Religious Studies

Asian Studies and Philosophy - BA (Hons)

Canterbury

Asia is a fast-growing, large and diverse continent, encompassing many countries, cultures and languages. Combining Asian Studies with Philosophy enables you to engage with the cultural diversity of Asia and gain a solid understanding of the world's major philosophies.

Overview

You develop a solid grounding in Asian Studies through a multidisciplinary approach that draws on modules in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The programme is designed to develop your critical awareness of the interpretive, cultural and political challenges to understanding Asian cultures and civilisations, both historically and today.

You have the opportunity to gain both written and spoken competency in an Asian language. Optionally, you can study in an Asian country of relevance to your studies, either for a significant period of time or a full year.

As a student of Philosophy at Kent, you do not so much learn about philosophy as learn to do it yourself. This includes not only studying major philosophies and philosophers, but also contributing your own ideas to an ongoing dialogue. You develop the ability to connect the most abstract ideas to the most concrete things in our experience.

The two subject areas in combination therefore provide you with a truly global perspective, gaining insight into cultures and ideas that span continents.

Independent rankings

Asian Studies at Kent scored 4.17 out of 5.00 for student satisfaction in The Complete University Guide 2019. In the National Student Survey 2018, over 87% of final-year students in Asian Studies who completed the survey, were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course.

Philosophy at Kent scored 92.2 out of 100 in The Complete University Guide 2019. In The Guardian University Guide 2019, 95% of final-year Philosophy students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

 

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take 'elective' modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Possible modules may include:

PL302 - Introduction to Philosophy: Knowledge and Metaphysics (15 credits)

This module begins with a critical examination of Rene Descartes' justly celebrated Meditations on First Philosophy (published, originally, in 1641). This work not only provides a comprehensive account of Descartes' philosophical system, but also constitutes an admirable introduction to The Theory of Knowledge and to Metaphysics. Thus, Descartes' fundamentally Rationalist account of our knowledge of the external world is duly contrasted with the Empiricist accounts offered by such Twentieth Century Philosophers as Bertrand Russell and A.J.Ayer; while Descartes' Dualism is compared with the other major metaphysical doctrines, namely, Idealism, Phenomenalism and contemporary Physicalism. The module concludes with a survey of what is, perhaps, the most perplexing of metaphysical problems, namely, The Problem of Freewill and Determinism.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PL303 - Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics (15 credits)

This module will introduce students to a number of big questions in ethics. The questions may include the following: What makes a life good? Is it happiness? Or is it something else? Another big question is: What makes actions right or wrong? Is it God demanding or forbidding them? Or are actions perhaps right to the extent that they serve to make lives better off, and wrong to the extent that they make lives worse off? Some philosophers have thought so. Others wonder: What if I steal money from someone so rich that my act in no way makes their life go any worse. Might it still be the case that I have acted wrongly—even if I haven't made anyone worse off? A third bit question is this: What's the status of morality? Is it, for example, the case that what's right for me might be wrong for you? Does it make any sense at all to talk about moral claims being true or false, even relative to moral communities? Might moral judgments be nothing but expressions of sentiments? Throughout the course, students will be examining these and similar questions from the point of view of a variety of philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, and David Hume.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PL310 - Introduction to Philosophy: Logic and Reasoning (15 credits)

Since Plato's Dialogues, it has been part of philosophical enquiry to consider philosophical questions using logic and common sense alone. This module aims to train students to continue in that tradition. In the first part students will be introduced to basic themes in introductory formal logic and critical thinking. In the second part students will be presented with a problem each week in the form of a short argument, question, or philosophical puzzle and will be asked to think about it without consulting the literature. The problem, and students' responses to it, will then form the basis of a structured discussion. By the end of the module, students (a) will have acquired a basic logical vocabulary and techniques for the evaluation of arguments; (b) will have practised applying these techniques to short passages of philosophical argument; and (c) will have acquired the ability to look at new claims or problems and to apply their newly acquired argumentative and critical skills in order to generate philosophical discussions of them.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PL315 - Philosophical Reading and Writing (core) (15 credits)

What do philosophers do? How do they think? What do they typically think about? How do philosophers write? What sorts of writing are acceptable in philosophy? How should you write? How should philosophy best be read in order to be understood and assessed?'



In this module we will introduce you to some of the most interesting questions in philosophy, both from its history and from current debates. As we do this we will show you how to think, read and write as a philosopher.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA302 - Mandarin Chinese Beginners A1 (15 credits)

This module is aims to give students who have never studied Mandarin Chinese before some familiarity, at an introductory level, with everyday life, activities and the culture in China. It is designed to build a solid foundation for students in order to further develop their Mandarin Chinese skills in an easy and systematic approach. Any students who are absolute beginners or have very little knowledge of Mandarin Chinese are welcome to take LA302.

Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an introductory level of communication skills used in everyday life. Basic knowledge of some major cities in China and an introductory level of Chinese culture will be covered in seminars.

Vocabulary and grammatical structures will be explained, practiced through communicative activities in the friendly and stimulating seminars.

In addition to the textbook, there will be plenty of specially designed video and audio materials, flashcards and web based games to assist your self-study.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA303 - Mandarin Chinese Post-Beginners A2.1 (15 credits)

The module is designed for students who have successfully completed the module LA302, or for students who can use approximately 150 basic Mandarin Chinese Characters in 4 skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) to further develop their language skills.

The curriculum content of LA303 is to build from the beginners' module of LA302. This is intended to give students some familiarity, at an elementary level, with everyday life, activities and the culture in China.

Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on everyday communication skills, including greetings and introductions, asking and giving simple opinions on familiar topics, such as hobbies, weather, etc.

If you are going to visit China, basic language is useful for ordering food, making very simple enquiries about times, locations and transportations. These topics will be covered in this module.

Vocabulary and grammatical structures will be explained, practiced through communicative activities in the stimulating and engaging seminars.

In addition to the textbook, there will be plenty of specially designed video and audio materials, flashcards and web based games for self-study.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA304 - Japanese Beginners A1 (15 credits)

The module is for students who have never studied Japanese before or have very little knowledge of Japanese. The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity, at an introductory level, with everyday life, activities and the culture in Japan. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an introductory level of communication skills used in everyday life. Basic skills useful to people visiting Japan will be taught including describing locations and shopping. An introductory level of Japanese culture will be covered in seminars.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA305 - Japanese Post-Beginners A2.1 (15 credits)

The module is for students who can read and write Japanese letters, Hiragana and Katakana, and have very basic knowledge and skills of Japanese. The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity with everyday life, activities and the culture in Japan. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an elementary level of communication skills to explain very simple factual information on personal and very familiar topics. Basic skills useful to people visiting Japan will be taught including ordering food, making very simple enquiries and asking for locations. An introductory level of Japanese culture will be covered in seminars.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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CP325 - World Literature:An Introduction (15 credits)

This module introduces students to some of the most influential theories of World Literature, which are studied alongside a selection of literary examples. The theories include Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's reflections formulated in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Goethe coined the term 'world literature' [Weltliteratur] to describe the international circulation and reception of literary works in Europe. In the course of the module, we reflect on the relationship between national literatures and world literature, and on the ways in which the literary market facilitates and complicates transnational exchanges of ideas. In addition, students are given the opportunity to hone their close reading skills by studying a selection of ancient and modern world creation myths. These include texts from the Near East, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. The module offers students the unique opportunity to analyse in detail different ways in which cultural backgrounds can shape literary productions, and how stories, motifs and themes travel across national boundaries. In the course of the module, we discuss key literary terms and concepts, including fictionality, literariness, translation, the canon, and the various modes of reception and circulation that shape our understanding of world literature.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

