English Literature and Philosophy (BA)

The School of English, Communication and Philosophy offers a challenging programme of modules in each subject, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships.

The Joint Honours degree in English Literature and Philosophy provides you with the opportunity of specialising in two university honours subjects. Many students find joint honours both stimulating and rewarding as they observe both similarities and differences in the two subjects.

English Literature at Cardiff offers access to the whole span of English literature, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the twenty-first century. Nor is the curriculum restricted to the printed word: we are intrigued by the connections between literature and film, art, music, history, language, and popular culture, and our teaching reflects these interests.

There are two related aspects of the Philosophy programme at Cardiff that mark it out among Russell Group universities. One is that there is a strong emphasis on ethics, politics, and aesthetics among the modules on offer. The other is that our research and teaching is spread equally across both the 'analytic' and 'Continental' styles of Western philosophy.

The degree provides the training necessary for students who wish to study English Literature or Philosophy at postgraduate level, and a valuable range of intellectual and transferable skills for students who enter other professions.

Key facts

UCAS CodeVQ53
Entry pointSeptember 2016
Duration3 years
Studying in WelshThis course offers elements that are taught 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 offerAAB including an A in English Literature or English Literature and Language or Creative Writing. General Studies is not accepted.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above), excluding English Literature or English Language and Literature or Creative Writing for English Literature degrees.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer35 points, 6 points required from English and 6 points from one other subject, both at higher level.
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.
QAA subject benchmark

English and Philosophy

Admissions tutor(s)

Professor Martin Coyle, Admissions Tutor

Mrs Anna Birt, Course Administrator

Dr Simon Robertson, Admissions Tutor

Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by May 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.

This is a three-year degree programme comprising of some core modules that provide essential skills and training as well as a wide variety of optional modules for you to select from in order to tailor your degree to meet your interests.

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.

The School prides itself on nurturing a friendly, personalised and supportive environment for its students, with staff spending a great deal of time at various points in the semester in individual one-to-one meetings with students.

Year one

In Year 1, you take 60 credits of English Literature modules and 60 credits of Philosophy modules.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Mind, Thought and RealitySE410120 credits
Moral and Political PhilosophySE410320 credits
Introduction to Poetry and the NovelSE213620 credits
Reading and IdentitySE213120 credits

Module titleModule codeCredits
Four Great Works in PhilosophySE410420 credits
Literature, Culture, PlaceSE213320 credits
Texts in Time 1500-1800SE213220 credits

Year two

In Year 2, you take 60 credits of English Literature modules and 60 credits of Philosophy modules.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Philosophy of Contemporary PoliticsSE436320 credits
MetaphysicsSE436420 credits
Contemporary Ethical TheorySE438820 credits
EpistemologySE439820 credits
Kant & HeideggerSE439020 credits
Philosophy of MindSE431320 credits
Reading Old EnglishSE244120 credits
Shakespeare and Renaissance DramaSE244220 credits
Elizabethan ShakespeareSE244320 credits
Modernist FictionsSE244520 credits
Modern Welsh Writing in EnglishSE244820 credits
Creative Writing ISE241720 credits
Twentieth-Century Crime FictionSE245520 credits
Fiction of The Indian SubcontinentSE228320 credits
Introduction to Romantic PoetrySE245020 credits
Modernism and the CitySE246320 credits
The Post-1945 American NovelSE256620 credits
Imaginary Journeys: More to HuxleySE245720 credits
Introduction to Visual CultureSE246120 credits
French Philosophy: Sartre To BadiouSE438020 credits
African-American LiteratureSE245120 credits
Contemporary Women's WritingSE244620 credits
History of EnglishSE139820 credits
Credoau'r CymrySE440020 credits
Modern Moral PhilosophySE437320 credits
Children's Literature: Form & FunctionSE244720 credits
Representing the VictoriansSE246620 credits
The Robin Hood TraditionSE236720 credits
Fictive Histories/Historical FictionsSE246720 credits
Gothic Fiction: The Romantic AgeSE246820 credits
Romanticism, Politics, AestheticsSE246920 credits
Social Politics and National Style: American Fiction and Form 1920-1940SE247020 credits
Ways of ReadingSE244920 credits
Hanes Athroniaeth WleidyddolSE439520 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
Literature and ScienceSE247120 credits
Dickens in Many MediaSE247220 credits
Philosophy of LanguageSE435820 credits

Year three

In Year 3, you take 60 credits of English Literature modules and 60 credits of Philosophy modules. If you wish, you can write a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either discipline.

Module titleModule codeCredits
The Problem of ConsciousnessSE437920 credits
Dissertation in PhilosophySE438520 credits
Philosophy and Literary TheorySE432920 credits
NietzscheSE530620 credits
MetaethicsSE436720 credits
Moral PsychologySE437220 credits
Nineteenth-Century Crime FictionSE239020 credits
DissertationSE252420 credits
Writing Caribbean SlaverySE256820 credits
Creative Writing II: Special TopicsSE237020 credits
HitchcockSE254420 credits
Creative Writing III: Special TopicsSE237320 credits
Love, Death and Marriage in Renaissance LiteratureSE258320 credits
R. S. Thomas: No Truce with the FuriesSE257820 credits
French TheorySE257020 credits
Second-generation Romantic PoetsSE258220 credits
Desire, the Body and the Text: Psychoanalysis & LiteratureSE258020 credits
Utopia: Suffrage to CyberpunkSE258120 credits
Cyfiawnder Byd-eangSE439420 credits
Gender & Monstrosity: Late/Neo VictorianSE256420 credits
Interwar Experiments: Sex, Gender, StyleSE258420 credits
Middle English Romance: Monsters and MagicSE258620 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
Philosophy of ScienceSE431220 credits
Philosophy and The ArtsSE432520 credits
Bluestockings, Britannia, Unsex'd Females: Women in public life, 1770 - 1800SE258820 credits
Gothic Fiction: The VictoriansSE258920 credits
Modern British Political DramaSE259020 credits
Norse Myth and SagaSE256020 credits
Canterbury Tales: Genre, History, InterpretationSE257920 credits
Four English Poets of the Twentieth CenturySE259120 credits
Poetry in the Making: Modern Literary ManuscriptsSE259220 credits
Postcolonial TheorySE259320 credits
Shakespeare's Late PlaysSE259420 credits
The Graphic MemoirSE140920 credits
Advanced Moral PhilosophySE439220 credits
Hanes Athroniaeth yr 20fed Ganrif yng NghymruSE439620 credits
Visions of Past and Future in Children's LiteratureSE259520 credits
Medical FictionsSE259620 credits
Military Masculinities in the Long Nineteenth CenturySE259720 credits
Feminist PhilosophySE438620 credits
Political Philosophy: Methods & ApproachesSE440120 credits
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.

The School of English, Communication and Philosophy offers intellectually stimulating programmes of study, shaped by the latest research. We have a supportive learning environment, where students are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge. Our programmes 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. A range of formative and summative assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios, and creative assignments.

School of English, Communication and Philosophy
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 graduation.

Duration

3 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

The School of English, Communication and Philosophy admits around 360 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Applications received

Typical applications received

The School of English, Communication and Philosophy = 1500

Accreditations

QAA subject benchmark

QAA subject benchmark

English and Philosophy

Overview and aims of this course/programme

The BA English Literature and Philosophy is a Joint Honours degree programme which enables you to combine the study of English Literature and Philosophy by choosing from the full range of modules offered by each subject.

Year 1 is a foundation year designed to equip you with the skills for advanced study and to give you an overview of the two subjects that will enable you to make informed choices from the modules available in the following years.  In Years 2 and 3 you will select from a range of English Literature and Philosophy modules in which you will build on the foundation year, developing high-level skills.

The English Literature half of the programme is structured to enable you to study all periods of literature in English from the Anglo-Saxon period to the twenty-first century and from many different parts of the world.  As a second year student, you will selectfrom a range of period-, genre- or theme-based modules in which you will build on the skills that you have developed during your first year, reading a variety of texts in their historical and cultural contexts. As a final year student, you will select from a range of more specialised modules.  You will be able to pursue interests developed in the previous two years and engage with current issues in research and scholarship, enabling you further to develop analytical and presentational skills that employers will value, as well as equipping you for postgraduate study. The focus throughout the degree is on becoming a careful, attentive, and informed reader, sensitive to the nuances of language and style and able to articulate your responses to texts in writing which is precise, stylish, and effective.

Philosophy is the study of the most general questions about reality, knowledge and ethics, questions whose answers are presupposed by most other subjects. We approach these  questions from both the Anglophone and the European traditions in philosophy.  Taking a philosophy degree with us will expose you to the competing answers that philosophers have put forward and to the arguments with which they attacked and defended them.

The Philosophy programme at Cardiff University combines breadth of content with the flexibility required for students to pursue specific interests and to specialise if they want to.

You will study morality including applied ethics, normative ethics andmetaethics; political philosophy including political issues and the legitimacy of political institutions; the philosophical aesthetics of art, music and literature; the nature of mind, thought, language and action; the fundamental nature of reality; the nature of knowledge. You will do this through studying some of the most influential writings in Western literature.

Philosophy graduates are known for their incisive analytical abilities 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.

What should I know about year five?

Students are expected to attend and participate in the lectures and seminars for all modules on which they are enrolled. In line with University policy, attendance will be monitored at specific ‘points of engagement’ throughout the year. Students with good cause to be absent should inform their module leaders, who will provide the necessary support. Students with extenuating circumstances should submit the Extenuating Circumstances Form in accordance with the School’s procedures.

The total number of hours which students are expected to devote to each 20-credits module is 200.  Of these, 30 hours will be contact hours with staff (lectures and seminars); the remaining 170 hours should be spent on self-directed learning for that module (reading, preparation for seminars, research, reflection, formative writing, assessed work, exam revision).  There are also additional seminars and workshops that students are able to attend.

Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study, which can be found here: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/govrn/cocom/equalityanddiversity/dignityatwork/index.html

How is this course/programme structured?

The programme is offered in full-time mode over three academic years.  360 credits are studied (120 credits per year).  The first year consists of 80 core credits (40 credits from English Literature and 40 credits from Philosophy).  A further 40 credits are chosen from either English Literature or from another Humanities subject. In the second and third years, students choose 60 credits per year from the range of optional modules available in English Literature and 60 credits per year from the range of optional modules available in Philosophy.  Students must pass each academic year before being allowed to proceed.

What should I know about year four?

No specific equipment is required.

What should I know about year three?

Many of the learning outcomes listed above involve practising skills that are transferable to numerous areas of employment. In addition, students who engage with the programme will practise and develop the ability to:

  • Communicate effectively with others.
  • Communicate concepts, theories and arguments and the appraisal of them accurately and clearly, both orally and in written form.
  • Think analytically about problems.
  • Assess the validity of different evidence and argument.
  • Use a variety of sources in a comprehensive and well-documented manner.
  • Use electronic sources of information effectively.
  • Explore critically their own beliefs and values.
  • Display sensitivity to the diversity of beliefs, practices and ways of life.
  • Take responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development.

What should I know about the preliminary year?

A diverse range of learning and teaching styles is used throughout the programme. Students will attend lectures, participate in seminars and tutorials, and study independently in preparation for each session.

The learning activities will vary from module to module as appropriate, but may include such activities as: interactive lectures, seminar discussions of prepared texts/topics, student presentations or group presentations, small-group work within seminars, translation classes, formative writing exercises, journal entries, and film showings. Students are expected to do the reading and other relevant preparation to enable them to take a full part in these activities and are encouraged to explore the resources of the library as appropriate.  You will be expected to prepare carefully a considered answer to specific topics dealt with in the module.

In the Final Year students can choose to write a dissertation on a topic of their choice (subject to supervisory availability and approval of the title by the Board of Studies).

What should I know about year one?

Assessment:

Summative assessment for most modules takes place through one or more of the following methods: unseen examinations; open book examinations; portfolios of essays; and (if chosen) the dissertation.  Other forms of assessment such as journal entries, a portfolio, or presentations are also used for some modules. The form(s) of summative assessment for individual modules are set out in the relevant module description.  Assessment methods are chosen as most appropriate to elicit the skills, knowledge and competencies developed by the module.  Emphasis in assessment is placed on the writing of clear, persuasive and scholarly essays presented in a professional manner and submitted on time.

Not all skills are assessed directly (e.g. the accurate and clear oral communication of concept and theories).  However, opportunities are made available for the development of such skills in seminar presentations, and their value is emphasised to students.  Details of any academic or competence standards which may limit the availability of adjustments or alternative assessments for students with disabilities are documented in the Module Descriptions.

Feedback:

Written feedback is provided on formative and/or summative assessment and students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with module tutors in seminars and, where appropriate, on a one-to-one basis in office hours.

Formative assessment is provided as feedback on coursework through written comments and individual discussion and on oral seminar presentations through individual guidance.

Other information

Every student is assigned a personal tutor and will meet him/her for regular Academic Progress Meetings (one per semester). There is a form to fill in before each Academic Progress meeting which is designed to help you reflect on the written feedback and the reasons for the marks you have received from the previous round of assessment. You will discuss this feedback and your reflections on it with your personal tutor.

In addition, all staff have weekly office hours during teaching weeks and students may make appointments to see their personal tutor or module leaders on a one-to-one basis about any issues. Staff may also be contacted by email. Details of the office hours and email addresses of staff are provided in the Module Guide for each module.

Use of Learning Central, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, will vary from module to module as the module leader feels appropriate for the specific contents of the module but will normally at least include making lecture handouts available online.

