Italian and Philosophy (BA)

The Joint Honours degree in Italian and Philosophy provides you with the opportunity of specialising in two university honours subjects.

As a joint honours student, you will find that often there are complementary issues and perspectives as well as skills and that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research. This is a four year degree with a third year spent studying abroad.

Philosophy at Cardiff is distinct for its strong emphasis on ethics, politics, and aesthetics and its equal attention to 'analytic' and 'Continental' styles of Western philosophy.

Italy possesses one of the major cultural, artistic and historical traditions in Europe. Italy has played a unique role in the development of fine art, architecture, film and music

From Roman times the Italian contribution to world culture has been enormous as it is obvious to anyone who steps foot in the country, however briefly. But Italy is not just a country of singular cultural importance. It is a major political partner in the European Union, and it is a leading force in fields such as engineering and architecture. It is the home of the design and fashion industries. A degree in Italian at Cardiff University enables students to access, analyse and evaluate current developments in Italian society as well as the cultures and values of the past. Having studied Italian, students will be ready to take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities open to language graduates today.

Each school involved in delivering the degree offers a challenging programme of modules, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships.

Key facts

Duration4 years
Typical places availableThe School of Modern Languages typically has 185 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School of Modern Languages typically receives 600 applications
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerABB, excluding General Studies. Three A-level subjects, generally including a B in a modern foreign language for beginners or B in Italian for the advanced pathway. Exceptions can be made according to personal circumstances. Two AS subjects may be considered in lieu of a third A-level.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core and AA at GCE Advanced Level. B in a language required.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer34-36 points overall including 5 at higher level in a modern foreign language
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark

Languages and related studies, Philosophy

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Professor Fabio Vighi , Admissions Tutor

    Welsh medium provisionThis course offers elements that are taught through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.


    We realise that many of our students will not have had the opportunity to study Philosophy before as an academic discipline, and for the increasing number of those who have, it is still relatively new and demanding. We therefore structure the programme with great care so as to build progressively your critical understanding and creative philosophical skills.

    Year one

    You will take 40 credits in Philosophy, 40 credits in Italian and 40 credits in another Humanities subject which may be from with either School or an associate School.

    Students studying this course will be able to study modules outside of their allocated School(s) Core and Optional modules from another participating Academic School. An overview of the module collections available can be found here.

    Year two

    You will take 60 credits in Philosophy and 60 credits in Italian.

    Year three: Sandwich year

    You spend year three studying abroad.

    Year four

    You will take 60 credits in Philosophy and 60 credits in Italian.

    The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

    School of English, Communication and Philosophy
    The School of English, Communication and Philosophy offers intellectually stimulating programmes of study, shaped by the latest research. We have a supportive learning environment, where students are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge.

    Our programmes foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory, and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team-working, independent research, and time management. A range of formative and summative assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios, and creative assignments.

    School of Modern Languages
    Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping students to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop their own ideas.

    Seminars provide an opportunity for students to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment. Seminars would usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. Seminars offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field. It is vital that students prepare for seminars (undertaking any set reading, developing independent critical thought) in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions.

    Lectures and seminars enable students to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

    Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing students’ capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enables students to produce their best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling students to develop their strengths and address any weaker areas.

    Dissertation: The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and thereby to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study; to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material; and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

    Pastoral Care: You will be allocated a personal tutor for the entire period you are at the University. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who are available to students seeking advice, guidance and help.

    School of English, Communication and Philosophy
    In 2013/14, 91% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

    School of Modern Languages
    In 2013/14, 95% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

    The destinations from the School are often international in nature, with many graduates enjoying their overseas student experience to such an extent that they opt to take time out to travel further, or go abroad on graduation in the hope of securing employment. 

    Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many start work immediately following their studies. Their employment options are varied and many opt to utilise the language skills that they have developed over their degree, in roles such as Translators, Language Assistants, Export Assistants and Proofreaders, working with their languages in organisations such as Bearmach Ltd, the British Council, Global Response and Inter Global.


    4 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

    The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics admits around 230 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

    The School of English, Communication and Philosophy admits around 360 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

    Applications received

    Typical applications received

    School of European Languages, Translation and Politics = 1300

    School of English, Communication and Philosophy = 1500


    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Languages and related studies, Philosophy

    What are the aims of this Programme?


