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 BA 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 between the two subjects.

English literature at Cardiff offers access to the whole span of English literature, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the 21st 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 course 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.

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • teaching across the whole chronological and geographical span of English literature, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the 21st century
  • a 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
  • a strong tradition in creative writing, taught by writers making their mark on today’s culture
  • emphasis on ethics, politics, and aesthetics.

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 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
Admissions tutor(s)

This full-time course lasts for three years with two semesters per year, split between the two subjects. There are 120 credits a year. 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 literature and 60 credits in philosophy.

Year two

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

You will be able to choose from a large range of thematic, genre, period and regional modules.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Philosophy of Contemporary PoliticsSE436320 credits
MetaphysicsSE436420 credits
EpistemologySE439820 credits
Philosophy of MindSE431320 credits
Reading Old EnglishSE244120 credits
Modernist FictionsSE244520 credits
Creative Writing ISE241720 credits
Fiction of The Indian SubcontinentSE228320 credits
Modernism and the CitySE246320 credits
The Post-1945 American NovelSE256620 credits
Imaginary Journeys: More to HuxleySE245720 credits
Contemporary Women's WritingSE244620 credits
Credoau'r CymrySE440020 credits
Modern Moral PhilosophySE437320 credits
Children's Literature: Form & FunctionSE244720 credits
The Robin Hood TraditionSE236720 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
Literature and ScienceSE247120 credits
Dickens in Many MediaSE247220 credits
Philosophy of LanguageSE435820 credits
Shakespeare's Tragedies and HistoriesSE247720 credits
Chivalry and Subversion in Medieval LiteratureSE246420 credits
Shakespeare's Late PlaysSE259420 credits
Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Women WritersSE247620 credits
Contemporary Irish PoetrySE247320 credits
The Twentieth Century Novel in the British IslesSE245620 credits
Modern and Contemporary Women's PoetrySE247420 credits
Style & GenreSE141620 credits
Visual VictoriansSE247520 credits
Mapping Wales: Politics and Identity in Contemporary Welsh Fiction in EnglishSE247820 credits
French ExistentialismSE436920 credits
Ancient PhilosophySE440520 credits

Year three

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

If you wish, you can write a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either discipline. This provides a chance for you to focus your interests on a particular area or period.

Module titleModule codeCredits
The Problem of ConsciousnessSE437920 credits
Dissertation in PhilosophySE438520 credits
MetaethicsSE436720 credits
Moral PsychologySE437220 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
French TheorySE257020 credits
Utopia: Suffrage to CyberpunkSE258120 credits
Cyfiawnder Byd-eangSE439420 credits
Gender & Monstrosity: Late/Neo VictorianSE256420 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
Philosophy of ScienceSE431220 credits
Bluestockings, Britannia, Unsex'd Females: Women in public life, 1770 - 1800SE258820 credits
Gothic Fiction: The VictoriansSE258920 credits
Four English Poets of the Twentieth CenturySE259120 credits
Postcolonial TheorySE259320 credits
The Graphic MemoirSE140920 credits
Hanes Athroniaeth yr 20fed Ganrif yng NghymruSE439620 credits
Medical FictionsSE259620 credits
Military Masculinities in the Long Nineteenth CenturySE259720 credits
Feminist PhilosophySE438620 credits
FairnessSE440320 credits
Philosophy of Time TravelSE440420 credits
Philosophy and Modern ArtSE440220 credits
Religion, Politics and Sex, 1640-1714SE254820 credits
Medieval Arthurian LiteratureSE229520 credits
Island Stories: Literatures of the North AtlanticSE259820 credits
Dialect in Literature and FilmSE141320 credits
The Illustrated BookSE239520 credits
Modern Drama: Page, Stage, ScreenSE255120 credits
Medieval Romance: Monsters and MagicSE259920 credits
Postmodern American PoetrySE235420 credits
Visions of Past and Future in Children's LiteratureSE259520 credits
Poetry in the Making: Modern Literary ManuscriptsSE259220 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.

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.

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 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 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’, which 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 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.

English literature and philosophy graduates have excellent analytic and communication skills that fit them for a full range of professions and further training. Their cultural expertise and intellectual abilities are valued in the public and private sector, and in contexts as varied as the classroom, the law courts or the media.

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.