English and Philosophy BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2025
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
AAB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB including English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature) at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview


Engage with some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers with this wide-ranging degree, which will allow you to explore the rich heritage of literature in English while considering important questions about how we see and understand the world.

You’ll study material that demonstrates how the study of English Literature and Philosophy are relevant to contemporary issues and concerns such as through race, gender, culture, or debates about oppression, equality, justice and international obligations.

Literature and philosophy both have an important role to play in explicating diverse ways of understanding the world, the experience of different peoples (in place and time), how our world is shaped and how it can be changed for the better.

Compulsory modules will enable you to explore poetry, prose and drama in English across historical periods while introducing you to central issues in philosophy and how to construct arguments. You’ll also build on this knowledge by choosing from an impressive range of optional modules, allowing you to pursue the topics that interest you.

From metaphysics to postcolonial literature, feminist philosophy to American fiction, and aesthetics to the language of the media, this degree offers a great opportunity to understand the development of human thought and its varied forms of cultural expression.

Specialist facilities

Brotherton Library Reading Room

The University of Leeds has world-class facilities for students of English and Philosophy. The University libraries are among the largest in the UK and offer a course of workshops and webinars to help you make the most of their collections, digital resources and databases.

Take a look around our libraries:

The Brotherton’s Library’s manuscripts are held in the Special Collections Research Centre, which has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment and extension, after a generous bequest from the John Victor Bedford Will Trust.

This provides new working spaces for individuals or groups, and new teaching spaces that feature visualisers and projectors, enabling you to engage with sources using the latest techniques.

Prominent Special Collections include letters by Charles Dickens, manuscripts by the Brontës, a Shakespeare First Folio, and extensive archives of prominent contemporary poets including Simon Armitage and Tony Harrison. 

Skills@Library offers training courses to help you make the most of the library’s collections, digital resources and databases. In addition, it can provide one-to-one support to taught students on a wide range of topics, including academic writing, research skills, and data analysis.

Course details

A joint honours degree allows you to study the same compulsory topics as students on each single honours course, but you'll take fewer optional modules, so you can fit in both subjects.  It’s designed to give you a solid foundational compulsory in each subject with flexibility, through a wide and exciting range of optional and discovery modules, to shape your degree to your interests and ambitions.

In the philosophy half of your course, you'll spend your first year studying compulsory modules which will introduce you to key aspects of philosophy, from the nature of knowledge, the self, and ethics, to how to construct persuasive and coherent arguments. 

There’ll also be an appealing range of ‘taster’ modules in your first year, designed to familiarise you with the core areas of philosophy you’ll be meeting later in the degree.

Over the next two years, you'll be able to focus on various areas of philosophy by choosing modules on topics such as the mind, knowledge, language, ethics, political philosophy, the nature of the self, feminist philosophy, applied ethics, or aesthetics. 

In English, compulsory modules will help you explore rich and diverse literary texts across different genres (poetry, prose and drama), historical periods, places and cultures. You’ll consider how and why these texts are produced, read, and understood, the societal contexts that shape them, their creativity and power. 

In your second year, you’ll take a module on philosophical method designed specifically for Joint Honours students. You'll learn how the study of philosophy connects with and enhances the study of English literature, and you’ll develop your philosophical skills to prepare you to undertake a final year research project in philosophy.

Throughout your studies, you'll be developing critical, independent research, interpretation, and analysis skills. You'll also have the chance to showcase all of these when you undertake your final year research project, allowing you to specialise and conduct research on a topic of your choice. You can choose to pursue a project in either English or philosophy. 

If you decide to take a final year project in philosophy, you’ll have a choice between two different kinds of research project – both offer you the guidance of an individual supervisor, but one also offers the scaffolded support of an associated module on the topic of your project. The other allows you the freedom to pursue an independent research project of your own design.

You’ll have the opportunity for genuine research-led teaching throughout the degree, especially at upper levels.

Some of the upper-level optional modules are currently in the process of revision, but the list below of current modules will give you a flavour of what will be available on this course. 

