English and Philosophy BA

   
   
  

Fact file - 2019 entry

Duration
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
AAB/A*BB
Required subjects
A/A* in English (language, literature or combined)
IB score
34 (6 in English at Higher Level) 
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places
12 
School/department
 
We are still currently taking applications for 2018 entry

Overview

This course combines a rigorous training in analytical philosophy with the opportunity to study English language, literature and drama from Old English to the present day.
Read full overview

This course combines a rigorous training in analytical philosophy with the opportunity to study English language, literature and drama from Old English to the present day. You will develop important skills in clear thinking, argument, the use of language, and independent study.

Year one 

In English, you have a choice of three core modules from the areas of English language, modern English literature, medieval studies and drama. In philosophy, you will be introduced to the subject through a series of core modules in central philosophical problems and you will also be able to choose optional modules.

Year two

In English, you will choose core modules to develop your studies in at least two areas of the discipline. You will also have the opportunity to choose one literary period option, to explore how and why literature can be read in terms of an historical 'age' or 'epoch'. In philosophy, you will choose from a variety of optional modules, which will build on material studied in year one, allowing you to develop and broaden your philosophical skills and knowledge.

Year three

You choose from a wide range of modules enabling you to specialise in key areas of English. Joint honours students enjoy the same wide range of final-year options in English as single honours. In philosophy, there will be free choice from a wide variety of more advanced modules, including the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of your own choosing.

More information 

See also the School of English.
 

Entry requirements

A levels: AAB/A*BB with A/A* in English A-level (literature, language or combined).

We do not require any particular A-level subjects to study philosophy, and we are happy to accept most A-level qualifications. However, we are looking for a combination of A-level subjects that shows you are prepared to embark on degree-level study of philosophy; this requires the capacity to make sense of often difficult material, think critically about the different arguments and ideas you encounter, and communicate the results of your thinking in written and verbal form.

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted for A level.

Please feel free to contact the departments for further advice.

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications 

For details please see the alternative qualifications page

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  
 

Modules

The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules

Core

Reasoning, Argument and Logic

This module teaches you practices of good reasoning, argument, and logic, as well as other skills relecant to philosophical study. Topics might include philosophical essay writing; how to identity, produce, and assess arguments; forms of argument; fallacies and other standard errors of argument; conceptual analysis; basic philosophical vocabulary; the use of thought experiments.

 
Mind, Knowledge and Ethics

This module covers issues in ethics, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind. Topics might include the mind body problem, the nature of persons, perception, knowledge, free will, the nature of ethics, normative theories, the problem of moral motivation, and the nature of ethical judgements.

 

English options

You must choose three out of these four modules:


Optional

History of Politics: Ancient to Modern
This course offers an introduction to a range of figures, topics, and traditions in the Western philosophical tradition. These might include: conceptions of the good life in ancient Greek ethics; the relation of reason and tradition in classical Islamic philosophy; Renaissance humanism and the rise of science; the education of mind and character; philosophies of gendered, racial, and caste oppression; philosophy and the colonial experience in Afro-Caribbean philosophy; and existentialism and the authentic life.
 
Metaphysics, Science and Language
The module will cover topics from each of Metaphysics, Epistemology and the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of language. Indicative questions include: metaphysics – why is there something rather than nothing? Does it make sense to talk of a telos, or purpose, to the universe? Is the universe deterministic, or is there chance; philosophy of science – is science the guide to all of reality? Is there a scientific method; philosophy of language – what is truth? Is truth relative? Does language create reality?
 
Philosophy of Religions
This module will explore the thought about religion of a few key philosophical thinkers chosen from more than one tradition.  Representative thinkers might include, but are not limited to, atheists such as Feuerbach and Nietzsche, Buddhists such as Śāntideva and Dōgen, Christians such as Augustine, Pascal and Weil, Hindus such as the writers of the Upanisads and Shankara, Jews such as Spinoza and Buber, Muslims such as Mulla Sadra and Nasr, and Taoists such as Zhuangzi; in some years, more contemporary thinkers might be chosen.  The texts will be used to raise issues of wider philosophical significance, such as the variety of conceptions of ultimate reality; goals for the spiritual life; the nature of religious experience; the relations of religion and morality; explanations of suffering and evil; human nature and continuing existence after death; and problems of religious diversity.  While such content may vary from year to year, each year will focus on a few key thinkers and themes.
 
Philosophy and the Contemporary World
This module addresses issues of contemporary concern, arising from unattractive features of human life in its current forms. Topics might include: the purpose of education; is there a right to higher education; who should pay for higher education; free speech *why value free speech; censorship and pornography, hate speech and safe spaces; identity and prejudice (race and racial politics; homophobia; transphobia; intersex; class, disability; representation of religion in politics; psychology of bias); civic responsibility (animals and the environment; ‘bullshit’, truth, and post-truth politics; suffrage; media culture); global justice (war; terrorism; world hunger; migration and refugees); ethics and technology (human enhancement; drugs and sport; artificial intelligence).
 
