Philosophy and Literature (BA)
Both philosophical and literary works ask us to reflect deeply on human experience in different ways. Our Philosophy and Literature (BA) degree gives you a chance to think about the wide range of methods and capacities – thought experiment, dialogue, argument, storytelling, conceptual analysis and emotion – that contribute to human understanding.
Jointly taught first and third year modules put you in conversation with scholars in both fields, around texts of shared interest. You can take module options in both departments in all years, and a free third year option in any subject. In your final year you’ll write an independent research essay, supported by joint tutorials with Literature and Philosophy staff.
You may choose to apply for an intercalated year, spent either studying abroad or on a work placement. This extends the duration of your degree to four years, with your third year spent abroad or on placement, and will be reflected in your degree qualification (i.e. BA Philosophy and Literature With Intercalated Year).
Year 1: 90 CATS of core modules, including 30 CATS in English, 45 CATS in Philosophy, and 15 CATS in a combined module. 30 CATS are chosen from options in English or Philosophy.
Year 2: History of Modern Philosophy (30 CATS), options in Philosophy (30 CATS), and options in English (60 CATS)
Year 3: Combined module Textual Studies (30 CATS), options in Philosophy (30 CATS), options in English (30 CATS), and 30 CATs of options to be chosen from any available subject.
In the course of Years 2 and 3, your Philosophy options must include an optional core module (15 CATS) in philosophical study of art and aesthetics, such as Philosophy through Film or Aesthetics: Art, Beauty and the Sublime.
Our main teaching methods are lectures, lecture-discussions, and seminars alongside private study and study skills sessions. Our students benefit from expert guidance from staff in developing strong analytical and critical skills, and our students highly rate the feedback they receive. In addition to compulsory teaching, we also offer many extra academic activities, including optional lectures, colloquia, discussion groups and workshops.
Typically 3 hrs of contact time per week per module, in most cases this would be 2hrs lecture and 1 hr seminar but is variable depending on teaching methods.
Seminar sizes are typically 12-15 students. Lectures vary by module from 20-220.
We track your progress and provide you with a variety of opportunities for getting feedback on your work for your course. Your final degree classification is based on assessed essays, other assessed work (which may include, for example, group work or video presentations), examinations and an optional dissertation or individual project. Your second and third year work carries equal weight in determining your final degree classification, with each counting for 50% of your degree.
We run successful undergraduate exchanges with Queen’s University, Ontario, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, enabling second-year Philosophy students (single or joint honours) to compete for the chance to spend a full year studying in North America. Modules and examinations taken at Queen’s and Madison count towards your degree.
All students have the opportunity to apply for an intercalated year abroad at one of our partner universities, which currently include: Bourgogne, Dijon; Erasmus, Rotterdam; Copenhagen; Friedrich Schiller, Jena or Cologne; Vienna; Autonoma or Complutense, Madrid or Seville; Rome or Turin; and Koc, Istanbul. The Study Abroad Team in the Office for Global Engagement offers support for these activities, and the Department’s dedicated Study Abroad Co-ordinator can provide more specific information and assistance.
Study skills will be built into your core modules in the first year. In those modules, you will develop skills in close reading, essay writing, exam technique, critical thinking and presentation. As well as the opportunity of individual careers appointments, there are a wide range of events and workshops – including small workshops for people with no career ideas, speaker events for people interested in a certain sector, and large career fairs for organisations wanting to recruit a large number of graduates each year.
We also offer specific sessions for second and third years, directed as honours level assessed work. Warwick also offers the Undergraduate Skills Programme and Academic Writing Programme to help you further develop academic and career-related skills.
A level: AAB, to include grade A in English Literature or English Language and Literature
IB: 36, to include 6 in Higher Level English Literature or English Language and Literature
Additional requirements: You will also need to meet our English Language requirements.
Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
- Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only). For full details of standard offers and conditions visit the IFP website.
- We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
We do not typically interview applicants. Offers are made based on your UCAS form which includes predicted and actual grades, your personal statement and school reference.
