts of scientific method and theory-testing, then examining philosophical challenges to the status of science as a rational form of enquiry. Particular consideration is given to four of the most important twentieth-century philosophers of science: Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos and Feyerabend.
With regard to the social sciences, the module will ask whether endeavours such as sociology, economics, anthropology and history should really be counted as sciences, and then consider some of the special issues that arise in the study of human society. For example, how are we to understand other societies (for instance, in anthropology)? What is the place for individualism versus collectivism in social explanation (for example, in sociology and history)? What is the scientific status of social models based on postulates of rational choice (for example, in economics and politics)?
No scientific background is assumed on this module.
This module aims to introduce students to a wide range of connected topics in the theory of knowledge, philosophy of mind and philosophy of language, drawing on both classical and contemporary writings. It examines issues such as: the nature and justification of our knowledge of the external world, and the relations between knowledge and belief; the mind-body (or mind-brain) problem; the place of mental life and bodily continuity in the identity of individuals; and the different theories of truth, meaning and the language-world relationship, including logical positivism.
This module begins by examining issues in the metaphysics of mind, before moving on to epistemological issues: How can we gain knowledge of our own mental states, or of other people’s? How should psychologists seek to investigate the mind?
For the most part, this module will be structured around contemporary texts.
This module aims to encourage students to think philosophically about religious issues. Using the work of both classical and contemporary philosophers and religious thinkers, it addresses some of the central philosophical questions raised by religious belief. In addition, students will be encouraged to think historically ad contextually, in order to understand the ways in which the role of philosophy in relation to religion in the west has changed over time.
The module introduces students to the work of some of the most important philosophers from Plato to Wittgenstein and the implications of their thought for religion. It will also address themes and issues which may vary from year to year but will be drawn from the following: the nature of theism; immortality; the problem of evil; religious experience; and the implications of postmodern thought for religious belief.
Optional
This module introduces central issues, problems and theories in philosophical aesthetics by critically examining specific topics in the philosophy of art, and by examining the theories of major figures who have contributed to the tradition of philosophical aesthetics. The module uses concrete examples from most of the arts, including painting, literature, film, and music, to illuminate theoretical debates and issues.
Topics and major aesthetic theorists covered may include the following (note that this list is not exhaustive and indicative only, not all topics will be covered) :
This module focuses on selected topics in Applied Philosophy. It involves the application of philosophical methods and knowledge to a range of problems that face institutions, professions, policymakers and regulatory bodies. Further questions arise about the nature and limits of Applied Philosophy.
Examples of topics that may be studied include:
Combinatorics is the core subject of discrete mathematics which refers to the study of mathematical structures that are discrete in nature rather than continuous (for example graphs, lattices, designs and codes). While combinatorics is a huge subject - with many important connections to other areas of modern mathematics - it is a very accessible one.
In this module you’ll be introduced to the fundamental topics of combinatorial enumeration (sophisticated counting methods), graph theory (graphs, networks and algorithms), and combinatorial design theory (Latin squares and block designs). You’ll also explore important practical applications of the results and methods.
This module aims to introduce the work of some key figures in 19th and 20th century continental philosophy, such as Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Hannah Arendt and Habermas. The approach taken is predominantly philosophical rather than historical, and will involve critically examining claims and arguments about such matters as the existence and nature of human freedom, the relationships between knowledge, truth, power and morality, alienation and human labour, and the possibility of mutual recognition and community. It is expected that students will engage with the original texts, formulate the central arguments to be found in them and assess their cogency.
The module begins by looking at Nietzsche’s Toward a Genealogy of Morality, before turning to Foucault, who adapts Nietzsche’s method of historical analysis in order to challenge assumptions about progress toward freedom and welfare in modern societies. Finally students will study Arendt and her political thought on totalitarian politics using a parallel method of historical analysis.
This module will examine philosophical issues that arise in connection with specific sciences, in particular biology and medicine, as opposed to the general philosophy of science.
The following topics will be covered:
This module considers questions relating to linear ordinary differential equations. While explicit solutions can only be found for special types of equations, some of the ideas of real analysis allow us to answer questions about the existence and uniqueness of solutions to more general equations as well as allowing us to study certain properties of these solutions.
This module provides an opportunity for students to choose a topic related to some aspect of Politics and International Relations, Philosophy and Religious Studies which particularly interests them, and to pursue it in depth. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. The intention is that students will develop their research skills and their ability to work at length under their own direction.
Students are expected to start thinking seriously about the 9,000-10,000 word dissertation towards the end of the Lent term of their second year, and to submit a provisional topic by the end of that term. Work should be well advanced by Christmas in the third year. The completed dissertation must be submitted by the end of the Lent term in the third year.
This module aims to allow students to pursue independent in-depth studies of a topic of their choice, within the scope of their scheme of study. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work.
Students will develop their employability and research skills, and their ability to work independently at length under their own direction with input from an academic supervisor.
The external collaboration will enhance students’ ability to reflect on the impact of academic work. One option is to incorporate work done through the Richardson Institute Internship Programme, but students may also discuss other forms of collaboration with their supervisor.
This module gives you a solid foundation in the basics of algebraic geometry. You’ll explore how curves can be described by algebraic equations, and learn how to understand and use abstract groups in dealing with geometrical objects (curves).
You’ll also gain an understanding of the notions and the main results pertaining to elliptic curves, and the way that algebra and geometry are linked via polynomial equations. Finally you’ll learn to perform algebraic computations with elliptic curves.
What moral obligations do we have towards future generations -to those yet to be born, and to people whose very existence (or non-existence) depends on how we act now?
This module explores this question by examining both a series of practical case studies and some of the main concepts and theories philosophers use when thinking about these issues.
Questions considered include, among a range of others:
This module is an introduction to smooth curves and surfaces in three-dimensional space. You’ll encounter various geometrical properties of these objects, such as length, area, torsion and curvature, and will have the opportunity to explore the meaning of these quantities. You’ll use a variety of examples to calculate their values, and will use them to apply techniques from calculus and linear algebra.
In this module you’ll develop the knowledge of groups that you’ve gained in second year. You’ll study ‘direct products’ which are used to construct new groups, while any finite group is shown to ‘factor’ into ‘simple’ pieces. You’ll also consider situations in which a group ‘acts’ on a set by permuting its elements; this powerful idea is used to identify the symmetries of the Platonic solids, and to help study the structure of groups themselves.
In this module you’ll examine the notion of a norm, which introduces a generalized notion of ‘distance’ to the purely algebraic setting of vector spaces. You’ll learn several quite natural ways to do this, both for vectors of any dimension and for functions. You’ll then focus on the more special notion of an inner product which generalizes angles at the same time as distances.
Once we’ve established these concepts, you’ll have the opportunity to study geometrical ideas like orthogonality, which can be seen to apply to much more general spaces than Euclidean spaces of three (or even n) dimensions, notably to infinite dimensional spaces of functions. For example, Hilbert space theory shows how Fourier series are really another case of expressing an element in terms of a basis, and how you can use orthogonality to find best approximations to a given function by functions of a prescribed type. Finally, you’ll look at some of the main results of linear algebra, which generalize very nicely to linear operators between Hilbert spaces.
This module focuses upon some key aspects of the history of 20th Century Philosophy.
The module begins by examining a revolution in philosophy at the very start of the 20th century with the origins of analytic philosophy. It then focuses on Wittgenstein’s radical philosophy (or anti-philosophy). Wittgenstein’s own philosophical development brings to the fore a deep schism, or tension, that has existed throughout the century’s philosophy, one which lays between those who hold that philosophy should align itself with natural science and mathematics, and those who reject this view. Students will examine whether philosophy should seek to emulate the natural sciences and illustrate the tension between scientistic and humanistic philosophy via mid-20th century debate about the nature of historical explanation.
The final lectures look at the distinction between analytic and continental philosophy in the 20th century, and upon the emergence of applied philosophy later in the century, asking whether philosophy can ever really be applied to real-life problems.
This module will introduce major themes and issues in Indian philosophy, focusing on the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical traditions. Beginning with philosophical sections in the Upanishads and the dialogues of the Buddha, the module will trace the development of Indian philosophy from the early to the classical periods. Various ethical, metaphysical, and epistemological concepts will be covered, such as: order and virtue (dharma), consequential action (karma), ultimate reality (Brahman), the nature of the self (atman), the highest good (moksha), and the means for attaining knowledge (pramana).
Throughout the module, students will look at the dialogical relationship between the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical traditions, particularly the shared practice of debate.
This module will introduce students to some advanced topics in the philosophy of mind. Through the debates examined students will be exposed to a number of methodological approaches in the philosophy of mind - including the use of empirical evidence in philosophy, conceptual analysis, ordinary language philosophy and thought experimentation.
Topics examined will vary from year to year but may include:
Introducing the Lebesgue integral for functions on the real line, this module features a classical approach to the construction of Lebesgue measure on the line and to the definition of the integral. The bounded convergence theorem is used to prove the monotone and dominated convergence theorems, and the results are illustrated in classical convergence problems including Fourier integrals.
Among the range of topics addressed on this module, students will become familiar with Lebesgue's definition of the integral, and the integral of a step function. There will be an introduction to subsets of the real line, including open sets and countable sets. Students will measure of an open set, and will discover measurable sets and null sets. Additionally, the module will focus on integral functions, along with Lebesgue's integral of a bounded measurable function, his bounded convergence theorem and the integral of an unbounded function. Dominated convergence theorem; monotone convergence theorem.
Other topics on the module will include applications of the convergence theorems and Wallis's product for P. Gaussian integral, along with some classical limit inversion results and the Fourier cosine integral. Students will develop an understanding of Dirichlet's comb function, Archimedes' axiom and Cantor's uncountability theorem, and will learn to prove the structure theorem for open sets. In addition, students will be able to prove covering lemmas for open sets, as well as understanding the statement of Heine—Bore theorem, as well as understanding the concept and proving basic properties of outer measure. As well as understanding inner measure. Finally, students will be expected to prove Lebesgue's theorem on countable additivity of measure.
This module examines the central debates about politics and justice between liberals and communitarians in contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy. Whereas liberals stress the importance of the individual and the need for them to pursue their own good in their own way, communitarians stress the embedded, interconnected, and social nature of the persons and politics.
The module asks three major questions. Firstly what it means to be engaged in political theory. Secondly, how the idea of justice should be understood, and finally, what implications does our view of justice have for our political arrangements?
The module is divided into two main sections. Concentrating first on the central figure of this debate: John Rawls and his seminal work A Theory of Justice. Then looking at how the debate has widened, initially looking at the libertarian criticisms raised by Nozick before moving on to consider the communitarian positions advanced by Sandel, Walzer, Okin, and Pateman; finally considering alternative forms of liberalism offered by Raz, Rorty, and Gray.
This module provides an introduction to formal logic together with an examination of various philosophical issues that arise out of it. The syllabus includes a study of the languages of propositional and quantificational logic, how to formalize key logical concepts within them, and how to prove elementary results using formal techniques.
Additional topics include identity, definite descriptions, modal logic and its philosophical significance, and some criticisms of classical logic.
This module gives an introduction to the key concepts and methods of metric space theory, a core topic for pure mathematics and its applications. Studying this module will give you a deeper understanding of continuity as well as a basic grounding in abstract topology.
You’ll also gain a firm foundation for further study of many topics including geometry, Lie groups and Hilbert space, and learn to apply your knowledge to areas including probability theory, differential equations, mathematical quantum theory and the theory of fractals.
This module, for the most part, concentrates on (Protestant) Christian thinkers from the German-speaking world. These thinkers have dominated the development of Christian thought in Europe and America until very recent times, when various 'political theologies' (Black, feminist and liberationist) started to erode their influence.
The point of departure on this module must be the Enlightenment and its definitive philosopher - Immanuel Kant. The module begins, therefore, by looking at the challenges facing early nineteenth century theologians, consider the responses of five major Christian thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and shall end by exploring the challenges facing Christian thought today.
This module will examine some of the major debates in religious and atheistic thought, looking in particular at the way in which these debates are framed by a specifically modern epistemological framework, and the ways in which religious thought and atheistic thought might be though to be mutually constitutive and mutually implicated rather than simply oppositional.
