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Transferable Skills


The Philosophy Tripos enables students to develop the following transferable skills:

Intellectual skills (e.g. critical, analytical, synthesising and problem-solving skills)

These skills are all central to the study of Philosophy. Responsibility for fostering them is divided between the Faculty and the Colleges. They are developed in lectures, classes, discussion groups, seminars, supervisions and examinations.

Communication skills (written and oral)

Writing skills are practised in weekly essays, submitted essays and dissertations. Since it is principally supervisors who help students to improve their writing, this aspect of their development is primarily the responsibility of Directors of Studies.

Responsibility for the development of oral skills falls both to the Faculty, which organises discussion groups and seminars in which students debate philosophical issues, and to Directors of Studies, who arrange supervisions for students and in some cases run College seminars.

Since philosophy students are mainly supervised individually or in pairs, they have plenty of opportunity to develop their oral skills through philosophical discussion. Within the University there are also societies and reading groups where students can refine their oral skills.

Organisational skills (e.g. working independently, taking initiative,time-management.)

Philosophy students are, from the beginning of their course, encouraged to work independently and to explore problems on their own initiative. Lecturers and supervisors encourage these skills by providing bibliographies, and referring to articles or books which students may then go and read. An independent approach is also fostered by the fact that students are free to attend any lectures given for the Philosophy Tripos (and indeed any lectures given in the University). Furthermore, submitted essays and Part II dissertations require students to make informed choices and enable them to follow up their own interests.

The task of developing an ability to use time productively falls mainly to Directors of Studies and Supervisors, who discuss with students ways of managing the demands imposed by their course.

Inter-personal skills (e.g. ability to work with or motivate others,flexibility/adaptability)

The ability to work with other people is fostered in Faculty discussion groups, classes and seminars, in supervisions where students are taught together, and in College groups of Philosophy students. Once again, responsibility for developing these skills is shared between the Faculty and the Colleges.

Research Skills

Philosophy undergraduates are encouraged to learn some research skills. The Faculty Librarian and College Librarians are available to show them how to use basic library resources (books and IT), and Directors of Studies and Supervisors give them advice about how to search for information on particular topics. Students who write dissertations are, in effect, supervised on a small piece of research in much the same fashion as M.Phil. students.