BA English and Philosophy

Start date
September
Duration
3 Years
UCAS code
QV3M
Course Type
Undergraduate, Joint Honours combined
Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee.
Fees for 2019/20:
£9,250 (Home/EU)
£17,640 (Overseas)
More detail.

Imaginative, persuasive expression in the study of English Literature or Language is a complementary pairing with different philosophical perspectives as you discover how literary culture has shaped society, and how society has shaped literary culture.

You will choose either a Literature or Language pathway to study alongside Philosophy. At Birmingham, you will have access to world-class talent in philosophical fields as diverse as metaphysics and epistemology, philosophy of language and mind, ethics and ethical theory.

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.  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.  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 module and the possibility of participating in our residential trip in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The course allocates plenty of time on each philosophical question, which allows us to fully analyse the problem and experiment with different ideas. This makes essay writing much easier, especially with the extra support from my lecturers that is available to me.

Lorcan

Why Study this Course?

  • Top 50 world ranking – English Language and Literature at the University of Birmingham is ranked in the Top 35 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2019.
  • Well-respected departments - We 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 latest Research Excellence Framework. Furthermore, our Department of Philosophy was ranked in the Top 5 in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. This is the fourth consecutive year that we have ranked in the Top 5.
  • Vibrant and inspiring environment - You can 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.
  • 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 has seen 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 student experience - Over 92% of our students said they were satisfied with the course overall in the National Student Survey 2018. 

Open day talks

Four full videos on YouTube of recent open day talks relevant to this course:

Modules

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

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 see more information about the different modules and options that may be available on the links below. Within the English side of your programme you can follow either a Literature or a Language pathway.

First Year

English Language : Your first year modules will introduce you to many different aspects of language and its use. You will take three compulsory modules: 'English Language: Sounds, Structures, and Words', 'Investigating Language', and 'Theories of Language'. These modules combine to create an excellent foundation for your study and research in subsequent years.

English Literature: Your first-year modules in Joint Honours English will introduce you to the key genres of English Literature across a wide historical and international span, and train you in new ways of thinking about literature. By studying compulsory modules on 'Poetry', 'Prose' and 'Plays and Performance', you will develop the close reading skills needed to analyse all kinds of texts, from medieval plays and early modern poetry to contemporary drama. You will also develop new understanding of how the historical and cultural contexts in which literature is produced and read can shape its meaning.

Philosophy:

Philosophy's first year modules will provide you with a thorough grounding in mainly mainstream western philosophy. You will take our compulsory modules, Problems of Philosophy, Reasoning and Logic, as well as 20 credits of optional modules.

See our first year Philosophy module descriptions (compulsory and optional)

Second Year

English Language : In your second year you will take two compulsory modules: 'Research Skills in English Language' if taking 60 credits and 'English Grammar' if taking 80 credits, as well as a range of optional modules.

English Literature : The second year of your degree is an excellent opportunity to build on the new interests and passions that you discovered in your first-year modules. You can choose between modules in 'Histories of Literature' to deepen your knowledge and understanding of all literary periods from medieval to the present day. If you take 80 credits in English you will take the Shakespeare module - 'Shakespeare: Elizabethan and Jacobean' - as a compulsory module.

Philosophy

In second year, there are no compulsory Philosophy modules and you can pursue the topics and questions that interest you the most. Depending on your chosen balance of study, you chose 40, 60 or 80 credits from our range of optional modules.

See our second year Philosophy module descriptions

Year abroad

You can apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world. If you achieve a grade of 2.1 or above in your first year then you will be invited to apply for a Year Abroad in your second year. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year. Find out more.

Final year

English Language : Your final year modules are mainly optional and you can choose from a wide range of modules. If you will take 80 credits in English, you will complete either a Dissertation or Language Investigation, the culmination of your development as an undergraduate researcher.