TH640 - Themes in the Study of Asia (30 credits)

This module explores the cultural specificity and diversity of Asian cultures, traditions, social and political systems and literature from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The topic of Asia will be approached on a thematic basis but with particular emphasis on an understanding of the historical and interpretive challenges to inter-cultural understanding between Asia and Europe/ the West.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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TH648 - Religion and Japanese Culture (30 credits)

This module explores the cultural specificity and diversity of Japanese culture, traditions, social and political systems and literature from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The topic of Japan will be approached on a thematic basis but with particular emphasis on an understanding of the historical and interpretive challenges to inter-cultural understanding between Japan and Europe/the West.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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TH522 - Ancient Chinese Philosophies and the Contemporary World (30 credits)

Ancient Chinese philosophies resonate in contemporary China and in the West. Philosophers compare Confucian and Aristotelean virtue ethics, read the Daoist text Zhuangzi alongside Nietzsche and describe Mohist thought as an early example of utilitarianism. Leaders of the People's Republic of China quote from the Chinese classics in their political speeches to enhance feelings of patriotism. Daoist concepts inspire practitioners of alternative medicine and systems biologists.



This module will explore key concepts, themes and practices in ancient Chinese philosophical literature, available in English translation. We provide the historical and cultural backgrounds of the emergence of the major "schools" of thought (including Confucianism, Daoism, Mohism and Legalism) and examine how traditions interacted and transformed throughout Chinese history and how they influenced East Asian societies and became part of global culture. Hermeneutical and other methodological tools will be provided to engage with source material and answer questions about tradition and modernity, make cultural comparisons between East and West and discuss the translatability of concepts ranging from "philosophy" to "qi". The module will also examine how ancient Chinese philosophies inform East Asian business ethics and social customs, literature and popular culture (in China and in the West) and ecological thinking.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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LA546 - Japanese Upper Intermediate B2.1 (15 credits)

This module is for students who can deal with most situations likely to arise in everyday life in Japan, and read and write Japanese including around 300 Kanji. The curriculum will focus on living in Japan, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of speaking. Topics covered in this module vary, including job hunting, a CV in the Japanese style, making a complaint in a shop, and expressing one's opinion in a discussion on formal topics. Students also read and listen to news articles to gain knowledge of social issues and current affairs. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA548 - Japanese Lower Intermediate B1.2 (15 credits)

This module is for students who can communicate in Japanese comfortably on familiar topics encountered in everyday life and read and write Japanese including around 200 Kanji. The curriculum will focus on communication in a real life of university student studying in Japan, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of speaking. Various styles of readings are given such as formal letter, article and website providing factual information. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA315 - Japanese Lower Intermediate B1.1 (15 credits)

This module will build on from the Common European Framework of Reference A2.2 level (LA320) where you learned the vocabularies and grammar used in directions, polite requests, hobbies, illness and personal descriptions in complex structures with a full command of Hiragana, Katakana and a basic 100 Kanji. In this module, you will develop the vocabularies, expressions, sentence structures, grammar that are used in university, part-time work and leisure situations and will learn a further 54 new Kanji. You will learn the relevant vocabularies and grammar for seminars prior to each seminar and seminars will focus on you practising these in role play, grammar exercise and writing short compositions in a friendly, stimulating atmosphere. You will also gain the relevant cultural information around the course topics whilst developing speaking, listening, writing and reading skills. You will find example of topics in the 'Learning outcomes' section

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA318 - Mandarin Chinese Post-Beginners A2.2 (15 credits)

The module is designed for students who have successfully completed the module LA303, or for students who can use approximately 350 basic Mandarin Chinese Characters in 4 skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) to further develop their language skills.

The curriculum content of LA318 is to build from the Post-Beginners module of LA303. This is intended to give students some familiarity, at an upper elementary level, with everyday life, activities and the culture in China.

Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on everyday communication skills including: exchanging personal information; expressing opinions about shopping experiences; asking and giving directions; describing illness, people's appearances and personalities, exchanging currencies etc.

Vocabulary and grammatical structures will be explained and practised through communicative activities in stimulating and engaging seminars.

In addition to the textbook, there will be plenty of specially designed video and audio materials, flashcards and web based games for self-study.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA319 - Mandarin Chinese Lower Intermediate B1.1 (15 credits)

The module is designed for students who have successfully completed the module LA318 (equivalent to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) A2.2 level), or for students who can use approximately 600 basic Mandarin Chinese Characters in 4 skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) to further develop their language skills.

The curriculum content of LA319 is to build from module LA318. This is intended to help students achieve the proficiency level which is equivalent to lower B1 level on CEFR.

Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on: everyday communication skills including expressing time duration of an action and the distance between 2 places, talking about entertainments, giving and receiving compliments and gifts, etc. Topics related to travelling and living in China will also be covered in this module.

You will gain knowledge on the cultural aspects of the above topic areas through seminars. Vocabulary and grammatical structures will be explained, practised through communicative activities in the stimulating and engaging seminars.

In addition to the textbook, there will be plenty of specially designed video and audio materials, flashcards and web based games for self-study.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA320 - Japanese Post-Beginners A2.2 (15 credits)

This module will build on from the Common European Framework of Reference A2.1 level (LA305) where you can, in a simple way, introduce yourself and family, express daily routine and describe people with a full command of Hiragana, Katakana and basic 50 Kanji. In LA320, you will continue to develop the vocabularies, expressions, sentence structures, grammar that are used in your immediate environment and learn a further 50 new Kanji. Seminars will focus on 'practising the language' through communicative activities, grammar exercises and writing short compositions in a friendly, stimulating atmosphere. You will also gain the relevant cultural information around the course topics whilst developing speaking, listening, writing and reading skills. You will find example of topics in the 'Learning outcomes' section.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO658 - The Rise of China (15 credits)

A thread running through this module is a belief that to understand today's China we have to know how it has come to the present, as present-day China is a product of its deep imperial past and of its revolutions in the 20th century, the Republican, the Nationalist and the Communist. Before studying the 'rise' of contemporary China, we must therefore understand the decline collapse of imperial China from the mid-19th to the early 20th century. We can perceive the said rise of China as the process of regaining its rightful place in the Western-dominated international system and of mutual accommodation between China and the rest of the world.



The narrative of modern China starts from the late 16th century when China, ruled by the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), was the regional hegemon. The demise of the Sino-centric regional order began in the early 19th century. Since then, Chinese rulers, officials and intellectuals have repeatedly groped for ways to modernise their country to counter mounting pressures from the West. Seen in this perspective, this module will be primarily focused on how China adapted itself to the modernising West in order to be accepted as a full and respected member of the international society while preserving its own non-Western identity. With this, you should be able to understand towards the end of this module why China now values the respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right of all nations to freely choose their own paths to development. Also, for many students of International Relations, China's entry and integration into the international society since the 1970s has been strikingly non-violent. A secondary focus of this module will be on how China and other key members of the world have been mutually accommodating to each other and whether China's 'peaceful rise' can continue.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO683 - Politics in East Asia (15 credits)

This module will address the major milestones in the politics and international relations of East Asia since 1945. We will analyse the causes and significance for East Asian countries of events such as the Korean War, the Cultural Revolution, the economic take-off of both Japan and South Korea, China's economic reforms, democratisation across the region, and US-China competition. A central theme of the module will be analysing the decisions that leaders take in order to hold onto power – from repression and liberalisation to corruption, purges, and propaganda – and how these decisions continue to influence the domestic and international politics of East Asian countries. We will explore differences in the countries' domestic political systems to help understand major historical and contemporary policies, and the influence of economic and security considerations.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE616 - The Anthropology of China (15 credits)

The course will introduce students to cutting-edge ethnographic studies of contemporary China. Through these studies, students will be encouraged to think about a series of key issues in the anthropology of China.

