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Degree type

BA

Course length

3 years full-time

Location

Durham City

UCAS code

QV35

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Please note: Courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Applicants will be informed of any changes which we are required to make to course entries as a result of Covid-19.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level A*AA
BTEC D*DD
International Baccalaureate 38

Course details

Joint Honours in English and Philosophy is a cross-disciplinary course, which develops and assesses skills, knowledge, and understanding across English and Philosophy, typically including a range of major philosophical and literary texts, important concepts, questions, arguments and methods. The course also fosters understanding of the relationships between English and Philosophy (through, for example, the compulsory Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism module, as well as optional modules offered by both Departments) and to develop detailed knowledge in either English or Philosophy through the preparation of a Dissertation on a chosen topic. The syllabus is equally weighted between the two subjects, although you may take one module more in one of the subjects (and therefore one less in the other) in Year 3.

Year 1

You will take three modules in English literature and three modules in Philosophy. The three first-year compulsory English modules introduce you to representative works in the major literary genres (novel, drama, and poetry), including knowledge of a range of writing before 1800. In the three first-year compulsory Philosophy modules, you will encounter the ideas and arguments of some of the major philosophers in the history of the subject, in their own writings; some central theories and arguments in the fields of Logic, Metaphysics, Epistemology, or Philosophy of Mind, broadly understood; some central theories and arguments in the fields of Moral, Political, or Social Philosophy, broadly understood.

Compulsory modules:

In the first year, you will take the following English Literature and Philosophy modules:

  • Introduction to Drama
  • Introduction to the Novel
  • Introduction to Poetry
  • Ethics and Values
  • Knowledge and Reality
  • Reading Philosophy.

Year 2

Subject to your choices of modules within the course, you will acquire and be able to demonstrate broad and detailed knowledge within the disciplines of Philosophy and English, together with an awareness of an increased variety of the ideas, concepts, and contexts relating to these disciplines.

Compulsory modules:

  • Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism
  • Moral Theory
  • One of: Philosophy of Mind
  • Language, Logic, and Reality
  • Modern Philosophy I.

Optional modules:

Another two optional modules from English Literature and one optional module from Philosophy.

Examples of optional lecture modules in English (taught by weekly lectures and four one-hour tutorials):

  • Chaucer
  • Old English
  • Old Norse
  • Old French
  • Renaissance Literature
  • Victorian Literature
  • Literature of the Modern Period
  • American Poetry.

Examples of optional seminar modules in English (taught by fortnightly two-hour seminars):

  • Jane Austen
  • Arthurian Literature
  • Germanic Myth and Legend
  • Toni Morrison: Texts and Contexts
  • The Brontës
  • Evelyn Waugh
  • Shakespeare’s History Plays
  • Romantic Plays and Players (a maximum of one may be selected).

Examples of optional modules in Philosophy:

  • Biomedical Ethics Past and Present
  • Science and Religion
  • Political Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Theory, Literature and Society
  • Philosophy of Science
  • The Philosophy of Economics and Politics: Theory, Methods and Values

Year 3

Subject to your choice of modules within the course, you will acquire and be able to demonstrate comprehensive and accurately detailed knowledge within the disciplines of Philosophy and English, exploring particular areas of specialisation in depth, as well as developing an awareness of the limitations of knowledge in each subject

The final year includes a compulsory 12,000-word Dissertation. In English this will be on a subject of your choice related to English literature. In Philosophy it will be an extensive study or survey of a philosophical problem or author.

Compulsory modules:

One from:

  • Dissertation in English
  • Dissertation in Philosophy (40 credits).

Examples of optional lecture modules in English (taught by weekly lectures and four one-hour tutorials):

  • Old English
  • Old Norse
  • Old French
  • Restoration and 18th Century Literature
  • Literature of the Romantic Period
  • Post-War Fiction and Poetry
  • American Fiction
  • Medieval Literature.

Examples of optional special topics in English (taught by fortnightly two-hour seminars):

  • Literature, Cinema and Neuroscience
  • Shakespeare on Film
  • Resistance in South Asian Postcolonial Literature
  • Writing Prose Fiction
  • Reading Joyce’s Ulysses
  • W. B. Yeats
  • Keats and Shelley
  • Elizabeth Bishop and Twentieth Century Verse
  • Nonsense Literature
  • Creative Writing Poetry
  • Writing Mountains in the Early Twentieth Century
  • Seamus Heaney
  • Jewish American Fiction
  • Mind and Narrative.

Examples of optional modules in Philosophy:

  • Modern Philosophy II
  • Philosophical Issues in Contemporary Science
  • Aesthetics
  • Twentieth Century European Philosophy
  • Applied Ethics
  • Issues in Contemporary Ethics
  • Gender, Film and Society
  • Metaphysics
  • History and Philosophy of Psychiatry
  • Ethics in Business Practice
  • Formal and Philosophical Logic.

Placement

You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Study abroad

You may apply to study abroad for an additional year between Levels 2 and 3 (transferring from BA (Hons) in English Literature and Philosophy to BA (Hons) English Literature and Philosophy with a Year Abroad). Supported by the International Office and the Department’s International Co-ordinator, you can put yourself forward for the following study abroad options:

The Overseas Exchange programme (university-wide links with institutions in North America, the Far East, Australasia, and so on). A list of the University’s current partners is available here:

The year abroad is designed to promote and develop your knowledge and understanding of other cultures and languages. It also helps to promote and develop an advanced knowledge of the national, regional and/or international frameworks in which literature is produced and categorised.

Successful year abroad applicants will take a course of study chosen in consultation with the International Co-ordinator and the host institution. Modules relating to literary study should normally comprise a minimum of 50% of those taken. There should not be significant overlap between modules taken on the Year Abroad and modules taken in Durham.

Learning

When you study English Literature at Durham you typically receive 8 contact hours per week in the first year (lectures and tutorials), 7 in the second year, and 5 in the third year (lectures, tutorials and seminars) per week. In addition, the course requires a very considerable amount of directed independent learning: a minimum of 30 hours per week, comprised of reading primary and secondary sources, writing formative and assessed essays, and preparation of tutorial and seminar assignments. From the outset the Department cultivates an ethos of research-led teaching and the acquisition of specialist study skills, as well as transferable skills. Throughout, particular emphasis is placed on small group teaching and individual academic development. The balance of contact hours across the course reflects your progression in research, analysis and writing.

In the first year, you take six modules, three in the Department of Philosophy and three in the Department of English Studies, which provide an induction into the disciplines of literary and philosophical study. Philosophical development is principally a matter of acquiring a range of reasoning skills, rather than familiarising yourself with knowledge. From the outset, the course places a strong emphasis on dialogical interaction. Lectures involve plenty of opportunities for questions and extended discussion, and tutorials consist mostly of structured, critical dialogue in the context of a friendly, supportive environment. The average contact time of 8 hours per week is supported by directed reading, tutorial preparation and essay research and writing, comprising at least 30 hours per week. Teaching methods are designed to support the directed learning model, for example, through the provision of reading lists, assignments, presentation briefs and online materials. Directed learning is also supported by the Durham University online learning environment. In addition to lectures and tutorials, four plenary sessions support and develop directed learning and study skills throughout the year and prepare you to make module choices for your second year.

In the second year, in keeping with the Department’s policy on academic progression, an increasing emphasis is placed on the development of critical and analytical skills. The curriculum continues to require you to engage with a range of periods and styles of literary and philosophical study, with modules introducing new problems in a more specific framework. You will take compulsory modules, The Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism and Moral Theory, along with two further lecture and/or seminar-based modules in each Department. These build upon lower level modules in a coherent, progressive fashion. Seminar modules have a strong research component and are taught in 2-hour, fortnightly seminar sessions, often involving individual or group presentations. Seminars involve significant preparation (c. 10 hours), typically reading assigned texts and secondary material, preparing assigned topics, and researching and preparing presentations. Individual consultation sessions allow for discussion of a plan of the first assessed essay with seminar convenors. Overall, the small group ethos is maintained in the second year. The average 7 hours of weekly contact time in Year 2 requires extensive directed learning and independent research of c. 34 hours per week.

