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BA (Hons) Philosophy/Sociology

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

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 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.


Happy students

Philosophy students have an overall satisfaction of 95%, and for Sociology, 94% of final year students said their experience was enhanced by the quality of teaching and the enthusiasm of our lecturers (NSS 2017).

Philosophy top 15

We are ranked 13th in the UK for Philosophy (Complete University Guide 2019).

Study abroad

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

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

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 modules on offer may change 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 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.

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.

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 Inequalities
  • 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
  • Migration and Tourism
  • The Racial State
  • Advanced Social Theory
  • Art, Tastes and Stratification
  • Performance and Society
  • Imagining Sociological Alternatives

Current choices in Philosophy:

  • 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 
  • Ethics and Public Policy
  • Philosophy of History
  • Philosophy of Physics
  • 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:

  • Understand and explain key problems, issues, and debates across a range of areas of philosophy and sociology (including some at the forefront of contemporary work) and apply this understanding in approaching new problems.
  • Address and evaluate pressing ethical and social issues effectively by systematically challenging common assumptions and applying philosophical concepts, sociological theories, and critical understanding of the complexities of present-day societies.
  • Develop and articulate ranges of alternative solutions to complex problems in an open-minded and imaginative way, and establish ways of making progress in answering questions even where it is unclear in the first instance how to proceed or what the standards for a good answer to the question might be.
  • Lay out what can be said for and against proposed solutions to philosophical problems, and make a measured judgement about what is the best solution in each case, supporting that judgement with a sustained line of argument based on the considerations raised.
  • Design and undertake ethical, responsible sociological research which draws upon appropriate qualitative and quantitative skills to produce empirically rigorous analysis of social issues.
  • Critically synthesise and communicate complex information and arguments in clear, precise, and accessible terms in appropriate formats.
  • Work effectively and creatively as a thinker, learner and researcher, individually and in collaboration with others, in a manner which is respectful of diverse views, values and the cultural positions of others.

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.

Taught by experts

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

“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 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 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 - 20 students)
  • 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.

Overall workload

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

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars216 hours180 hours156 hours

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

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This 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 Sociology which are based on Campus West. You will be taught at a variety of locations across Campus West.

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 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.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams58%33%0%
Practical exams0%0%4%

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

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 and skills

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.

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).

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Department of Philosophy

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