About the course

Literature can offer new perspectives on familiar themes, as well as open doors to unfamiliar ideas and cultures which are temporally or spatially remote from your own. It is an ideal source for philosophical reflection, exploring and challenging the assumptions that frame the way we think, act and see the world around us.

Our BA Philosophy and English Literature degree encourages you to expand your imaginative capacities and to critically reflect on possibilities for how the world could be, by engaging with a wide variety of perspectives. You will gain skills in understanding how to read and interpret in context, and in how to formulate your own arguments, to arrive at your own conclusions.

In your first year, you might choose to study international and American literature or revisit Shakespeare and consider his cultural relevance today through fictional, cinematic and TV adaptations. In Philosophy, you might explore questions which lie at the heart of much literature, such as whether anything can give meaning to life, and whether our striving to achieve anything of significance is ultimately futile, even ridiculous. The philosophy of film and literature module addresses the assumption that anything is possible in fiction and considers the extent to which that is true.

All our English Literature and Philosophy lecturers are active researchers, so you’ll share the excitement of doing original work in a supportive and highly-rated academic community. Our Philosophy team is in the top 15 in the Guardian League Table 2019 and rates as one of the 100 best Philosophy departments worldwide in the 2017 QS rankings.

In your second year, you’ll focus on period-based literature from the Renaissance onwards and gain an understanding of literary history, from Elizabethan verse and drama, via Augustan poetry and the emergence of the novel in the 18th century, to the radical transformations of the Victorian age, and the emergence of modernity in the 20th century. In Philosophy, you’ll choose from a variety of topics, which includes a module on the nature of art, expression and representation (in literary as well as visual art), and modules on influential texts in philosophy, such as Plato’s Republic.

The final year allows for even more opportunity to tailor your degree to reflect your own interests. On the literature side, themed options include children’s literature, young adult fiction, Renaissance tragedy, 21 st century American literature, European crime fiction, literary adaptations and the culture of print in the 18th century. A wide variety of Philosophy modules are available, including modules on feminist philosophy, the nature of language and meaning, and a module on Nietzsche, who is well-known for his literary style.

Fact sheets 2019 Course fact sheet 1 BA (Hons) Philosophy
Programme specifications 2019 Programme specification 1 BA (Hons) Philosophy 2019 Programme specification 2 BA (Hons) English Literature

Why choose this course?

We give you: 

  • A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
  • An exceptional academic team, conducting internationally renowned research
  • Stimulating, innovative courses that allow you to make rewarding connections between two disciplines
  • CV-building potential through work placements and extra-curricular activities

I certainly developed professionalism and employability through studying Philosophy, primarily through the methods of rational and logical problem solving. I acquired a skill that is useful in whatever field one works in. However, it is enterprise that I most notably improved on while at Herts. I had never really considered starting a businesses or working for myself, but while studying Philosophy (particularly my Masters by Research and my undergraduate dissertation) I realised I was learning self-management and combining this with my new proficiency at problem solving sent me down a new path. Since leaving Herts I have set up multiple small business which are growing healthily. This individuality has really helped me find out what I want to do in life.

Rob Baggs

BA(Hons) Philosophy 2010-2013, MA(Res) in Philosophy 2013-2015

Course details

What job can I get?

On this degree you will be encouraged to understand different perspectives, ask penetrating questions, and identify flawed arguments – skills integral to many professions. You’ll develop many other transferable skills sought by employers, such as creative and critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to communicate ideas in a structured, productive way.

Our graduates have an excellent record of securing roles in a range of industries including teaching, the media, publishing and information management. For those interested in teaching, all Humanities graduates are guaranteed an interview with our School of Education. Many graduates go on to higher levels of study, engaging in research in their chosen fields.

Teaching methods

Our philosophy students benefit from being part of a lively and active academic community. You’ll learn through formal courses and extracurricular seminars, while our small group teaching helps you to find your feet in the academic environment. There are plenty of opportunities to discuss critical issues with staff and fellow students, including an optional residential weekend each year.