For a very long time it was difficult or impossible for outsiders to observe life in China directly in a systematic way, and as a result our accustomed ways of thinking about China are based on macro-level economic and political phenomena, stereotypes and icons --- when we think of China, we think of Confucianism and Communism, kung fu and feng shui, Mao and Chiang Kai Shek, trouble in Tibet and tension with Taiwan. These things are all important, but they leave us with little understanding of what ordinary life is like in China, and so Chinese society can appear mysterious and sometimes contradictory. Fortunately, it has become progressively easier to conduct social scientific research in China and since the mid-1990s and there is now a substantial ethnographic literature that allows us to begin to see contemporary China as a flesh-and-blood society.

This module will use ethnographic literature to explore key topics in the anthropology of China, such as ethnicity, religion, the role of the Communist Party, and the development of capitalism.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA555 - Mandarin Chinese Lower Intermediate B1.2 (15 credits)

The curriculum will focus on communication in the immediate environment with some exposure to simple articles/TV news on current affairs. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing with a proficiency equivalent to upper B1 level on the CEFR, will include:



- everyday conversation skills including expressing general culture related to customs such as wedding traditions, Chinese traditional clothes, Chinese cuisine, etc

- renting accommodation, describing a room

- negotiating prices, asking for a refund/an exchange in a shop

- grammar useful for communicating with Mandarin Chinese native speakers at upper B1 level, for example: verb-complement structures and expressions etc.



The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of Mandarin Chinese language course books, video and audio materials as well as through the sharing of experiences between tutor and students.



There will be a balance between communicative activities, and understanding of vocabulary and grammatical structures, Students will be expected to use the range of resources available to them in the library and on the Moodle page for self-study.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA556 - Mandarin Chinese Upper Intermediate B2.1 (15 credits)

The curriculum will focus on living in China. Students are encouraged to listen to the news and watch the popular programmes in Mandarin Chinese to understand current affairs and issues around the world and in China. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing with a proficiency equivalent to lower B2 level on the CEFR, will include:

• important Chinese festivals and traditions: explaining the traditions of the festivals; giving details of the symbolic meanings of the traditional festival activities and the variety of food eaten during the festivals; comparing Chinese traditional festivals and Western festivals.

• reporting stolen items.

• understanding weather forecasts and discussing extreme weather conditions.

• applying for a job: writing a satisfactory CV.

• grammar useful for communicating with Mandarin Chinese native speakers at lower B2 level, for example: imperative sentences, passive construction, etc.

The cultural aspects around the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of Mandarin Chinese language course books, video and audio materials as well as through the sharing of experiences between the tutor and students.

There will be a balance between communicative activities, and understanding of vocabulary and grammatical structures. Students will be expected to use the range of resources available to them in the library and on the Moodle page for self-study.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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CL708 - Greek Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle (30 credits)

This module provides an introduction to some of the major works in ancient Greek philosophy in relation to ethics, aesthetics, political theory, ontology and metaphysics. Students will study substantial portions of primary texts by the Pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle. The emphasis throughout will be on the philosophical significance of the ideas studied. The module will concentrate on understanding key philosophical arguments and concepts within the context of the ancient Greek intellectual tradition. This means that students will gain a critical distance from normative and modern definitions of philosophical terms in order to understand how Greek philosophy generally approached questions and problems with different suppositions and conceptions of reality, reason and the purpose of human existence.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL595 - Metaethics (30 credits)

What makes it the case that certain actions, such as stealing and sharing, have ethical value? Are ethical values such as goodness and badness, compassion and cruelty, mind-independent ethical properties, properties that exist no matter what anyone thinks, desires, aims at and the like? Or are there no such ethical properties at all and when we call something good we are just expressing our emotions and feelings about a non-ethical world? Are there any other positions available?



This course is designed to introduce you to some of the most exciting and interesting philosophical literature in recent years, which brings together ethics and metaphysics with a little epistemology and philosophy of language. The first half of this course will examine (what are often called) "metaethical" questions such as those above. We will then move on to discuss debates concerning moral psychology and motivation. When one says 'charity-giving is good' is it a matter of necessity that one will be motivated to some extent to give to charity? Or is it possible for one to make such a judgement and have no motivation at all (and for such a judgement to count as a legitimate moral judgement)? At the end we will see how these questions concerning psychology are integral to the earlier debates of metaphysics.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL596 - Philosophy of Medicine (30 credits)

This course is designed to introduce students to a number of philosophical issues arising from medical research and medical practice. Students will consider attempts to define the following terms – health, illness, and disease – and discuss what rests on their definition. Much medical practice proceeds as though medicine were a natural science. This module will probe the limitations of this conception. The placebo effect demonstrates the powerful influence of suggestion on the body and students will consider its relevance to philosophical ideas of the mind-body relation. Finally, students will consider ethical issues arising in medical practice, such as 'medically assisted death'.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL602 - Philosophy of Language (30 credits)

Groups of marks or bursts of sound are just physical entities but, when produced by a writer or a speaker, they are used to point beyond themselves. This is the property of aboutness or intentionality. Other physical entities generally do not have this property. When you hear a sentence, you hear a burst of sound, but typically you also understand a meaning conveyed by the speaker. What is the meaning of a word – some weird entity that floats alongside the word, a set of rules associating the word with objects, an intention in the mind of the speaker….? What is the difference between what your words imply and what you convey in saying them? How are words used non-literally, how do hearers catch on to the meaning of a newly minted metaphor? How can we mean and convey so much when uttering a concise sentence? When someone says something offensive, is it part of its meaning that it is offensive, or just how it is used? In this module we shall try to find some answers to the questions listed above.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL604 - Philosophy of Mind and Action (30 credits)

The aim of this course is to engage in the study of specific topics in the philosophy of mind, language, or action and to engage with the criticism of contemporary approaches as it is found in the works of Wittgenstein, Ryle, Anscombe, and/or Austin.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL605 - Logic (30 credits)

Logic is the study of the methods and principles used to distinguish correct reasoning from incorrect reasoning and, as such, it is a crucial component of any philosophy course. Moreover, logic has applications other than the testing of arguments for cogency: it is also a widely used and useful tool for clarifying the problematic concepts that have traditionally troubled philosophers, e.g., deductive consequence, rational degree of belief, knowledge, necessary truth, identity, etc. Indeed, much contemporary philosophy cannot be understood without a working knowledge of logic. Given this, logic is an important subject for philosophy students to master.



