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Section 2: Structure of the Course

The course is designed in such a way that over the full period of your studies you will have some choice of how to allot your time across the two disciplines, with a minimum distribution of roughly 10% of your time in combined study of Philosophy and Literature and at least 30% of your time in each of Philosophy and English Literature. There is also an option in your final year to study in another discipline. The major part of the ‘combined’ study, which is the distinctive feature of the Warwick degree, is concerned to examine texts that are simultaneously of philosophical and literary interest, some prescribed and some chosen in your third year for an independent research project. Descriptions of individual modules can be found on the websites of the two departments.

First Year

In your first year, you must take a set of compulsory modules, comprising 75% of your studies, and one option. Each module is allotted a certain ‘weight’ or credit, in CATS, such that in each year a student should complete modules worth a total of 120 CATS. The compulsory first-year modules are:

  • PH107 Problems in Philosophy and Literature: jointly taught by Philosophy and English in Term 1 (12 CATS)
  • EN122 Modes of Reading: Terms 1 and 2 (30 CATS)
  • PH135 Introduction to Philosophy: Terms 1 and 2 (30 CATS)
  • PH126 Logic I: Term 2 (12 CATS)
  • PH130 Meaning and Communication: Term 3 (6 CATS)

A 30 CATS option must be chosen from among these modules:

  • EN101 The Epic Tradition (30 CATS)
  • EN121 Medieval to Renaissance English Literature (30 CATS)
  • EN123 Modern World Literatures (30 CATS)
  • PH132 Ideas of Freedom (30 CATS)
  • PH140 Intro to Ancient Philosophy (15 CATS)
  • PH137 Philosophy in Practice (15 CATS)
Choosing your First Year Optional Module

In order to help you to decide which option to choose, you may wish to attend the first one or two lectures from a number of different options (you don’t need to seek permission for this – just show up to the lecture). You should inform the relevant department of your choice of options as soon as possible, ideally by the end of Week 1. This is especially important with English options: if you choose an option in English, the English Department asks you to stop by the English Reception office (5th Floor Humanities Building) by noon on Friday of Week 1 to state your choice of option.

Note that Introduction to Ancient Philosophy and The Epic Tradition are both options engaging specifically with the Classical world, which some Phil/Lit students have found particularly valuable.

Honours Years

In either your second or final year, you must take one of the following honours level modules:

  • PH248 Aesthetics: Art, Beauty and the Sublime (15 CATS)
  • PH346 Issues in Contemporary Aesthetics (15 CATS)
  • PH347 Philosophy of Photography (15 CATS)
  • Philosophy, Literature and Film [new module - will be offered in 2016-17] (15 CATS)

Second Year

In your second year you must take the following compulsory module and options accounting for another 90 CATS. The compulsory module is:

  • PH201 History of Modern Philosophy (30 CATS)

The options should be distributed in the following way:

  • Options at Honours level in English (60 CATS)
  • Option at Honours level in Philosophy (30 CATS)

Philosophy and Literature students have in the past been required to take EN201 The European Novel; this is no longer a compulsory module, but it is one of the modules in English that Phil/Lit students may particularly want to consider, given the philosophical concerns of many of the texts it examines. PH248 Aesthetics: Art, Beauty and the Sublime is now part of an 'optional core' on the degree, but it was a longstanding compulsory module, and we encourage students who want to understand the most influential modern philosophical ideas about art and the aesthetic to take this module.

Third Year (Honours)


In your third year you must take one compulsory module and options accounting for a further 90 CATS. The compulsory module is:

  • PH304 Textual Studies: jointly taught by Philosophy and English in Terms 1 and 2 (30 CATS)

The options should be distributed in the following way:

  • Option at Honours level in English (30 CATS)
  • Option at Honours level in Philosophy (30 CATS)
  • Option at Honours level in any department (30 CATS)

Module and Examination Registration

When you arrive in October and at the beginning of each new academic year, you will need to register for your modules using the e:vision Module Registration (eMR) system. The system is typically open for the first three weeks of the autumn term; to access it you need to sign in via start.warwick and then select the module registration link. Please see the Philosophy Department handbook and English Department handbook and webpages for further details about registration.

Studying at Honours Level

As you prepare for second and third year study, keep in mind the following points.

You should prepare for the year ahead before you leave the university for the summer vacation. Collect reading lists and attend any preliminary summer term meetings for your next year’s modules. For Textual Studies, you should begin thinking about texts and topics you would like to explore for your final-year essay over the summer.

If you choose an option outside of English and Philosophy in your third year, you must ensure with the outside department that you are eligible to take the module. You can consult departmental webpages to see what is on offer and to see whom to contact for information about which modules are open to outside students.

Options choice and pre-registration

Both the Philosophy Department and the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies issue information at the beginning of Term 3 about the modules that will be available as options in the following year. You will be asked to state your preferences for English options and to pre-register for Philosophy options during Term 3. Look out for the details about deadlines for making these choices. In English, you are not guaranteed a spot in the option module(s) of your choice, but the English Department does its best to accommodate these preferences. Usually the enrolment for Philosophy modules is not restricted, if you have pre-registered for the module. If you do not pre-register, however, a place on the module cannot be guaranteed.

Note that in your third year, the English and Philosophy Dissertation modules (EN320 and PH313) are available to you as options (though students are not permitted to do both of them simultaneously). The dissertation gives you a chance to pursue research reflecting your specific interests; with the agreement of your faculty supervisor, a dissertation is also an opportunity for combined literary and philosophical study. If you are interested, you should read the information on these module webpages carefully and should have a topic formulated by the end of Year 2.

For the most current information available about modules offered by the English and Philosophy departments, please check the Undergraduate sections of their department websites.

How do we combine Philosophy and Literature?

With regard to the interrelations of the two disciplines, the first year combined module, Problems in Philosophy and Literature, opens the field of enquiry with a jointly taught seminar specifically offered to Philosophy and Literature students. In the second and third years, you have a choice of modules focusing on the philosophical study of the arts. In the final year the Textual Studies module, also jointly taught, builds on the disciplinary and combined study that has gone before and examines texts and questions which are illuminated through philosophical and literary inquiry.