English Literature : Depending on whether you elect to take 80, 60 or 40 credits in English Literature, you will take a number of the Special Subject modules plus either a 12,000-word Dissertation or a 6,000-word Extended Essay on a subject of your choice, for which you will be supervised by an expert in the field.

Philosophy

As in second year, there are no compulsory Philosophy modules in your final year however, you will be expected to undertake an independent research project. Joint Honours Philosophy students can chose to do this in either of their two disciplines. If you do a project in your other discipline, you are not obliged to do another in Philosophy.

See our final year Philosophy module descriptions

 

Joint Honours Flexibility

Every degree programme at the University is divided into 120 credits of study for each year of the programme. In the first year of a Joint Honours programme, you will study 60 credits in each subject as you learn the core elements of the disciplines. We recognise that students on Joint Honours programmes might come to favour one subject slightly more than another. To account for this, we have added more flexibility into the second and final years of our programmes. In the second year, you can stick with the 60-60 split between the two subjects or shift to a 80-40 credit weighting, effectively a major/ minor combination. You can either go back to 60-60 in the final year, maintain the same 80-40 split or reverse the major and the minor and go to a 40-80 weighting.

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,250
  • Overseas: £17,640

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

How To Apply

Please note: When making your selection on UCAS please specify ‘Literature pathway’ or ‘Language pathway’ in the ‘Further details’ box.

Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB

For the English Literature pathway, A level English Literature or English Language and Literature grade A is required.

For the English Language pathway, A level in English Language, English Literature, English Language and Literature or a Modern Foreign Language is preferred. We also welcome applications from candidates who can demonstrate an interest in and an aptitude for the study of language, so other combinations of complementary Humanities and Social Science subjects will be considered. Please contact us to discuss.

IB Diploma:
6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM, plus an A at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus an A at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A-level, including an A in the required A-level subject/s mentioned above.

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

International Students

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 one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

When you pull the lever, you causally intervene in the sequence of events. You aim that trolley at this person. You’re not intending that this person die, but you could nevertheless be said to be responsible for killing this person, not just letting them die.

Dr Iain Law

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Wellbeing officers - We have dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
  • Academic Skills Centre - The centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

Contact hours

On the English side of your degree, you can expect about 6 contact hours per week on both the Literature and Language pathways.

For the Language pathway this will be made up of a combination of workshops, lectures and seminars. In your second and final years this will also include 1 to 1 supervision meetings with a lecturer who will support you as you conduct independent research.

Literature classes will be made up lectures and seminars and the independent research you will conduct in your final year will be supported by 1 to 1 supervision meetings with a lecturer.

Outside of this timeframe, lecturers will be on hand during office hours to answer questions and the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Careers Network run workshops throughout the academic year.

On the Philosophy side of your degree, you can expect approximately 4 contact hours each week throughout the course of your programme. Contact hours will vary across the years of the programme depending on the optional modules you take and as independent study becomes more of a focus. 

Contact hours will be a combination of lectures and seminars and the independent research that you conduct in your final year will be supported by 1 to 1 supervision meetings with a lecturer.

Assessment Methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

Year one

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Year two

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Year three

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

By studying an English and Philosophy degree at the University of Birmingham, you will acquire skills highly sought after by employers within the graduate job market.

  • Understanding complex information
  • Intellectual analysis
  • Writing clearly and effectively
  • Building a case to critically assess a particular point of view
  • Respecting the views of others even if they disagree with you
  • Generally thinking for yourself

You will also be encouraged to acquire practical skills that you will find useful in your future career, including oral presentation, professional documentation, time management, teamwork and the uses of information technology.

English and Philosophy graduates go on to pursue highly successful careers in professions such as:

  • Law
  • Journalism
  • Teaching
  • Management consultancy
  • Local government
  • Publishing
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Advertising
  • Charity

Therefore, a degree in English and Philosophy from the University of Birmingham opens doors to a wide range of careers. Some graduates even choose to progress to further study, not just in English and Philosophy but in Law, Education, Politics, International Development, Sociology and other areas.

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.