BA English Literature and Philosophy

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

Annual tuition fees for 2023/24:
£9,250 (UK)
£21,780 (International)
More detail.

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

At Birmingham, you'll 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 undergraduate Philosophy studies, you'll explore the great minds of history and the present day, both learning what they thought and engaging with them critically. By studying Philosophy as a Joint Honours degree with English Literature, you'll 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'll also have the opportunity to take our specialist second-year undergraduate Shakespeare module and the possibility of participating in our residential trip in Stratford-upon-Avon. 

 

Studying English and Philosophy has taught me to engage with texts critically, whilst simultaneously enhancing my command of English. The University offers a wide range of modules to tailor your degree to your interests and as a Joint Honours student, I get the best of both worlds through my two disciplines.

Joi

Why study this course?

  • Get a head start in the graduate market - kick start your career with our employability modules, including options that provide a minimum of 70 hours' work experience within a sector you're interested in, assist organisations with developing, planning and pitching their business proposals and get involved with public engagement projects.
  • Do more than read books - take advantage of the wide ranging expertise within our academic community and delve into the study of social media, marketing, textual production, video games, comics, art, music and film and TV. 
  • Fantastic module variety - the amount of optional modules on offer will allow you to specialise more as you progress through your degree course, so that you can study areas of the discipline that interest you the most. Some module examples include Minds, Brains and Computers: Issues in Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Reasons to Believe: Topics in Epistemology and Fantastic Beasts and How to Understand them and Topics in Philosophy of Biology. 
  • Get on board with the bard - where better to study Shakespeare than in the town where he was born! Make use of our internationally renowned Shakespeare Institute based in Stratford-upon-Avon and collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company and take part in fun and interactive study trips, such as the Stratford Residential, which includes creative sessions led by RSC artists and tickets to an RSC performance.
  • A city that values the Arts and Humanities as much as you do - did you know that inspiration for parts of The Lord of the Rings came from our very own campus (our clock tower Old Joe is thought to be the black tower of Isengard)! Explore Birmingham’s literary scene and get involved with the numerous on-campus writers groups, including our very own newspaperradio and TV stations. Delve into the various city-wide literature festivals and take advantage of our exceptional resources, including our special collections and archives in the Cadbury Research Library and the Library of Birmingham, Europe’s largest regional library.

Open day talks

Modules

Please note: You will take 120 credits of modules in each year of study. 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 2023. 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.

 

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.

First year

Compulsory English Literature modules

  • English in the World
  • Poetry
  • Prose
  • Reading English

Detailed descriptions of first year compulsory modules 

Philosophy compulsory modules

  • Problems of Philosophy A (10)
  • Problems of Philosophy B (10)
  • The Philosopher's Toolkit A or B (20)
  • Moral and Political Philosophy (20) or Reasons to Believe (20)

Detailed descriptions of Year 1 compulsory modules

Second year

Optional English Literature modules

  • 80; 60 or 40 credits of optional English Literature modules

List of second year optional modules 

Philosophy

The optional modules are divided into three categories that represent three core areas of philosophy: history
of philosophy; ethics and social philosophy; epistemology metaphysics, and philosophy of mind and
language. These groupings are the following (the modules are indicative and subject to change):

Group A: Science and Nature, Logic: Its Limits and Scope, Philosophy of Mental Health
Group B: Feminist Philosophy, Sex, Ethics and Philosophy
Group C: Experience and Reason, Aesthetics through History

  • 60 or 80 credits in Philosophy - choose optional modules from at least two groups 
  • 40 credits in Philosophy - can choose two modules from one group

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, you will be eligible 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

Compulsory module

  • English Language Dissertation or Philosophical Project 

Optional English Literature modules

  • 80; 60 or 40 credits of optional English Literature modules

List of final year optional modules 

Philosophy compulsory module

  • Philosophical Project (20) if a dissertation or similar independent study module is not taken in English OR Philosophical Project (40) if a dissertation or similar independent study module is not taken in English (two other 20 credit Philosophy modules will also need to be taken if you do the 40 credit Project)

Detailed description of Final Year compulsory module

You will also take your remaining Philosophy credits in optional modules

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2023, 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 2023/24 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • International: £21,780

Eligibility for 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 UK for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as International 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

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB

A-level English Literature or English Language and Literature.

IB Diploma:
6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall including the relevant subject mentioned above.

BTEC qualifications:

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

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

Pathways to Birmingham

The University of Birmingham has a long history of welcoming students from a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds. We are proud to offer prospective applicants at one of our partner institutions the support of our Pathways to Birmingham programmes to access a degree at the University.

We have a range of initiatives for Year 12 students to help make informed decisions about higher education. Our Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme, for Year 13 students, allows participants to experience university study and prepare for the transition to university.

Successful completion of one of our Pathways to Birmingham programmes means students may be eligible for extensive financial support and an alternative offer, typically up to 2 grades below the standard offer, along with other benefits.

To find out more, please visit the Pathways to Birmingham webpage.

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

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to higher education when you start at Birmingham. 

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 –You will also have access to 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 to talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it.

Our Academic Skills Centre helps you to 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.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) provides guidance on writing essays and dissertations if you need it. You can receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects too.

Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, including trips.

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.

learning-teaching-english

Contact hours

On the English Literature side of your degree, you can expect about 6 contact hours per week, 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.

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 exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within three 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. 

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. 

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. 

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

The University of Birmingham is the 4th most targeted university by the country’s top graduate employers according to The Graduate Market 2022 report. Our Careers Network are here to offer you tailored, expert advice on your career plans and support you with finding and applying for jobs, internships and further study. There are hundreds of events to help you meet potential employers and learn more about the breadth of opportunities and career sectors available to you.

Support will be offered to you covering the whole job application process, including CVs, LinkedIn, application forms, interviews and assessment centres.  You can also email our experienced Careers Advisers and College Teams to review your applications or answer any careers related question, alongside our on campus and online 1:1 appointments.

We have a number of exclusive Internship Programmes such as our Cultural Internships, which will give you paid, professional experience to set you apart in the graduate market. We also offer work experience bursaries, which allow you to apply for funding to support you during any unpaid internships. 

First years can take part in the The Birmingham Project, with themes including celebrating arts and culture and shaping a global society. There’s also a successful Mentoring Programme, where you can gain access to experienced Mentors who can empower, inspire and inform you about their experiences.  As a University of Birmingham student you will also be given access to LinkedIn Learning giving free access to real world training courses to kick start your careers.

If you want to earn money WorkLink advertises convenient part-time job opportunities on campus to fit round your studies.  

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you may want to engage in extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and your network of contacts. Our employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme.

There are more than 500 student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students (our Students’ Union) so you’re bound to find activities that you want to be involved in whilst meeting friends who share your interests.

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities