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English with Philosophy BA

UCAS code Q3V5
Year of entry 2017
View 2018 entry »
Course Length
3 years full time
Department English »
Politics and International Relations »


This course combines English (75% of your course) with Philosophy (25%) giving you the chance to study literature as the major element of your degree alongside exploration of ancient and modern philosophy.

From Beowulf to the Booker Prize, English offers you the opportunity to study the full historical range of literature in English as well as the latest developments in the field, and even to pursue your own creative writing.

You can discover the earliest works in English, deepen your knowledge of Shakespeare, find out what is great about Renaissance literature, darken your view of the 18th century, and unpack the Victorians. The course's structure allows you to develop a sound understanding of key periods, genres, authors, and ideas as well as choosing from a huge range of options. You can study Modernism, Postmodernism and American literature, explore literary criticism, develop your own creative writing, and analyse the latest developments in global literatures in English.

  • You will gain a solid knowledge of the whole range of English literature from its beginnings to its latest developments, ranging from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and Salman Rushdie.
  • Study unusual, non-traditional subjects such as the body in the 18th century or time in modern literature or courses incorporating visual arts and cinema.

At Royal Holloway we have a unique approach to Philosophy that looks beyond the narrow confines of the Anglo-American analytic or the European tradition of philosophy focus on both traditions, their relationship and connections between them. The result has been the creation of a truly interdisciplinary and collaborative programme that brings together academic staff from departments across the university.

With the opportunity to examine (amongst other things) the mind and consciousness, aesthetics and morals, the self and others, the range of subjects available to Philosophy students at Royal Holloway guarantees that there will be something on offer that really engages you during your time with us.

Core modules

Year 1

English: Introduction to Medieval Literature

This module introduces you to the earliest literary writings in English, covering a span of eight hundred years, from 700 to 1500. You will cover an extensive range of genres and texts - from Beowulf to Arthurian romance, and dream vision to religious drama, and think about issues of vital concern and interest to medieval writers and audiences: religion, love, violence, the supernatural, and kingship and society.

English: Critical Foundations - Thinking as a Critic

The aim of this module is to help you make the transition into university level work by introducing them to reading, writing and thinking as a critic. The module focuses on developing the abilities and skills of literary criticism and introducing the concepts, ideas and histories that are central to English as a discipline, including questions about interpretation, periodization, form, genre, canon, value, intention, narrative, voice, framing and identity. 

Engish: Re-orienting the Novel

This module introduces students to the origins, developments and innovations of the novel form through a range of contemporary, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels. Organised thematically, the module considers earlier novels in relation to contemporary examples. 

English: Introducing English Poetry

The module is designed to introduce you to a variety of major poems in English from the Renaissance to the present day. By the end of the course, you will be able to demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a wide range of poems from Shakespeare to the present; a familiarity with a variety of poetic forms; an understanding of how poetry functions; and the necessary skills for analysing poetic technique.

Philosophy: Epistemology and Metaphysics

This module aims to introduce you to some of the key problems that have preoccupied contemporary philosophers. You will look at logical questions relating to the structure of arguments, epistemological questions about the sources and limits of knowledge, and metaphysical questions exploring the relationship between minds and bodies and the possibility of human freedom.

Year 2

English: Contemporary Debates in Literary and Critical Theory

This module provides an advanced introduction to influential areas of criticism and theory. It will introduce you to the work of key thinkers on literature and the interpretation of literature. It will help you to develop your own ideas and arguments about the texts they you are studying across your degree. The course does not offer answers, but will introduce you to (as the title says) ‘Debates’ about literature, allowing you to better make up their own mind and develop your own opinions about literature and its interpretation.

Philosophy: Introduction to European Philosophy 1 - From Kant to Hegel

This module introduces you to aspects of key texts by eighteenth and nineteenth century philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, which form the foundation of the major debates in both European, and some Anglo-American philosophy. You will explore major issues concerning epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics, and different approaches to these issues, which will be central to the rest of your philosophical and other studies in the humanities and social sciences.

Philosophy: Mind and World

This module examines some of the major metaphysical and epistemological problems that arise when attempting to understand how the mind and language interact with and in the world. It centres on attempts to conceptualise, solve, or avoid mind-body related problems in the analytic tradition and aims to contrast these with phenomenological and existential investigations of related problems.

Year 3

All modules are optional

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Philosophy: Introduction to Logic

This module aims to introduce you to the formal study of arguments through the two basic systems of modern logic: sentential or propositional logic and predicate logic. As well as showing you how to present and analyse arguments formally, you will look at the implications and uses of logical analysis by considering Bertrand Russell’s formalist solution to the problem of definite descriptions, before discussing the broader significance of findings in logic to philosophical inquiry.

