A Level Requirements
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see all requirements
Full time 3 Year(s)
Philosophy and Politics are two highly important and complementary disciplines and you’ll study and debate a range of relevant contemporary issues with scholars at the forefront of their academic field. For example, what obligations do we have to the state? Can ideas change the world? How should we think about right and wrong, truth and falsity?
You’ll begin your degree with first-year courses including Introduction to Philosophy, and Politics and Governance in the Contemporary World. In your second year and third years, you choose modules from a wide selection subjects such as History of Philosophy; Ethics: Theory and Practice; Modern Political Thought, and The United Kingdom: State, Politics and Policy.
A Level AAB-ABB
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 35-32 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Distinction to Distinction, Distinction, Merit
Access to HE Diploma 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 Level 3 credits at Merit to 24 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 21 Level 3 credits at Merit
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
This module introduces students to some of the key areas of Politics and International Relations. It will provide a basic introduction and a foundation for future study, as well as expand and develop knowledge into new areas.
The module tells a story about the 20th century that enables students to make sense of the 21st century world. Beginning with the consequences of the First World War, the module introduces students to the events and ideas that have transformed societies in complex ways: the evolution of the welfare state; the problems of democracy; increasingly global formations of governance; the transformation from Cold War geopolitics to the 21st century’s War on Terror; and the emergence of new issues such as global warming, amongst a wide range of other issues.
Students are introduced to the research concerns of members of the department, as well as setting the scene for modules offered at advanced stages in the degree structure.
The aim of this module is to offer students from a wide range of backgrounds the opportunity to engage with the most important debates and issues in the study of the politics of the Middle East and Asia, and to locate and contextualise them within wider debates and scholarship of global politics. The module aims to develop enhance critical understanding of a series of key issues in the politics of the contemporary Middle East and Asia, as well as familiarising students with a wide range of case studies.
The module will typically include the following topics:
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.
This module explores the analysis of contemporary economic problems and issues. It will help you develop a knowledge of the analysis deployed by policy makers and by media commentators when presenting potential solutions to a range of contemporary economic challenges. At the end of the module you should better understand the character of economic debates, be able to account for a range of (political) positions on the market economy and have some experience of the interaction between political and economic analyses both in academic analysis and in more general policy debates. More generally, this module is intended to demystify the debates about economics in the media, in political debates, in specialised policy prescriptions and help you develop a nuanced appreciation of your own analyses of contemporary market society.
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.
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 aims to introduce and familiarise students to the interplay between politics, society and religion in the world's largest democracy, India. At a time when India is emerging as a global power and economic powerhouse despite persistent poverty and various socio-political fissures, a critical balance must be struck in the understanding between its potential and its problems. India offers powerful lessons on the challenges and achievements of democracy in a deeply pluralistic and unequal society.
An examination of these issues opens up conceptual preconceptions about democracy, religion, secularism, discrimination, globalisation and political mobilisation, which tend to be structured by knowledge of Western polities. The particular issues concerning large populations of many different religions and huge social differences offer pathways of understanding to many pressing global issues.
Some of the main themes covered include democracy, religion and social change, as well as an exploration of the religious minorities and caste politics and Dalits in India.
The principal objective of this module is to provide a relatively comprehensive and integrated foundation to the study of international relations by introducing students to its basic conceptual vocabulary and theoretical concerns and by applying this conceptual knowledge to an understanding of changes and developments in the international system.
The module covers the historical development of the discipline in the 20th century into the 21st century, moving from the orthodoxy that has come to dominate mainstream Anglo-American international relations (Realism and Liberalism) through to the various challenges that have emerged from critical schools of thought. The module examines how different theories of international relations illuminate and interrogate some of the central ethico-political problems of the 'international' in modern history.
This module provides amongst a range of other issues: a study of war, its causes and consequences; violence at personal and structural levels within society (especially racism); positive definitions of peace; and misperceptions and enemy images through the media.
