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James Hart

As a BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics student James Hart found the Department of Philosophy to be incredibly supportive from his visit here, right through to the present day as a graduate.

"I chose to come to the University of Reading because of its holistic focus. I came on a visit day and the philosophy staff were very interested in me, and eager to talk with me. It was inspiring to engage with professional philosophers as an A level student."

Above and beyond

James found his philosophy lecturers to be welcoming, passionate and inspiring:

"My lecturers were extraordinary experts in their areas, and always interested in me, my work, and how I was getting on. They were very much a part of the cohesive community spirit in the Philosophy Department, joining us for pub trips, or meals out.

"At Reading I never felt like I could get lost in the system. The relatively small class sizes mean that you get to know your lecturers and they get to know you on a personal level."

"During my time as an undergraduate at Reading, one of my philosophy lecturers took me to the Oxford Moral Philosophy seminar. He thought I would find it interesting, and relevant to my studies. He came with me, introduced me to various  people and made me feel very comfortable. We even went for a meal afterwards with the speaker so I could quiz her further! My lecturers frequently went above and beyond to help me with my studies.

"Even after I graduated my lecturers still continued to support me during my master's at King's College London. They still gave me advice on my work, and offered to write references. So, I stayed in touch with my lecturers and I regularly attended the research seminar on Ethics and Political Philosophy at the University."

Studying philosophy, politics and economics

James chose this course because of the excellent job prospects, and flexibility:

"In the first year you do all three subjects in equal parts, then in the second year you can choose to focus on two subjects I chose philosophy and politics because my interests lay more in the theoretical learning.

"By the end of the first year I had realised I enjoyed philosophy the most out of all three subjects: I could have converted to a single honours degree, but chose not to because the departments were very happy to accommodate my increased focus in philosophy.

"I was extremely glad of the flexibility this course offered I was able to try economics in my first year and realised it wasn't where my interests lay, without setting myself back a year. It also allowed me more module choice, as I was choosing from three departments rather than one. The University of Reading encourages you to choose modules that complement each other, coming at the same topic from slightly different angles to produce a more rounded outlook. This approach means the skills and knowledge I've learned are much more transferable. Philosophy is incredibly analytical, and when you apply it to politics, it can be very useful in understanding a lot of political theories, ideas and systems, and vice versa.

"As an undergraduate, I very much felt integrated in each department. I would often forget I was a PPE student when in an individual department, mixing with single honours students! I'm extremely glad I studied PPE I had a great experience and it's opened a lot of doors for me."

Pursuing my ambitions

James feels his degree has created opportunities for him in a variety of professions:

"The philosophy department were really supportive in terms of careers, and arranged for Reading alumni to come and give talks we had people who now work in politics, the media, the charity sector, and business. This was really encouraging it showed you that philosophy does open doors and you can do just about anything you want with a philosophy degree. This was a fantastic networking opportunity.

"My undergraduate degree at Reading definitely prepared me to embark upon further study. The philosophy department gave me a lot of advice on where to study, as it's important to choose somewhere which focuses on your specific interests.

"After I finished my master's I spent a couple of years working in a public policy role before returning to Reading, to do a PhD. After that, I hope to work in the charity sector, where there are a growing number of research and policy roles, especially around how charities can become more effective in their activities a focal area of my current research. My degree has given me an analytical, problem-solving way of looking at things, which is essential in charity work. My skillset also makes me adaptable to a variety of career paths should I change my mind. A PPE degree opens the door to working in banks, businesses, real estate, or law amongst many other professions."