Distinctive features

Graduates from this programme will be able to:

  • Demonstrate awareness of different literary periods, movements and genres and of the variety of English literature.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the importance of historical and cultural contexts.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the critical issues and/or debates surrounding or raised by texts.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the shaping effects of historical and cultural circumstances on the production and meaning of texts.
  • Demonstrate ability to select and organise material purposefully and cogently.
  • Demonstrate ability to handle complex ideas with clarity.
  • Demonstrate ability to analyse and interpret material drawn from a diversity of literary periods.
  • Demonstrate ability to apply high level critical skills of close analysis to literary texts.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of appropriate critical vocabulary and terminology.
  • Demonstrate ability to sustain a critical argument that is responsive to the workings of language and literary styles.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the bibliographic conventions of the discipline and their role in communicating information.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of important concepts, theories, problems and arguments in the main areas of Philosophy, such as metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, logic, moral philosophy and, political philosophy.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the ideas and arguments of some of the major philosophers in the history of the subject, encountered in their own writings
  • Demonstrate awareness of some major issues currently at the frontiers of philosophical debate and research.
  • Display precision of thought and expression in the analysis and formulation of complex and controversial problems.
  • Construct and justify arguments whileforming independent, fair and well-supported assessments of conflicting views and opinions
  • Explore critically beliefs and values, and question their presuppositions
  • Appreciate the diversity of competing theories, and of competing interpretations of theories and texts, in Philosophy
  • Apply philosophical concepts, theories, arguments and methods to some of the major problems, both theoretical and practical, facing human reflection, life and society.
  • Accurate understanding of  philosophical texts and ability to interpret these texts carefully, with due regard to their context
  • Awareness of the bibliographic conventions of the discipline and their role in communicating information.

How will I be taught?

English Literature at Cardiff is taught by staff with an international reputation for innovative and influential research. Our passion for the subject and the strength and range of our scholarship enable us to offer a degree which is:

  • Inclusive.We teach across the whole chronological span of English literature, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the twenty-first century; we teach writing in English from England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, America, the Caribbean, India, and Australia. We are intrigued by the connections between literature and film, art, music, history, language, and popular culture, and our teaching reflects these interests.
  • Challenging. Research-led teaching means students engage with new ideas that are helping to shape the future of the discipline. We see the study of literature in its various contexts as broadening horizons.
  • Diverse. After Year 1 there are no compulsory modules. We give you choice – but we also give you the skills and knowledge to make informed choices. You have the freedom to construct a traditional programme covering multiple periods and genres or to build a more distinctive mix of modules combining literary study with analysis of other cultural forms. Our teaching is varied, too, ranging from traditional-style lectures to smaller-group seminars in which students develop their writing and presentational skills in a supportive environment designed to help them take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Engaged. At Cardiff we do not think of literature as isolated from the rest of culture or separate from society. We are proud of our reputation for theoretically informed reading, bringing texts from all periods into dialogue with contemporary concerns about gender, identity, sexuality, nationality, race, the body, the environment, and digital technology. We also maintain a strong tradition in Creative Writing, taught by writers making their mark on contemporary culture.

Philosophy at Cardiff is taught by staff with an international reputation for innovative and influential research. Our passion for the subject and the strength and range of our scholarship enable us to offer a degree which is:

  • Inclusive. We teach the central areas within modern Philosophy: aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, language, metaphysics, mind, and political philosophy.  While we concentrate on the argument of philosophers in the modern period, which is to say from the 17th century and Descartes onwards, we are interested in the work of thinkers in both the Analytic and Continental traditions of Philosophy.  You will therefore encounter a broad range of philosophical issues and a broad range approaches and indeed interpretations of what Philosophy is.
  • Challenging. Research-led teaching means students engage with new ideas that are helping to shape the future of the discipline. We see the study of Philosophy in its various contexts as broadening horizons, and as a way of engaging in pressing issues from the world outside of academia.
  • Diverse. After Year 1 there are no compulsory modules. We give you choice – but we also give you the skills and knowledge to make informed choices. The second year of your degree will equip you with a thorough understanding of the core arguments of the principal areas of Philosophy.  This will provide a solid foundation for the third year.  Here modules will focus on the topics that the lecturers themselves are actively researching.  You will therefore have the opportunity to explore issues in greater depth, as your competence. knowledge and confidence increases.  Our teaching varies between modules, ranging from traditional-style lectures to smaller-group seminars in which students develop their writing and presentational skills in a supportive environment designed to help them take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Engaged. At Cardiff we do not think of Philosophy as isolated from the rest of culture or separate from society.  We take pride in an approach to Philosophy that takes notice of the place of philosophy in public life, not least in moral and political decision-making, as well as engaging with such contemporary approaches as Experimental Philosophy.

Admissions tutors

Professor Martin Coyle, Admissions Tutor

Mrs Anna Birt, Course Administrator

Dr Simon Robertson, Admissions Tutor


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