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Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses>Philosophy/Linguistics (BA)

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

UCAS code


Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)


3 years full-time

phil and ling general

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

Course content What you’ll study


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 exact course structure, and the modules we offer, may vary from year to year.

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. 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 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.
  • Smaller specialised Option Modules
  • A small group tutorial module

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.

List of current Linguistics modules

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; our current students choose from:

Two 20-credit and two 10-credit Philosophy modules (one of which can be replaced with an elective in another department), plus 60 credits in Linguistics;

- OR replace 20 credits in Linguistics with a further Philosophy module, an elective or a language course.

Current choices in Linguistics include:

Current choices in Philosophy are:

  • Contemporary Moral Theory
  • German Idealism: Moral, Legal and Political Philosophy
  • Metaphysics of Mind
  • Personal Identity
  • Philosophy of Art: Hume to Tolstoy
  • Philosophy of Christianity
  • Philosophy of History
  • Philosophy of Physics
  • Topics in Indian Philosophy
  • Consciousness
  • Issues in Bioethics
  • Foundations of Maths
  • Heidegger
  • Philosophy and Literature
  • Philosophy of Action
  • Philosophy of Emotions
  • Philosophy of Film
  • American Pragmatism
  • The Value and Meaning of Life
  • Special Subject: an independent research project

Study abroad

There are a number of Study Abroad options for Philosophy/Linguistics students - in Europe, North America and further afield. Some of the many opportunities are described here:

Research Excellence Framework 2014

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment, 96 percent of the Department of Philosophy's research was judged of 'international' quality, and two thirds of it 'internationally excellent' or 'world-leading'.

Language and Linguistic Science ranked 2nd in the UK for world-leading linguistics research in the same review.

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

Philosophy and linguistics department highlight

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. Linguistics is a new subject for everyone, so 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 - 15 students)
  • Tutorials
  • 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.


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.

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 Where you’ll go from here

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.

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.

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 (primary and secondary)
  • Academic research and higher/further education
  • Forensic linguistics (Forensic Speech Science).

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

Apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Decisions are usually made on the basis of the UCAS form, although in some cases we may invite you to interview.

A-levels and GCSEs

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

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

Other UK qualifications

Scottish Highers: AAAAB at Higher level

BTEC Extended Diploma: DDD

Cambridge Pre-U: D3 D3 M2

Access to HE Diploma: 30 credits at Distinction and 9 at Merit or higher

Please enquire about other UK qualifications.

International options

International Baccalaureate: 35 points

Please enquire about other international qualifications.

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

Unistats for this course

Enquire Contact our admissions tutors if you have any questions

Dr Tamar Keren-Portnoy and Dr Ann Taylor

Dr Tamar Keren-Portnoy and Dr Ann Taylor