The module investigates and examines theoretical and practical issues surrounding peace and violence within modern society. It also examines the conditions of peace and war, assessing the scope for conflict resolution, non-violence and reconciliation. The first term introduces the main approaches within Peace Studies, exploring the development of ideas in the field as they bear on the roots of violence and understandings of peace and peace-making. The second term applies this thinking to contemporary conflicts, focusing on policies of conflict prevention and conflict resolution.
The module is taught in a non-dogmatic and interdisciplinary manner, encouraging students to develop their own perspectives and conclusions following discussions and debates throughout the year.
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 introduces students to the main approaches to development. It provides students with an overview of the main theoretical approaches, especially modernisation theory, world systems analysis, feminist theories, and post-colonialism. It relates these theories to issues and case studies including the debt question, the impact of globalisation, global governance, corporate social responsibility, poverty and inequality, social movements and the activities of NGOs.
The module comprises two interrelated parts. The first term deals with the main theoretical approaches to development. Topics here include global integration, disengagement, democracy-autocracy, aid-trade, the case of drugs, Islam, southern organisations, and theories of modernisation and dependency.
The second term pursues links between the conceptual issues raised in term one and connects them to global- and national-focused perspectives on the politics of development. The instability of third world states will be examined in terms of competing legacies from the pre-colonial and colonial periods and high social expectations of development. Perspectives and examples will be drawn from Africa and Latin America.
This module examines the origins, workings and policies of the European Union. It begins by considering the treaties that led to the contemporary union and focuses on the key strains of thought that have given rise to contemporary debates about the form the European Union ought to take.
At a time of unprecedented financial crisis and the prospect of a British exit from the EU itself, the module offers a comprehensive focus on all key issues from European politics, government, and economics, to public policy. It includes an analysis of the process and dynamics of European integration, especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union; an account of the various European institutions which have developed (including the work of the Commission in Brussels), a discussion of key public policy areas (with an emphasis on the European Social Model) and finally a focus on European party politics, covering influential European ideologies such as Social Democracy, Christian Democracy and also Euro-scepticism.
This module aims to deepen students' understanding of the major ideas, arrangements, policies and controversies which have characterised post-war British politics.
The module examines the evolution of the politics of the United Kingdom from an era broadly characterised by consensus and stability (1945-70) to one which has proved much more turbulent in a variety of ways (1970 onwards). This examination is set within the context of rival political traditions and of competing theories of representative government. Topics covered in the first term include changes in electoral behaviour and developments in the political parties, as well as consideration of the problems of governing the component parts of the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland). In the second term the focus is on the key institutions of central government (parliament and the executive) and on the UK's changing relationship with Europe. The last part of the course examines the development of public policy in the areas of welfare and the economy.
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.
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) :
African states are among the poorest, most artificial in the world. This means their relations with the global system have a critical impact on African politics from the global to the local level.
This module aims to:
This module provides a historical and thematic introduction to the issues facing Africa in the international system today. The module is divided into four sections. The first focuses on the impact of colonialism on shaping the economy, the state and perceptions of race. The second section examines the first four decades of independence. The third and fourth look at key contemporary issues such as HIV/AIDS and actors such as China and South Africa.
This module presents a detailed analysis of the major developments in British foreign policy since 1945. It explains these developments within a global context, offering rival interpretations of Britain's changing role and status. The major themes include: the consequences of Britain's participation in the Second World War; the retreat from Empire after 1945; the 'special relationship' with the United States; and the prolonged attempt to redefine Britain's global role in the context of perceived economic and geopolitical decline. Understand the major developments in Britain's role in the world since the Second World War.
The syllabus will include the following topics:
China's rise is commonly understood as a key factor that will shape future world order. In this seminar-based module students will become familiar with different approaches to understanding China's rise, and critically evaluate the opportunities and challenges this poses to both China and the surrounding world. In each seminar, students will consider a key issue in China's relation to the world from different perspectives.
Issues that will be explored include: the possibility of an alternative modernity; sources of party-state legitimacy; Chinese nationalism; the limits of Chinese identity; new tools of China's soft power; the Chinese school of International Relations theory; questions of territorial integrity; and Chinese ideas of world order and the China model. This module will thus offer students an opportunity to discuss familiar concepts like nationalism, democracy and modernity in the context of post-Mao era China. Students enhance their understanding of the complexity of issues in contemporary China, and critically examine conceptual tools of political analysis in the Chinese context.
