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BA (Hons) Philosophy and Linguistics

Gain a deeper understanding of what language is and the role it plays in human life

2018/19 entry

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2018/19)

International fees

£16,620 per year (2018/19)

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Philosophy and Linguistics come together to create a fascinating and challenging degree which will provide you with a deeper understanding of what language is, while also enabling you to form carefully considered opinions, and think seriously and independently about major philosophical questions.

You will immerse yourself in the study of language examining syntax, phonetics, phonology and semantics. This will culminate in the realisation of how we express ourselves through language - an important aspect of what makes us human, and a key to examining your own nature and that of the world around you.

I found the programme to be particularly inspiring because of the amount of independent thought that was encouraged by my tutors in both subjects. They consistently had high expectations of the students and pushed us to be creative and come up with original solutions to the issues we were studying.
Paul, 2012 graduate

Taught by experts

Both departments feature research-led teaching, ensuring you're taught by specialists in their research area.

Study abroad

There are chances to study abroad, from a year exchange to summer schools overseas.

Course content

Taught by world-leading experts in both Philosophy and Linguistics, you have a wide range of options to choose from, reflecting the expertise of two diverse departments. We offer modules in all the central areas of Philosophy and Linguistics and you can tailor your degree to reflect your own areas of interest. The modules on offer may vary from year to year.

Study abroad

There are a number of Study Abroad options for students at York. Some of the many opportunities are described here:

Year 1

In first year we will give you a firm grounding in Philosophy by teaching you how to study, think and write philosophically and develop your skills in reasoning and argument. By introducing you to some of the central areas of Philosophy we will challenge you to form your own opinions about the bigger questions. You will also be introduced to the core areas of Linguistics though modules devoted to syntax, semantics, and phonetics and phonology, gaining an appreciation of the nuances of language and the role it plays in human life.

Our current first year modules include:

  • Reason and Argument introduces you to the language of logic, and how it can be used to clarify philosophical problems.
  • Knowledge and Perception considers the nature of knowledge, how we get it, and whether we can be sure that we have it.
  • Metaphysics explores questions about the fundamental nature of reality.
  • Beginning Philosophy introduces a wide range of philosophical topics and the skills required to study at university level.
  • Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology familiarises you with the relationship between the sounds of speech as well as the abstract linguistic system that underlies them, and the basic structure of sound systems across languages.
  • Introduction to Syntax acquaints you with the analysis of the structure of sentences and phrases, and with the theoretical frameworks involved.
  • Introduction to Semantics provides you with the tools needed to analyse meaning in language, and its use in communication.

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 you'll choose from:

  • A range of Key Ideas modules in Philosophy, looking in more depth at topics in:
    • Theoretical Philosophy (including mind, language, logic, metaphysics)
    • Value (including ethics, philosophy of art)
    • Key figures and movements in 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.

In Linguistics current modules include:

  • Introduction to Language Acquisition
  • At least one of Intermediate Syntax or Intermediate Phonetics and Phonology
  • One Linguistics option module.

Year 3

In the third year you can specialise further, choosing from a wide range of modules based on our latest research and the expertise of our staff, enabling you to tailor your degree to your particular interests.

Course structure may change from year to year.

You will take 60 credits in philosophy, and may replace one module with an elective in another Department, plus 60 credits in Linguistics. You can also replace 20 credits in Linguistics with a further Philosophy module, an elective, or a language course.

Current choices in Linguistics include:

  • Cross-linguistic Semantics
  • Formal Syntactic Theory
  • Phonological Development 
  • Articulatory and Impressionistic Phonetics 
  • Prosody of English 
  • Second Language Syntax 
  • Language as Action 
  • The Linguistics of Consumerism

Some of these modules may require previous study in that area.

