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BA (Hons) English/Philosophy

Every day is a new intellectual adventure

Year of entry: 2023/24

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£21,950 per year

Undergraduate Open Days

Book your place for our Open Days on 1 and 2 July.

Discover York

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

Applications for this course are closed to UK (home) applicants for 2023/24. Applications for 2024/25 will open in September.

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.

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.
Tim, BA English/Philosophy

5th in the UK

for English in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

2nd in the Russell Group

for 'academic support' and 'learning opportunities' in English studies
of universities included in the National Student Survey 2022.

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.

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad during your course: 


There are opportunities to spend time in industry as part of this course.

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.


Core modules

Your core modules in English are designed to lay the foundation of literary study for your whole degree.

Get a feel for the shape of literary history by studying works from the medieval, early modern, eighteenth-century and Romantic, and modern periods.


Core modules

In Philosophy, your core modules will give you foundational knowledge and skills in both practical philosophy and theoretical philosophy and a taste of the variety of philosophical approaches pertaining to different traditions.

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.  Students who are planning to do an English dissertation in third year will also take Research Now, which prepares you for advanced research.

Option modules


You will choose from the same breathtaking range of English options as our single subject students. These include Writing Now and our Intermediate Option Modules, which allow you to deepen your understanding of the relationship between literary works and the cultural, historical, and political contexts in which they were produced:

You'll also be able to choose subjects included in our World Literature modules. Options may include:


You will choose from the same wide range of Philosophy options as our Philosophy single subject students in the areas of Theoretical Philosophy, Practical Philosophy, and History of Philosophy, including:

Theoretical Philosophy
Practical Philosophy
History of Philosophy

Year 3

In the third year of the degree, you’ll choose from options in English and Philosophy, including the year-long English Dissertation (for which Research Now in Year 2 is required) or the Philosophy Short Dissertation.

Option modules

You will also study five or six option modules (depending on whether you choose to take the year-long dissertation). In previous years, options have covered topics such as:


In English, you will choose from the department’s Advanced Option Modules. These reflect the wide-ranging and cutting-edge research expertise of the Department, and our options cover literature from the classical period to the twenty-first century, as well as film and creative writing. Students can typically choose from around 30 options. Recent offerings have included:


Our 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

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £21,950

UK (home) or international fees?

The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

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.

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).


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

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 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.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures6 hours per week
Seminars4 hours per week
Workshops0-4 hours per week
Film Screening0-2 hours per week

These figures are representative of a typical week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during term time. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.

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, social media, and public relations
  • Arts administration
  • Civil and diplomatic services
  • Film, radio, television, and theatre
  • Journalism and broadcasting
  • Law
  • Librarianship
  • Member of Parliament
  • 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, BA English/Philosophy
Solicitor, Dickinson Dees LLP

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

AAB including an A in English Literature (English Language and Literature is also acceptable)

Access to Higher Education Diploma 36 credits at Distinction, including at least 9 credits in Literature-related units, and 9 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD with an additional A Level or equivalent qualification in English Literature at grade A
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2 including D3 in English Literature
European Baccalaureate 80% overall, with 85% in English Literature.
International Baccalaureate 35 points including 6 in English Literature at Higher Level.
T levels We are currently not accepting T Levels for this course unless an additional A Level (or equivalent qualification) in English Literature has been taken.
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers Scottish Highers - BBBB

Advanced Highers - B in English Literature

We may also be able to consider three Advanced Highers or a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers, where an applicant does not meet the grade requirement through Highers alone. Please contact us to discuss your qualifications.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS, YorWay to York. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve A or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.
MOOCs If you successfully complete our online course 'Logic: The Language of Truth', you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about MOOCs.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C / Grade 4
LanguageCert SELT B2 with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic/PTE Academic Online 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

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 English language test 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.

We encourage mature students to email the Admissions Tutor for consultation and advice.

At the University of York, we are committed to providing the support our students need to achieve their full potential and have an exceptional, transformational experience. The York Access Scheme offers help to those faced with social, personal or educational challenges which have affected their performance in education. We also offer support for care leavers.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Alexandra Kingston-Reese

Learn more

Department of English and Related Literature, Department of Philosophy

Related courses

English (BA)
Philosophy (BA)

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