The aim of this module is to examine and evaluate some of the most central issues in Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment Western religious and atheistic philosophical debates. The module will begin by looking the philosophy of G W F Hegel and its implications for subsequent religious and atheistic thought. It will then proceed to consider the thought of the post-Hegelian masters of suspicion: Feuerbach, Marx, Freud and Nietzsche. After this, it will look at ways in which religious and atheistic thought have been brought together, as manifested in various forms of Christian atheism. Finally, it will consider postmodern critiques of modern atheism and the nature of the associated return of religion.
This module will address central issues in contemporary ethical (including meta-ethical), legal and political philosophy, and will allow a systematic critical exploration of the connections between ideas and arguments in each of the three areas of the subject.
Topics covered will include some of the following: modern theory of moral motivation, value theory, contractualism, the 'moral problem'; responsibility and criminal liability, the justification of punishment, the proper scope of the law; democratic theory, egalitarianism, justice, nationalism, multiculturalism, liberty and human rights.
Number theory is the study of the fascinating properties of the natural number system.
Many numbers are special in some sense, eg. primes or squares. Which numbers can be expressed as the sum of two squares? What is special about the number 561? Are there short cuts to factorizing large numbers or determining whether they are prime (this is important in cryptography)? The number of divisors of an integer fluctuates wildly, but is there a good estimation of the ‘average’ number of divisors in some sense?
Questions like these are easy to ask, and to describe to the non-specialist, but vary hugely in the amount of work needed to answer them. An extreme example is Fermat’s last theorem, which is very simple to state, but was proved by Taylor and Wiles 300 years after it was first stated. To answer questions about the natural numbers, we sometimes use rational, real and complex numbers, as well as any ideas from algebra and analysis that help, including groups, integration, infinite series and even infinite products.
This module introduces some of the central ideas and problems of the subject, and some of the methods used to solve them, while constantly illustrating the results with exercises and examples involving actual numbers.
Are psychopaths evil or sick? Should the NHS pay for the treatment of nicotine addiction? Is it right for shy people to take character-altering drugs?
Whether a condition is considered a disease often has social, economic and ethical implications. It tends to be taken for granted that what it is to be healthy can be identified and is desirable. Similarly, it is assumed that those who are diseased or disabled can be diagnosed and require help. In this module we question these assumptions via examining the key concepts of normality, disease, illness, mental illness, and disability.
This module considers key philosophical issues in the sciences of human societies and social structures, such as sociology, economics or history.
As well as considering whether these subjects should be considered as sciences the module looks at a number of philosophical issues, such as those arising in the understanding of other societies (for instance, in anthropology), individualism versus collectivism in social explanation (for example, in sociology and history), and the scientific status of social models based on postulates of rational choice (for example, in economics and politics).
This module examines central themes in the liberal branch of contemporary Anglo-American analytic political philosophy. The liberal positions on justice, liberty, equality, the state, power, rights and utility are all explored. The approach is philosophical rather than applied; focusing on the ideas of liberal politics: how individual liberty can be maximised while not harming others; how an individual philosophical position can guide political determinants of a society and places the developments of liberal ideas in their appropriate historical contexts.
The module also examines the connection between the ideas of liberalism and the idea of democracy to explore the philosophical tensions between the two and how these might be resolved.
The module will include among other topics: questions about justice: analytic philosophy and liberalism; visions of the state: liberalism, republicanism, socialism; liberty and individuality; liberalism and democracy; negative and positive liberty; equality; utility and rights; and toleration and multiculturalism: responses to diversity.
This module will look at Indian source texts on politics and ethics. In particular, it will be looking at sources that explore the concept of dharma, a term that incorporates issues of justice, religion, ethics, duty, and law. The module will examine the sources of dharma both in their own historical and cultural contexts, as well as in the context of contemporary debates in political theory and ethics. The texts examined will include: the inscriptions of Ashoka, the Buddhist Nikayas, the Arthashastra, the Law Codes of Manu, the Mahabharata, and the Kamasutra. These sources are examined in connection with modern political figures, such as Gandhi and Savarkar, as well as in connection with recent debates in India about secularism, democracy and pluralism.
