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    I have applied to avrious universities to study philosophy. I applied to Sussex and just got a conditional offer (which I'm really excited about!)
    Can anyone who is doing/has done philosophy at Sussex tell me how it is and if they enjoyed the course, the place, the lecturers etc? I haven't done A level philosophy so will I be at much of a disadvantage?

    Thank for all the help!
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    The area is dead smexy, you definitely want to come down here :yep:
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    Yeah it's my first choice so that's what I'm planning on doing, I just want to make sure I'm not making the wrong course choice..
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    bump i got unconditional for phil here aswell, gief more info if ppl can plz.
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    Oh congrats! Someone told me a little bit about it:

    "Philosophyyyyyy! I've just started so keep in mind my experiences are based on just 2 weeks of contact time. Someone in second year would be able to give you a better overall view, maybe!

    I would definitely advise if you haven't already that you do a lot of background reading for philosophy now to prep yourself. The course says you don't need the A-level but you really do need to know a fair bit about it. However, don't let this scare you too much because it shouldn't take too long to pick up, and there's a few people without the A-level who seem to be coping ok.

    The tutors are really into their subject and seem to be willing to help - in our first seminar someone asked about philosophy in radio shows and within a few hours after our tutor sent us all emails with links to some in, which I thought was a nice effort. All the lectures have been presented really well so far and are actually enjoyable.

    I have to admit, I'm not enjoying the course that much at the moment due to the text choice in the Philosophical Reading course - but then that is just personal preference, not a 'problem' with the uni exactly. Also I'm finding the Philosophical Reasoning module, which concerns logic, to be far more daunting and difficult than I expected, but like I said I've been here just two weeks, and one of the things I've noticed about philosophy is it starts out so so scary and then you gradually have to build your confidence up. The introduction module is brilliant though, as it looks at a different issue each week eg Should we eat animals? and gets everyone all riled up

    One of the great things I have to mention about Sussex's course - not sure about in later modules but right now, most of the reading is in the course reader or online! We've only had to buy two textbooks; an anthology and the text for Philosophical reading. That probably doesn't sound particularly exciting but when you get to uni and see how much you have to spend on textbooks in most subjects you will appreciate it! especially if like me you end up taking an English Literature elective and have to spend 40 quid for just that one module -.-

    I know thats all a bit vague and obviously my view will probably be different just a few weeks from now because it's still so early in the course, but I hope it's still helped in some way One thing I will say about Sussex overall - to everyone thinking of applying! - is that there really is nowhere else I'd prefer to be in the world right now.

    Also, open day-ers, I'm assuming they took you round the posh accommodation with the coloured windows? Yeah, you won't be living there unless you can afford 120 quid a week (its currently 115 a week so that price will be a MINIMUM). Most of the accommodation looks nothing like that, and is pretty standard student box room and falling apart kitchen hah. Don't be fooled!
    (its not that bad though - my room is massive and I can see cows out my window on the Downs )"
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    Aha that massive quote was from me! good times

    The funny thing is, I'm actually looking towards dropping out now, mostly because of the course.
    I will say though, everyone else doing my course is loving it, so I think it's just a personal thing - you'll probably really enjoy it if you're passionate about the subject!
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    Oh really? How come you're not enjoying it? Tell me all
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    Another long post, apologies! :rolleyes:

    Well, let me just say, most of the staff are terrific, we have better lecturers than say, the English department in my experience. I have trouble with one of them however, as I have pretty bad anxiety that I'm not diagnosed/treated for and this guy picks on people and asks ridiculously worded questions, and that sounds stupid but it sets off my anxiety big time and makes me panic just thinking about turning up to the seminar Of course the vast majority might not like that style of seminar but it won't affect them badly enough to not want to do the course lol

    Elementary Logic reminds me far too much of gcse maths, and we spend whole lessons just going through the 'homework' instead of moving on, and if you're finding it easy it's frustrating knowing you're turning up and listening to explanations for things you already know. And you have to sit there while people argue with the lecturer about how they're SO sure they're right on one question, even though everyone else in the room has accepted the answer and just wants to move on...guh.

    Generally, I just find it really dry, say for example, this term each week for each module we'll be set 15 pages of a philosophical piece of work to read eg. Hume, Berkeley, Descartes etc, and it will be random extracts not like, 15 chapters in a row or something, so you miss out a load of detail and misunderstand what's going on. You go to the lecture, they explain it but very vaguely because they don't have enough time to teach you what's going on in depth. You go to the seminar and it'll focus on further reading, and really really (what seems to me) obscure ideas relating to the text, and either no one will talk at all, or the two I-Know-Everything-Already people will dominate the whole time and you won't squeeze a word in.

