English and (perhaps?) Philosophy at Uni

(37 Posts)
happyAvocado Wed 20-Feb-13 23:44:56

My daughter loves English as a subject. She is very good at it and wants to take it further. Her dream is to become a journalist.

I suggested she looks into finding degree where she can combine English and some other subject - so far from descriptions I gave her to read after researching various courses she likes the sound of:

she is predicted to get A/A* in her GCSE's (she is in y10)
her plans for A levels at the moment are English, History, Maths and one more, perhaps English Language but that's undecided at the moment

what other combination would you suggest to a bright, hard working and very logical person who wants to study in a place where she can write a lot and be challenged and stretched
music is her hobby - I think she is managing quite well to balance school workload with time off to relax

boomting Thu 21-Feb-13 01:01:25

She should err towards English Literature at A Level, and avoid taking it in combination with English language (too similar in the eyes of many).

She could also have a look at A Level politics (there's lots of political philosophy, though not necessarily at A Level, it depends on the syllabus).

happyAvocado Thu 21-Feb-13 01:15:22

I am going to check if the 6th form is having A levels Politics
thanks for the tip about not taking Eng Lang as her 4th option

happyAvocado Thu 21-Feb-13 01:24:48

they don't do Politics - hee's the choice of subjects:
Art and Design
English Literature
Further Mathematics
General Studies
Physical Education
Critical Thinking
DT: Product Design
Government and Politics
Religious Studies

I would say she probably should choose either Philosophy, RS or Economics
(no English Language as a choice in the current prospectus )

tabulahrasa Thu 21-Feb-13 01:28:01

I did English and religious studies - they complement each other well, history would work as well...they give you context for the English.

I liked religious studies, it satisfied my random nosiness and you can be quite opinionated in essays. Not as opinionated as English to be fair, but not a lot of it was repeating back reading.

I think her choices sound perfect, actually. Maths is very useful for Philosophy as I understand it. IME people who did History A Level benefitted hugely for English degrees. I'm also slightly on the fence about English Language. If RS is taught well, that could be good. But she needs to do something she really enjoys and is likely to get the highest marks in, basically.

happyAvocado Thu 21-Feb-13 11:36:49

she enjoys biology and chemistry too - so may choose one or both

MsDeerheart Thu 21-Feb-13 21:30:36

they do goverment and politics - which is the same as politics I think
chemistry can be hard going at A level

happyAvocado Thu 21-Feb-13 23:12:46

thanks, I'll suggest for her to look at Government and Politics

I can imagine if she put her head down she would succeed in Science, but don't want to force her - I love science myself, one of her cousins is now doing his masters in Physics so she has a role model in him as well smile

boomting Fri 22-Feb-13 02:01:34

Sorry for the confusion, yes, politics is the same as government and politics. It's something she should take if she's the sort of person who likes to watch the news and keep up to date with current affairs, and who often has an opinion on what's happening currently in politics. That's not to say that it's an A Level in current affairs, but you are expected to keep up with what's happening in your own time.

As for actual A Level choices from that list - it sounds like Eng Lit and Philosophy are definites. Other than that, she should be looking for an academic essay-based subject (or maths) that she will enjoy. Look at RS, and make sure there isn't too much overlap with Philosophy. Gov and Pol as mentioned above. Maths has a reputation for being related to philosophy, though I've never quite worked out why (because they're both logical?) - definitely something that should only be done if she will get A (possibly even A*) at GCSE though, and if she enjoys maths. History is another possibility.

Critical thinking / general studies are subjects that should only ever be done as 5th AS levels.

happyAvocado Fri 22-Feb-13 08:17:41

yes, Eng Lit, History, Maths are almost 100% definite cqndidates, she is likely to get at least A in all 3 of them

when we go for an open evening e'll look into curriculum for both G&P, Philosophy and RS

would you say that A levels Philosophy is a good taster of what this subject is taught as at Universities?

eatyourveg Fri 22-Feb-13 13:15:12

I'd say go for Philosophy - that way she gets a taster as you say and it would help her make up her mind if she wants to take it further.

Bonsoir Fri 22-Feb-13 13:20:24

If she wants to become a journalist a degree that has an Economics and/or Politics component would be a good idea.

Chubfuddler Fri 22-Feb-13 13:43:09

You don't need philosophy a level to study philosophy at degree level. In fact it can be a disadvantage if you aren't predicted the highest grades.

I did English/philosophy and did a levels in English literature, French and history. Great combo of a levels, really enjoyed them.

happyAvocado Fri 22-Feb-13 14:23:49

she is not keen on German for A levels smile

Chubfuddler i hope you don't min me asking what do you do now for living? How about others who did the same degree as you?

What do you think about the content of this particular course?

where else should we look, I mean which other unis are providing good courses for E&P?

Bonsoir Fri 22-Feb-13 14:28:47

Look at London universities - if she wants to be a journalist she needs to be near the epicentre!

TantieTowie Fri 22-Feb-13 14:34:39

I'm a journalist - I did English, History, French, and then English at uni, but you really don't need an English degree to be a journalist. I know people with degrees in history, genetics, languages, who are all journalists. What you really need to be a journalist is to demonstrate that you are really really keen by doing lots of work experience.

happyAvocado Fri 22-Feb-13 14:42:40

we live on the outskirts of London (40 min by tran from VIctoria st) - I thought perhaps that by encouraging her to go to the uni outside of London she would get a chance to see life outside of the capital

I think we, living here are a bit insulated from the rest of the country.... - maybe I am mistaken? smile

Yes, she knows she needs to get lots of work experience during next few years to show her commitment.

I thought that doing English with another subject would wide her experience and interests

Chubfuddler Fri 22-Feb-13 15:10:15

I'm a solicitor. I applied for (and got) Warwick). Really liked the look of it but in the end I went to Bristol, with York as my insurance offer. I also got offers from Manchester and Durham. I expect the courses have changed a lot though, I'm 34.

Chubfuddler Fri 22-Feb-13 15:10:38

Most people I went to university with went into law or the city or academia.

happyAvocado Fri 22-Feb-13 15:35:23

thanks Chubfuddler

I'll have look at those other unis - I am enjoying reading about this stuff smile

happyAvocado Fri 22-Feb-13 15:36:34

what motivated you then to choose Bristol over Warwick?

Chubfuddler Fri 22-Feb-13 16:01:04

Higher entrance grades made me think it was probably better thought of academically (I knew very little about these things) and I fell in love with the place on the open day.

happyAvocado Fri 22-Feb-13 16:40:27

I guess degree from either of those would have given you similar start in life.

I think we'll visit many unis and let her decide smile

BeckAndCall Sat 23-Feb-13 09:15:49

From our experience - DD at RG doing English lit at the moment - I'd say that English is very competitive at the top end of the uni market (from her top selective school, 6 girls went on to do English at uni and they got only 2 offers each out of 5) so you need to maximise her chances.

Hindsight advice tells me that the A level groupings that give you the best chance of an English lit offer would be history, modern language, another essay subject. That said, my DD did politics and psychology but we did notice that some places specifically suggest some subjects ( eg Bristol and York look for a language)

It would be worth looking at a few department websites for some unis you'd be interested in just to see what they say.

happyAvocado Sat 23-Feb-13 11:14:13

Thanks forthat tip BeckAndCall - for Eng York requires foreign language because:

All of our BA English students take one module in a foreign literature, studied at least partly in the original language.
Because of our commitment to the study of foreign literature, we normally expect applicants to single-subject English to have a good grade (at least a B) in a foreign language at GCSE or equivalent.

Bristol hasn't got any specific comments about MFL requirements for entry to Eng this year.

Has your daughter considered a combined degree and if she rejected it - why was that?

BeckAndCall Sat 23-Feb-13 12:26:57

I think Bristol prefers history - I seem to remember that being on their website when it was applicable for my DD.

She didn't consider a joint degree really - she toyed with the idea ofAmerican studies to combine literature and politics, but decided to stick with straight English. Which gives her plenty if scope to do a foreign literature module ( guess where she is?!) and to specialise in American literature as much as she wants.

happyAvocado Sat 23-Feb-13 13:48:58

I was told by few people that they regretted studying Eng Lit. They felt that having been forced to read books they didn't like made them loath reading now. I hope this won't happen to your daughter.

That's also one of the reasons why I am advising her agains Eng Lit on it's own.
Obviously I haven't experienced it first hand, so that is jus somebody elses opinion.

webwiz Sat 23-Feb-13 14:09:02

I would have thought the people who regretted studying Eng Lit should have thought more carefully about embarking on the course after all its no secret that you are going to have to read a lot and you might not enjoy all of it.

DS is in year 11 and considering English at university and from the brief look at courses so far there seems to so much choice within the modules that he ought to be able to follow his own interests to a certain extent. Taking a joint honours course means that you have less choice within the English Lit half and you lose some of the flexibility.

Its a pity that it is so competitive though, I'm not looking forward to university application time.

happyAvocado Sat 23-Feb-13 14:26:53

I suppose Eng Lit is thought of by some as an easy course, when in fact it isn't smile

webwiz Sat 23-Feb-13 14:43:09

DS has already had some "helpful" advice from family members that its just reading books and anyone can do that so he should consider a science degree instead hmm

DS is very good at English and is that's what he wants to study I'd rather he was well informed about what he was choosing than pouring cold water all over the idea!

BeckAndCall Sat 23-Feb-13 15:16:12

Webwiz, that is very true about a joint degree - you have less choice in each subject over which. Modules you study - it might end being all 'core ' in both subjects with little room for personal preference. Depends very much on the place tho - it really is all down to the course and plAce.

happyAvocado Sat 23-Feb-13 15:28:40

I guess the want to chave choice in the subject you study is important if you want to take that subject's part further such as MA or further research

Sympathique Sat 23-Feb-13 16:42:41

webwiz "DS has already had some "helpful" advice from family members that its just reading books and anyone can do that so he should consider a science degree instead"

O cripes that is so reminiscent of what I went through - & coincidentally just posted about it on the 'open day' thread. Tell him to stay strong!

webwiz Sat 23-Feb-13 17:27:25

I was really surprised that idiot BIL decided that it was his place to make comments about DS's plans (and MIL as well) but its not likely to change anything and makes them look a bit narrow minded. It will be a bit difficult to take a science degree though when he isn't actually taking any science A levels!

tabulahrasa Sat 23-Feb-13 17:29:37

I don't regret doing English, yes I had to read books that I wouldn't normally choose to for pleasure, but that's not why you're reading them... Textbooks for other subjects are not exactly a thrilling read either, lol.

Sympathique Sat 23-Feb-13 17:37:05

"It will be a bit difficult to take a science degree though when he isn't actually taking any science A levels!" grin

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