    Italian at Cardiff can be taken at beginners or advanced level. First and foremost, studying for a degree in Italian involves dedicating yourself to learning the language. At Cardiff, we place great emphasis on strengthening reading, writing, oral and aural skills, which are vital communication skills. As regards the language, there are two routes in the first and second years, one for students who are beginners of Italian, and the other for students who are advanced. Both routes will include option modules in the fields of film, literature, history of art, politics and history. Italian language is a core module throughout your course.

    It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves examining many aspects of a country and its culture, its social structures and institutions, politics, history, literature and cinema. Through the study of such areas students are able to gain a better understanding of Italian culture and of how Italy has evolved over the centuries, becoming what it is today. If you study Italian, your career prospects will be enhanced, as the number of jobs for which knowledge of Italian is needed is on the increase. Opportunities exist not only in teaching, museum work and the fine arts, but also in banking, insurance, marketing, publishing, the media, the civil service, all branches of tourism and the higher echelons of the administrative fields. There has been a recent upsurge in career opportunities for graduates in Italian in the commercial and institutional links within the European Union. 


    Philosophy is essentially a distinctive set of reading, thinking, and communication skills. Studying for a degree in Philosophy develops your abilities to identify the reasons for people’s claims, find the assumptions lying behind those reasons, critically assess the reasons and the assumptions, find good reasons yourself to see where they lead, and communicate all of this clearly and effectively. Philosophy graduates are known for their incisive analytical abilities and their ability to construct and communicate clear arguments.

    The Philosophy programme at Cardiff University combines breadth of content with the flexibility required for students to pursue specific interests and to specialise if they want to. We offer modules in both the analytic and the continental traditions of Western philosophy, and in all the central areas within the discipline: aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, language, metaphysics, mind, moral psychology and political philosophy.

    Year 1 is a foundation year designed to equip you with the skills for advanced study and to give you an overview of the subject that will enable you to make informed choices from the modules available in Year 2 and the Final Year. You take three subjects worth 40 credits each: these must include Mind, Thought and Reality and Introduction to Moral and Political Philosophy and your other joint honours subject. Joint honours students take 60 credits in each of their two subjects in their second and final years.  In Year 2, you select your 60 credits in Philosophy from a range of modules which encourage you to build on the foundation year, developing a solid understanding of the core areas of Philosophical inquiry. In Final Year there is a range of more specialised modules in which you can pursue interests developed in the previous two years and engage with current issues in research and scholarship, enabling you further to develop analytical and presentational skills that employers will value, as well as equipping you for postgraduate study. 

    What is expected of me?


    The teaching sessions on the Italian programme are interactive. Students are expected to attend all of their classes (whether lectures, seminars or other sessions). The Italian modules are each worth 20 credits. Each 20-credit module will require at least two hundred hours of study, including the hours spent attending classes, individual study, preparing assessments and/or taking exams and tests. It is essential that students complement the class activities with extensive reading outside the classroom, following both their tutors’ leads and their own specific interest in the topics studied.

    Students and staff alike are expected to adhere to Cardiff University's Dignity at Work and Study Policy. You should develop a professional attitude to your work, including attending personal tutoring sessions, checking your e-mails regularly, and responding to them as required, being punctual in attending classes, and informing the School when you are absent. The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics is committed to assisting you throughout your studies, so if anything concerns you, remember to let us know. We will respect confidentiality at all times.


    Students are expected to attend and participate in the lectures and seminars for all modules on which they are enrolled.  In line with University policy, attendance will be monitored at specific ‘points of engagement’ throughout the year.  Students with good cause to be absent should inform the member of staff who convenes module, who will provide the necessary support.  Students with extenuating circumstances should submit the Extenuating Circumstances Form in accordance with the School’s procedures.

    The total number of hours which students are expected to devote to each 20-credit module is 200.  Of these, 30 hours will be contact hours with staff (lectures and seminars); the remaining 170 hours should be spent on self-directed learning for that module (reading, preparation for seminars, research, reflection, formative writing, assessed work, exam revision).

    Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.

    How is this Programme Structured?

    The BA Joint Honours in Italian and Philosophy is a four-year degree programme. It is structured so that students acquire in successive years near-native language competency and the skills to become independent researchers, equipped for high-level professional employment.

    The programme is offered in full-time mode. In Year 1, 40 credits are studied in Italian. In Year 2 and 4, 60 credits are studied in Italian. The third Year is a year spent studying or working abroad in Italy and it is compulsory, and it is 120 credits. Year 1, 2 and 4 each contain a 20-credit core Italian language module. In Year 4, students must also choose 20 credits in either Italian for Professional Purposes or Advanced Translation Practice.

    Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

    What the student should provide:

    Bilingual and monolingual Dictionaries, course texts and set texts (details provided in the relevant course kits).