The module will primarily cover propositional and predicate logic. Regarding propositional and predicate logic, the focus will be on methods for testing the validity of an argument. These methods will allow students to distinguish correct from incorrect reasoning. The module will also cover inductive and modal logics. Regarding inductive and modal logics, the focus will be on clarifying epistemological concepts through the use of these logics.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL606 - Philosophy of Science (30 credits)

The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of science. Texts to be studied will be drawn from a list that includes major works by philosophers such as Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Shapere, and Feyerabend. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and will involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.

An indicative list of themes to be studied: Inductivism versus falsificationism, Research Programmes, Incommensurability, Realism, Instrumentalism, Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, Causal Reasoning and Scientific Explanation.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL609 - Philosophy of Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence (30 credits)

The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of cognitive science and artificial intelligence. An indicative list of topics is: The Turing test; the Chinese Room argument; the frame problem; connectionism; extended and embodied cognition; artificial consciousness. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and will involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL611 - Metaphysics (30 credits)

How does truth relate to existence? This module looks at the connection between truths and the things that make them true. We consider questions relating to the connection between truth and ontology (or existence) concerning time, persistence, possibility, generality, composition, and causation. We will look at how these issues are discussed in contemporary analytic metaphysics. We will explore both what solutions looking at the connections between truth and ontology might offer, whether this approach to the problems is useful, and how best to communicate the problems we discuss.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL648 - Philosophy of Work (30 credits)

The module uses Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition as its core text and will make use of a wide variety of short philosophical texts from different historical periods to provide critical contrasts and elucidate important problems and questions about the nature of work. Key questions will include but not be limited to: Is there an inherent meaning to work? Is there a difference between labour and work? Where does work stand in relation to leisure or contemplation?



Generally, the reading assignments will alternate, with one week dedicated to a chapter from the core text, with the next week followed by philosophical essays by major figures that relate to the chapter content. Lectures will elucidate the significant questions and answers proposed by the texts. Seminars will be centred on group discussion.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL656 - Pragmatism (30 credits)

This module will introduce students to the American Pragmatist tradition, through looking at its origins in the philosophical work of figures like C.S. Peirce, and William James, through to its development into contemporary schools of thought such as Neo-Pragmatism, Cambridge Pragmatism, and Semiotics. Topics to be covered will vary from year to year, in light of the expertise of the person convening it and student feedback from previous years. However, examples of topics that may be covered include pragmatist approaches to truth, pragmatist approaches to the a priori, philosophy of science, and the regulation of inquiry, and pragmatic theories of meaning.



Through these and related topics, students will gain a good understanding of the complementary and in some cases conflicting perspectives and methodologies on American Pragmatism. The module will enable students to evaluate contemporary issues in a manner that is informed by a comprehensive set of relevant traditions.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL658 - Philosophy of Love: From Plato to Pragmatism (30 credits)

This course brings together a range of theories of love from the history of philosophy and from various traditions, including analytical philosophy, feminism, pragmatism and continental thought. It will explore questions of love, beauty and friendship in Plato, religious models in Aquinas, ars erotica in ancient Indian and Chinese philosophies of love, Romantic traditions of love, the logic of love in Peirce and James, feminist politics of love and maternity, and cognitive models of love. The course will also examine a range of analytical questions of love, including debates about the different types of love (eros, agape and philia), the problems of talking about love in philosophical language, distinctions between self-love and relational love, the relation of love to literature and poetry, love as embodied instinct and mental idea, the relation between love and sex, and connections between love, compassion and caring. The aim of the course is to combine a philosophical history of love with critical analytical skills to think about love as a dynamic feature of human relationships.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL667 - Political Emotions (30 credits)

Emotions figure in many areas of public life, and a number of pressing political issues (from fear in the evaluation of biomedical promises, to compassion in the criminal courtroom) invite us to think about the role of emotion in shaping citizens' political thought and activity. Emotions, however, are all too rarely studied conceptually, with the result that both political theory and practice are often left at a loss. Through lectures and seminar discussion, this module will offer the opportunity for students to engage in close analysis of the philosophy and cognitive science of emotion, as well as the ethical concerns that are raised by the role emotions can play in political activity and institutional practice.



This module will study prominent theories of emotion, asking about the connection between emotion, reason, and well-being. These aspects take a philosophical approach, but are also informed by advances in neurobiology and cognitive science. The module will also explore the public stage, asking how specific emotions figure in political questions: for example, fear, disgust, compassion, blame, empathy, boredom, and revenge. Political topics considered may include risky technologies, wrongful legal conviction, capital punishment, the Citizens' Income, and assisted dying. The role of emotion in media politics and protest movements will also be examined, assessing, for example, how compassion can be manufactured and mediated through political rhetoric, social media, social privilege, and popular fiction.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL618 - Political Philosophy (30 credits)

Is it right that the talented profit from their (undeserved) talents? Should the government provide compensation for people who find it hard to meet that special someone? Should we think our duties to our compatriots are more important than our duties to people in other countries?



This course is divided into two parts. The first part examines classic topics in political philosophy, such as Rawls Theory of Justice, Nozick's libertarianism and the feminist and communitarian criticism of political liberalism. The second part of the course will explore issues within contemporary political philosophy, such as equality, our obligations to those in the developing world, and the politics of immigration. We will consider whether we can make sense of political obligation between states as well as within states. We will look at these issues in the context of particular recent case studies.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL620 - Justice, Violence and the State (30 credits)

Under what circumstances might it be permissible to use violence to further political goals? What distinguishes different sorts of political violence? Ought the state to have a monopoly on political violence? Are there some methods that should never be used to further political goals? In this course, we will look at the various forms of political violence, and consider how political and legal theorists have tried to regulate violent interaction between states and within states. We will examine the conceptual difficulties that arise when postulating international laws, and consider the role of the United Nations as international mediator and law enforcer. We will also look at the rights of self-determination amongst sub-national groups, and at the obligations of the international community to intervene to prevent humanitarian abuses.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL622 - Evidence and its Evaluation (30 credits)

A controversy is currently raging in philosophy about the nature of evidence. Recent work in epistemology and the philosophy of science suggests new answers to questions such as: What is evidence? What is it to have evidence? Why do beliefs need to be guided by evidence? At the same time, there is a vigorous debate about the methods of evidence-based medicine and evidence-based policy making. Many practitioners regard these methods as fundamentally misguided, while others view them as key to progress in medicine and beyond. This module will bring these two important topics together and show how one line of current research in philosophy is informing the debate about evidence-based methods and vice versa.



In particular, this module will provide an introduction to the methods of evidence-based practice, including the various types of comparative clinical study, and the evidence hierarchy. It will involve applying recent insights from epistemology and the philosophy of science on the theory of evidence to critically appraise the motivation behind this conception of evidence-based practice.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL627 - The Essence and Value of Democracy (30 credits)

All things considered, liberal democracy is the best political system we know of. Nevertheless, it has always been in peril, attacked by totalitarian ideologies and undermined by self-destructive forces from within. In this module, we will investigate the essence and value of democracy, and the character and aims of its enemies. To this end, we will study an important theory in modern political philosophy, formulated in Ernst Cassirer's The Myth of the State. Cassirer explores the explosive problem of political myth in our day, and reveals how the myth of the state evolved from ancient times to prepare the way for the rise of the modern totalitarian state. He shows how the irrational forces symbolized by myth and manipulation by the state constantly threaten to destroy our civilization. This major contribution to political theory will help us understand the problems our societies face today, including questions relating to truth and falsehood in politics, and, of course, 'fake truth'. We shall also look at a related text, Hans Kelsen's The Essence and Value of Democracy.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL640 - Normative Ethics (30 credits)

This course is designed to introduce students to a number of approaches in what is often referred to as "normative ethics". We face and hear about moral problems every day. These problems range from life and death matters concerning abortion, euthanasia and the like to other types of case such as whether to tell a lie to prevent hurting someone's feelings. At some point we might wonder whether there is a set of rules or principles (such as 'Do not lie') which will help us through these tricky problems; we might wonder whether there is something more simple underlying all of this 'ethical mess' that we can discern.

Normative ethics contains a number of theories that attempt to give us such principles and to sort out the mess. In particular, different normative ethical theories are attempts to articulate reasons why a certain course of action is ethically best; they are attempts to say what types of feature we should concentrate on when thinking about ethical problems and why it is that such features are features which have 'intrinsic moral significance'. Of course, ethical theories do not exist in a vacuum. As we shall see, our everyday intuitions about what is morally best are both the origin of normative ethical theories and the origin of thoughts raised against them. In all of this, the course will be examining these theories by starting with their historical roots, particularly focussing on the work of J. S. Mill, Immanuel Kant and Aristotle.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

PL642 - Feminist Philosophy (30 credits)

Many people today are reluctant to identify themselves as 'feminist': either because they see feminism as a useful political movement that has essentially served its purposes; or because they view feminism as a 'single-issue', militant ideology that they cannot identify with. This module is intended to give students an opportunity to reflect philosophically on what claims like this could mean: if we live in a post-feminist era, why do women earn, on average, two thirds of what their male counterparts earn? If we live in post-feminist era, why are women still under-represented in many fields (including politics, science and academic philosophy?). If feminism is a 'single-issue' ideology, why is it that feminists have proposed such a variety of solutions to the above problems, and from such a wide range of political standpoints?



The module explores some key debates in contemporary feminist philosophy, with particularly emphasis on its uncomfortable relationship with liberalism. The course draws attention to feminist critiques of key liberal concepts, such as consent, the social contract, autonomy, universal rights, and the private/public distinction. We go on to apply theoretical debates in feminist thought to the following political issues: prostitution, pornography, feminine appearance, multiculturalism, and human rights.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL644 - Philosophy and Mathematics (30 credits)

This module will cover three areas, namely the historical mutual influence of mathematics and philosophy from Ancient Greece to the 19th century; the foundational crisis 1880-1930; and; current issues in philosophy of mathematics. Thinkers and topics that might be covered include Pythagoras, Plato, Islamic world, Renaissance, Descartes, Berkeley, Kant, Hegel, Dedekind, Frege, Russell, Gödel, Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics, Lakatos' Proofs and Refutations, revolutions in mathematics, and the applicability of mathematics.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage


Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally.  You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.

You can apply to add a Year Abroad to your degree programme from your arrival at Kent until the autumn term of your second year.  The Year Abroad takes place between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities.  Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme.  For a full list, please see Go Abroad.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad.  The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.


Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

LA556 - Mandarin Chinese Upper Intermediate B2.1 (15 credits)

The curriculum will focus on living in China. Students are encouraged to listen to the news and watch the popular programmes in Mandarin Chinese to understand current affairs and issues around the world and in China. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing with a proficiency equivalent to lower B2 level on the CEFR, will include:

• important Chinese festivals and traditions: explaining the traditions of the festivals; giving details of the symbolic meanings of the traditional festival activities and the variety of food eaten during the festivals; comparing Chinese traditional festivals and Western festivals.

• reporting stolen items.

• understanding weather forecasts and discussing extreme weather conditions.

• applying for a job: writing a satisfactory CV.

• grammar useful for communicating with Mandarin Chinese native speakers at lower B2 level, for example: imperative sentences, passive construction, etc.

The cultural aspects around the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of Mandarin Chinese language course books, video and audio materials as well as through the sharing of experiences between the tutor and students.

There will be a balance between communicative activities, and understanding of vocabulary and grammatical structures. Students will be expected to use the range of resources available to them in the library and on the Moodle page for self-study.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA555 - Mandarin Chinese Lower Intermediate B1.2 (15 credits)

The curriculum will focus on communication in the immediate environment with some exposure to simple articles/TV news on current affairs. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing with a proficiency equivalent to upper B1 level on the CEFR, will include:



- everyday conversation skills including expressing general culture related to customs such as wedding traditions, Chinese traditional clothes, Chinese cuisine, etc

- renting accommodation, describing a room

- negotiating prices, asking for a refund/an exchange in a shop

- grammar useful for communicating with Mandarin Chinese native speakers at upper B1 level, for example: verb-complement structures and expressions etc.



The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of Mandarin Chinese language course books, video and audio materials as well as through the sharing of experiences between tutor and students.



There will be a balance between communicative activities, and understanding of vocabulary and grammatical structures, Students will be expected to use the range of resources available to them in the library and on the Moodle page for self-study.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO709 - Modern Chinese Societies (15 credits)

This course will provide students with a well rounded assessment of modern China, with particular emphasis on events since the 1978 Open Door Policy initiated by Deng Xiaoping. The course first introduces students with key sociological concepts related to Chinese traditional society, then move onto major events that form state-society relations in the past three decades. Students are encouraged to connect China's rise to their own life and think comparatively. The bulk of the course will explore a range of contemporary issues, which includes:



• One country, two systems and four worlds: Diversity and social gaps in modern China



• The broken 'iron rice bowl': Social mobility and welfare system since 1980s



• The Me Generation: The rise and individualization of China's new middle class



• New social media and the 'Great Fire Wall'



• Zao: The making of consumption culture within the World's factory



• Bit player or the new powerhouse? China's struggle with scientific innovations



• The triumph of paintings: Social protests and the Chinese art scene



• From ping-pong diplomacy to Linsanity: Sports and modern Chinese identity



• The greening of China: The social cost of industrialization and grassroots environmental movements



• The 'sea turtles' (overseas-returns) and Chinese diaspora: An alternative imagination of Chineseness



• 'All under Heaven' (Tianxia) reinterpreted : China in a globalized world

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO684 - Contemporary Development and Security Challenges in the Asia-Pacific (15 credits)

In this course, we shall examine the most urgent developments and security issues that affect the Asia-Pacific region.



It will start with an overview of International Relations theories and an exploration of whether non-Western International Relations theories will be a better alternative in understanding the development and security challenges in the Asia-Pacific.



We will then address the key international development and security dilemmas in the region. These include: the Taiwan problem; nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula; the danger of nationalism in Japan and beyond; territorial disputes in the South China Sea; and ensuring economic growth and regional cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific.



Finally, we will ask whether the influence and authority of the US, the incumbent hegemon in the Asia-Pacific region, are in decline and its preeminent role will soon be replaced by a rising China, and whether great-power confrontation is inevitable.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TH515 - Dissertation (30 credits)

Students are required to identify a viable research focus or question for their project which they will then pursue, with supervisory support, in order to submit their final dissertation. In the summer before joining the module, students will be given advice on how to identify their research focus, and by the start of the autumn term in which the module begins they will be expected to have produced a single side of A4 summarising key literature or other sources relevant to their specific project. Individual supervision will begin from the autumn term onwards. Initially this is likely to focus on clarifying the research focus or question, and situating it more deeply in existing literature and debates. Following this a clearer outline plan for conducting the research will be developed, with students then undertaking work necessary to meet each phase of this plan. If the project involves original fieldwork, the student will be expected to submit a research ethics application form for Faculty approval. As the project develops, chapter drafts will be submitted for review and discussion with the supervisor. Supervision contact time is likely to vary according to the project and student need, but will not exceed a total of 6 hours per student (including face to face supervision or time spent writing written feedback to electronically-submitted drafts). Supervisors will provide feedback on chapter drafts, which will need to be submitted to supervisors in good time before supervision meetings, but will not provide feedback on whole draft manuscripts once chapters are completed.



Supervisors will only provide supervisory support during term-time. Once the project has been agreed and a supervisor allocated in the autumn term, students will not normally be allowed to change their fundamental focus of their project (although their specific questions are likely to change as the project develops) or change their supervisor unless in highly exceptional circumstances.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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LA538 - Mandarin Chinese Lower Advanced C1.1 (30 credits)

The curriculum will focus on ordinary people's lives in China and current affairs and issues around the world.

One topic is covered each week or every two weeks, focusing on:

• new phrases and expressions which are practiced during seminars to improve students understanding of the language and the embedded culture elements.

• formal and colloquial expressions will be introduced to help students develop the four linguistic skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) to a level where they can confidently understand and convey information about themselves and their environment, and express their feelings and wishes.

• topics relevant to the modern world and contemporary Chinese society will be studied in depth to improve students' language ability to account for and sustain views clearly by providing relevant explanations and arguments for and against particular points of view.

Students will be expected to use the range of resources available to them in the library and on the Moodle page for self-study.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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LA548 - Japanese Lower Intermediate B1.2 (15 credits)

This module is for students who can communicate in Japanese comfortably on familiar topics encountered in everyday life and read and write Japanese including around 200 Kanji. The curriculum will focus on communication in a real life of university student studying in Japan, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of speaking. Various styles of readings are given such as formal letter, article and website providing factual information. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA546 - Japanese Upper Intermediate B2.1 (15 credits)

This module is for students who can deal with most situations likely to arise in everyday life in Japan, and read and write Japanese including around 300 Kanji. The curriculum will focus on living in Japan, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of speaking. Topics covered in this module vary, including job hunting, a CV in the Japanese style, making a complaint in a shop, and expressing one's opinion in a discussion on formal topics. Students also read and listen to news articles to gain knowledge of social issues and current affairs. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA547 - Japanese Lower Advanced C1.1 (30 credits)

The curriculum will focus on a range of topics students encounter in a real life in Japan, or will face when working in the country in the future. Topics include social subjects and current affairs which are widely discussed in Japan. Students also learn how to explain and discuss the main points of their own academic subjects. Various styles of readings and authentic audio materials will be used and discussions on the topics take place in seminars.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CP652 - Postcolonial Images of Africa,Asia and Latin America (15 credits)

This is a module about the intersection of colonial power relations, anti-colonialism, postcolonialism, feminism, and identity politics in literature that interrogates the influence of imperialism on a sense of self. It considers the writing of a number of authors from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Cuba and India. In light of the complex relationship between coloniser and colonised, we consider the ideology of many of these writers, as well as the ways in which their politics are articulated in their writing, whether fiction or non-fiction. We also examine to what extent this literature is representative of other postcolonial concerns such as nationhood and national consciousness, hybridity and assimilation, and exile and alienation within the larger context of cultural theory. Particularly significant is our interrogation of the violence inscribed in both the colonial system and the colonised's fight for independence as seen from the perspective of Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks (1952), A Dying Colonialism (1959), and The Wretched of the Earth (1961).



Studying the primary and secondary texts in English, we bring awareness to the reading scene of the translation process as an important development in the transnational study of comparative literature in a globalised world. In so doing, we acknowledge the significance of indigenous languages and dialects as signifiers of subject-hood in conflict with the coloniser's language. By exploring a variety of anti-colonial resistance and liberation discourses in relation to the development of current postcolonial thinking, the module also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of Postcolonial studies.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TH649 - Religion and Japanese Culture (30 credits)

This module explores the cultural specificity and diversity of Japanese culture, traditions, social and political systems and literature from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The topic of Japan will be approached on a thematic basis but with particular emphasis on an understanding of the historical and interpretive challenges to inter-cultural understanding between Japan and Europe/the West.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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TH653 - Health, Medicine and the Body in East Asia (30 credits)

Traditional Chinese Medicine and other forms East Asian medicine have become available to patients everywhere in the world as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), but their cultural backgrounds are mostly misunderstood by patients, providers and adversaries. This module explores the historical emergence of East Asian medical systems, their relations to philosophical and religious worldviews and practices, their trajectories from the East to the West, and their relations, interactions and clashes with bio-medicine.



In this module, we read passages from foundational literature such as the Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor (in English translation) and discuss key texts in which Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese doctors argue about the nature of health and medical ethics. We also compare different views of the body, illnesses and therapeutic intervention, and examine the importance of "tradition" in East Asian medicine, Early Modern exchanges with Western medicine and the transformation and globalisation of East Asian medical systems in the twentieth and twenty-first century. Applying comparative and genealogical methods, we discuss East Asian medicines in terms of efficacy, culture, politics and economics and reflect on healthcare, in general, from (multi)cultural perspectives.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL645 - Philosophy and Mathematics (30 credits)

This module will cover three areas, namely the historical mutual influence of mathematics and philosophy from Ancient Greece to the 19th century; the foundational crisis 1880-1930; and; current issues in philosophy of mathematics. Thinkers and topics that might be covered include Pythagoras, Plato, Islamic world, Renaissance, Descartes, Berkeley, Kant, Hegel, Dedekind, Frege, Russell, Gödel, Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics, Lakatos' Proofs and Refutations, revolutions in mathematics, and the applicability of mathematics.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

PL643 - Feminist Philosophy (30 credits)

Many people today are reluctant to identify themselves as 'feminist': either because they see feminism as a useful political movement that has essentially served its purposes; or because they view feminism as a 'single-issue', militant ideology that they cannot identify with. This module is intended to give students an opportunity to reflect philosophically on what claims like this could mean: if we live in a post-feminist era, why do women earn, on average, two thirds of what their male counterparts earn? If we live in post-feminist era, why are women still under-represented in many fields (including politics, science and academic philosophy?). If feminism is a 'single-issue' ideology, why is it that feminists have proposed such a variety of solutions to the above problems, and from such a wide range of political standpoints?



The module explores some key debates in contemporary feminist philosophy, with particularly emphasis on its uncomfortable relationship with liberalism. The course draws attention to feminist critiques of key liberal concepts, such as consent, the social contract, autonomy, universal rights, and the private/public distinction. We go on to apply theoretical debates in feminist thought to the following political issues: prostitution, pornography, feminine appearance, multiculturalism, and human rights.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

PL641 - Normative Ethics (30 credits)

This course is designed to introduce students to a number of approaches in what is often referred to as "normative ethics". We face and hear about moral problems every day. These problems range from life and death matters concerning abortion, euthanasia and the like to other types of case such as whether to tell a lie to prevent hurting someone's feelings. At some point we might wonder whether there is a set of rules or principles (such as 'Do not lie') which will help us through these tricky problems; we might wonder whether there is something more simple underlying all of this 'ethical mess' that we can discern.



