FCH ...

facebook logo

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


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 History and English, 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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

Q. Can I study more than two subjects?

At first year level you generally choose two subjects and combine them. Currently, exceptions to taking two subjects in year one are students who also want to take a language so that they can spend a year abroad in their third year.

After the first year it is expected to offer more flexibility, as has been the practice for many years with students transferring into the former Modular Degree from their second year (see below).

Back to top

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

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

However, this sort of thing is not that common. Usually students just choose two subject areas and combine them. Occasionally students will study three areas, for example History and Modern Languages might mean they were studying History, French and Spanish.

Back to top

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.

Some subjects at the university are only currently offered in modules, but don't have a degree programme. This is often the case when a new department is developing.

At the moment this is the case with Creative Media & IT (CMIT). This academic unit offers modules, but does not offer a programme. Therefore the FCH programme is the only way a student can get a degree in this subject.

When this type of combination happens it is referred to as a Themed Pathway in ..... Currently these exist in:

  • Creative Media and IT
  • Medieval Studies
  • Renaissance Studies

Back to top

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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

Q. How are the degree titles decided?

Essentially you influence what your degree title will be by the module choices you make. In December 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 titles are then sent for comment and approval to relevant departments, to the FCH Board of Studies and then to the Undergraduate Faculty Board for final approval.

An example of the rules for degree titles:

A student takes modules in English and History

  • If the student has taken an equal amount of each, then they will get a degree title of BA in English and History (two equally studied subjects go in alphabetical order separated by 'and').
  • If they have taken less English than History, then their degree title would be BA in History with English (the larger subject goes first, separated by 'with' from the smaller one).

Occasionally a student will be more complicated than this, and a special degree title will have to be devised to match what they have studied, e.g. BA English and Historical Studies with French.

A subject can only be mentioned in the title if at least 60 credits are taken during the second and final years. Occasionally first year modules are also considered for influencing the title.

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

see also degree titles

Back to top

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.

Back to top

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).

When you complete your on-line UCAS application, for the FCH programme at Exeter (as opposed to Cornwall) use the UCAS code Y004 or Y005. So that we know what two subjects you wish to combine, you need to put this information in section 3 (f) "Further details..."

See also first year entry.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

Q. Does the FCH programme also apply to Cornwall?

Flexible Combined Honours programmes are available at both Exeter and Cornwall campuses. Although both are listed on the same page of the University of Exeter prospectus, the programmes are run as completely separate operations. This applies even at the UCAS application stage, with there being different UCAS codes for the two.

More information on the FCH programme at Cornwall.

Back to top

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
xxx3888A 10 4,000
xxx3888B 15 6,000
xxx3888C 20 8,000
xxx3888D 25 10,000
xxx3888E 30 12,000

The department code is the code for the department that your supervisor is in. Therefore, if you are studying 'History and English' and choose to do a 30 credit Independent Study, selecting a History academic as your supervisor, even if the focus of your study relates to both departments it will have a code of HIH3888E.

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.

Back to top

Q. Who runs the FCH programme?

The Director of the FCH programme is Dr Mike Dobson.

  • Queen's Building, room 47
    Email: fch@exeter.ac.uk
    Tel.: ext. 5270

He is assisted by Tim Seelig.

  • Queen's main reception
    Email: fch@exeter.ac.uk
    Tel.: ext. 5325

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

The degree is run centrally by the university. The FCH admin office is located at Queen's main reception.

See also FCH staff.

Back to top

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.

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

Back to top

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.

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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top