    What the University will provide:

    Library resources, computers, linguistic software.

    What skills will I practise and develop?


    The Italian degree programme will allow you to develop a number of valuable skills, both specific to Italian and relevant to your future workplace. These include the following skills: communicate and present information, thoughts and arguments (both spoken and written, individually or as part of a team); use of information technology (linguistic software, word processors, databases, the web); analyse and present numeric information; working in a group and developing interpersonal skills; identifying, recording and communicating relevant attainments for career purposes; managing your own learning (including time management); demonstrating a commitment to continuous learning and development. Through the medium of the dissertation option you will gain confidence when working on your own and experience a wide range of practical research skills. Sessions with a supervisor will allow you to develop discussion skills in detail and to develop original ideas.



    Many of the learning outcomes listed above involve practising skills that are transferable to numerous areas of employment.  Students who engage with the programme will practice and develop the ability to:

    • Communicate concepts, theories and arguments and the appraisal of them accurately and clearly, both orally and in written form
    • Assess the validity of different evidence and argument
    • Use a variety of sources in a comprehensive and well-documented manner
    • Explore critically their own beliefs and values
    • Display sensitivity to the diversity of beliefs, practices and ways of life
    • Use electronic sources of information effectively

    How will I be taught?


    Delivery will be via lectures, seminar preparation and participation, independent and guided study, independent reading, preparation of essays and presentations, feedback on essays and presentations, and revision sessions for examinations.

    Students will also benefit from regular feedback from their Personal Tutor at key moments of their language degree. 


    A diverse range of learning and teaching styles is used throughout the programme. Students will attend lectures, participate in seminars and tutorials, and study independently in preparation for each session. All of the taught modules within the programme are optional. There is also an opportunity to take 20 credit per year as a free standing module from another subject.  All taught modules involve some formative assessment which is returned to you with individual feedback. Generic Feedback is provided for all forms of summative assessment. In the Final Year students can choose to write a dissertation on a topic of their choice (subject to supervisory availability and approval of the title by the Board of Studies).

    How will I be assessed?


    While studying for a BA Joint Honour degree you will be assessed through each of the following methods:

    ·         class tests (continuous assessment)

    ·         essays

    ·         written exams

    ·         oral exams

    ·         oral presentations

    ·         dissertation

    There will also be opportunities to prepare formative tasks. These are tasks that are not counted in determining your final mark, but give you an opportunity to have feedback on your progress. These tasks can be oral presentations in seminars, essay plans, short written pieces or computer tasks.


    Formative assessment is provided as feedback on coursework through written comments and individual discussion and on oral seminar presentations through individual guidance.

    Summative assessment for most modules takes place through one or more of the following methods: unseen examinations; open book examinations; portfolios of essays; and (if chosen) the dissertation.  The form(s) os summative assessment for individual modules are set out in the relevant module description.  Assessment methods are chosen as most appropriate to elicit the skills, knowledge and competencies developed by the module.  Not all skills are assessed directly (e.g. the accurate and clear oral communication of concept and theories).  However, opportunities are made available for the development of such skills in seminar presentations, and their value is emphasised to students.  Details of any academic or competence standards which may limit the availability of adjustments or alternative assessments for students with disabilities are documented in the Module Descriptions.


    Students will receive written feedback on written assessments, and oral feedback on assessed presentations and their contributions to seminars. The opportunity to understand and use feedback constructively will also be provided through regular meetings with Personal Tutors at key moments every year. 

    How will I be supported?


    We support students in several ways. Initially, you will be assigned a personal tutor who will meet with you whenever needed to discuss your progress and any other matters arising. You will receive prompt feedback on all your assessments (including exams), and your personal tutor will be able to help you to use that feedback effectively in order to improve your work for the future. Many modules also include formative assessments. You will receive feedback on these assessments, but they will not count towards your final degree. Each module uses the Learning Central website, a virtual learning environment at Cardiff University. Through the Learning Central site you will have access to relevant materials for the module, such as multimedia materials, presentations, lecture hand-outs, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises, etc. There will be an opportunity for you to reflect on your progress and on the skills that you will develop through a section on the Learning Central site called Personal Development Plan. There, with the help of your personal tutor, you will be able to record your attainments in various fields (whether they are part of the curriculum or not). Furthermore, centrally the University has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.


    Every student is assigned a personal tutor and will meet him/her for regular Academic Progress Meetings (one per semester). There is a form to fill in before each Academic Progress meeting which is designed to help you reflect on the written feedback and the reasons for the marks you have received from the previous round of assessment. You will discuss this feedback and your reflections on it with your personal tutor.