This module introduces students to human rights as a political and legal concept. It provides a critical overview of contemporary debates in the field, without losing sight of key theoretical questions. What are human rights? What is their source? In what sense are they universal and inalienable? Following a discussion of philosophical and historical foundations the module will examine the post-World War II international legal regime for the protection of human rights. It will explore the political implications of enshrining human rights at the international level, and engage with questions of culture and diversity, development and globalization, poverty and health.
Students will have the opportunity to research and discuss such issues as gender-based violence, torture in the ‘war on terror’, treatment of refugees and asylum seekers and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. These empirical case studies of recent human rights struggles and controversies will shed light on the complexity of global human rights politics in the early 21st century.
This module introduces students to key issues in Middle East politics today. It explores the people, society and politics of the region and the role that religion, ethnicity, gender and class have played in shaping contemporary issues. It examines the major internal and external actors in the region; conflict and peace; the geo-strategic importance of the region; issues of political economy; political change and reform; the issue of identities in the Middle East and ideologies around this; the emergence of political Islam; rising anti-Americanism; 9/11 and the fall-out in the region from the 'war on terror', the 'Arab Spring' and the unfolding revolutions.
Through class discussions, completion of coursework and the exam, students should be able to understand the complexities of society in the Middle East, and show an in-depth understanding of key themes and issues in the contemporary Middle East.
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 explores the analysis of the corporation in the global political economy. It will help students develop their knowledge of the character and practices of corporations and place that analysis within the wider context of analyses of International Political Economy.
At the end of the module students will better understand the variance and multi-faceted character of the corporate (global) sector, be able to account for a range of (political) positions about corporations and have some experience of the interaction between political economic and legal analyses. The module overall is intended to demystify the corporation as a political economic actor and support students in developing a nuanced appreciation of their own analyses of the role and practices of (global) corporations.
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 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 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 field work element will enhance students’ ability to reflect on the impact of academic work. One option is to incorporate a study trip organised by the University, such as the LUSU Involve Overseas Programme, but students may also discuss other forms of field studies with their supervisor.
This module focuses on the most fundamental component of democratic political systems – elections. In particular, it analyses key political behaviour issues related to models of voting, electoral system design, and party organisation. It adopts a broadly comparative approach, with an emphasis on advanced industrial democracies in the west – especially the UK, but also other parts of the EU and the US.
The module will examine the merits of different voting behaviour models; the politics of electoral system design and choice; the rise of anti-party / anti-politics sentiment; as well as the modern methods parties utilise as they attempt to market themselves to voters. There will also be classes on developments in party organisation; contemporary party ideologies; the nature of party system change and continuity; and finally the relevance of public opinion to modern government and public policy.
The module aims to help students to gain an in-depth understanding of the main historical events, processes and actors that have shaped and continue to shape political dynamics in the Persian Gulf.
Specific focus will be upon the key challenges to peace and security within the region, but the module will also cover a range of other topics including:
Students on this module will form an academically informed, independent and critical knowledge of the Persian Gulf and the relations that states within the region have with ‘the West’.
This course provides an introduction to key debates in feminist philosophy. We begin by focusing on the work of two theorists, Simone de Beauvoir, and Sandra Lee Bartky, who represent different periods within and approaches to feminist thought. We then read three essays that critically and constructively drive forward feminist discussions, from the edited collection ‘Third World Women and the Politics of Freedom. Our central question will ask what ‘woman’ is – socially, politically, and culturally. This will involve examining interpersonal relationships, labour in the workplace and in the home, and the construction of identities in various personal, social, and geopolitical context. How should we conceptualize a woman’s self-among-others, and what implications does this have, politically, ethically, and culturally?
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 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.
