English Language and Philosophy (BA)

The Joint Honours degree in English Language and Philosophy provides you with the opportunity of specialising in two university honours subjects.

The joint honours degree in English language and philosophy provides you with the opportunity to specialise in two subjects. Many students find this stimulating and rewarding as they are able to observe both similarities and differences between the two subjects.

English Language at Cardiff has a distinctive character. As would be expected of any good course, you will be provided with a rigorous grounding in the analysis of the language.

You will learn such essential linguistic tools as phonetics, grammar and discourse analysis from those who are helping develop those fields. Since we take a broad approach to language, you will also learn how to analyse the types of multimodal texts (for example combining word, image and sound) that predominate in contemporary media.

Language analysis, though, is just the starting point. What makes Cardiff special is our focus on the intersection of language with culture, society, politics and mind.

Philosophy at Cardiff is distinctive for its strong emphasis on ethics, politics, and philosophy of mind and its equal attention to ‘analytic’ and ‘continental’ styles of Western philosophy.

As a joint honours student, you will find that often there are complementary issues and perspectives that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research.

We offer a challenging course of modules in each subject, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships.

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • core modules that guarantee a solid base for all, but then allow you, with advice from your personal tutor, to carve out a programme that will best fit your interests and career aspirations
  • research-led teaching enabling you to engage with new ideas that are helping to shape the future of English language studies
  • a strong emphasis on ethics, politics, and philosophy of mind

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Studying in WelshUp to 33% of this course is available through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information
Typical places availableThe School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically has 350 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically receives 1450 applications.
Typical A level offerABB. Two or three A-level subjects, excluding General Studies.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above).
Typical International Baccalaureate offer35 points
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information. Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course
Admissions tutor(s)

This full-time course lasts for three years with two semesters per year. There are 120 credits a year, split equally between the two subjects. Most modules are worth 20 credits.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

You will take 60 credits in English Language and 60 credits in philosophy.

Year one is a foundation year to give you the skills for advanced study and an overview of the two subjects to inform your later choices.

The two core modules in English language provide an excellent grounding in language description, analysis and interpretation, and in sociolinguistics.

You will take three core modules in philosophy.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Moral and Political PhilosophySE410320 credits
Mind, Thought and RealitySE410120 credits
Introduction To LanguageSE110920 credits
Introduction To Language & SocietySE111020 credits
Critical ThinkingSE410720 credits

Year two

You will again take 60 credits in English language and 60 credits in philosophy.

In English Language you will take one core module, which covers all the essential elements of phonetics, grammar and lexical semantics (word meaning), building a common stock of knowledge and understanding.

You will also choose two options out a range of ‘foundation’ modules that provide engaging introductions to key areas of study in English Language. The training provided by these modules prepares you to make your choice from the more specialised, research-led ‘extension’ modules in year three.

There are no core modules in year two for Philosophy. Through optional modules you will develop a solid understanding of key areas such as aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, language, metaphysics, mind, moral psychology and political philosophy.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Sound, Structure and MeaningSE141120 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
SociolinguisticsSE136920 credits
Research MethodsSE131820 credits
Philosophy of Contemporary PoliticsSE436320 credits
MetaphysicsSE436420 credits
History of EnglishSE139820 credits
Language & CultureSE140220 credits
Philosophy of MindSE431320 credits
EpistemologySE439820 credits
Language & GenderSE140320 credits
Credoau'r CymrySE440020 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
Modern Moral PhilosophySE437320 credits
Words & MeaningSE137020 credits
DiscourseSE136220 credits
Hanes Athroniaeth WleidyddolSE439520 credits
Philosophy of LanguageSE435820 credits
French ExistentialismSE436920 credits
Ancient PhilosophySE440520 credits
Style & GenreSE141620 credits
Chivalry and Subversion in Medieval LiteratureSE246420 credits
Children, Language & CommunicationSE131220 credits
The Robin Hood TraditionSE236720 credits
Reading Old EnglishSE244120 credits

Year three

You will take 60 credits in English Language and 60 credits in Philosophy.

The year three English Language and Philosophy modules are offered in the subject areas in which our staff are currently working, giving you a unique insight into some of the most up-to-date and innovative research. In English Language, these modules also often require you to gather and analyse your own data.

Typically these modules address areas such as communication disorders, forensic linguistics, persuasive communication, language learning and teaching, language and ideology, phonology, corpus linguistics and media discourse.

In English language there are also opportunities to undertake a project (20 credits) or extended dissertation (40 credits) in your chosen area of research (subject to performance in year two).

In Philosophy, specialised modules on topics such as the problem of consciousness, moral psychology, metaethics, feminism and aesthetics let you pursue your interests and engage with current issues in research and scholarship, enabling you to develop analytical and presentational skills that employers will value, as well as equipping you for postgraduate study. 

You may also undertake a project or dissertation in a subject of your choice in Philosophy.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

We offer a supportive learning environment, where you are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge. Our courses foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory, and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team working, independent research and time management.

You will be taught both by lecture and seminar. Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas. Seminars provide an opportunity for you to explore the ideas outlined in the lectures.

Seminars usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small-group work and student-led presentations.

Seminars offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field. It is vital that you prepare for seminars (undertaking any set reading, developing independent critical thought) in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions.

How will I be supported?

Your scheduled contact hours will be supplemented by the opportunity for individual meetings with academic staff, by supportive academic progress meetings with your personal tutor and by the opportunity to attend research seminars and careers activities.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.


We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback during tutorials, personalised feedback on written work, feedback lectures, generic written feedback and feedback on tutorial performance

Coursework will be marked by your module tutor and your tutor will give you written feedback on your work. You will also have a feedback class after each assessment. Students will be given general feedback in relation to examinations following the May/June examination period and you will be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor as part of the monitored student self-assessment scheme.

How will I be assessed?

A range of formative and summative assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios and creative assignments.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enable you to produce your best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling you to develop your strengths and address any weaker areas.

The optional final-year project or (extended) dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study, to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.


What skills will I practise and develop?

As a result of engaging fully with this course, you will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’. These will allow you to:

  • grasp complex issues with confidence
  • ask the right questions of complex texts
  • have an imaginative appreciation of different views and options and analyse these critically
  • identify and apply relevant data
  • propose imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence
  • communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech
  • work to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time
  • learn from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights
  • work as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to enquiry and problem-solving
  • use IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate
  • take responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development


In 2013/14, 91% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

Degrees in English Language combine the best of humanities skills (flexibility, communication, critique) and social science skills (technical analysis and systematic method). Common destinations include primary and secondary school teaching, teaching English as a foreign language, (digital) journalism, marketing and public relations, sales and advertising, the civil service and public administration.

Philosophy graduates are known for their incisive analytical skills and their ability to construct and communicate clear arguments. Studying philosophy develops your abilities to identify the reasons for people’s claims, to find the assumptions lying behind those reasons, to critically assess both and to communicate all of this clearly and effectively.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You will not need any specific equipment.

Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.