Linguistics and Philosophy BA

2024-25 entry
School of English
Department of Philosophy

This degree explores our dependence on language from different perspectives. In Linguistics, you will learn about the nature and development of different languages. In Philosophy, you will develop your understanding of the philosophy of language, as well as other key philosophical areas like ethics, metaphysics and logic.

Key details

Explore this course:

    Course description

    Philosophy students in a seminar.

    Follow your fascination for linguistics down a very different path, as you explore our dependence on language from different philosophical perspectives and apply critical thinking to real word problems.

    From linguistics, you'll learn about the nature and development of different languages. From philosophy, an understanding of the philosophy of language, alongside ethics, metaphysics and logic. Using your passion for both, you'll apply yourself to real-world issues, examining topics like global justice, climate change and feminism.

    As a dual honours student, you’ll be drawing on the resources of both departments. From a solid grounding in both subjects, you’ll go on to pursue the modules that interest you, or perhaps even weight the degree in favour of one subject.

    You’ll graduate with a unique, enviable mix of skills - grasping the analytical techniques and concepts you need to become a successful linguist, and the high degree of intellectual flexibility that comes from thinking philosophically.

    Why study this course?

    • Explore how language underpins how we think and act - the lens of language will help you find a new focus on the intersections of language and the big ideas that govern our thinking.
    • Flexibility and choice - both departments offer an extensive range of optional modules, which means you can focus on the areas that interest and inspire you the most.
    • Research-led teaching - all our teaching is informed by the latest findings, and you’ll have the opportunity to carry out your own research project as part of your degree.
    • Outside the lecture hall - join our award-winning, student-led volunteering project Philosophy in the City and introduce school children to philosophical ideas they can apply to everyday life.

    Dual and combined honours degrees

    A student takes notes and listens during a group discussion

    Modules

    Over the course of each academic year at Sheffield, you will need to study modules that equate to the value of 120 credits. Some of these credits will be taken up by our core modules, which are designed to give you the breadth of knowledge and ways of thinking necessary to the degree being awarded.

    For your remaining credits, you will be able to choose from an extensive range of optional modules, allowing you to shape your degree to the topics that interest you.

    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Title: Linguistics and Philosophy BA course structure 2023-24
    UCAS code: QV15
    Years: 2023
    First year

    You must take at least 40 credits of Philosophy modules. You must take:

    Writing Philosophy

    Philosophical writing is a skill that you, the student, must hone early on in order to succeed in your degree. It is also a transferable skill that will serve you in your post-academic career. Philosophical writing combines the general virtues of clarity, organisation, focus and style found in other academic writing with particular philosophical virtues, namely, the ability to expose the implicit assumptions of analysed texts and to make explicit the logical structure of one's own and other people's arguments. A precondition of philosophical writing is a unique form of textual analysis that pays particular attention to its argumentative structure. In this module you will learn and practice philosophical writing. You will learn how to read in preparation for philosophical writing, learn how to plan an essay, learn how to rework your drafts and learn how to use feedback constructively. You will write five drafts and five essays and will have one on on tutorial on each essay you write. The lectures in the course will be split between lectures of the art of writing and lectures on philosophical topics in the domain of fact and value. Essay topics will be based on the topical lectures and their associated readings

    20 credits

    And at least one other core Philosophy module (20 credits) from the list below.

    Ethics and Society

    This module aims to introduce a range of topics from certain overlapping areas of philosophical research relating to normative and practical matters: in particular, dealing with ethical theory, applied ethics, moral theory, moral psychology, and politics. The module aims to outline some major philosophical problems and topics from these areas, while also showing how the underlying concerns of the areas are connected to broad underlying philosophical concerns.

    20 credits
    Mind and World

    This module aims to introduce a range of topics from epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of mind. The module aims to outline some philosophical problems and topics from these areas, and in doing so show how these areas connect and thereby show how philosophical thinking can be unified and interconnected across these subjects.

    20 credits
    Reason and Argument

    This module aims to introduce a range of concepts and theoretical tools that are central to a great deal of work throughout philosophy and that are, more generally, very useful in evaluating arguments and analysing their components. The module will thus incorporate materials relating to critical thinking and logic, building upon fundamental theoretical ideas about meaning.

    20 credits

    A maximum of 60 credits can be selected from Linguistics modules, which includes 20 credits of core modules. Core linguistics modules:

    The Sounds of English

    This module is an introduction to the subdisciplines of Linguistics known as Phonetics and Phonology, focusing specifically on the sounds of the English language. It is designed to provide a solid understanding of how speech sounds are made and how they function in use. The lectures will present descriptions of English speech sounds and theories to explain their behaviour in a range of different accents and contexts, and the workshop classes will provide hands-on experience in using and thinking about the sounds of English. The module serves as an essential basis for more advanced linguistic study.