Work Placement

Our English Literature students can choose a work experience module, Literature at Work, which explores English in the classroom and aspects of the literary heritage industry. The module is centred around a six-week work placement where you’ll gain valuable transferable skills. Our students have worked as school classroom assistants, in publishing houses or attractions such as London’s Charles Dickens Museum and Dr Johnson’s House.

Study Abroad

Taking a year’s study abroad is an excellent opportunity to broaden your understanding of the world. Living in another country offers fresh perspectives and helps create global citizens. Recently our students have studied in the USA, Canada, Japan and South Korea, enhancing their learning, building their confidence and gaining a greater appreciation of other cultures and societies. 

Find out more about our Study abroad opportunities.

Structure

  • Level 4
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Philosophy of Film and Literature 15 Credits Compulsory
    Texts Up Close: Reading and Interpretation 15 Credits Compulsory
    Make it New: Literary Tradition and Experimentation 15 Credits Compulsory
    Border Crossings: Modern Literature from around the World 15 Credits Compulsory
    Shakespeare Reframed 15 Credits Compulsory
    Mind, Knowledge and Reality 15 Credits Compulsory
    Ethics 15 Credits Compulsory
    The Meaning of Life 15 Credits Compulsory
    Reason and Persuasion 15 Credits Optional
    Journeys and Quests: Adventures in Literature 15 Credits Optional
    Identity and Contemporary Writing 15 Credits Optional
    Social and Political Philosophy 15 Credits Optional
    American Voices: Introduction to US Literature and Culture 15 Credits Optional
    Romantic Origins & Gothic Afterlives 15 Credits Optional
  • Level 5
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Graduate Skills 0 Credits Compulsory
    Themes in Plato's Republic 15 Credits Optional
    The Right and The Good 15 Credits Optional
    Studies in Twentieth Century Literature, 1900-1945 15 Credits Optional
    Philosophy of Mind 15 Credits Optional
    Knowledge and Discovery 15 Credits Optional
    Philosophy of Art 15 Credits Optional
    American Literature to 1900 15 Credits Optional
    Twentieth Century North American Writing 15 Credits Optional
    Metaphysics 15 Credits Optional
    Ways of Reading: Literature and Theory 15 Credits Optional
    Philosophies of Religion 15 Credits Optional
    Virtues, Vices and Ethics 15 Credits Optional
    Lines on the Map: Explorations in Colonial Writing 15 Credits Optional
    Images of Contemporary Society: British Literature and the Politics of Identity 15 Credits Optional
    Postcolonial Cultures: Texts and Contexts 15 Credits Optional
    Logic and Philosophy 15 Credits Optional
    Age of Transition: the Victorians and Modernity 15 Credits Optional
    Literature at Work 15 Credits Optional
    A Nation of Readers: British Identity and Enlightenment Culture 15 Credits Optional
    Revisiting the Renaissance 15 Credits Optional
  • Level 6
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Aristotle P 15 Credits Optional
    Nietzsche, Genealogy and Morality 15 Credits Optional
    Philosophy of Language 15 Credits Optional
    Philosophy of Psychology 15 Credits Optional
  • Fees & funding

    Fees 2019

    UK/EU Students

    Full time
    • £9250 for the 2019/2020 academic year

    International Students

    Full time
    • £12350 for the 2019/2020 academic year

    Discounts are available for International students if payment is made in full at registration

    *Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

    View detailed information about tuition fees

    Read more about additional fees in the course fact sheet

    Other financial support

    Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

    Living costs / accommodation

    The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

    View detailed information about our accommodation

    Entry requirements

    UCAS points A Level BTEC IB requirement
    104 BCC DMM 104 points

    How to apply

    Course length
    • Full Time, 3 Years
    • Sandwich, 4 Years
    Locations
    • University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield

    2020

    Start DateEnd DateLink
    23/09/202031/05/2021Apply online (Full Time)
    23/09/202031/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    23/09/202031/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)

    2021

    Start DateEnd DateLink
    23/09/202131/05/2022Apply online (Full Time)
    23/09/202131/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    23/09/202131/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    Optional Sandwich Placement or Study Abroad year
    We welcome applications from international and EU students