Philosophy: Mind and Conciousness

What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? Is the mind inside the brain? Are we any more than highly sophisticated computers? What is consciousness? This module aims to introduce these and related questions, which are central to modern philosophical debates about the nature of mind and consciousness.

Philosophy: Introduction to Aesthetics and Morals

This module aims to provide you with a broad understanding of many of the central problems and debates within moral philosophy and aesthetics. These include questions relating to both metaphysical and ethical relativism, the different ways we might understand our moral commitments within the world, how the individual is related to society, and the value and nature of the work of art. The module presents you with approaches from the history of philosophy, from the Anglo-American tradition, and from recent European philosophy.

Year 2

English: Middle English Poetry

English: Medieval Drama

English: Tolkien's Roots - Old English Poetry and Modern Medievalism

English: Medieval Dream and Vision

English: Medieval Epic and Romance

English: The Gawain-Poet

English: Myths of Origin in Old English Literature

English: Old English Riddles

English: Love, Honour, Obey' - Literature, 1525 to 1670

English: Intensive Shakespeare - Comedy, History, Tragedy

English: Witchcraft and Drama, 1576 to 1642

English: Theatre and The City, 1590 to 1625

English: Early Modern Bodies

English: Paradise in Early Modern Literature

English: Gender and Writing in the Eighteenth Century

English: Eighteenth Century Bodies

English: The Age of Oppositions - Literature, 1660 to 1780

English: Tristram Shandy and the Experimental Novel

English: Fictions of Sensation

English: Victoria Literature

English: Romanticisms

English: Creative Writing - Structure and Style

English: Writing Migrant Identities

English: Enivornmental Literatures

English: Four National Poets: Gillian Clarke, Carol Ann Duffy, Liz Lochhead and Paula Meehan

English: Literature of The Fin de Siècle

English: British Drama from Shaw to Priestly

English: Dark Reform - Scandal and Satire in American Culture

English: Contemporary Debates in Literary and Critical Theory

English: Modernist Literature

Year 3

English: A Marriage of Minds?

English: Special Author Project - Joseph Conrad

English: Special Author Project - Virginia Woolf

English: Special Author Project - Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales

English: Special Author Project - The Brontes

English: Special Author Project - John Donne

English: Special Author Project - Charles Dickens

English: Special Author Project - Thomas Hardy

English: Special Author Project - J.M. Coetzee

English: Special Author Project - Samuel Beckett

English: Special Author Project - Christopher Marlowe

English: Special Author Project - Oscar Wilde

English: Of Circumference - Reading Emily Dickinson

English: Rewriting Mythologies in 20th Century Literature

English: Character - Literary Persons, Selfhood and Interiority in Early Modern Literature

English: Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture

English: Special Topic - The Girl in the Book

English: The Post-Colonial Novel - the Art of Resistance

English: The Pre-Raphaelite Movement in Art and Literature

English: Byron, Modernity and Europe, 1780 to 1830

English: Sex, Death and Celebrity - Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Drama

English: African-American Literature

English: Science Fiction

English: The Literature of Chicago

English: Theatre and the City - 1590 to 1730

English: Visual and Verbal in the Long Nineteenth Century

English: The New York Schools - Poetry, Painting and Music in the 1950s

English: The Nineteen Thirties, Fiction and the Road to War

English: Vernacular Writing

English: Tolkien's Roots - Old English Poetry and Modern Medievalism

English: Old English Riddles

English: Witchcraft and Drama, 1576 to 1642

English: Paradise in Early Modern English Literature

English: Middle English Poetry

English: Medieval Epic and Romance

English: Beowulf and The Critics

English: Literature and Philosophy

English: Fictions of Sensation

English: Writing Migrant Identities

English: Advanced Romanticism - The 18teens

English: Children's Literature

English: The Art of Noise

English: A Year in the Life of Victorian Fiction - 1855

English: The Lives of Writing

English: Ethics and Aesthetics in the novels of J.M. Coetzee

English: Reading Beowulf

English: Medieval Drama

English: Old English Literature

English: Advanced Shakespeare - The Problem Plays

English: Early Modern Bodies

English: Medieval Dream and Vision

English: Painting / Writing

English: Gender and Writing in the Eighteenth Century

English: Tristram Shandy and the Experimental Novel

English: Everyday Literature

English: Queer Histories - Contemporary Gay and Lesbian British and Irish Fiction