Globalization remains a buzzword in academic and policy discourses. It is often related to the acceleration of global communication as well as internationalization of the economic, political and social processes. This module addresses some of these changes especially those related to trade, production and investment in the international political economy. There are many approaches in understanding these changes, this module introduces students to both liberal and critical ones (e.g., neo-Gramscianism). Drawing from their insights, it investigates and analyzes the roles of state and non-state actors (e.g., transnational corporations and NGOs) in rebuilding the governance of global production and finance. Finally, it examines the rise of transnational justice movements in offering alternatives to globalization and its uneven development, before and after the financial crisis of 2007.
The aim of this module is to introduce students to the inner dynamics of political Islam and the attendant challenges that comes with it, particularly in contemporary international society.
The module will cover the working of Islam in the governing process; its position in contemporary international order; practical contemporary topics such as governance, violence, terrorism and such; and will deliver an understanding of key concepts and intellectual debates.
The module is designed as much for students with little or no background in Islamic Politics, as it is for students who already have some grounding. It is built around an examination of the principal debates, features, and manifestations of Islamic politics in the twentieth and twenty first centuries.
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.
The module will examine the cultural and political relationships and intersections between media, religion and politics in national and global contexts. Both old and new media will be considered, and consideration will be given to the transformative potential of the latter for participation and activism in religion and politics. The research methods used for analysing media content and discourse will be introduced and applied.
Topics may include:
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 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 skills-based, CV-enhancing module enables Politics/IR students to develop skills and knowledge that are highly valued in a range of professions, including, but not limited to, those associated with teaching and the public and charity sectors. The core activities, which all take place on campus, are grounded in, and contribute to, the Politics/IR Outreach and Widening Participation programme which engages with A Level pupils in Sixth Forms (see wp.lancs.ac.uk/politics-outreach). Using communication, analytical, mentoring, feedback and writing skills, students will:
1) Work with Careers staff to identify and articulate the transferrable skills and knowledge acquired during the course of undergraduate studies and to communicate those skills to potential employers.
2) Work with successful PPR alumni in positions in Politics, the Civil Service, the Media and NGOs on practical scenarios/case studies which require the application of skills acquired in the sessions in order to identify and enhance capabilities of importance to potential employers in CVs and personal statements.
3) (Assessment 1) Develop a four minute individual presentation filmed in the LUTV studios explaining Politics in lay terms to Sixth Form pupils. This will take place in week 5 and constitute 20% of the overall mark. Selected presentations will, with student consent, appear in Outreach, Widening Participation and Recruitment materials and can be cited by students in CVs.
4) (Assessment 2) Participate in a mentoring programme with Sixth Form pupils from Widening Participation backgrounds completing Extended Project Qualifications (EPQs) in a local school. Students will receive mentoring training from Lancaster University’s UK Student Recruitment and Outreach (UKSRO) service, work one-on-one with pupils in two mentoring sessions and then produce one 1,000 word feedback report to be submitted in week 8, constituting 40% of the overall mark, on outline plans for their respective pupil’s project.
5) (Assessment 3) Develop a 2,500 word coursework role play/simulation outline to be submitted in week 10, constituting 40% of the overall mark. Role plays are practical means of students adopting and pursuing in an educational setting the roles, characteristics, motivations, aims and objectives of actors in political conflicts or processes. The role play outlines are intended for use by Sixth Form students as part of the Politics/IR outreach programme. Selected students will have their outlines added to an online bank of role play outlines for use by schools and will be offered the opportunity to run their role play in schools, interest from schools and logistical considerations permitting.
This module will introduce students to a series of understandings of culture. Culture is first outlined with regard to its shape, scope and purpose, before being examined in relation to debates regarding homogeneity, change and conflict. This problematizes popular understandings of culture as fixed and unchanging, enabling students to grapple with two contrasting accounts of the source of conflict: Samuel Huntington’s The Clash between Civilizations and Dieter Senghaas’ The Clash within Civilizations.
The module then examines normative approaches to culture, beginning with the debate between relativism and universalism, which leads into an approach – value pluralism – which appears, at first sight, to offer a middle ground between the positions. This involves introducing and examining the validity of a range of conceptions of wellbeing. The module then examines toleration and recognition as approaches to diversity, comparing and contrasting them and identifying internal contradictions through engagement with real world cases. The political implications of the module are then consolidated and drawn out in full.