Year 1 compulsory modules

Reading Between the Lines (20 credits) – How do we read, and how might we read at university? This module equips you with the tools for sophisticated literary study, introducing the creative, exciting discipline of English Studies. Through close analysis of texts across a range of periods and forms, you’ll encounter some of the theories that have shaped and continue to underpin the discipline. You’ll discover how reading critically can change the way we see the world and engage with others.

Race, Writing and Decolonizations (20 credits) – Current hashtag movements from Black Lives Matter to Why is My Curriculum White? to Fees Must Fall suggest that the project of racial decolonisation is far from over. Focusing on African-American, South African, Caribbean and Black British writing, this module offers the chance to look at some of the most explosive black writing on race and how it informs our current 'decolonial' moment. We will move from the writing that helped dismantle the British Empire, usher in the civil rights era in the US, and bring an end to apartheid in South Africa, through to contemporary writing that confronts ongoing structures of racism. The question of exactly what constitutes blackness and black writing will be at the heart of our discussions.

How to Do Philosophy (20 credits) - This introductory module offers you a foundation in some of the formal and informal reasoning skills used in philosophy.

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

  • Poetry: Reading and Interpretation (20 credits)
  • The Mind (20 credits)
  • Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (20 credits)
  • The Good, the Bad, the Right, the Wrong (20 credits)
  • Knowledge, Self and Reality (20 credits)
  • Introduction to the History of Western Philosophy (20 credits)
  • Modern Fictions in English (20 credits)
  • Drama: Text & Performance (20 credits)
  • Philosophy Meets the World (20 credits)
  • Thinking About Race (20 credits)

Year 2 compulsory modules

Writing Environments: Literature, Nature, Culture (20 credits) – This module examines what it means to live on a more-than-human planet. You’ll investigate how literary texts from different times and places have understood the relationship between nature and culture. You'll address human impacts on the environment in relation to historical phenomena such as colonialism, and explore the insights that literature can offer at a time of concern about climate change and other environmental issues.

Body Language: Literature and Embodiment (20 credits) – What does it mean to be ‘human’? Can technology change who we are? How do we navigate the relationship between the body and the mind? This module explores the relationship between embodiment, language and representation across literary forms, genres, and periods. You'll examine how creative writers and critical theorists have imagined this relationship between material bodies and literary representation, in order to better understand the possibilities and limitations of literary expression.

Philosophical Method (20 credits) – This module further develops your philosophical skills to analyse and construct arguments, your ability to identify a philosophical issue or problem and apply that understanding to your other joint honours subject. This will develop your understanding of how your two subjects relate to each other.

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

  • Renaissance Literature (20 credits)
  • Medieval & Tudor Literature (20 credits)
  • The World Before Us: Literature 1660-1830 (20 credits)
  • Postcolonial literature (20 credits)
  • Other Voices Spoke: Rethinking 19th Century Literature (20 credits)
  • Modern Literature (20 credits)
  • Contemporary Literature (20 credits)
  • American Literature (20 credits)
  • Past Thinkers: History of Modern Philosophy (20 credits)
  • How To Live Together: Topics in Political Philosophy (20 credits)
  • Do The Right Thing: Topics in Moral Philosophy (20 credits)
  • How Do You Know? Topics in Epistemology (20 credits)
  • Reality Check: Topics in Metaphysics (20 credits)
  • God, Thought and the World: Topics in Philosophy of Religion (20 credits)

Year 3 compulsory modules

Final Year Project in English (40 credits) – Provides a unique chance to explore in detail the interests that you've developed during your undergraduate career. You might choose to conduct research on an author, period or genre that you encountered earlier in your degree, or to work on a subject that you have not previously studied.

Final Year Project in Philosophy (40 credits) – You can either conduct independent research on a topic you've previously studied or select one of the final year modules to serve as the basis of and scaffolding for your independent research, allowing you to explore a topic you haven’t previously studied.

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

  • Shakespeare (20 credits)
  • Arthurian Legend (20 credits)
  • Sex and Suffering in the Eighteenth-Century Novel (20 credits)
  • Romantic Lyric Poetry (20 credits)
  • Tragedy (20 credits)
  • Apocalypse and After (20 credits)
  • War, Terror and Justice (20 credits)
  • Religion, Belief and Ethics (20 credits)
  • Aesthetics (20 credits)
  • Ancient Philosophy (20 credits)
  • Feminist Philosophy (20 credits)
  • Bioethics (20 credits)
  • Philosophy of Language (20 credits)
  • Modern Sexualities (20 credits)
  • Continental Philosophy (20 credits)
  • Philosophy of Sex and Relationships (20 credits)
  • Bowie, Reading, Writing (20 credits)
  • September 11 in Fact and Fiction (20 credits)
  • Domestic Animals in Contemporary Literature (20 credits)
  • Theatricalities: Beckett, Pinter, Kane (20 credits)

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area. This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

The Schools of English and Philosophy, Religion and History of Science are home to tutors who are at the forefront of research in their fields.

To enable you to benefit from their knowledge and experience, we use a range of teaching methods. Normally these will include lectures, seminars, and tutorials, but workshops may occasionally be used as well. However, independent study is central to this degree, since it allows you to develop your skills in research and analysis as well as giving you space to form your own ideas.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We use different types of assessment, usually a mixture of exams and essays. However, some modules may also assess you on oral presentations and group work. Typically, you'll complete ungraded formative work midway through your modules that serves as a stepping stone towards your final graded assessment for the module. 

Our Library Skills Team also provides exam skills training and module-specific sessions on essay writing. Plus, your teaching staff will be available throughout term time to talk to you one-on-one about how to get the most out of your assessments. New students will have a suite of study skills modules to help transition to university-level teaching and assessment. 

Assessment is not just a way of testing you but a pivotal way to consolidate your learning on the degree. 

We always design assessments to reflect the most valuable skills our subject can teach you: how to construct a well-developed argument, or explain complicated ideas clearly, or critically evaluate a passage of text while at the same time interpreting it in a way that allows you to get the most out of it. Not only will these skills enable you to perform well in your degree, but they'll also help you excel in your future lives and careers. 

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB including A in English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature)

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be ABB at A Level including A in English (Language, Literature, or Language and Literature) and grade A in the EPQ.

We welcome applications from mature students with Access qualifications, and from students with a wide range of qualifications.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. The Access course must follow a Humanities pathway and include English modules. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.


We will consider the level 3 QCF BTEC at Subsidiary Diploma level and above in combination with other qualifications. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M1, M2 including D3 in English

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall with 16 at Higher Level including 6 in English at Higher Level

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 including H2 in English

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers (including A in English) and AABBB in Highers, or A in English Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80% with 8.5 in English.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is a contextual admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and contextual admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBB including English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature) at A Level and pass Access to Leeds

EPQ and Access to Leeds offer: BBC at A Level including B in English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature) and A in a relevant EPQ and pass Access to Leeds


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science Undergraduate Admissions team.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 2024/25.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only, as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science
School of English

Contact us

Faculty of Arts Admissions

Email: artsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk

Career opportunities

A degree in English and Philosophy will equip you with a wide range of transferable skills which are looked for by employers across many sectors and industries.

You’ll have strong research skills and be able to analyse complex information from multiple sources. You’ll also be able to construct effective arguments and present and defend your views clearly, either verbally or in writing. In addition, you’ll be confident working independently or in a team, and you’ll have good organisational skills from juggling two different subjects.

Graduates have progressed into a wide range of careers as a result, including publishing, law, journalism, education, advertising and marketing, the civil service and business and finance. You could also go onto postgraduate study.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

All University of Leeds students can apply to spend a year studying abroad. It’s a great way to gain an insight into another culture, as well as gaining valuable experience that will look great on your CV.

The School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science also has exclusive exchange links with universities in Denmark, France and Spain – language classes are available before you go to prepare you for the experience.

Read more about Study abroad in Philosophy, Religion and History of Science

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.