Normative ethics contains a number of theories that attempt to give us such principles and to sort out the mess. In particular, different normative ethical theories are attempts to articulate reasons why a certain course of action is ethically best; they are attempts to say what types of feature we should concentrate on when thinking about ethical problems and why it is that such features are features which have 'intrinsic moral significance'. Of course, ethical theories do not exist in a vacuum. As we shall see, our everyday intuitions about what is morally best are both the origin of normative ethical theories and the origin of thoughts raised against them. In all of this, the course will be examining these theories by starting with their historical roots, particularly focussing on the work of J. S. Mill, Immanuel Kant and Aristotle.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

PL623 - Evidence and its Evaluation (30 credits)

A controversy is currently raging in philosophy about the nature of evidence. Recent work in epistemology and the philosophy of science suggests new answers to questions such as: What is evidence? What is it to have evidence? Why do beliefs need to be guided by evidence? At the same time, there is a vigorous debate about the methods of evidence-based medicine and evidence-based policy making. Many practitioners regard these methods as fundamentally misguided, while others view them as key to progress in medicine and beyond. This module will bring these two important topics together and show how one line of current research in philosophy is informing the debate about evidence-based methods and vice versa.



In particular, this module will provide an introduction to the methods of evidence-based practice, including the various types of comparative clinical study, and the evidence hierarchy. It will involve applying recent insights from epistemology and the philosophy of science on the theory of evidence to critically appraise the motivation behind this conception of evidence-based practice.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL626 - The Essence and Value of Democracy (30 credits)

All things considered, liberal democracy is the best political system we know of. Nevertheless, it has always been in peril, attacked by totalitarian ideologies and undermined by self-destructive forces from within. In this module, we will investigate the essence and value of democracy, and the character and aims of its enemies. To this end, we will study an important theory in modern political philosophy, formulated in Ernst Cassirer's The Myth of the State. Cassirer explores the explosive problem of political myth in our day, and reveals how the myth of the state evolved from ancient times to prepare the way for the rise of the modern totalitarian state. He shows how the irrational forces symbolized by myth and manipulation by the state constantly threaten to destroy our civilization. This major contribution to political theory will help us understand the problems our societies face today, including questions relating to truth and falsehood in politics, and, of course, 'fake truth'. We shall also look at a related text, Hans Kelsen's The Essence and Value of Democracy.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL621 - Justice, Violence and the State (30 credits)

Under what circumstances might it be permissible to use violence to further political goals? What distinguishes different sorts of political violence? Ought the state to have a monopoly on political violence? Are there some methods that should never be used to further political goals? In this module, we will look at the various forms of political violence, and consider how political and legal theorists have tried to regulate violent interaction between states and within states. We will examine the conceptual difficulties that arise when postulating international laws, and consider the role of the United Nations as international mediator and law enforcer. We will also look at the rights of self-determination amongst sub-national groups, and at the obligations of the international community to intervene to prevent humanitarian abuses.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

PL619 - Political Philosophy (30 credits)

Is it right that the talented profit from their (undeserved) talents? Should the government provide compensation for people who find it hard to meet that special someone? Should we think our duties to our compatriots are more important than our duties to people in other countries?



This course is divided into two parts. The first part examines classic topics in political philosophy, such as Rawls Theory of Justice, Nozick's libertarianism and the feminist and communitarian criticism of political liberalism. The second part of the course will explore issues within contemporary political philosophy, such as equality, our obligations to those in the developing world, and the politics of immigration. We will consider whether we can make sense of political obligation between states as well as within states. We will look at these issues in the context of particular recent case studies.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

PL668 - Political Emotions (30 credits)

Emotions figure in many areas of public life, and a number of pressing political issues (from fear in the evaluation of biomedical promises, to compassion in the criminal courtroom) invite us to think about the role of emotion in shaping citizens' political thought and activity. Emotions, however, are all too rarely studied conceptually, with the result that both political theory and practice are often left at a loss. Through lectures and seminar discussion, this module will offer the opportunity for students to engage in close analysis of the philosophy and cognitive science of emotion, as well as the ethical concerns that are raised by the role emotions can play in political activity and institutional practice.



This module will study prominent theories of emotion, asking about the connection between emotion, reason, and well-being. These aspects take a philosophical approach, but are also informed by advances in neurobiology and cognitive science. The module will also explore the public stage, asking how specific emotions figure in political questions: for example, fear, disgust, compassion, blame, empathy, boredom, and revenge. Political topics considered may include risky technologies, wrongful legal conviction, capital punishment, the Citizens' Income, and assisted dying. The role of emotion in media politics and protest movements will also be examined, assessing, for example, how compassion can be manufactured and mediated through political rhetoric, social media, social privilege, and popular fiction.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

PL659 - Philosophy of Love: From Plato to Pragmatism (30 credits)

This course brings together a range of theories of love from the history of philosophy and from various traditions, including analytical philosophy, feminism, pragmatism and continental thought. It will explore questions of love, beauty and friendship in Plato, religious models in Aquinas, ars erotica in ancient Indian and Chinese philosophies of love, Romantic traditions of love, the logic of love in Peirce and James, feminist politics of love and maternity, and cognitive models of love. The course will also examine a range of analytical questions of love, including debates about the different types of love (eros, agape and philia), the problems of talking about love in philosophical language, distinctions between self-love and relational love, the relation of love to literature and poetry, love as embodied instinct and mental idea, the relation between love and sex, and connections between love, compassion and caring. The aim of the course is to combine a philosophical history of love with critical analytical skills to think about love as a dynamic feature of human relationships.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL657 - Pragmatism (30 credits)

This module will introduce students to the American Pragmatist tradition, through looking at its origins in the philosophical work of figures like C.S. Peirce, and William James, through to its development into contemporary schools of thought such as Neo-Pragmatism, Cambridge Pragmatism, and Semiotics. Topics to be covered will vary from year to year, in light of the expertise of the person convening it and student feedback from previous years. However, examples of topics that may be covered include pragmatist approaches to truth, pragmatist approaches to the a priori, philosophy of science, and the regulation of inquiry, and pragmatic theories of meaning.



Through these and related topics, students will gain a good understanding of the complementary and in some cases conflicting perspectives and methodologies on American Pragmatism. The module will enable students to evaluate contemporary issues in a manner that is informed by a comprehensive set of relevant traditions.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL649 - Philosophy of work (30 credits)

The module uses Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition as its core text and will make use of a wide variety of short philosophical texts from different historical periods to provide critical contrasts and elucidate important problems and questions about the nature of work. Key questions will include but not be limited to: Is there an inherent meaning to work? Is there a difference between labour and work? Where does work stand in relation to leisure or contemplation?