    In addition, all staff have weekly office hours during teaching weeks and students may make appointments to see their personal tutor or module leaders on a one-to-one basis about any issues. Staff may also be contacted by email. Details of the office hours and email addresses of staff are provided in the Module Guide for each module.

    Use of Learning Central, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, will vary from module to module as the module leader feels appropriate for the specific contents of the module but will normally at least include making lecture handouts available online.

    What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?


    Graduates from this Programme will be able to:

    • produce a high level of fluency in oral and written Italian
    • assess the central role of language in the process of creating meaning and knowledge
    • demonstrate intellectual skills which allow detailed reading, assessment, and production of texts of different types
    • appreciate how language and culture feed into each other to generate meaning and understanding
    • evaluate and critically discuss texts, concepts and theories relevant to the field of Italian Studies
    • demonstrate an understanding of a range of texts (including film) from different historical periods and from different genres
    • demonstrate a good understanding of the position and importance of Italian language and culture in the modern world
    • use information technology to present and analyse materials in an effective and polished manner, including using software to check and improve language


    Graduates from this programme will be able to:

    ·         Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of important concepts, theories, problems and arguments in the main areas of Philosophy, such as logic, metaphysics, epistemology or philosophy of mind, and moral, political or social philosophy.

    A Knowledge and Understanding

    ·         Demonstrate familiarity with the ideas and arguments of some of the major philosophers in the history of the subject, encountered in their own writings

    ·         Demonstrate awareness of some major issues currently at the frontiers of philosophical debate and research.

    ·         Display precision of thought and expression in the analysis and formulation of complex and controversial problems.

    B Intellectual (analytic and cognitive) skills

    ·         Construct and justify arguments whileforming independent, fair and well-supported assessments of conflicting views and opinions

    ·         Explore critically their own beliefs and values, and question their presuppositions

    ·         Appreciate the diversity of competing theories, and of competing interpretations of theories and texts, in Philosophy

    C Subject-specific skills

    ·         Apply philosophical concepts, theories, arguments and methods to some of the major problems, both theoretical and practical, facing human reflection, life and society.

    ·         Read closely philosophical texts from different philosophical traditions, and interpret these texts carefully, with due regard to their context

    .          Awareness of the bibliographic conventions of the discipline and their role in communicating information.

    Other information


    Students taking the Single  Honours Italian programme at Cardiff may be particularly interested in the following features that are likely to increase their employability:

    ·         the chance for students interested in teaching to undertake a British Council internship teaching English in an Italian secondary school

    ·         the opportunity for all students of Italian to organise, on their own initiative, a suitable work placement in an Italy.


    Philosophy at Cardiff is taught by staff with an international reputation for innovative and influential research. Our passion for the subject and the strength and range of our scholarship enable us to offer a degree which is:

    • Inclusive.We teach the central areas within modern Philosophy: aesthetics; epistemology; ethics; language; metaphysics; mind; moral psychology; and political philosophy.  While we concentrate on the argument of philosophers in the modern period, which is to say from the 17th century and Descartes onwards, and are interest in the work of thinkers in both the Analytic and Continental traditions of Philosophy.  You will therefore encounter a broad range of philosophical issues and a broad range approaches and indeed interpretations of what Philosophy is.
    • Challenging. Research-led teaching means students engage with new ideas that are helping to shape the future of the discipline. We see the study of Philosophy in its various contexts as broadening horizons, and as a way of engaging in pressing issues form the world outside of academia.
    • Diverse. After Year 1 there are no compulsory modules. We give you choice – but we also give you the skills and knowledge to make informed choices. The second year of your degree will equip you with a thorough understanding of the core arguments of the principal areas of Philosophy.  This will provide a solid foundation for the third year.  Here modules will focus on the topics that the lecturers themselves are actively researching.  You will therefore have the opportunity to explore issues in greater depth, as your competence. knowledge and confidence increases.  Our teaching varies between modules, ranging from traditional-style lectures to smaller-group seminars in which students develop their writing and presentational skills in a supportive environment designed to help them take responsibility for their own learning.
    • Engaged. At Cardiff we do not think of Philosophy as isolated from the rest of culture or separate from society.  We take pride in an approach to Philosophy that takes notice of the place of philosophy in public life, not least in moral and political decision-making, as well as engaging with such contemporary approaches as Experimental Philosophy.

    Admissions tutors

    Professor Fabio Vighi , Admissions Tutor

      Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.