The average contact time in the third year is 5 hours per week and you will be expected to take further responsibility for managing your own time. The curriculum, while continuing to offer support and guidance, will require you to use the skills in independent study and time management you have developed in the two preceding years. This will culminate with your dissertation, a large research project undertaken in either the Philosophy or English Department, giving you the opportunity to pursue extended creative and advanced research, and either literary analysis at a very high level, or intensive critical engagement with your own philosophical position and argument, depending on the discipline.

In addition to your dissertation, during the third year you will have the opportunity to take further specialist modules in both Philosophy and English. You will also be expected to spend at least 35 hours each week in independent study.

Throughout the undergraduate degree, you will be encouraged to participate in the Department’s extensive programme of research-related activities, including public lectures, special guest lectures, and lectures, readings and workshops by visiting UK and overseas academics and creative writers. Postdoctoral and postgraduate students regularly offer seminars and study days. In addition, you are invited to attend regular lectures and workshops on personal development and employment prospects, organised jointly by the Department and the Careers and Enterprise Centre. In addition to College mentors, who offer pastoral support, academic support is available from module tutors, seminar leaders, and module conveners, in addition to an Academic Advisor, allocated at the beginning of your degree.

Entry requirements

A level offerA*AA including English Literature (or the combined English Literature and Language or equivalent) is required.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended DiplomaD*DD and English Literature/Language (or equivalent) are required.

IB Diploma score38 with 666 in higher level subjects, including English Literature or English Literature/Language.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or from those who may have had a break in their study.
  • We welcome enquiries regarding applications for deferred entry which may be considered in special circumstances. Please contact our Admissions team.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £22,900 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £22,900 per year

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

English Studies

Of those students who graduated in 2018:

  • 93% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 72% are in a professional or managerial job
  • Average salary of £24,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)

Philosophy

Of those students who graduated in 2018:

  • 82% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 77% are in a professional or managerial job
  • Average salary of £24,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)

Department information

English Studies

English studies will appeal to people with a sensitivity to language, a love of reading and a sense of intellectual adventure.

Not only does English studies provide a thorough grounding in literary theory and the ‘great tradition’ of English literature – from Chaucer and Shakespeare through to plays, poems and novels written in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – but it also offers a wide range of imaginative and carefully designed modules.

For more information see our department pages.

Rankings

  • World Top 50 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2021.
  • 2nd in The Guardian University Guide 2021.
  • 3rd in The Complete University Guide and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see the English Studies pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • Ranked joint 3rd in the UK for Internationally Excellent and World-leadin g research (REF 2014).

Facilities

The Department is housed in a Grade II listed building, Hallgarth House and in Elvet Riverside. Both buildings are close to the University’s Bill Bryson Library and the special collections in the Palace Green Library. The Department has strong links with the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Institute for Medical Humanities, the Centre for Poetry and Poetics, which oversees the archive of the distinguished Northumbrian modernist poet, Basil Bunting, and the Institute of Advanced Study.

Durham students run their own English Society, which provides many opportunities for theatre visits, especially to the Royal Shakespeare Company season in Newcastle every year. There is also a strong tradition of student drama and music within the Department and the University as a whole.

Philosophy

Philosophy studies profound and important questions that arise in all areas of human life. At Durham University, we offer a distinctive, research-led Philosophy curriculum, incorporating considerable levels of variety and choice. Whatever you choose, you will be taught by internationally renowned experts in the field.

We are one of the UK’s top philosophy departments. The exceptionally high-quality education you receive here will equip you with criticalabilities that can be put to use in all sorts of ways and which are prized by employers.

For more information see our department pages.

Rankings

  • World Top 100 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2021.
  • 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2021.
  • 7th in The Complete University Guide 2021.
  • 7th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see the Philosophy Department pages.

Facilities

Durham Philosophy department is amongst the most prestigious departments in the UK, and we pride ourselves on our excellence in research and teaching. The Durham Philosophy community is a lively, friendly group of people including undergraduates, postgraduates and staff, committed to the pursuit of philosophical knowledge and understanding. We are an open and friendly department, which accommodates work in both ‘analytic’ and ‘Continental’ Western philosophical traditions.

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Find out more:

Use the UCAS code below when applying:

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QV35

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) handles applications for all undergraduate courses.

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