Gender, Justice, and Society
Proposed topics include: what is justice? What is gender justice? What would a just organization of labour and resources look like? How does the gendered distribution of labour and resources affect this? What is autonomy? How does gender affect the way we understand autonomy? What is culture, and why does it matter? How should the state respond to cultural differences? What should feminists say about this? Is violence justified? How can we make sense of gender-based violence? Should there be a distinction between the public and the private? Does it make sense to think of our personal lives as ‘political’?
 
 
Typical year two modules
Optional

The Nature of Meaning

The module begins with an exploration of various theories of naming, paying particular attention to the works of Frege, Russell, and Kripke. We then turn our attention to various puzzles concerning the nature of meaning, including the distinction between analytic and synthetic sentences. In the final part of the module, we move on to a discussion of some of the mainstream theories of meaning; particularly, a truth-conditional semantics, and we explore how this might be developed to take into account indexical terms such as 'I', 'now', and 'here'. You’ll have a weekly two hour lecture and one hour seminar.

 
Freedom and Obligation

This module combines consideration of the political philosophy of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and J.S. Mill with related themes in contemporary debates. The module is designed to introduce you to each of the thinkers and then to consider how related issues are treated by contemporary writers. You’ll have a weekly two hour lecture and one hour seminar.

 
Mind and Consciousness

This module aims to introduce you to some of the major issues within contemporary philosophy of mind. We will examine four topics and the interactions between them: intentionality, consciousness, mental causation and the status of physicalism. You’ll have a weekly two hour lecture and one hour seminar.

 
Knowledge and Justification

This module explores contemporary treatments of issues pertaining to knowledge and the justification of belief. It addresses issues such as the following: the structure of justification and its relation to one's mental states and evidence; the justification of induction; the notion of a priori justification and the relation between your evidence and what you know, among others. You’ll have two hours of lectures some weeks and a hour-long lecture with an hour-long seminar on others throughout the semester.

 
Normative Ethics

You’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the main positions in contemporary normative ethics; their variations, strengths, weaknesses and historical precedents. You’ll have a weekly two hour lecture and one hour seminar.

 
Being, Becoming and Reality

In this module you’ll discuss several advance topics in metaphysics. The module will cover a broad range of topics including existence, nothingness and truthmaking, and truthmakers. Theories of substance, identity, constitution and composition will be explored, among others to enhance the skills required to carry out research in philosophy. The teaching will be delivered through a mixture of lectures and seminars.

 


English options

You must choose three modules in English covering at least two of the following areas:

Literature 1500 to the Present

From Talking Horses to Romantic Revolutionaries: Literature 1700-1830
This module introduces you to a range of literature written between 1700-1830. This was a dramatic and turbulent period in literary history where anything was possible and many roles were reversed. Writers produced texts about contemporary issues such as class, poverty, sexuality, slavery, and the city, but also had their eyes firmly on the past. They took every available opportunity to promote their own agendas and to savage and ridicule those of their political and literary opponents. You’ll examine a wide-range of literature considering the political, social and cultural contexts of the period.

Literature and Popular Culture
This module will give you an understanding of the relationship between literature and popular culture, as you explore works from across a range of genres and mediums such as prose fiction, poetry, comics, graphic novels, music, television and film. In addition to exploring topics such as aesthetics and adaptation, material will be situated within cultural, political and historical contexts allowing for the distinction between the literary and the popular.

Modern and Contemporary Literature
This module will familiarise you with relevant aesthetic, generic, and literary-historical strategies for tracing formal and thematic transformations in 20th and 21st century literature. Moving between genres, the module will unfold chronologically from modernism, through the inter-war years, and into the ‘contemporary scene’ up to the present day.

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Page
This module focuses on material written between 1580 and 1630 to provide you with an introduction to methods of reading early modern texts. Shakespeare’s poetry will be among the core texts; other canonical writers will include Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney and John Donne. You’ll explore the practice of historicised readings of early modern texts and you’ll consider the related challenges and limitations. 

Victorian and Fin de Siècle Literature: 1830-1910
You will explore a wide variety of Victorian and fin-de-siècle literature, with examples from fiction, critical writing, poetry and drama. It will examine changes in literary forms and genres over this period, as well as looking at the contested transition between Victorianism and Modernism. The module is organised around a number of interrelated themes, to include empire and race, class and crime, identity and social mobility, gender and sexuality, and literature and consumerism. 

Texts Across Time
This module will consider key issues in the study of English language and world literature, locate language and literature in time and place, and extend your knowledge of the intellectual, political, historical, and cultural developments in language and literature.

 
English Languages and Applied Linguistics

Language in Society
This module provides a broad introduction to sociolinguistic theory. You will investigate:

  • the role that language has to play in constructing and reflecting cultural identities
  • theories of language variation across and within communities
  • the role of the English language in the world
  • the specific role of Standard English within British contexts

You will be introduced to both qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of sociolinguistics, combining theoretical linguistics and practical methodological investigation.

Language Development
You’ll explore how English is learnt from making sounds as an infant through to adulthood. Topics relating to early speech development include: the biological foundations of language development, the stages of language acquisition and the influence of environment on development. Further topics which take into account later stages of development include humour and joke telling abilities, story-telling and conversational skills and bilingualism.

Literary Linguistics
Bridging the study of literature and language, this module offers training in the discipline of literary linguistics, also known as ‘stylistics’. There is a focus on the analysis of linguistic and narratological aspects of literary texts in order to show their linguistic patterns. You’ll also consider the effects of texts on the reader, including their significance, meaning and value. The module offers an opportunity for specialisation in preparation for year three modules in modern English language, particularly in the areas of stylistics, cognitive poetics and narratology. 

The Psychology of Bilingualism and Language Learning
This module will introduce you to theories and practice of second language learning, enabling you to develop an in-depth understanding of the process in various settings. Topics that are covered include: zone of proximal development, classroom interaction, collaborative learning, learning styles, and classroom methodology.

English Through Time
This module focuses on the development of the English language from before the arrival of Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century to the present day. It offers students a thorough grounding in the changes that the language has undergone over this time. We will look at topics such as the development of writing, language contact and standardisation. An important theme running through the module is the relationship between the historical record and the political power of those who produced and preserved that record. 

Texts Across Time
This module will consider key issues in the study of English language and world literature, locate language and literature in time and place, and extend your knowledge of the intellectual, political, historical, and cultural developments in language and literature.

 
Medieval Languages and Literatures

Chaucer and his Contemporaries: c.1380-c.1420
In this module you’ll be introduced to the exceptionally rich period of writing in English at the end of the 14th and turn of the 15th century. It will focus on the so-called ‘Ricardian’ poets, Chaucer (selected Canterbury Tales, Parliament of Fowls, Legend of Good Women), Langland (excerpts from Piers Plowman), Gower (excerpts from Confessio Amantis) and the Gawain-poet (Patience). You’ll also discuss Thomas Hoccleve’s early poems, and the prose works of the female mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe.

Ice and Fire: Myths and Heroes of the North
In this module you will study and analyse the key texts of old Norse myth and legend from which popular stories come, along with pictorial versions in wood and stone from throughout the Viking world. You’ll explore the development of Norse myth and legend from the Viking Age, through medieval Christian Iceland, and into more recent times.

Old English: Reflection and Lament
This module explores the tradition that the poetry and prose of Old English often focuses on warfare and heroic action. You will study and analyse poems from the Exeter Book 'elegies' and also passages from Beowulf to explore this rich and rewarding genre.

English Through Time
This module focuses on the development of the English language from before the arrival of Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century to the present day. It offers students a thorough grounding in the changes that the language has undergone over this time. We will look at topics such as the development of writing, language contact and standardisation. An important theme running through the module is the relationship between the historical record and the political power of those who produced and preserved that record.

Name and Identities
What can given names, surnames and nicknames tell us about people in the past? What determines the choice of a name for a child? Where does our hereditary surname system come from? How have place, class and gender impacted upon naming through time? This module will help you answer all these questions and more. Interactive lectures and seminars, and a project based on primary material tailored to each participant, will introduce you to the many and varied, fascinating and extraordinary types of personal name and their origins.

 
Drama and Performance

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Stage
This module offers an in-depth exploration of the historical and theatrical contexts of early modern drama. This module invites students to explore the stagecraft of innovative and provocative works by Shakespeare and key contemporaries, such as Middleton, Johnson, and Ford (amongst others). You will explore how practical performance elements such as staging, props, costume and music shape meaning.

Stanislavski to Stelarc: Performance Practice and Theory
This module helps you develop your understanding of the theory and practice of theatre and performance from the beginnings of the 20th century through to the present day. Building on the work encountered in Introduction to Drama, you will move forward from naturalism to consider the work of influential theorists and practitioners such as Stanislavski, Brecht, Meyerhold, Barba, Schechner, Boal, Artaud, Berkoff, Grotowski, Jarry and the futurists, whose work has had a major impact on theatre and performance in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Twentieth Century Plays
This module aims to provide you with an overview of key plays and performances from the 1890s to the present, placing those texts in their original political, social, and cultural contexts and considering their subsequent reception and afterlife. You’ll focus on the textual and performance effects created in those key texts, by writers such as Samuel Beckett and Edward Albee, and will be encouraged to situate those texts alongside the work of relevant theorists and practitioners.

 
 
Typical year three modules

Advanced Logic

This module investigates different kinds of contemporary logic, as well as their uses in philosophy. We will look at logics of possibility and necessity, time, and knowledge, as well as alternative logics, including 'anti-realist' logic and fuzzy logic.

We will apply formal techniques from these logics to philosophical topics including vagueness, the liar paradox and anti-realism. We will also investigate basic set theory, infinity and the limits of formal logic, including soundness, completeness and decidability proofs.

 
Social Philosophy
In this module you’ll discuss key issues in social philosophy. Indicative topics that might be covered include: philosophy of gender; philosophy of race; philosophy of disability; philosophy of relationships and friendship; slavery and abolition; social and psychological oppression.

Recently, the focus for this module has been on the philosophy of race and has concerned questions such as:

  • How should race be conceptualised following the discrediting of biological conceptions of race?
  • What does it mean to consider race as a social construct?
  • Should we be eliminitivists about race?
  • What are the implications of how we conceptualise race for understandings of racism?

The teaching will be delivered through a mixture of lectures and seminars.

 
An Introduction to Contemporary Meta-Ethics

This module will take a detailed look at the main arguments and themes in contemporary metaethics. It will trace the development of contemporary debates in metaethics from their beginnnings in the work of G. E. Moore up to the most recent arguments between naturalism and non-naturalism, cognitivism and non-cognitivism. You'll have a two hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.

 
Philosophy of Art

This module aims to promote a deeper understanding of philosophical issues pertaining to art. By the end of the module, you should be able to discuss and evaluate different views of the expressive power of art, to explain certain current view on expression and representation, and to present the main contemporary viewpoints pertaining to the nature of artworks. You’ll have a two hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.

 
Marx

In this module you’ll be introduced to the theories of Karl Marx through selected texts from his works. Topics covers will include: alienation, the material conception of history, the labour theory of value and French political theory among others. You’ll gain an understanding of concepts essential for advanced study on this course.

 
Utilitarianism

This module will take a detailed look at one of the main topics of contemporary analytical political philosophy: the theory of distributive justice. This theory attempts to specify abstractly the conditions under which a distribution of benefits and burdens amongst a group of persons would be just. You will consider challenges to the legitimacy of any redistributive principle, and attempts to accommodate values such as responsibility and choice in different patterns of distribution. You’ll have a two hour lecture and one hour seminar each week. 

 
Buddhist Philosophy

The module will focus on a critical examination of core aspects of Buddhist thinking, with emphasis on some of its basic psychological, spiritual, and metaphysical conceptions. These include, in particular: the origin and nature of suffering, the no-self thesis, enlightenment, consciousness, experiential knowing, and the doctrine of Emptiness (the lack of inherent nature in all things and impermanence). The module will focus particularly on Nâgârjuna’s philosophy of the ‘middle way’ and some modern commentaries on it. The module will approach Buddhism as a philosophical world-view, rather than as a religious one. The module will not be involved in detailed exegesis of ancient texts. When possible the module will try to link Buddhist conceptions to contemporary ideas about personhood, consciousness and the fundamental nature of reality. You will have a mixture of seminars and lectures for this module.

 


English options

Literature 1500 to the Present

Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

  • The Self and the World: Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century
  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Making Something Happen: Twentieth Century Poetry and Politics
  • Single Author Study
  • Dark Futures, Tainted Pasts: Dystopian and Gothic Fictions
  • Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688
  • Island and Empire
  • Henry James and Oscar Wilde
 
English Language and Applied Linguistics
Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.
  • Language and the Mind
  • Advanced Stylistics
  • Discourses of Health and Work
  • Language and Feminism
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language
 
Medieval Languages and Literatures

Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

  • English Place-Names
  • The Literature of the Anglo-Saxons
  • Dreaming the Middle Ages: Visionary Poetry in Scotland and England
  • The Viking Mind
 
Drama and Performance

Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

  • Theatre Making
  • Changing Stages: Theatre Industry and Theatre Art
  • Modern Irish Literature and Drama
  • Performing the Nation: British Theatre since 1980
  • Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688
  • Writing for Performance
 
 
 
 

Careers

You will have developed your imagination and sensitivity to the use of language, and the ability to abstract, analyse, and construct logical arguments. You will have a broad knowledge of a variety of philosophical theories and of key areas of English studies, including language, modern literature, and literary theory, along with an in-depth understanding of the areas on which you have chosen to focus. Your transferable skills will include effective communication, critical thinking, and independent study.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 93.2% of undergraduates in the School of Humanities who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,205 with the highest being £38,000.*

*Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  

 
 

Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

 
 
 

Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

Assessment

This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment. 

How to use the data

Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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