Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics | University of Oxford
Psychology
A Psychology test.
(Credit: Psychology Department)

Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics

UCAS codeSee course combinationsDuration3 years (BA)
Entrance requirementsA*AA Admissions statistics*

Interviewed: 49%
Successful: 16%
Intake: 33
*3-year average 2016-18

Admissions test(s)

ox.ac.uk/tsa
ox.ac.uk/mlat (for Linguistics)

Written workNone

Subject requirements

  For Psychology: one or
more sciences (including Psychology) or Maths
  For Linguistics: English Language, Maths, a science or language 

Contact

+44 (0) 1865 271353
Email Psychology
+44 (0) 1865 276926
Email Philosophy
+44 (0) 1865 280400
Email Linguistics

Subject requirements:       Essential       Recommended       Helpful – may be useful on course

Psychology, philosophy and linguistics are closely interrelated disciplines, so studying a combination of them allows students to explore different aspects of each subject resulting in a very varied and dynamic course. Psychology addresses such questions as: how do we perceive colours? How do children acquire language? What predisposes two people to get on with each other? What causes schizophrenia? Philosophy is concerned with a wide range of questions including ethics, knowledge and the nature of mind. Linguistics is the study of language in all its aspects, including the structure of languages, meaning (semantics), how children learn language, pronunciation, and how people understand, mentally represent and generate language.

Psychology at Oxford is a scientific discipline, involving the rigorous formulation and testing of ideas. It works through experiments and systematic observation rather than introspection. The Oxford Experimental Psychology Department is widely regarded as one of the leading psychology departments in the UK. At present, there are particularly strong groups in the fields of human cognitive processes, neuroscience, language, developmental and social psychology.

The Oxford Philosophy Faculty is the largest philosophy department in the UK, and one of the largest in the world. Philosophy at Oxford has active interests in the philosophy of language and of logic, philosophy of mind and the philosophy of science, and has very close links with those working in neuroscience and psychology.

The Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics brings together scholars working in theoretical and descriptive linguistics (especially syntax, semantics and phonology), experimental phonetics, psycholinguistics, linguistics of the Romance languages, historical linguistics and comparative philology. Unlike other subjects in the humanities, it includes two scientific research laboratories – the Language and Brain Laboratory and the Phonetics Laboratory.

Work placements/international opportunities

A wide choice of third-year research projects is available, including research projects based in other departments and outside the University.

Students studying students at a lecture
“It's really flexible in that you get to choose which papers you want to take and the split you want between psychology and philosophy. Sometimes, there is a cool crossover between a particular topic, allowing you to look at it from two completely different angles and disciplines. The 3rd year options for psychology are really varied and specialised, taught by a leading researcher in the area. You get to learn from top experts in the field, which is such a privilege.”  
LILIAN
 “PPL is a great course where you really have the chance to take control of your learning and explore whatever interests you in a huge range of subjects from Philosophy, Linguistics, and Psychology. You can explore how these three subjects intersect with each other in surprising ways, or you could also get a taste of many different interesting aspects of all three. What I like about PPL is that you aren't trapped in and restricted to just one faculty, you get to pursue whatever interests you in a range of different subjects!”
JAMES

A typical week

  • Terms 1 and 2: about six lectures and two-three tutorials
  • Terms 3–9: about six lectures, one-two tutorials and one practical class. You may also do independent research by carrying out your own research project, library dissertation or thesis.

Tutorials are usually 2-4 students and a tutor. Class sizes for laboratory classes may vary depending on the options you choose. Core lab classes which are attended by most students will be in groups of 35-40 students. Multiple demonstrators will attend to assist the staff who are leading these classes. There would usually be no more than around 20 students for final-year specialist options. Lectures are normally attended by between  30-50 students. Most tutorials, classes, and lectures are delivered by staff who are tutors in their subject. The majority of staff are world-leading experts with years of experience in teaching and research. Some teaching may also be delivered by postgraduate students who are usually studying at doctorate level, and are specialist in those topics.

To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit our Academic Year page.

Course structure

TERMS 1 AND 2

COURSES

Three introductory courses are taken from:
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics
  • Neurophysiology
  • Probability theory and statistics*
*Students studying Psychology must sit the examination in Probability theory and statistics either at Prelims (first University examinations) or as a qualifying examination.

ASSESSMENT

First University examinations: three written papers

TERMS 3–9

COURSES

After the second term, students can continue to follow a bipartite degree (Psychology and Philosophy, Psychology and Linguistics, or Philosophy and Linguistics) or, exceptionally and subject to their college’s approval, a tripartite degree (Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics).

Students choosing Psychology will study a choice of core subjects in terms 3–5, plus a course in Experimental design and statistics, followed by one, two or three advanced Psychology options in terms 6–8.

Students choosing Philosophy take from three to five courses in Philosophy, from a wide range including Philosophy of mind and Philosophy of cognitive science.

Students choosing Linguistics take from three to five courses in Linguistics. For further details, see the Paper A and Paper B options here.

Students opting for a bipartite degree may take a single paper in the third subject. Students who are exceptionally permitted to take the tripartite degree must take at least two courses in each of the three subjects of Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics.

Available options will reflect the department’s current research which means they may change each year. The options available include the core subjects listed above.

ASSESSMENT

Final University examinations: eight papers; two practical portfolios (for Psychology); a research project or thesis may also be taken (depending upon the combination of courses). Students choosing Psychology take the equivalent of two written papers in Psychology in the second year based on the core subject areas (see Experimental Psychology).

The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.

Academic requirements 

A-levels:A*AA
Advanced Highers:                    AA/AAB
IB: 39 (including core points) with 766 at HL                                                                          
Or any other equivalent (see other UK qualifications, and international qualifications)

Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved.  (See further information on how we use contextual data.) 

Subject requirements 

  Recommended:For Psychology, it is highly recommended for candidates to have studied one or more science subjects (which can include Psychology) or Mathematics to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or any other equivalent.
  Helpful: For Linguistics, it is helpful for candidates to have studied English Language, Mathematics, a science or any other language. 

GCSEs: Candidates are recommended to have an A/7 or above in GCSE Mathematics (where GCSEs are taken).

If, and only if, you have chosen to take any science A-levels, we expect you to take and pass the practical component in addition to meeting any overall grade requirement.

If English is not your first language you may also need to meet our English language requirements.

Applying

All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown in applying to Oxford. The information below gives specific details for students applying for this course.

Admissions tests

Test: TSA (all candidates) and MLAT (for Linguistics)
Test date:30 October 2019            
Registration deadline:                   6pm 15 October 2019                                                                                                      

All candidates must take the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA). Candidates applying for either Psychology and Linguistics, or Philosophy and Linguistics, must also take the Linguistics section of the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT). Separate registration for these tests is required and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered. We strongly recommend making arrangements in plenty of time before the deadline. Everything you need to know, including guidance on how to prepare, can be found on the MLAT and TSA pages

Written work

You do not need to submit any written work when you apply for this course.

What are tutors looking for?

In addition to a very good academic record, tutors are keen to see whether you appreciate the scope of the two subjects which you have chosen to apply for. They will also want to check whether you can evaluate evidence and are able to consider issues from different perspectives. It’s important also to have a capacity for logical and creative thinking, appreciate the importance of empirical evidence in supporting arguments, and an ability to cope with the quantitative demands of the course.

For more detail on the selection criteria for this course, please see the Psychology website.

Careers

Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics graduates can enter a wide range of careers including professional psychology, education, research, medicine, the health services, finance, commerce, industry, the media and information technology.

If Psychology constitutes at least 50% of your course, and covers the BPS curriculum, and provided you achieve the minimum standard of second class honours, your degree is accredited as conferring eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society. This is normally the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist. 

Oxford University is committed to recruiting the best and brightest students from all backgrounds. We offer a generous package of financial support to Home/EU students from lower-income households. (UK nationals living in the UK are usually Home students.)

Fees

These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2019.

