FCH ...

  • Phone:
  • Penryn: 01326 371800
  • Streatham / St Luke's: 01392 725325

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The Exeter Award

Enhance your employability


  • combine subjects not otherwise possible at Exeter
  • cross-subject degrees to suit your interests and career ambitions
  • leads to a named degree title of the subjects you study
  • study two subjects, or sometimes three
  • create your own themed pathway
  • vary the proportion of the subjects each year
  • add vocational elements to your studies
  • opportunities for study and work abroad


Subjects -
First year

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Subjects - Second year

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Subjects - Final year

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Q. What is the Flexible Combined Honours Degree programme?

Flexible Combined Honours (FCH) is a programme that allows you to choose generally two main disciplines for which an existing degree combination does not exist, and create a programme of study based around them.

For example, if you wish to study French and Mathematics, there is no existing degree programme, so you can study this under the FCH programme.

However, if you wish to study History and French, you do this under the existing 'established' History and French degree programme.

The degree programme has run since 1991, as the Modular Degree, available to second and final year students. The name was replaced in October 2007 by Flexible Combined Honours, to coincide with the introduction of a first year entry to the degree.

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Q. What is the difference between the Modular Degree and the Flexible Combined Honours programme?

Very little. The Flexible Combined Honours programme is the new name for the Modular Degree (established 1991) and came into effect in October 2007, totally replacing the earlier name. At the same time as changing the name, a few other small changes were made:

  • It became possible to join the programme as a first year. However students can still transfer across at the start of their second year.
  • It is possible for students to graduate with a BSc or a BA. This will be decided at the same time as the degree title is decided.

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Q. Can I study more than two subjects?

Most students generally choose two subjects. It may be possible to take three subjects, if the requirements of compulsory modules in each subject area are viable within the 120 credits studied each year.

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Q. Can I just choose any random modules I like?

Students sometimes want to create a degree covering several different departments, but in essence they create a themed degree. For example, studying something like Mediterranean Studies, and could put together a programme using modules from Modern Languages, the Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies, Archaeology and Theology.

However, this sort of thing is not that common. Usually students just choose two subject areas and combine them. Students can also study three areas, for example Politics, French and Spanish.

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Q. Can I study just one subject?

The golden rule is that FCH students cannot study something for which there is an existing Single Honours, Combined Honours or Inter-Disciplinary Single Honours (IDSH) degree programme.

You can create a single subject that would not otherwise exist at the university, by assembling together appropriate modules from a variety of departments. For example, students have put together degrees in Mediterranean Studies, Renaissance Studies and Military History. Such degrees are known within FCH as Themed Pathways.

Themed Pathways can form the entire degree or a part of it. For example, you could create a degree of Philosophy (using the established subject pathway for that) and Mediterranean Studies (assembling together modules from several departments).

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Q. What is Enhanced Modularity?

Enhanced Modularity is a University provision which allows you to take up to 30 credits in each stage outside your main subject of study. Whether you are able to take advantage of this provision will depend on the demands of your degree programme.

These Enhanced Modularity credits (unless taken in the first year) will count towards your degree award and classification. However, your degree title will not change because of these credits - it continues to be that of your main degree programme.

Enhanced Modularity is not related to the FCH degree programme.

If you want your degree title to reflect the modules you are taking through Enhanced Modularity, you have to join the FCH programme. A number of students make this transfer each year for exactly this reason.

If you wish to take 30 credits outside of youir department, then you should investigate Enhanced Modularity first, and then consider the FCH programme if Enhanced Modularity proves unsuitable.

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Q. Do I have to take an equal number of credits in each department?

At the first year level, when you apply, it is assumed that you will take 60 credits in each subject. In fact, for most departments we insist that this is the case, although some (such as Geography) are happy for students to vary the balance slightly, once they arrive here.

From the second year onwards there is flexibility for you to vary the balance of credits between the departments. You can also ask to replace one subject area with another or add a third area. Your degree title will reflect such variation.

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Q. How are the degree titles decided?

Essentially you influence what your degree title will be by the module choices you make. In the early part of the Spring term of your final year, the Director of the FCH programme will look at the modules you have taken in your second and final years, and discuss a suitable degree title with you, taking into account the established rules on how titles are formed.

The rules for how degree titles are created can be found at www.exeter.ac.uk/fch/degree-title.php

Occasionally a degree title will be quite complicated in order to match what has been studied, e.g. BA Philosophy and Historical Studies with Proficiency in French.

The main rule is that a student cannot receive the degree title of a programme that already exists.

The titles are sent for comment and approval to relevant departments, to the FCH Board of Studies and then to the Taught Faculty Board for final approval.

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Q. How can current students transfer to the FCH programme?

If you are in your first year at Exeter you can apply to join the FCH programme from the start of your second year. The application can be done at any time during your first year, but is usually during the Spring or Summer terms.

Occasionally second and final year students also transfer, at the beginning of the appropriate year.

There are a number of stages involved in transferring, but in essence you get the approval of the FCH co-ordinators for each of the subjects you wish to study, and then acceptance by the Director of the FCH programme.

Please contact the FCH Director if you want to transfer, and talk through things.

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Q. How can prospective students apply for the FCH programme?

New students apply through UCAS in the usual way.

You can apply for first year entry or direct second year entry if you have appropriate prior learning (please contact us if the latter, to talk through your prior learning).

See also first year entry.

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Q. What are the entry requirements?

This will depend completely on the two subjects you have chosen to study. Entry requirements are influenced by those used by the departments themselves.

See also entry requirements.

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Q. Does the FCH programme also apply to Cornwall?

Flexible Combined Honours programmes are available at both Exeter and Cornwall campuses.

More information on the FCH programme at Cornwall.

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Q. What is the Independent Study module?

The Independent Study module is a level 3 module administered by the FCH programme.

It is designed for FCH students, and, as its name suggests, is a piece of work created independently by the student.

In many ways it is the same as a dissertation.

The module code for it is in the format:


where the xxx is the department code, and the Y is a letter from A to E which denotes the credit value:

Module code Credit value Length of work in terms of words
xxx3888 - Do not use
xxx3888B 15 6,000
xxx3888E 30 12,000

The department code is the code for the department that your supervisor is in. Therefore, if you are studying 'Geography and Economics' and choose to do a 30 credit Independent Study, selecting a Geography academic as your supervisor, even if the focus of your study relates to both departments it will have a code of GEO3888E.

If you take an Independent Study module you must contact the FCH degree office and complete a form.

Despite the department code appearing at the beginning, the administration of the Independent Study module is the responsibility of the FCH degree office. However, it is expected that the work would come under the auspices of the department's assessment process and external examiner.

It is the supervisor's responsibility to supervise the student, be the first marker for the work, find a second marker, and to return the agreed mark to the FCH degree office.

See also Independent Study.

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Q. Who runs the FCH programme?

The Director of the FCH programme

  • Email: fch@exeter.ac.uk

The Director is assisted by Tim Seelig.

  • Email: fch@exeter.ac.uk
    Tel.: 01392 725325

The FCH degree programme has its own Board of Studies, Board of Examiners and External Examiner.

The degree runs across the University. It is part of the College of Humanities.

See also FCH staff.

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Q. Who are the FCH co-ordinators?

Each department participating in the FCH programme has a co-ordinator. Their role is to:

  • Accept or reject students wishing to study in their department under the FCH programme
  • Advise students which modules they should take
  • Attend the FCH Board of Studies (approximately once a term) and Board of Examiners (after the summer exams and the referred/deferred exams)
  • Liaise between the department and the FCH staff.
  • more details can be seen in the co-ordinators' job description

See the co-ordinators web page for the current list of subject co-ordinators

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Q. Do I get a personal tutor? - pastoral care

Every FCH student has a personal tutor.

They look after you, provide a listening ear, and are a point of contact for when you need help.

The tutor is usually a subject co-ordinator in one of your subject areas.

We try to make sure you have the same tutor throughout your time at the university, so that a good relationship can be built up and tutors can write a meaningful reference for you when you are applying for things after university.

see FCH personal tutors web page

Q. Which departments take part in the FCH programme?

Not all university departments have chosen to take part in the FCH programme. Some choose to take part for students from the second year onwards, but do not allow a first year entry.

See the subjects web page for which departments are part of the programme.

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Q. What if this FAQ does not answer my question?

Can't find an answer here? Please contact us with your query so that we can help you.

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