Current choices in Philosophy include:

  • German Idealism: Moral, Legal and Political Philosophy
  • Personal Identity
  • Philosophy of Art: Hume to Tolstoy
  • Philosophy of Christianity
  • Consciousness
  • Issues in Bioethics
  • Foundations of Maths
  • Philosophy and Literature
  • Philosophy of Emotions
  • Language and Mind 
  • Suffering and the Good Life 
  • Analytic Aesthetics 
  • Wittgenstein and Philosophy 
  • Rationality, Morality and Economics 
  • Philosophy of History
  • Philosophy of Physics
  • Ethics and Public Policy
  • A long or short dissertation

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:

  • Produce insightful and illuminating explanations of key problems and puzzles in philosophy and linguistics and apply their understanding in approaching new problems.
  • Explore and develop potential solutions to complex problems and puzzles in philosophy and linguistics.
  • Lay out what can be said for and against these solutions, and make a measured judgement about what is the best solution in each case, supporting that judgment with a sustained line of argument.
  • Use scientifically grounded approaches to the nature, use and acquisition of language to investigate complex and unfamiliar linguistic phenomena, discern relevant patterns and articulate their relevance to linguistic and philosophical audiences.
  • Work effectively and productively as a thinker and learner, individually and in collaboration with others.
  • Communicate complex ideas in clear and accessible terms in a range of formats.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £16,620

Additional costs

This course gives a great deal of flexibility in terms of the modules you may choose to study, because of this and the fact that available modules change each year, we are only able to give you an estimate of additional costs that must be met. Course books will be available from the library, and online reading packs are available for most modules. If you choose reading group modules you may need your own copy of the book, each typically costing between £10 - £20. It is unlikely that you would take more than two or three such modules in any year.

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 accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. 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

Studying Philosophy is different from many other degrees; you need to be an active participant in your own learning, asking questions and evaluating your own thoughts, beliefs and responses. You will learn the tools of linguistic study through lectures, seminars and practicals, accompanied by set work to put your new skills into practice.

You will take part in discussions with your peers and academic staff and develop your knowledge and skills through:

  • Small group seminars (12 - 20 students)
  • Reading groups
  • Lectures
  • Written work with written feedback
  • Visiting speakers.

Every member of staff has a 'Feedback and Advice Time' every week, and students are actively encouraged to use this opportunity for one-to-one contact and informal discussion.

Overall workload

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

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars204 hours
168 hours
156 hours
Independent study996 hours
1032 hours
1044 hours

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

Independent study 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 1200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based in the departments of Philosophy and Language and Linguistics which are based on Campus West. Teaching on this course takes place at various locations across Campus West including Vanbrugh, Derwent and the newly opened Spring Lane Building.

Course location

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

You will be assessed by a combination of coursework and examinations.

Coursework includes:

  • Set exercises
  • Essays
  • Group projects
  • Oral and aural assessments.

We give feedback on your ideas in class, and provide written feedback on all your submitted work.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams50%52%28%
Practical exams0%3%0%

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

Philosophy and linguistics department highlight
In balancing theoretical creativity with empirical analysis the course has helped me develop skills in these two aspects that are so essential not only to the fields of Linguistics and Philosophy but to many other disciplines both within and beyond academia.
Paul, 2012 graduate

Careers and skills

Philosophy and Linguistics develops skills that are in great demand by employers. As a graduate, you will have many options when it comes to choosing a career path. Some of our graduates go on to further academic study or professional training in areas including law and journalism. After additional postgraduate training graduates with a passion for linguistics have the option to enter careers in: clinical linguistics (speech and language therapy), teaching, academic research and higher/further education, and forensic linguistics (forensic speech science).


Career opportunities

Previous BA Philosophy and Linguistics graduates have gone on to a range of careers including:

  • Central and local government
  • Charities
  • Finance
  • IT support and software development
  • Media
  • Marketing and communications
  • Publishing
  • Librarianship
  • Private sector management.

Transferable skills

Studying Philosophy and Linguistics develops a range of transferable skills highly sought after by employers including:

  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Constructing and defending a coherent argument
  • Grasping complex ideas
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Understanding of language and expression.

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
A levels

AAB or equivalent (A*BB, A*AC)

We will accept General Studies or Critical Thinking, but not both.

Access to Higher Education Diploma 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC BTEC National Extended Diploma: DDD
Cambridge Pre-U D3 D3 M2
International Baccalaureate 35 points
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AAAAB at Higher level

English language

IELTS: 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component

Pearson PTE Academic: 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component

Cambridge Advanced English (CAE): grade A

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): grade C

GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first language): grade C


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

Next steps

Contact us

Contact our admissions team if you have any questions

Dr Tamar Keren-Portnoy and Dr Ann Taylor

Learn more

Department of Philosophy

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