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

Overview Consider self and society, cultivating valuable skills in critical thinking, reasoning and analysis

UCAS code


Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)


3 years full-time

Philosophy and Sociology complement each other, giving you a deeper understanding of human behaviour, social norms, morality, and the workings of the mind. You will study some of the greatest and most influential thinkers whilst exploring the relationship between self and society.

Taught by world-leaders in their fields, this exciting and challenging degree will cultivate valuable skills in critical thinking, reasoning, analysis, creative problem-solving and communication, equipping you for a wide range of careers.

Philosophy and Sociology appealed to me because of the range of topics covered throughout the three years.
Beth, Third year Philosophy/Sociology 2015

Course content What you’ll study


Studying Philosophy is an engaging yet demanding activity that will challenge your thinking, giving you a greater understanding of your own nature and that of the world around you. In Sociology you will build on this by exploring issues such as globalisation, inequalities and social change and how these relate to individual and social identities.

Benefiting from the expertise of two large and diverse departments you have a wide range of options to choose from. We offer modules in all the central areas of Philosophy and Sociology 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 ensure that you gain a firm grounding in Philosophy by teaching you how to study, think and write philosophically and develop your skills in reasoning and argument. We will introduce you to some of the central areas of Philosophy and challenge you to form your own opinions about the bigger questions. In Sociology, you will be introduced to core elements of the subject, including sociological methodology and key concepts.

Our current modules include:

  • Beginning Philosophy introduces a wide range of philosophical topics, and the skills required to study at university level.
  • Early Modern Philosophy guides you through work by philosophers of the 17th and 18th century, addressing issues that are still actively debated.
  • Ancient Philosophy introduces the philosophy of ancient Greece.
  • Reason and Argument introduces you to the language of logic, and how it can be used to clarify philosophical problems.
  • Ethics explores the three main branches of moral philosophy: the nature of morality; ethical systems and specific moral dilemmas.
  • Cultivating a Sociological Imagination encourages you to think about a range of issues such as social class, race and ethnicity and popular culture from a sociological perspective.
  • Introduction to Sociological Theory teaches you about foundational and cutting-edge contemporary texts in sociological theory.

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.

You can also choose from a range of Sociology modules - note that these will change year to year - that will challenge you to think critically about issues in contemporary society.

Current modules include:

  • Gender, Sexuality and Diversity
  • Popular Culture, Media and Society
  • Contemporary Political Sociology
  • Social Interaction and Conversation Analysis
  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Science and Society
  • Divisions and Inequalities: Race and Ethnicity, Religion and Class
  • Social Research Methods (Sociology) - ONLY required for students planning to do a Sociology dissertation.

Year 3

In the third year you can specialise further, choosing from a wide range of modules based in our latest research, and supported by subject experts enabling you to tailor your degree to your particular interests.

Course structure may vary in future years. Our current students choose two Philosophy and two Sociology modules, then:

  • A Sociology dissertation

or a combination of:

  • further modules in Philosophy or Sociology
  • electives in another department
  • a language module.

Current choices in Sociology:

  • Analysing Doctor-Patient Interactions
  • Body, Identity and Society
  • Cinema, Cities and Crime
  • Humans and Other Animals
  • Paranormal in Society
  • Birth, Marriage and Death
  • Migration and Tourism
  • The Racial State

Current choices in Philosophy:

  • 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/Sociology students - in Europe, North America and further afield. Some of the many opportunities are described here:

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Sociology was ranked 1st in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework and 96 percent ‌of the Philosophy Department's research activity was rated as ‌'internationally recognised' in the same review. 


Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

Teaching format

Studying Philosophy and Sociology, you need to be an active participant in your own learning, asking questions and evaluating your own thoughts, beliefs and responses. 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
  • Debates
  • 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 essays and examinations, critical literature reviews, exercises that test analytical skills, research methods exercises and the extended Sociology dissertation. We give feedback on your ideas in class, and provide written feedback on all your submitted work.

Both the Philosophy and Sociology Departments are incredibly welcoming. Everyone I've spoken to, from lecturers to reception staff, has always been friendly and helpful.
Jhansi, Second year Philosophy/Sociology 2015

Careers Where you’ll go from here

Philosophy and Sociology develops skills that are in great demand by employers and graduates have a lot of choice when it comes to which career path they follow.

Career opportunities

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

  • Central and local government
  • Media and the creative industries
  • Charities
  • Finance
  • IT management
  • Accountancy
  • Education
  • The health sector.

Transferable skills

Studying Philosophy and Sociology develops skills highly sought after by employers including:

  • Critical thinking
  • Reasoning and analysis
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Communication.

Some graduates go on to further study. Of our recent graduates, around 30% have gone on to further academic study or professional training in areas including law and journalism.

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.

How to apply

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