Generally, the reading assignments will alternate, with one week dedicated to a chapter from the core text, with the next week followed by philosophical essays by major figures that relate to the chapter content. Lectures will elucidate the significant questions and answers proposed by the texts. Seminars will be centred on group discussion.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL612 - Metaphysics (30 credits)

How does truth relate to existence? This module looks at the connection between truths and the things that make them true. We consider questions relating to the connection between truth and ontology (or existence) concerning time, persistence, possibility, generality, composition, and causation. We will look at how these issues are discussed in contemporary analytic metaphysics. We will explore both what solutions looking at the connections between truth and ontology might offer, whether this approach to the problems is useful, and how best to communicate the problems we discuss.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL507 - Philosophy Dissertation (30 credits)

Students write a dissertation on a topic of their own choice in consultation with a supervisor. The topic must be on a philosophical subject. The final-year dissertation gives students the opportunity to satisfy their intellectual curiosity by individually and independently researching a large-scale project of their own choice. Students will be given guidance by a chosen supervisor across the chosen academic terms, but the rhythm of research, the writing and frequency of meetings between supervisor and student is left to the individual student to determine.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL569 - Metaethics (30 credits)

What makes it the case that certain actions, such as stealing and sharing, have ethical value? Are ethical values such as goodness and badness, compassion and cruelty, mind-independent ethical properties, properties that exist no matter what anyone thinks, desires, aims at and the like? Or are there no such ethical properties at all and when we call something good we are just expressing our emotions and feelings about a non-ethical world? Are there any other positions available?



This course is designed to introduce you to some of the most exciting and interesting philosophical literature in recent years, which brings together ethics and metaphysics with a little epistemology and philosophy of language. The first half of this course will examine (what are often called) "metaethical" questions such as those above. We will then move on to discuss debates concerning moral psychology and motivation. When one says 'charity-giving is good' is it a matter of necessity that one will be motivated to some extent to give to charity? Or is it possible for one to make such a judgement and have no motivation at all (and for such a judgement to count as a legitimate moral judgement)? At the end we will see how these questions concerning psychology are integral to the earlier debates of metaphysics.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL570 - Philosophy of Medicine (30 credits)

This course is designed to introduce students to a number of philosophical issues arising from medical research and medical practice. Students will consider attempts to define the following terms – health, illness, and disease – and discuss what rests on their definition. Much medical practice proceeds as though medicine were a natural science. This module will probe the limitations of this conception. The placebo effect demonstrates the powerful influence of suggestion on the body and students will consider its relevance to philosophical ideas of the mind-body relation. Finally, students will consider ethical issues arising in medical practice, such as 'medically assisted death'.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL576 - Philosophy of Language (30 credits)

Groups of marks or bursts of sound are just physical entities but, when produced by a writer or a speaker, they are used to point beyond themselves. This is the property of aboutness or intentionality. Other physical entities generally do not have this property. When you hear a sentence, you hear a burst of sound, but typically you also understand a meaning conveyed by the speaker. What is the meaning of a word – some weird entity that floats alongside the word, a set of rules associating the word with objects, an intention in the mind of the speaker….? What is the difference between what your words imply and what you convey in saying them? How are words used non-literally, how do hearers catch on to the meaning of a newly minted metaphor? How can we mean and convey so much when uttering a concise sentence? When someone says something offensive, is it part of its meaning that it is offensive, or just how it is used? In this module we shall try to find some answers to the questions listed above.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL578 - Philosophy of Mind and Action (30 credits)

The aim of this course is to engage in the study of specific topics in the philosophy of mind, language, or action and to engage with the criticism of contemporary approaches as it is found in the works of Wittgenstein, Ryle, Anscombe, and/or Austin.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL579 - Logic (30 credits)

Logic is the study of the methods and principles used to distinguish correct reasoning from incorrect reasoning and, as such, it is a crucial component of any philosophy course. Moreover, logic has applications other than the testing of arguments for cogency: it is also a widely used and useful tool for clarifying the problematic concepts that have traditionally troubled philosophers, e.g., deductive consequence, rational degree of belief, knowledge, necessary truth, identity, etc. Indeed, much contemporary philosophy cannot be understood without a working knowledge of logic. Given this, logic is an important subject for philosophy students to master.



The module will primarily cover propositional and predicate logic. Regarding propositional and predicate logic, the focus will be on methods for testing the validity of an argument. These methods will allow students to distinguish correct from incorrect reasoning. The module will also cover inductive and modal logics. Regarding inductive and modal logics, the focus will be on clarifying epistemological concepts through the use of these logics.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL580 - Philosophy of Science (30 credits)

The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of science. Texts to be studied will be drawn from a list that includes major works by philosophers such as Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Shapere, and Feyerabend. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and will involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.

An indicative list of themes to be studied: Inductivism versus falsificationism, Research Programmes, Incommensurability, Realism, Instrumentalism, Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, Causal Reasoning and Scientific Explanation.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL583 - Philosophy of Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence (30 credits)

The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of cognitive science and artificial intelligence. An indicative list of topics is: The Turing test; the Chinese Room argument; the frame problem; connectionism; extended and embodied cognition; artificial consciousness. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and will involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL709 - Greek Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle (30 credits)

This module provides an introduction to some of the major works in ancient Greek philosophy in relation to ethics, aesthetics, political theory, ontology and metaphysics. Students will study substantial portions of primary texts by the Pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle. The emphasis throughout will be on the philosophical significance of the ideas studied. The module will concentrate on understanding key philosophical arguments and concepts within the context of the ancient Greek intellectual tradition. This means that students will gain a critical distance from normative and modern definitions of philosophical terms in order to understand how Greek philosophy generally approached questions and problems with different suppositions and conceptions of reality, reason and the purpose of human existence.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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Teaching & Assessment

Asian studies

Teaching for all the non-language modules is through a combination of lectures and seminars. Assessment is by coursework (essays and presentations) and written examination.

Language assessment is through a combination of coursework (essays, presentations, projects, translations), unseen written examinations, oral examinations; dissertation, extended essay, and computer-assisted language learning tests.

In addition, independent study is enhanced by the final-year dissertation option, which enables students to pursue a topic in greater depth, linking the different pathways of the degree programme.

Philosophy

As with Asian Studies, teaching is via lectures and seminars, plus individual group work.

Your achievement is assessed through a balance of continuous assessment and
examinations. The components of continuous assessment include essays, assignments done in classes, group presentations, and contributions to seminar discussions.

Programme aims

For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes will depend on your specific module selection:

KIS Course data

UNISTATS / KIS

Key Information Sets

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you've taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 points at HL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Careers

Asia contains many of the world's fastest growing economies so knowledge and understanding of this region will help you to stand out in the employment market.  In addition, the ability to speak another language is a key asset and many employers view a graduate with overseas study experience as more employable.

Our recent graduates in Philosophy have gone into areas such as teaching, publishing, journalism, media, marketing, the civil service and the legal profession.

In addition to your subject expertise, you also acquire many of the transferable skills that are considered essential by graduate employers, such as excellent communication skills, the ability to think independently and the confidence to express your ideas persuasively and with sensitivity.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

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Contacts

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Enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

Open days

Our general open days will give you a flavour of what it is like to be an undergraduate, postgraduate or part-time student at Kent. They include a programme of talks for undergraduate students, with subject lectures and demonstrations, plus self-guided walking tours of the campus and accommodation.

Please check which of our locations offers the courses you are interested in before choosing which event to attend.

 

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department for Education or Research Council UK) permitted increases are normally inflationary and the University therefore reserves the right to increase tuition fees by inflation (RPI excluding mortgage interest payments) as permitted by law or Government policy in the second and subsequent years of your course. If we intend to exercise this right to increase tuition fees, we will let you know by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which we intend to exercise that right.

If, in the future, the increases to regulated fees permitted by law or government policy exceed the rate of inflation, we reserve the right to increase fees to the maximum permitted level. If we intend to exercise this extended right to increase tuition fees, we will let you know by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which we intend to exercise that right.

 

Religious Studies, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 827159 or email Religious Studies

Last Updated: 17/04/2014