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU£9,250
Islands
(Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£9,250
Overseas£27,240

For more information please refer to our course fees page. Fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Living costs

Living costs at Oxford might be less than you’d expect, as our world-class resources and college provision can help keep costs down.

Living costs for the academic year starting in 2019 are estimated to be between £1,058 and £1,643 for each month you are in Oxford. Our academic year is made up of three eight-week terms, so you would not usually need to be in Oxford for much more than six months of the year but may wish to budget over a nine-month period to ensure you also have sufficient funds during the holidays to meet essential costs. For further details please visit our living costs webpage.

Financial support

Home/EU

A tuition fee loan is available from the UK government to cover course fees in full for Home (UK)/EU students undertaking their first undergraduate degree*, so you don’t need to pay your course fees up front.

In 2019 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to those on a family income of around £42,875 or less, with additional opportunities available to those from households with incomes of £16,000 or less. This support is available in addition to the government living costs support.  See further details.

Islands
(Channel Islands and Isle of Man)

Islands students are entitled to different support to that of students from the rest of the UK.

Please refer the links below for information on the support to you available from your funding agency:

States of Jersey
States of Guernsey
Isle of Man

Overseas

Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford Bursaries and Scholarships page.

*If you have studied at undergraduate level before and completed your course, you will be classed as an Equivalent or Lower Qualification student (ELQ) and won’t be eligible to receive government or Oxford funding

Fees, Funding and Scholarship search

Additional Fees and Charges Information for Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics

There are no compulsory costs for this course beyond the fees shown above and your living costs.

Contextual information

The Key Information Sets provides applicants with statistics about undergraduate life at Oxford. But there is so much more to an Oxford degree that the numbers can’t convey.

The Oxford tutorial

College tutorials are central to teaching at Oxford. Typically, they take place in your college and are led by your academic tutor(s) who teach as well as do their own research. Students will also receive teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. However, tutorials offer a level of personalised attention from academic experts unavailable at most universities.

During tutorials (normally lasting an hour), college subject tutors will give you and one or two tutorial partners feedback on prepared work and cover a topic in depth. The other student(s) in your college tutorials will be from your year group, doing the same course as you and will normally be at your college. Such regular and rigorous academic discussion develops and facilitates learning in a way that isn’t possible through lectures alone. Tutorials also allow for close progress monitoring so tutors can quickly provide additional support if necessary.

Read more about tutorials and an Oxford education

College life

Our colleges are at the heart of Oxford’s reputation as one of the best universities in the world.

  • At Oxford, everyone is a member of a college as well as their subject department(s) and the University. Students therefore have both the benefits of belonging to a large, renowned institution and to a small and friendly academic community. Each college or hall is made up of academic and support staff, and students. Colleges provide a safe, supportive environment leaving you free to focus on your studies, enjoy time with friends and make the most of the huge variety of opportunities.
  • Each college has a unique character, but generally their facilities are similar. Each one, large or small, will have the following essential facilities:
    • Porters’ lodge (a staffed entrance and reception)
    • Dining hall
    • Lending library (often open 24/7 in term time)
    • Student accommodation
    • Tutors’ teaching rooms
    • Chapel and/or music rooms
    • Laundry
    • Green spaces
    • Common room (known as the JCR).
  • All first year students are offered college accommodation either on the main site of their college or in a nearby college annexe. This means that your neighbours will also be ‘freshers’ and new to life at Oxford. This accommodation is guaranteed, so you don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to live after accepting a place here, all of this is organised for you before you arrive.
  • All colleges offer at least one further year of accommodation and some offer it for the entire duration of your degree. You may choose to take up the option to live in your college for the whole of your time at Oxford, or you might decide to arrange your own accommodation after your first year – perhaps because you want to live with friends from other colleges.
  • While college academic tutors primarily support your academic development, you can also ask their advice on other things. Lots of other college staff including welfare officers help students settle in and are available to offer guidance on practical or health matters. Current students also actively support students in earlier years, sometimes as part of a college ‘family’ or as peer supporters trained by the University’s Counselling Service.

More about Oxford colleges and how you choose

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