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BA (Hons) English/Philosophy

Every day is a new intellectual adventure

Year of entry: 2019

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2019/20)

International fees

£17,120 per year (2019/20)

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Combining English and Philosophy offers you one of the most wide-ranging and stimulating degrees.

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. Staff in both departments at York are world-renowned for their research, which covers every period, every major literary and philosophical genre, and all areas of the world.

You can discover more about the Department of English and Related Literature’s exciting degree programmes by watching our video.

Every day is a new intellectual adventure – find out what it’s like to study Philosophy at York.

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

Interdisciplinary teaching

You'll benefit from our interdisciplinary research and teaching with critical thinking and transferable skills.

“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.”
BA English/Philosophy

Course content

Our English/Philosophy degree has a distinctly international perspective. You’ll cover an exciting range of literary and philosophical topics, from the classical era to the modern world.

All combined course students take 120 credits each year, adding up to 360 credits across the course of your degree. In first and second year, you will split your studies equally between the English and Philosophy components of your degree. In your third year, it’s possible to vary the balance and devote more time to either subject, depending on your intellectual interests.

Study abroad

We are proud of our international outlook. If you’re also interested in studying abroad, there are a number of Study Abroad options for English and Philosophy students at York, in Europe, North America, and further afield.

Year 1

In the first year of your degree, we’ll introduce you to the undergraduate study of English and Philosophy. Our modules will give you the skills you need to start undertaking literary and philosophical research, and advice on how to combine the two disciplines.

As an English/Philosophy student, you will take the following three modules in English, which are worth 20 credits each. These modules are designed to lay the foundation of literary study for your whole degree.

In addition, you will be introduced to strategies for developing essay-writing skills, engaging with criticism and critical theory, and revising work to improve its fluency and persuasiveness, as part of the English Department’s innovative Writing at York provision.

 You will also take a further 60 credits in Philosophy:

  • Beginning Philosophy (10 credits) –  Introduces a wide range of philosophical topics and the skills required to study at university level.
  • Early Modern Philosophy (10 credits) – Guides you through work by philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries, addressing issues that are still actively debated.
  • Reason and Argument B (10 credits) – Introduces you to the language of logic and how it can be used to clarify philosophical problems.
  • Ethics (20 credits) – Explores the three main branches of moral philosophy: the nature of morality, ethical systems, and specific moral dilemmas.
  • Introduction to Ancient Philosophy B (10 credits) – The philosophy of Ancient Greece. 

Note: This information reflects our current offerings. We keep our modules under review and we may make changes in the future.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In the second year of your degree, you’ll choose from a range of intermediate modules across the English and Philosophy departments, taking 60 credits in each subject.

You will choose from the same breath-taking range of English options as our single subject students. These include Critical Practice (20 credits) and our Intermediate Option Modules (20 credits):

These also include our World Literature offerings (30 credits each) and our Topic Modules (10 credits each).

In Philosophy, you will choose from a range of Key Ideas modules (20 credits). These modules look in more depth at topics in theoretical, value, and the history of philosophy.

Theoretical Philosophy

Value in Philosophy

History of Philosophy

Note: This information reflects our current offerings. We keep our modules under review and we may make changes in the future.

Year 3

In the third year of your degree, you will choose from our Advanced Option Modules (20 credits) in English (you can typically expect to choose from around 25 options) and a wide range of specialised Philosophy modules. These all reflect the wide-ranging and cutting-edge research expertise of each department, enabling you to tailor your degree to your particular interests.

Philosophy’s current specialised 20-credit modules include the following, among others:

In addition, you will take Philosophy and Literature (20 credits), a module designed specifically for this degree pathway and taught by a member of staff from each department. One of the distinctive features of the English/Philosophy degree at York, this advanced module is the cornerstone of your combined course programme; it will provide you with a range of critical and analytical skills, and will highlight the possibilities offered by studying two disciplines.

In your third year, you may weight your degree towards one subject or the other (up to a 70/50 credit split, including the required bridge module, which counts for 10 credits on each side of the degree).

Note: This information reflects our current offerings. We keep our modules under review and we may make changes in the future.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Read philosophical and literary texts with close critical attention, clearly explaining and interpreting them and their relations to the issues, traditions and periods in which they participate, and synthesizing information from secondary sources. 
  • Develop and articulate arguments for alternative solutions to key philosophical problems in an open-minded and imaginative way, by presenting the best case that can be made for each proposal and advancing a reasoned judgement about the best solution. 
  • Analyse the power of language, rhetoric and narrative and the influence they have upon cultural, political, and ethical issues, using this awareness better to understand the world and influence others. 
  • Exercise and continually develop their independent thought and critical judgement by interrogating their own underlying assumptions and identifying strengths and weaknesses, refining their critical engagement with arguments and texts in the light of self-reflection, peer review, and advice and feedback from others. 
  • Engage analytically with contemporary social, political and ethical problems and issues of value, and display a critical awareness of cultural diversity informed by knowledge of the literatures of different varieties of English or other European languages, so developing the ability to operate in complex global and multicultural contexts.
  • Engage productively in critical discussion and debate, and therefore work effectively in collaboration with others, by cultivating advanced oral communication skills. 
  • Influence people by writing clearly, accurately and persuasively, articulating ideas and presenting systematic, logical arguments to support measured judgements, and doing so in lucid and accessible terms, to a deadline and to a professional standard.
  • Move confidently between the methods and practices of the disciplines of English and Philosophy, rigorously applying the skills appropriate to a given context whilst maintaining a creative, intellectually independent alertness to the relevance of alternative ways of thinking and the insight they can afford.

Fees and funding

The fees and funding figures below are for 2019 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year.

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £17,120

Additional costs

You'll need copies of the texts set for each module. Where possible, the Department works to arrange digital copies via the University Library. Where this is not practical, you'll be instructed in advance of the start of each term about the texts and editions you'll need to purchase (whether new or second-hand).

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

In English, you’ll learn through a programme of seminars, lectures, workshops, and one-to-one consultations. We emphasize small-group teaching, which means you’ll mainly be taught in seminars.

Teaching in Philosophy takes much the same form. The department prides itself on having smaller seminar groups than some other universities, and staff strongly encourage one-to-one conversations in open office hours.

York’s English and Philosophy degree is renowned for its flexible and innovative approach.

  • You can typically expect six to eight contact hours a week – and sometimes more. There are also numerous opportunities for informal contact.
  • Our cutting-edge research informs all our teaching activities.
  • Our friendly, approachable, and accessible staff are world-leading experts in their fields. They are each available to meet individually with you during weekly open office hours – two in English and at least one in Philosophy.
  • We organise many guest lectures and readings by well-known writers and philosophers. 
  • The English Department’s unique writing provision, designed and taught by specialist tutors, forms a practical spine for the degree, preparing you to communicate clearly and confidently on a rich variety of topics and to any audience.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars180 hours180 hours144 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1,200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of English and Related Literature and the Department of Philosophy on Campus West.

Most teaching will be nearby in Derwent College, the Spring Lane Teaching Building and other Campus West locations.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

The Department of English and Related Literature employs a variety of assessment methods, including group presentations and closed exams, but with a strong emphasis on essay writing. Your main mode of assessment will be essays, which will range from short exploratory exercises to more detailed discussions on a topic of your choice. We offer high levels of feedback and ample opportunities for you to meet with staff to discuss your written work.

Your work in Philosophy is assessed by a more or less equal mix of essays and exams – the exact blend of assessment depends on the modules you choose. In the first year, some work is assessed by online tests and poster presentation. 

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams50%35%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

[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

Careers and skills

Studying English and Philosophy at York will provide you with numerous career possibilities. You’ll learn presentation, language, and critical thinking skills during your combined degree, and gain expertise in complex analysis and research. These skills suit a range of careers, from law and teaching to national and local government and the creative industries.

Our English alumni
What Philosophy students say

Career opportunities

  • Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations
  • Arts Administration
  • Civil and Diplomatic Services
  • Film, Radio, Social Media, Television, and Theatre
  • Journalism and Broadcasting
  • Law
  • Librarianship
  • Member of Parliament
  • Postgraduate study
  • Publishing
  • Teaching

Transferable skills

  • Ability to analyse and compare complex texts
  • Communication and teamwork skills
  • Capacity to write clearly and fluently for a variety of audiences
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Data interpretation
  • Experience of researching and debating challenging topics
  • Independent study skills
  • Logic and rhetoric
  • Proficiency in presenting findings cogently and persuasively using information technology
The English part of my degree helped 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

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels
  • AAB or ABB plus A in the EPQ, including an A in English at minimum (English Language and Literature is also acceptable).
  • We don’t accept General Studies or Critical Thinking.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 36 credits at Distinction, including at least 9 credits in Literature-related units, and 6 credits at Merit or higher.
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2, including D3 in English.
European Baccalaureate 80 overall, with 85 in English.
International Baccalaureate 35 points, with 6 in Higher level English.
Irish leaving Certificate H1 (English) H2, H2, H2, H2, H3
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AAAAB at Higher level.
AA at Advanced Higher level, including an A in English.

English language

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

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

We look for intellectual and literary curiosity, open-mindedness, and analytical ability.

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

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Next steps

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Learn more

Department of English and Related Literature, Department of Philosophy

Related courses

English (BA)
Philosophy (BA)

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