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Overview Documenting and Investigating Human Experience

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 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 should be 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.”
BA English/Philosophy

Course content What you’ll study


All combined course students take 120 credits each year, adding up to 360 credits across the course of your degree. In the first and second year, you will split your studies equally between the English and Philosophy components of your degree. In Year Three, it’s possible to vary the balance and devote more time to either subject. You'll learn about literature and philosophy from the classical era to the modern world, and from a distinctly international perspective.

NB: This information reflects the current course content and structure, which may be revised from year to year.

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 doing literary and philosophical research, and advice on how to combine the two disciplines.

English/Philosophy students 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.

  • Approaches to Literature I (Autumn) and Approaches to Literature II (Spring) – Get a feel for the shape of literary history by studying works from the medieval, early modern, eighteenth-century and Romantic, and modern periods on these linked modules.
  • Key Concepts – A year-long foundation module that provides you with important critical and methodological contexts for the study of literature.

 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.
  • Introduction to Ancient Philosophy B (10 credits) –  The philosophy of Ancient Greece.
  • 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.
  • Early Modern Philosophy (10 credits) –  Guides you through work by philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries, addressing issues that are still actively debated.

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

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.

English/Philosophy students choose from the same English options as our single subject students. These include a choice of modules covering Medieval, Renaissance, Eighteenth-Century and Romantic, and Modern Literature, as well as Critical Questions, our World Literature offerings, and our Topic Modules.

In Philosophy, you will choose from a range of Key Ideas modules, looking in more depth at issues in some central areas of theoretical philosophy, practical philosophy, and the history of philosophy. These will help you to develop the knowledge, understanding, and skills that you'll use in more specialised investigations in your third year.

Year 3

In the third year of your degree, English/Philosophy students choose from our Advanced Option Modules in English and a wide range of specialised Philosophy modules based on our latest research, enabling you to tailor your degree to your particular interests.

In addition, all students take Philosophy and Literature, 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.

English/Philosophy students may weight their degree towards one subject or the other in Year 3 (up to a 70/50 credit split, including the required bridge module, which counts for 10 credits on each side of the degree).

Study abroad

We are proud of our international outlook. If you’re also interested in studying abroad, there are a number of options both in the English-speaking world and in Europe. 

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).

Both departments are part of our Faculty of Arts and Humanities, which is ranked in the top 25 in the 2015-16 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

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 expect an average of seven hours of contact time a week — and sometimes more, depending on which modules you choose to study.
  • Our cutting-edge research informs all our teaching activities.
  • Our staff are world-leading experts, but are friendly, approachable, and accessible – they hold two open office hours a week in English and at least one in Philosophy.
  • We organize many guest lectures and readings by well-known writers and philosophers. 


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 students to meet with staff to discuss their 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. 

[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 Where you’ll go from here

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
  • 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 How to get here

Course entry

All applications must be made through UCAS. 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.

A-levels and GCSEs

  • AAB, including an A in English at minimum (English Language and Literature is also acceptable).
  • We don’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.

Cambridge Pre-U
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
H1 (English) H2, H2, H2, H2, H3

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