A person filling in the Oxford Cognitive Screen wheel
A Psychology test.
(Credit: Psychology Department)

Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics

Course overview

UCAS code: See course combinations
Entrance requirements: A*AA
Course duration:
     4 years (MSci) - CV85 and CQ81
     3 years (BA) - VQ51

Subject requirements

Required subjects: Not applicable
Recommended subjects: For Psychology: one or more sciences (including Psychology) or Maths.
Helpful subjects: For Linguistics: English Language, Maths, a science or language.

Other course requirements

Admissions tests: TSA (Section 1)
Written Work: None

Admissions statistics*

Interviewed: 35%
Successful: 13%
Intake: 36
*3-year average for BA and MSc 2021-23

Psychology contact

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 271353
Email: [email protected]

Philosophy contact

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 276926
Email: [email protected]

Linguistics contact

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 280400
Email: [email protected]

Unistats information for this course can be found at the bottom of the page

Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small.

About the course

Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics (PPL) 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 and understand the world around us? 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), 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. Data science and coding play an important role in how we train students.

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, social psychology and psychological disorders.

The Oxford Philosophy Faculty is one of the largest Philosophy departments in the world, and regularly tops international rankings. Philosophers at Oxford have active interests in the philosophy of language and of logic, philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of science, and maintain 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.

Students can elect to graduate after three years with a BA degree. Alternatively, they can decide to remain for an optional fourth year composed of a research-intensive, clinically-focused or translation-focused extended project in Experimental Psychology and allied disciplines. Students who complete the fourth year will graduate with a Master’s degree in PPL.

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.' 



'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!'


Unistats information

Discover Uni provides applicants with Unistats statistics about undergraduate life at Oxford.

Please select 'see course data' on the following course option to view the full Unistats data for Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics. 

Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small. 

Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics

A typical week

  • Terms 1-3: about six lectures, two or three tutorials, or a practical class.
  • Terms 4–9: about six lectures, one or two tutorials, and one practical class. You may also do independent research by carrying out your own research project, library dissertation, or thesis.
  • Terms 10 – 12 (MSci in PPL only): almost exclusive focus on an extended research or translational project in Psychology, with complementary advanced and critical skills training.

Tutorials usually involve 2–4 students and a tutor. Class sizes for laboratory classes may vary depending on the options you choose. Psychology Core lab classes which are attended by most students will usually be in groups of 35–40 students. Multiple demonstrators will usually attend to assist the staff who are leading these classes. There are usually no more than around 20 students for final-year Psychology specialist options. Lectures are normally attended by 30–50 students.

Most tutorials, classes, and lectures are delivered by staff who are experts in the subject they tutor. 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 doctoral level, and are specialists in those topics.

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

Course structure

The structure of this course is currently under review. Up-to-date details on any course changes can be found on the Psychology Department''s website

Terms 1-3 (Year 1)

Indicative courses


Three introductory courses are taken from:
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics
  • Neurophysiology
  • Probability theory and statistics

First University examinations: four to six written papers, depending on the specific combination of courses taken. For those wishing to study Psychology in Year 2 and beyond students must take the Probability theory and statistics paper. 

Terms 4-9 (Years 2 and 3)

Indicative courses


After the third term, students can continue to follow a bipartite degree (Psychology and Philosophy, Psychology and Linguistics, or Philosophy and Linguistics) or, 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 4–6, plus a course in Experimental design and methods, and associated practical classes and data science training. These will be followed by one or two advanced Psychology options and a practical training portfolio in Terms 7–9. They will also engage in transferrable skills training.  

Students choosing Philosophy take 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.

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 in this section.

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 (view Experimental Psychology course page).

Terms 10-12 (Year 4, MSci in PPL)



Please be aware that Year 4 is only available for Psychology. 

In terms 10 and 11, students receive skills based training relevant to their extended project. 

Over terms 10–12, students work on their extended project in Psychology and on advanced research evaluation by writing an independent current opinion review.

Students submit an extended project report. 

Students also submit their current opinion review.

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

Academic requirements 





Advanced Highers:                    


International Baccalaureate (IB):

39 (including core points) with 766 at HL                                                                          

Any other equivalent qualification:

 View information on other UK qualifications, and international qualifications.

Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved.

Read further information on how we use contextual data.

Subject requirements 


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.


For Linguistics, it is helpful for candidates to have studied English Language, Mathematics, a science or any other language. 


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

If a practical component forms part of any of your science A‐levels used to meet your offer, we expect you to pass it.

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


All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown on our Applying to Oxford pages.

The following information gives specific details for students applying for this course.

Admissions tests


TSA (Section 1)

Test date:

24 October 2024

Registration window:

15 August to 4 October 2024 

All candidates must take the paper-based Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA). Candidates applying for course combinations including Linguistics are no longer required to sit the Linguistics test of the MLAT. 

Guidance on how to prepare is on the TSA page

We are putting in place new arrangements for our admissions tests for 2024 onwards. We will provide more information on these arrangements at the earliest opportunity. 

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 have an ability to cope with the demands of the course.

Visit the Psychology website for more detail on the selection criteria for this course.


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
  • 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 honour as well as pass the experimental project element in the third or fourth year of study, your BA or MSci 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. 

Note: These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2024. Course fee information for courses starting in 2025 will be updated in September.

We don't want anyone who has the academic ability to get a place to study here to be held back by their financial circumstances. To meet that aim, Oxford offers one of the most generous financial support packages available for UK students and this may be supplemented by support from your college.


Fee status

Annual Course fees


Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.

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.

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 2024 are estimated to be between £1,345 and £1,955 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


A tuition fee loan is available from the UK government to cover course fees in full for Home (UK, Irish nationals and other eligible students with UK citizens' rights - see below*) students undertaking their first undergraduate degree**, so you don’t need to pay your course fees up front.

In 2024 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to Home students with a family income of around £50,000 or less, with additional opportunities available to UK students from households with incomes of £32,500 or less. The UK government also provides living costs support to Home students from the UK and those with settled status who meet the residence requirements.

*For courses starting on or after 1 August 2021, the UK government has confirmed that EU, other EEA, and Swiss Nationals will be eligible for student finance from the UK government if they have UK citizens’ rights (i.e. if they have pre-settled or settled status, or if they are an Irish citizen covered by the Common Travel Area arrangement). The support you can access from the government will depend on your residency status.

 See further details.

(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


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

Unistats course data from Discover Uni provides applicants with statistics about a particular undergraduate course at Oxford. For a more holistic insight into what studying your chosen course here is likely to be like, we would encourage you to view the information below as well as to explore our website more widely.

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 tutorials will be doing the same course as you. 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.

Read more about Oxford colleges and how you choose