    10 credits
    The Structures of English

    This module is an introduction to the syntax of natural languages, focussing on the syntactic structure of contemporary English. This module is intended as a sister module to the 10-credit 'Sounds of English' module, which runs in parallel. It is designed to provide a firm grounding in the descriptions of English sentence structure(s), and to introduce students to the main theories and methods of syntactic argumentation. The lectures will cover major topics in the formal description of English sentences, while the workshop classes will provide hands-on experience in analysing and thinking about sentence structure. The module serves as an essential basis for more advanced linguistic study.

    10 credits

    At least 20 credits must also be used on an optional Linguistics module. Optional linguistics modules:

    Varieties of English

    This course explores the extraordinary diversity of the English language today, and is concerned with describing the features, use and status of contemporary varieties of English in Britain and around the world. Extraterritorial varieties are located within histories of expansion, colonialism, and globalisation, and considered in relation to the role of English as an international language. We investigate developments which led to the social and geographic distribution of certain present day varieties in Britain. Students will apply tools of description for all linguistic levels, and develop awareness of sociolinguistic aspects of language such as social indexing, attitudes and standardisation, as well as the relationship between variation and change.

    20 credits
    Early Englishes

    Early Englishes works backward over a whole millennium of English, 1600 to 600. Each week's lectures and seminar focus on one century and one text representative of that century (for example, Beowulf and Piers Plowman). We will use a variety of techniques , literary, linguistic, anthropological, cultural historical, to analyse each text, thereby opening up discussion of the issues that preoccupied the English of the time, from glorious monster-slaying to the slow surrender of pagan belief to terror at the imminent arrival of Antichrist and on to the first expressions of love and desire. Texts will initially be studied in translation so no prior knowledge of Old or Middle English is necessary, but students will also be given the opportunity to examine texts in the original language.

    20 credits
    Exploring Literary Language

    How are literary effects created through language? How can we describe these effects? This course will aim to provide literature students with a gentle introduction to language, and provide language students with experience of applying linguistic analysis to literary texts. The emphasis will be upon a practical hands-on approach, and topics covered will include sentence structure, lexical choice, cohesion, narrative structure, discourse analysis (with reference to drama and dialogue) and point of view in narrative fiction. The texts studied will be predominantly literary and twentieth century, and will include extracts from novels, plays, poetry and short stories.

    20 credits
    History of English

    This module traces the history of the English language of the Fifth century AD through to the present day. Students will learn about the development of English over this period, looking at the factors which have shaped the language, and learning a variety of techniques for studying the language. The module will also introduce students to the range and variety of the English language at all periods, and to the ways in which English influences, and is influenced by, other languages.

    20 credits
    Linguistic Theory

    This module explores how language is structured by examining central issues in linguistic theory, building upon the concepts introduced in EL112 Sounds of English and ELL113 Structure of English. Students will be instructed in (1) foundational theories and concepts in areas such as phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, (2) the linguistic evidence that informs these approaches, (3) the analytical techniques required to apply these theories to language data, and (4) the relevance of such theoretical models for the wider study of language. The module will develop analytical tools in using linguistic theory, training students to rigorously interpret language data within theoretical frameworks

    20 credits

    Optional philosophy modules:

    History of Ethics

    How should we live? What is the right thing to do? This module offers a critical introduction to the history of western ethical thought, examining some of the key ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Wollstonecraft, Douglass, Bentham, Mill, Taylor Mill, Nietzsche, Rawls and Gilligan. It provides a textual introduction to some of the main types of ethical theory: the ethics of flourishing and virtue; rights-based approaches; utilitarianism; contractualism. We explore the close interconnections between ethics and other branches of philosophy (e.g. metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics), as well as the connections between ethics and other disciplines (e.g. psychology; anthropology).

    10 credits
    History of Philosophical Ideas

    The history of philosophy is made up of a series of debates between competing philosophical traditions and schools: for example, idealists argue with realists, rationalists with empiricists. And at different times, distinctive philosophical movements have dominated the discussion, such as pragmatism, existentialism, phenomenology, analytic philosophy, and critical theory. This module will introduce you to some of these central movements and traditions in the history of philosophy from Plato onwards, and the key philosophical concepts and issues that they have brought in to western thought.

    10 credits
    Death

    This module is mainly about death itself . What is death? What happens to us when we die? Could there be an afterlife? Would it be a good thing if there were? What is it about death that we dislike so much, or that makes it bad? Is it rational, or even possible to fear death? What is the right attitude towards our own death? Do we have moral duties towards the dead? The course will clarify these questions and attempt to answer them. Readings will be taken from both historical and contemporary sources.

    10 credits
    Philosophy of Sex

    Sex is one of the most basic human motivators, of fundamental importance in many people's lives, and a topic of enormous moral, religious, and political contention. No surprise, then, that it turns out to be of great philosophical interest. We will discuss moral issues related to sex' asking when we might be right to judge a particular sex act to be morally problematic; and what political significance (if any) sex has. We will also discuss metaphysical issues, such as the surprisingly difficult questions of what exactly sex is and what a sexual orientation is. Throughout our study, we will draw both on philosophical sources and on up-to-date contemporary information.

    10 credits
    Philosophy of Religion

    This course will pose and try to answer philosophical questions about religion. These include questions about the nature of religion. For instance does being religious necessarily involve believing in the existence of a God or Gods? And is religious faith compatible with adherence to the scientific method? Other questions that the course will cover include questions about the theistic notion of God. Does the idea of an all-powerful being make sense? Is an all-knowing God compatible with human freedom? And is an all-powerful, all-knowing and perfectly good creator of the universe compatible with the existence of evil? Further questions concern God and morality. Is it true that if there is no God, then there is no right and wrong? The course will examine philosophical arguments for the existence of God, and question whether these arguments are sound.

    10 credits

    Try a new subject:

    The flexible structure of your first year at Sheffield means that you also have the chance to experience modules from outside of English and Philosophy - you can choose up to 40 credits of modules from a list approved by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. A final guided module list is made available to new students when you select your modules as part of registration.

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Learning and assessment

    Learning

    You'll learn through a mix of lectures and smaller group seminars. We keep seminar groups small because we believe that's the best way to stimulate discussion and debate. All students are assigned a personal tutor with whom they have regular meetings, and you are welcome to see any of the academic staff in their regular office hours if there's anything you want to ask.

    We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

    Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

    Learning support facilities and library opening hours

    You'll be taught by world-leading experts in both departments. School of English staff are researchers, critics, and writers. They're also passionate, dedicated teachers who work tirelessly to ensure their students are inspired.

    In the Department of Philosophy, you'll be taught by researchers working at the cutting-edge of their field, meaning your lectures and seminars are informed, relevant and exciting.

    Assessment

    In addition to writing essays and more traditional exams, linguistics modules use a range of innovative assessments that can include designing websites, writing blog posts, delivering presentations and working with publishing software. For philosophy modules, assessment is normally through a combination of coursework essays and exams, with long essay options available instead of exams.

    Programme specification

    This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

    Find programme specification for this course

    Entry requirements

    With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible.

    Standard offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    ABB

    A Levels + a fourth Level 3 qualification
    BBB + B in the EPQ
    International Baccalaureate
    33
    BTEC Extended Diploma
    DDD in a relevant subject
    BTEC Diploma
    DD + B at A Level
    Scottish Highers
    AAABB
    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels
    B + AB
    Access to HE Diploma
    Award of Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit
    Other requirements
    • Evidence of interest in language and linguistics, demonstrated through the personal statement is also required

    Access Sheffield offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    BBB

    A Levels + a fourth Level 3 qualification
    BBB + B in the EPQ
    International Baccalaureate
    32
    BTEC Extended Diploma
    DDM in a relevant subject
    BTEC Diploma
    DD + B at A Level
    Scottish Highers
    AABBB
    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels
    B + BB
    Access to HE Diploma
    Award of Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 24 at Distinction and 21 at Merit
    Other requirements
    • Evidence of interest in language and linguistics, demonstrated through the personal statement is also required

    English language requirements

    You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Graduate careers

    School of English

    The academic aptitude and personal skills that you develop on your degree will make you highly prized by employers, whatever your chosen career path after university:

    • Excellent oral and written communication
    • Independent working
    • Time management and organisation
    • Planning and researching written work
    • Articulating knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories
    • Leading and participating in discussions
    • Negotiation and teamwork
    • Effectively conveying arguments and opinions and thinking creatively
    • Critical reasoning and analysis

    Our graduates are confident and articulate. They have highly developed communication skills, equipping them for a wide range of careers in journalism, the charity sector, marketing and communications, theatre and television production, PR, copywriting, publishing, teaching, web development, accountancy, and speech and language therapy, among other fields.

    Many of our students go on to postgraduate study, research, and an academic career.

    Your career - the School of English

    Department of Philosophy

    Studying philosophy will develop your ability to analyse and state a case clearly, evaluate arguments and be precise in your thinking. These skills will put you in a strong position when it comes to finding employment or going on to further study.

    Our graduates work in teaching, law, social work, computing, the civil service, journalism, paid charity work, business, insurance and accountancy. Many also go on to study philosophy at postgraduate level.

    School of English

    We're a research-intensive school with an international perspective on English studies. Students can specialise in their chosen subject, whilst taking modules from other programmes, forging interdisciplinary connections. We are famous for our pioneering work with communities, locally and internationally. We encourage our students to get involved and to apply their academic learning, working in partnership with external organisations both within the city of Sheffield and beyond.