What makes the world dangerous? Is global politics the extension of war by other means? Do security policies inscribe peace with the logic of war? How has the RMA, and the digital and molecular revolutions changed the ways in which we think about security and war? In what ways have these revolutions made the world more rather than less dangerous? What happens to security and war when these take the life of the human species rather than sovereign territoriality as their referent object? How and why does securing life pose a wholly different security problem from that of securing states? Why does securing life appear to increase rather than decrease global danger? In the process of exploring these and related questions this course will introduce students to the ways in which biopolitical dismodules of security and war differ from geostrategic dismodules of security and war. The world is said to be dangerous in many changing and conflicting ways. Dismodules of security and war teach us what to fear and prioritise danger differently. They challenge how we think. Part One introduces students to ways of thinking about the problematisation of security and war, including new approaches to understanding power. Part Two applies these new perspectives to interrogate changes in the practices of security and war; especially those introduced by the informationalisation of weapons and the weaponisation of information.
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 taught intensively at our partner institution in Bangalore, India for four weeks during August. The programme includes daily lectures, seminars, excursions, and cultural activities.
On their return to Lancaster, students will write a supervised dissertation on an aspect of contemporary Indian life. Topics covered could include Bhakti traditions in India, the philosophy and spirituality of Yoga, Vedanta today, Islam in India, the Sikh way of life, Buddhism in India, the inculturation process in Christianity, inter-religious dialogue and pluralism in India today, the role of women in Indian religious traditions and religious festivals in India, debates about secularism and religion in the political sphere.
The module is also open to Politics and Philosophy students, who can write about political or philosophical issues in contemporary India.
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 focuses on key contexts and developments in the inter-relationship between religion and politics across the world.
The major themes will be:
The aim of this module is to develop the skills and virtues of a final-year undergraduate level philosopher and scholar of philosophy, by guided practice in close reading and reasoned discussion of selected works in contemporary moral philosophy. No attempt at broad survey will be made. The module will instead be run as a reading group on a small number of high-quality texts. Seminars will consist of moderated discussion of reading introduced by the tutor or by a student presentation. Assessment will be by 5,000 word essay on a topic chosen by the individual student and developed in consultation with the tutor.
‘Moral philosophy’ will be understood fairly broadly, as including metaethics, the philosophies of action, selfhood, and agency, and the more normative and/or theoretical parts of political philosophy. Possible topics, works, debates, and/or figures in contemporary moral philosophy include: wellbeing; value and valuing; personhood/selfhood; practical reason; moral psychology; metaethics; freedom and responsibility; utilitarianism and its critics; virtue ethics and its critics; deontology and its critics; the work of major recent and contemporary figures in moral philosophy, for example Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Railton, Christine Korsgaard, Philippa Foot, Allan Gibbard, Charles Taylor, Simon Blackburn, Peter Singer, or Derek Parfit.
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.
This module will examine the politics of external intervention in violent political conflicts and the attempts made to manage, prevent and transform these wars into more peaceful situations.
The module aims to develop student understanding of how international organisations have attempted to intervene within conflict zones to prevent an escalation in conflict, to enforce UN resolutions or to assist externally mediated peace 'settlements'.
The module also aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of how violent conflict has changed since the end of the Cold War and how transnational organisations such as the EU, UN and NATO have attempted to deal with the new challenges and opportunities presented since the beginning of the 1990s until the present day.
Conceptually, the course will examine the principles of the liberal peace; state failure; international conflict prevention; peace keeping; and global governance. Empirically, the course will focus on post-Cold War conflicts such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China.
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 develop your ability to analyse and assess situations while also being able to communicate ideas effectively. These skills are in high demand among employers and open up a number of career paths for our students.
Lancaster alumni can be found in professions such as law, journalism, computing consultancy, and local government. Others have diversified and made careers in fashion, nursing and journalism.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2018/19 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2017 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
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.
Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework