>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses>English / Philosophy (BA)

Overview Human experience, through the written word

UCAS code


Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)


3 years full-time

Combining English and Philosophy offers you one of the most wide-ranging and stimulating degree courses. Encompassing almost every aspect of human thought and culture, this course will expose you to an array of ideas and ways of thinking about the world.

Choosing to study a joint degree in English/Philosophy was the best choice I could have made. I get the very best of both worlds, with an amazing range of both literary and philosophical texts and topics in my first year alone. I particularly love the ability to transfer skills and insights between subjects. Studying English and Philosophy together is daring, rewarding, and life-changing.

Course content What you’ll study


You'll equally split your time between English and Philosophy in your first year, but you'll be free to weight your degree more towards one subject or the other in your second and third years. You'll learn about literature and philosophy from the classical world to the modern world, and from a distinctly international perspective.

Year 1

We'll introduce you to several modules focusing on different sources and critical approaches.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.

Year 2

You'll choose and combine several English modules from:

In Philosophy, you'll choose modules from four different pathways:

  • History of Philosophy — How philosophy and reason have developed over time, from Ancient Greece to 19th century Germany.
  • Knowledge and Reality — Answering the question: "What is knowledge and can we really know anything at all?"
  • Language and Mind — The relation between language, the mind and how it transpires across the globe.
  • Moral Philosophy — Examining the issues behind moral dilemmas and beliefs.

Year 3

You will continue taking English Period  and Special Modules, as well as modules from the Philosophy pathways.

You'll tie the two subjects together with a Bridge Module on Philosophy and Literature

You'll also be able to weight your studies toward one subject or the other this year.

You may also take a foreign literature module this year.

Study abroad

There are a number of Study Abroad options at York. Here are some of the many opportunities you'll find here at the University:

Both departments are part of our Faculty of Arts and Humanities and ranked in the top 25 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.  

The Department of English and Related Literature is second overall in the UK for research performance and 96 percent of activity in the Department of Philosophy is judged as internationally recognised. (REF 2014)

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

Teaching format

We emphasize small-group teaching, which means you'll mainly be taught in seminars of 12-15 people. You'll also take part in workshops, attend lectures, and consult staff on a one-to-one basis. You can expect around eight hours of contact time a week – and sometimes more.

  • Our cutting-edge research informs all our teaching activities
  • Our staff are world experts, but are friendly and accessible -- they all have two open office hours a week
  • We organize many guest lectures and readings from well-known figures in the worlds of philosophy and literature.


You'll mainly be assessed through your written work. Writing tasks range from short exercises to more detailed essays on a topic of your choice.

  • Some modules include group presentations, and you'll also have a few closed exams
The English part of my degree help me develop the skill of being able to absorb and analyse large amounts of information at short notice which is a daily demand in the world of law.
Penny Darragh
Solicitor, Dickinson Dees LLP

Careers Where you’ll go from here

Studying these two subjects together will broaden your range of skills and your job prospects. Many will go on to related careers, but the skill sets you'll gain are necessary for any career.

Career opportunities

  • Law
  • Librarianship
  • Teaching
  • Central and local government
  • Charities
  • Journalism

Transferable skills

  • Communications skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Reading and writing
  • Independent study and research
  • Logic and rhetoric
[The] English and Philosophy course is very well structured, allowing for the enhancement of creative and original thought within both subjects through its interdisciplinary approach. Few universities permit the academic freedom of writing on Gustave Flaubert’s works in light of Jean-Paul Sartre’s account of the imagination!
BA English/Philosophy student

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

All applications must be made through UCAS.

Normally, we'll only interview mature candidates and those with special circumstances and/or qualifications. Interviews will usually be a half-hour conversation about your literary interests. We’ll also ask you to bring along some of your recent essays.

A-levels and GCSEs

  • AAB, including A in English.
  • We'll ask for a grade in English Literature, or English Language and Literature.
  • We won't accept General Studies or Critical Thinking.

Other UK qualifications

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

  • AAAAB at Higher level.
  • AA at Advanced Higher level, including an A in English.

D3, D3, M2, including D3 in English.

Access to HE

  • 30 credits from units awarded Distinction.
  • 9 credits from units awarded Merit or higher.

International options

International Baccalaureate
35 points, with 6 in Higher level English.

Irish Leaving Certificate
AAAABB, including A1 in English.

European Baccalaureate
80 overall, with 85 in English.

English language

Our English language requirements for international applicants can be found on our Entry Requirements page.

Unistats for this course

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions