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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

Year of entry: 2020

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAB/A*BB/A*AC (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fees

£17,890 per year (2020/21)

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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, BA Philosophy and Linguistics graduate

Study abroad

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

Highly ranked

We have 94% overall satisfaction for Linguistics from our student responses to the National Student Survey (NSS 2019). We are top 10 in the UK for graduate prospects for Linguistics (Complete University Guide 2020) and top 100 for Linguistics (QS World Rankings by Subject 2019).

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 opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

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'll consider the nature of knowledge, and explore the fundamental nature of reality.

You'll 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. We'll teach you about the relationship between the sounds of speech, as well as the abstract linguistic system that underlies them. You'll study the structure of sentences and phrases, and analyse the meaning in language and its use in communication.

Our current first year modules include:

Academic integrity module

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

Year 2

Your second year modules will help you to develop the knowledge, understanding, and skills that you'll use in more specialised investigations in your third year.

You'll study two core modules:

You'll also take a 20-credit Key Ideas module from Philosophy, and a 20-credit Linguistics module such as:

Key Ideas modules look in more depth at topics in theoretical philosophy (including mind, language, logic, metaphysics), value (including ethics, philosophy of art) and key figures and movements in the history of philosophy. Examples include:

Your remaining module choices will be:

  • Linguistics option module, or an elective, or Languages for All (LFA) module worth 20 credits
  • A further Key Ideas module (20 credits)


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. You'll take 60 credits in Linguistics. You can replace 20 credits in Linguistics with a further Philosophy module, an elective, or a language course.

A wide range of choices for Linguistics is offered, usually including 20-credit modules such as:

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

Current 20-credit choices in Philosophy include the following, among others:

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 £17,890

Additional costs

This course gives a great deal of flexibility in terms of the modules you may choose to study. You may choose to buy your own copies of the texts although course books will be available from the library, and online reading packs are available for most modules. 

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'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2020/21 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 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

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. In your first year we offer you extra study support in several ways. You can work with other students with our Peer Assisted Learning programme, add an optional contact hour with one of our staff each week as well as receive designated support with easing into university life.

Overall workload

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures6-7 hours per week
Seminars4-5 hours per week
Workshops3 hours per week

These figures are based on an average student in an average week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for classes, 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 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.

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

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
Seminar group teaching
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, BA Philosophy and Linguistics 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 Typical offer
A levels


Access to Higher Education Diploma 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2
International Baccalaureate 35 points

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:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in Listening, 21 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 21 in Writing
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 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).

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Tamar Keren-Portnoy and Dr Dominic Watt

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Department of Philosophy

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