    Our staff are researchers, critics, and writers. They're also passionate, dedicated teachers who work tirelessly to ensure their students are inspired.

    We keep seminar groups small because we believe that's the best way to stimulate discussion and debate. Our modules use a range of innovative assessments and can include designing websites, writing blog posts, and working with publishing software, in addition to writing essays and delivering presentations.

    We're committed to providing our students with the pastoral support they need in order to thrive on their degree. All students are assigned a personal tutor with whom they have regular meetings. You are welcome to see any of the academic staff in their regular student consultations if there's anything you want to ask.

    The School of English is based in the Jessop West building at the heart of the university campus, close to the Diamond and the Information Commons. We share the Jessop West Building with the Department of History and the School of Languages and Cultures.

    School of English

    Department of Philosophy

    We pride ourselves on the diversity of our modules and the high quality of our teaching. Our staff are among the best in the world at what they do. They're active researchers so your lectures and seminars are informed, relevant and exciting. We'll teach you how to think carefully, analytically and creatively.

    Our staff and students use philosophy to engage with real world issues. You will be able to use what you learn to make a difference in the community, through projects like Philosophy in the City, an innovative and award-winning programme that enables students to teach philosophy in schools, homeless shelters and centres for the elderly.

    Our students run a thriving Philosophy Society and the only UK undergraduate philosophy journal. Our Centre for Engaged Philosophy pursues research into questions of fundamental political and social importance, from criminal justice and social inclusion to climate ethics, all topics that are covered in our teaching.

    Philosophy changes our perspective on the world, and equips and motivates us to make a difference.

    The Department of Philosophy is based at 45 Victoria Street at the heart of the University campus. We're close to the Diamond and the Information Commons, as well as Jessop West, which houses our fellow Arts & Humanities departments of History, English and Languages & Cultures.

    Department of Philosophy

    Why choose Sheffield?

    The University of Sheffield

      Number one in the Russell Group
    National Student Survey 2023 (based on aggregate responses)

      92 per cent of our research is rated as world-leading or internationally excellent
    Research Excellence Framework 2021

      Top 50 in the most international universities rankings
    Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023

      Number one Students' Union in the UK
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023, 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

      Number one for teaching quality, Students' Union and clubs/societies
    StudentCrowd 2023 University Awards

      A top 20 university targeted by employers
    The Graduate Market in 2023, High Fliers report

    Department of Philosophy

    1st in the Russell Group for Student Voice

    National Student Survey 2021

    3rd in the Russell Group for student satisfaction

    National Student Survey 2021

    Fees and funding

    Fees

    Additional costs

    The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

    Examples of what’s included and excluded

    Funding your study

    Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

    Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

    Placements and study abroad

    Placement

    You may have the opportunity to add an optional placement year as part of your course, converting the three year course to a four-year Degree with Placement Year. 

    A placement year will help you to:

    • gain an insight into possible careers
    • develop a range of transferable skills
    • build a professional network
    • get a feel for what you do and don’t like doing
    • add valuable work experience to your CV
    • gain experience of applying for jobs and interview practice
    • apply elements of academic learning in the workplace

    With our third year Work Place Learning module, you can spend time with an organisation from the Sheffield voluntary or private sector, gaining skills and experience relevant to philosophy in an applied setting. You can also take part in the award-winning Philosophy in the City group, which introduces school children to philosophical ideas they can apply to everyday life. All of these experiences will help you build a compelling CV.

    Study abroad

    Spending time abroad during your degree is a great way to explore different cultures, gain a new perspective and experience a life-changing opportunity that you will never forget. 

    You can apply to extend this course with a year abroad, usually between the second and third year. We have over 250 University partners worldwide. Popular destinations include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. 

    Find out more on the Global Opportunities website.

    Visit

    University open days

    We host five open days each year, usually in June, July, September, October and November. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

    Open days: book your place

    Subject tasters

    If you’re considering your post-16 options, our interactive subject tasters are for you. There are a wide range of subjects to choose from and you can attend sessions online or on campus.

    Upcoming taster sessions

    Offer holder days

    If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our offer holder days, which take place between February and April. These open days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

    Campus tours

    Our weekly guided tours show you what Sheffield has to offer - both on campus and beyond. You can extend your visit with tours of our city, accommodation or sport facilities.

    Campus tour: book your place

    Apply

    Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

    How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:
    www.ucas.com

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer

    2024-2025

    Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

    How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:
    www.ucas.com

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    This degree explores our dependence on language from different perspectives. In Linguistics, you will learn about the nature and development of different languages. In Philosophy, you will develop your understanding of the philosophy of language, as well as other key philosophical areas like ethics, metaphysics and logic.