Our Joint Honours degree programme allows you to combine Philosophy with one of two English pathways, either Literature or Language.
In your Philosophy studies, you will explore the great minds of history and the present day, both learning what they thought and engaging with them critically. You will focus on the fundamentals of western philosophy, including its history and contemporary concerns, with modules covering topics such as History of Philosophy, Moral and Political Philosophy, and Philosophy of Science. We also provide you with training in reasoning and logic.
If you take the Literature pathway, you will be given a strong foundation in all major periods and genres and will be able to specialise in areas ranging from medieval poetry to twenty-first century digital literary culture. You will also have the opportunity to take our specialist second-year Shakespeare modules and participate in our residential trip in Stratford-upon-Avon.
If you choose the Language pathway, you will gain a thorough appreciation of the technical aspects of the English language and its social and political context. We have a wide range of different specialisms to pursue which can prepare you for a wide range of different careers from speech therapy to journalism.
Why study this course
- Well-respected departments - We also have one of the largest concentrations of Literature and Language expertise in the UK, with over 85% of our academic research judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. Similarly, our Philosophy Department was ranked second among all Philosophy departments in the UK.
- Vibrant and inspiring environment - You will benefit from plenty of extra-curricular opportunities, from working alongside members of staff on their research projects on our Undergraduate Research Scholarships to regular social events such as end-of-term parties and summer balls. You will also be able to enjoy regular guest lectures and readings from visiting writers. Recent guests have included novelist David Lodge, poet and writer Jackie Kay, poet Simon Armitage, playwright Simon Stephens, theatre director Greg Doran and poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
- Study aboard - You will have the opportunity to experience student life in a new environment. Our programme allows you to spend the third year of your degree studying Philosophy at an overseas university.
- Shakespeare Institute and RSC collaboration - We have a unique provision for the study of Shakespeare. The Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, is a world-leading centre for international Shakespeare scholarship. You will benefit from our exciting five-year collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) which will see the reinstatement of the iconic studio theatre, The Other Place. You will be able to access creative and teaching spaces at The Other Place, as well as the expertise of RSC artists and practitioners.
- Excellent employability - 90% of our Philosophy graduates and 92% of our English graduates enter work, or full time study, within six months of graduation.
Open day talks
Four full videos on YouTube of recent open day talks relevant to this course:
The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.
Your first year of study is split equally between your two disciplines (60 credits in each subject). Following this, you have flexible options to alter your balance of study, meaning that you could take 80 credits in one subject and 40 in the other in either or both of years 2 and 3, or stay with the 60/60 balance. This flexibility allows you to tailor the course throughout your degree programme, once you have had the time and experience to consider where your strengths and interests lie. You can also write a Link Dissertation combining your two subjects in your final year.
You can see more information about the different modules and options on the links below.
Within the English side of your programme you can follow either a Literature or a Language pathway.
First year modules include Knowledge and Reality, History of Philosophy and The Individual and Society.
There are also two seminar-only modules: Philosophical Texts I, where you learn how to analyse and criticise some texts on a variety of topics, and Independent Study I, where you learn essay-writing and research skills and apply them by writing an essay on a philosophical topic of your choice.
Read more about first year Philosophy modules
In the second year, all students are given some freedom of choice, so you can pursue the topics and questions that interest and inspire you. Second year modules currently on offer include Thought and Language, Topics in the History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind and Meta-ethics.
There is also Philosophical Texts II, where you focus on a single classic book by a particular author from a range of available texts, and Independent Study II, which gives you the opportunity to further hone your essay-writing skills by writing an essay on a question of your own devising.
Read more about second year Philosophy module
In the final year there is even more choice of modules. Some areas, like ethics and metaphysics, will be familiar to you, but will be studied at a more advanced level. Others modules, like the philosophy of Schopenhauer, will be new to you.
Another option is the Philosophical Project module, for which you research and write a dissertation with the help of a supervisor who advises you and generally guides you through the process.
Read more about third year Philosophy modules
Fees and funding
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: AAB
Required subjects and grades: See 'Additional information' below
For the English Literature pathway, A level English Literature or English Language and Literature grade A is required.
For the English Language pathway either English Language, English Language and Literature or English Literature is desirable but not essential; if taken it will be required at grade A. We also consider other candidates who demonstrate an interest in and aptitude for the study of language. In this case, an A level in a modern language would be an advantage.
International baccalaureate update
Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma requirements.
We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
How to apply
Please note: When making your selection on UCAS please specify ‘Literature pathway’ or ‘Language pathway’ in the ‘Further details’ box.
Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com.
Learn more about applying.
Key Information Set (KIS)
Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.
All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.
The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.
The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.