English: Odysseus' Scar - Time in Modern Literature and Film

English: Pastoral

English: Visual and Verbal in the Long Nineteenth Century

English: The Great American Novella

English: Exploring James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake

English: Tragedy

English: Literatures of Genocide and Atrocity

English: Shakespeare in Stages - Shakespearen Adaptation across Four Centuries

English: Shakespearean Echoes, Off shoots and Responses

English: Special Topic: Ideas in Contemporary Fiction

English: Poetic Practice

English: The Brontës

English: Reading The Waste Land

Classics: The Philosophy of Aristotle


Classics: The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy 2


Classics: Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics


Classics: Philosophy Under the Roman Empire


Politics and International Relaions: Moral Problems  in Politics


Politics and International Relaions:  Nietzsche and Foucault


Philosophy: Philosophy of Psychology


Philosophy: Practical Ethics


Philosophy: The Philosophy of Religion


Philosophy: Husserl to Heidegger


Philosophy: Critical Theory and Hermen


Philosophy: Recovering Reality


Philosophy: The Self and Others


Philosophy: The Varieties of Scepticism


Each year you will take three course units in English and one in Philosophy.

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take 12 course units at the rate of four per year. Some course units are compulsory, while others are elective, thereby offering flexibility and some choice.

You'll be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials,and participate in study groups, essay consultations and guided independent study. In your first year, you will also work in small groups of just four or five students focusing on study skills such as close reading, essay writing and presentation and self-editing. As you progress through your degree, these tutorials focus on your own personal development, for instance working on your CV. IT applications are used to explore many aspects of the subject, and we support your capability in this area through an Information Technology Skills course. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. Academic staff hold regular drop-in consultation sessions with students and, when you start with us, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally.

We use a variety of assessment methods, including long and short essays, formal examinations at the end of each year, online tests and exercises, presentations, commentaries and portfolios of creative work.

You will also take a study skills course during your first year, designed to equip you with and enhance the writing skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This course does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.

All undergraduate degree courses at Royal Holloway are based on the course unit system. This system provides an effective and flexible approach to study, while ensuring that our degrees have a coherent and developmental structure.

Typical offers

Typical offers


Our offer will take into consideration:

  • subjects taken at A level
  • the educational context in which academic achievements have been gained
  • whether the Extended Project Qualification is being taken
Required/preferred subjects

Required subjects: 

  • A Level Grade A English Literature or English Language & Literature and at least five GCSE passes at grades A* to C, including Maths and English. 

Preferred subjects: History, Government & Politics, Law, Economics, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Sociology, Geography, Psychology

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including 6 in Higher Level English Literature with a minimum of 32 points overall 
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a related subject plus Grade A in A Level English Literature or English Language & Literature 
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a related subject plus Grade A in A Level English Literature or English Language & Literature 
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction in a related subject plus A Levels Grades A,B including A in English Literature or English Language & Literature 
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A Levels where one non subject specified A Level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate
Scottish Advanced Highers AB at Advanced Higher Level including A in English Literature or English Literature & Language plus Higher Level requirements 
Scottish Highers AABBB at Higher Level plus Advanced Higher Level requirements 
Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level including H2 in English Literature or English Lit/Lang at Higher Level
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit and Distinction in all Level 3 English studies units. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education 

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below

Please select a qualification

Please select a qualification

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
IELTS 7.0 overall
  • with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore
    For equivalencies please see here

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Our outstanding record of success for work and further study puts Royal Holloway in the top 10 for graduate career prospects (Complete University Guide, 2015). It goes to show that our degree programmes not only promote academic achievement but also the means to hone the life-skills necessary to excel, post-graduation.

Choosing to add philosophy into your studies at Royal Holloway not only prepares you well for postgraduate study it also equips you with the skills and qualities that employers are looking for.  Philosophy degrees are well-regarded by employers because they give you the capacity to think through issues and problems in a logical and consistent way and to develop critical and transferable skills which can be applied in almost any area of employment from computing to the arts.   

So, by choosing to study this intellectually demanding discipline you will develop a broad range of highly prized transferable skills, such as:

  • the ability to communicate views and present arguments clearly and coherently
  • the ability to critically digest, analyse and summarise complex ideas
  • time management and the discipline to meet deadlines
  • organisation and research skills
  • problem-solving skills and capability

Right now, we're running work placement schemes with The Daily Telegraph, the BBC's Newsnight and a number of publishing companies. Take part in one of our schemes and you'll boost your employability: not just with something that looks good on your CV, but with real skills to help you understand and prepare for a career. In the course itself, we put a strong emphasis on your employability. So the skills you'll gain won't just be for the field of English study – though many of our students go on to postgraduate study there – but in areas like research, presentation, teamwork, negotiation and communication. The skills you'll get on our course are designed to help you in a whole range of careers. 

In your second year, you'll meet with your personal tutor group, to work on planning your career beyond university. In the past, graduates from this course have gone on to careers in law, journalism, publishing, finance, business, teaching, marketing and the media. If you want to learn more about what our graduates are doing now, find out at the department’s website.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £14,000

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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