Problems in Philosophy and Literature
This module introduces you to the combined study of philosophy and literature, bringing literary theory, criticism and philosophical thinking about literature to the study of epistemology, and metaphysics and ethics. You will study the latter key areas of philosophy as represented by the work of Descartes and John Stuart Mill respectively. You will move on to articulate your own interpretations of texts by authors such as Proust, Coetzee, Nietzsche and Beckett. To read, discuss and write reflectively about philosophical and literary texts, and you will combine the approaches and concerns of the two disciplines.
Modes of Reading
What is a reader? How is our understanding and perception of a text formed? What does it mean to think critically when we read? This module allows you to explore these questions by putting a spotlight on the question of critical thinking in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. By studying a series of literary texts in relation to some of the most influential literary and cultural theorists of the last hundred years, you will take your own position on everything from Marxism, queer and feminist theory to ecocriticism and postcolonial critique.
Introduction to Philosophy
You'll have a wide-ranging introduction to philosophy, including ancient, continental, moral and political philosophy, followed by epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind and aesthetics, and logic. You'll learn to engage critically with different viewpoints and critically analyse and evaluate arguments central to philosophy.
History of Modern Philosophy
You will discover the metaphysical and epistemological ideas of great Empiricist philosophers Locke, Berkeley and Hume on substance, qualities, ideas, causation and perception. You will then explore Kant's ideas, including metaphysics, space, self-awareness, causation, scepticism and freedom. You will develop skills in critical engagement, articulating your own views of the relative strengths and weaknesses of these arguments and interpreting key philosophical ideas.
This course draws on philosophy and literature for the intensive study of texts that are of both philosophical substance and literary interest. In seminars, you will explore these elements in texts by authors such as Plato, Augustine, Rousseau, Woolf and Nabokov. In tutorials, you will be guided to develop an independent research essay. You will learn to analyse, interpret and argue across the interdisciplinary divide and develop your own intellectual and imaginative project, resulting in your own research essay.
In Years Two and Three, you will also take one optional core module in philosophical study of art and aesthetics:
Philosophy through Film
What does it mean for a film to be philosophical? What role can Blade Runner or Into the Abyss play in philosophical enquiry? Can it provide useful examples, thought experiments or even deliver a philosophical argument? Or does it merely offer us representations of concrete particulars that are of limited philosophical value? This module will introduce you to key philosophical ideas relating to film, and in particular, to explore whether philosophy can be portrayed through the medium of film.
Aesthetics: Art, Beauty and the Sublime
You will read foundational texts in philosophical aesthetics: Kant’s Critique of Judgement and Heidegger’s Origin of the Work of Art in the context of his related essays on modernity and technology. These thinkers seem very different in their take on modernity, with Kant’s ideas about human rationality and moral improvability, and Heidegger’s pessimism, but are there commonalities in their views? This course will challenge you to seek such links.
Examples of optional modules/options for current students
Nietzsche in Context; Philosophy of Photography; European Theatre; The Global Novel
Graduates from our Philosophy single and joint honours degrees have gone on to pursue careers as: authors, writers and translators; legal professionals; marketing professionals; management consultants and business analysts; chartered and certified accountants, and teaching and educational professionals.
Helping you find the right career
Our department has a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant who works within Student Careers and Skills to help you as an individual. Additionally your Senior Careers Consultant offers impartial advice and guidance together with workshops and events, tailored to our department, throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:
- Philosophy Orienteering/Scavenger Hunt
- Identifying Your Skills, Strengths and Motivators for Philosophy Students
- Thinking about Work Experience for Philosophy Students
- Careers in the Public Sector
- Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
Find out more about our Careers & Skills Services here.
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
English and Comparative Literary Studies
3 years full-time
28 September 2020
Location of study
University of Warwick, Coventry
Find out more about fees and funding
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who choose to complete a work placement will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
This information is applicable for 2020 entry.
Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.
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