This module is designed to allow students to gain experience of educational environments, to develop transferable skills, and to reflect on the role and communication of their own discipline. The module is organised and delivered collaboratively between Lancaster University Students’ Union LUSU Involve, the school/college where the placement is based, and the department.
The module will give students experience of classroom observation and experience, teacher assistance, as well as teaching small groups (under supervision). In particular, the module will not only give students the opportunity to observe and experience teaching and learners for themselves, it will also require them to reflect on how their own subject area (Religion, Politics and International Relations, or Philosophy) is experienced by learners, delivered in other parts of the educational sector, and applied in a classroom setting. Students will also be asked to reflect on how teaching and learning at this earlier level combines with what is taught and promoted at the level of Higher education (as experienced in the University).
This module is ideal for students who want to develop an analytical and axiomatic approach to the theory of probabilities.
First you’ll examine the notion of a probability space through simple examples featuring both discrete and continuous sample spaces. You’ll then use random variables and the expectation to develop a probability calculus, which you can apply to achieve laws of large numbers for sums of independent random variables.
You’ll also use the characteristic function to study the distributions of sums of independent variables, which have applications to random walks and to statistical physics.
Students will study the thought of two seminal thinkers in political theory. This module provides an opportunity to explore texts slowly, methodically and in depth, allowing students to link that thought to wider literature that has developed as a response to the thinkers' ideas, and see how those ideas link-up into a wider systematic and philosophic whole.
Topics include among many others:
This module covers the basics of ordinary representation theory. You’ll learn the concepts of R-module and of group representations, the main results pertaining to group representations, and will handle basic applications in the study of finite groups. You’ll also learn to perform computations with representations and morphisms in a selection of finite groups.
This module furthers your knowledge of commutative rings from your second year study.
You’ll be introduced to two new classes of integral domains called Euclidean domains, where you have a counterpart of the division algorithm, and unique factorization domains, in which an analogue of the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic holds.
You’ll also explore how well-known concepts from the integers such as the highest common factor, the Euclidean algorithm, and factorization of polynomials, carry over to this new setting.
This module will examine philosophical accounts of the imagination. It will look at theories of the nature of the imagination and its connections to other mental states, such as attention, emotion, memory, beliefs, intentions, and desires.
In addition, a range of topics focusing on the role of imagining in a number of different domains will also be explored, including moral judgement, practical reasoning, perception, pictorial experience, and modal thought.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Your degree will allow you to develop a host of analytical, logical-thinking and problem-solving skills that will serve you well in any career field. Our Philosophy graduates have gone on to a great variety of careers, using their skills in jobs requiring analysis, assessment and evaluation of arguments. Recent Philosophy graduates have been employed in law, computing consultancy, finance and government positions.
Career paths include roles in computing, accounting, information technology and teaching. Your transferable skills will open doors into management, consulting, journalism and the Civil Service.
You may also choose to continue your education and gain a postgraduate qualification in Philosophy or Mathematics from Lancaster University or another institution.
Our annual tuition fee is set for a 12-month session, starting in the October of your year of study.
Our Undergraduate Tuition Fees for 2017/18 are:
UK/EU | Overseas |
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£9,250 | £16,620 |
Tuition fees for programmes are set annually for all new and continuing students. If you are studying on a course of more than one yearâ€™s duration, the fees for subsequent years of your programme are likely to increase each year. Such increases are normally calculated based on increases in the costs incurred by the institution, or in relation to UK government regulations which set the maximum fee for certain categories of student.
For the majority of undergraduate students, the most recent annual increase was 2.8%. Any change in fee rates will be communicated to students and applicants prior to the start of the academic year in question, and normally at least eight months prior to enrolment. Further details can be found in our Terms and Conditions.
Lancaster University's priority is to support every student to make the most of their life and education and we have committed £3.7m in scholarships and bursaries. 400 students each year will be entitled to bursaries or scholarships to help them with the cost of fees and/or living expenses. Our financial support depends on your circumstances and how well you do in your A levels (or equivalent academic qualifications) before starting study with us.
Scholarships recognising academic talent:
Bursaries for life, living and learning
Any financial support that you receive from Lancaster University will be in addition to government support that might be available to you (eg fee loans) and will not affect your entitlement to these.
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.