    The texts themselves, well it's so different to learning at A Level, you think 'oh I'll love being about to read so much philosophy', then you start doing it constantly and realise not all philosophers were particularly good writers or expressed their ideas well, and most of the ones you read are from the 16-18th century and by default I find that style of text trickier and less engaging. Personally I spend so much time trying to work out what they're saying, that I don't have time to criticise, think of ideas extending from the text etc. And then I have nothing to say in the seminar. That's assuming I've even motivated myself to do all the reading - I also take an English elective which requires me to read two novels a week (or at least some lengthy extracts from them) and because I prefer this class I tend to prioritise it over philosophy, rather wrongly I know lol.

    What it all comes down to, for me personally; I'm not finding the subject particularly interesting any more, and the way it's 'taught' is not very encouraging or enthusiastic. Which I knew would be the case, but when people warn you that you have to be really passionate about your subject to do the degree; THEY ARE SO RIGHT. I thought I was, but looking back I think I just chose 'the lesser of two evils' in terms of subject.
    And on a side note, through my English elective I've discovered I have a passion for Ancient Greece and regret not applying for Classics! which they don't teach at Sussex, so I guess I have to move on to greener pastures and all that...


    Like I said, everyone I've spoken to loves the course supposedly, and there is help if you do struggle as each lecturer and tutor has 'office hours' where you can go along and ask for help/go through things. Though personally I find it difficult to find the time to ask for help because uni life is quite busy for me. But it's very much a personal thing, I guess the teaching method doesn't match up to the subject for me as well. There's also a lot of non-course issues affecting my decision, without those I would possibly be more tolerable of it's faults. Don't be put off, there's nothing particularly awful about the course in general! My criticisms would apply to ANY subject at university if you weren't 100% sure and passionate about the subject.
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    Oh but one big plus I do have to mention; Philosophy is pretty much one of the cheapest degrees to take because you barely have to buy any books for it! All the resources are online however I would highly recommend purchasing a 'Dictionary of Philosophy' (there's a few different versions) or a big study guide covering several texts on top of the one they ask you to buy at the beginning of term, especially if you find you're struggling to understand what's going on. I only just clicked onto this idea this week -.-
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    just curious to ask, how many people are generally in ur class?
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    (Original post by goatshed)
    just curious to ask, how many people are generally in ur class?
    (I'm first year philosophy at sussex too).

    There's anywhere between 10-20 in a seminar class, or so. You usually have one lecture then one seminar, the latter being largely up to the students to conduct. In seminars, the lecturer (or more likely, postgrad) will get you to go into groups, discuss the material, etc., then have some kind of class discussion. Its a bit hit and miss tbh, a lot of the time there's prolonged silence (especially if you're in certain seminars - as penny_wishes noted, some lecturers can be... intimidating).

    If you take philosophy at sussex you will notice the continental leaning. There are some very good analytic academics of course, but so far, throughout the first two terms (especially this second; reason and experience in particular), you really do start to notice why it's so largely regarded as continental.

    The course is quite poorly structured in the second term (IMO), with the exception of elementary logic. Both reason and experience and society, state, humanity require extensive reading each week, covering topics that I'd think would require far greater analysis (this week was Humean human nature and politics - so basically the whole treatise, right?). The first term wasn't too bad, philosophical reasoning and reading philosophy went at a good pace, were well structured, and generally quite interesting. Introduction was... dull. Briefest accounts of several 'key' ideas; not the most effective way of covering a diverse range of material. I guess the idea is to bombard you with stuff and let you find your own interests.

    The philosophy society and undergraduate philosophy society are fairly active (talks every week), but I don't attend as there is rarely anything that is socially or politically orientated. A lot of people seem to attend though, so it must be good.

    Uhh... feel free to ask any more questions... will try and answer as best I can!
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    Damn, it seems the course in general is quite poor... its such a shame because the uni seems really great.. do other people enjoy the course or is there a mutual feeling of dislike for it? :/
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    i have a feeling that philosophy as a subject is never going to be so great, as in the end you are really just learning about people and their past theories. I'm imagining people generally go for philosophy as they enjoy the chance to look at things in a more abstract way, then you go for the course and its never really going to be just that, as it has to be made more academic for it to be a legit subject.

    I'm probs still gonna go for it as i can't wait to get away from home, and im not looking for a career or **** out of this, im just going to have a gd time and delay having to sort out life
    But at the same time its a subject that interests me more than any other would.

    Edit: thanx for the info btw. Anything else u have to say would be appreciated.
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    (Original post by xSallyx)
    Damn, it seems the course in general is quite poor... its such a shame because the uni seems really great.. do other people enjoy the course or is there a mutual feeling of dislike for it? :/
    A lot of people definitely do enjoy the course. Perhaps I was too critical. I think it depends largely on where your interests lie... mine are in political theory so philosophy is just a stepping stone in the academic ladder. Sussex has a decent reputation for social and political thought, but, of course, this is closely tied up with their continental leanings: something I'm not too keen on. If you'd ask me why I came here I'd say it was because of limited choice I had, Brighton, Kant and campus.
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    Alright. Also, I haven't studied philosophy at A level, is that gonna bring me down or make me work more than those who have done it at A level? To be honest, its either Sussex or Nottingham, and Nottingham is so dangerous apparently so I may just go Sussex anyway... :/
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    lol ive applied nottingham aswell, why u say its dangerous?
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    Well... cos thats what I heard, its apparently got the most crime there.. :/
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    (Original post by xSallyx)
    Alright. Also, I haven't studied philosophy at A level, is that gonna bring me down or make me work more than those who have done it at A level? To be honest, its either Sussex or Nottingham, and Nottingham is so dangerous apparently so I may just go Sussex anyway... :/
    Aesop sums it up pretty well!
    but you have to bear in mind, those of us who are unhappy are on here being gloomy; there's another 60/80 odd people sitting in their rooms right now enthusiastically doing the reading instead of moping on the internet (well, in theory at least ha!)

    In answer to your question, most people on the course have done some kind of A level in philosophy, usually RS: Philosophy and Ethics. I took the straight Philosophy A level and I've found it's offered me little advantage, except in giving me background knowledge about Ancient Greece, and drilling Descartes' Meditations into my memory! Generally, what is more important is having a genuine interest in the subject. Background reading isn't essential, but I'm sitting here wishing I had read up more about what I'd be learning, getting used to the style of philosophical texts and working out in more detail where my interests lie. You'll probably find students with very specific interests on your course (there's always someone super passionate about a subject in each seminar). If you can find that interest, it'll work in your favour, especially come essay time!

    I think most people tend to choose the university/location over the course here to be honest; I know I certainly did and I've heard from many others that was their motivation too, the thought of being able to live in Brighton for three years often overwhelms any course doubts. I certainly wouldn't dissuade you from coming here - if you can ignore the budget cuts/student outrage, and feel comfortable with what you're being taught, if not enthusiastic - then Brighton is a wonderful place to live while you're young and can make the most of it.

    But at the same time, don't rule out Nottingham because it's 'dangerous' lol; it doesn't matter where you are in the UK, if you let yourself be vulnerable then you will likely be a victim of crime, if you look after yourself and don't act like a sheltered country nonse and avoid the 'rough' areas you'll be fine. If it was that bad in Nottingham there'd be no one left alive! And Brighton, while pretty safe in my experience, isn't some kind of haven - only a few weeks ago some bloke was killed outside a fairly well known (though pretty scummy) nightclub.
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    Yeah I went to the open day and Sussex looked so fantastic! I really hope that I'm gonna enjoy the course though if I go there, because 3 years studying something I wouldn't enjoy would be pretty tough. By the way, I applied for Philosophy and cognitive science there, do you know if that's any good? What about the psychology department? Lol I know you prob don't actually know but its worth asking!

    Back to the Philosophy department, I REALLY thought Descartes was nuts when he was writing about God in Meditations, and that put me off the whole book, please don't tell me we're gonna be studying that in detail... -.-

    Anyway, I really appreciate all the help (and I do actually like reading the long posts ^^) if there's anything else you care to tell me about the uni or the course in general, please do

    Graciaaaas
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    I am firming Sussex and studying Philosophy I thought the course seemed really interesting actually in comparison to other unis such as Kent, Southampton and Reading. Although perhaps that is due to my particular interest in the Metaphysical and Epistemological aspects of the course and the enticing paradox lecture that they gave on the open day lol.
 
 
 
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