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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


Student studyingWhat is it?

Independent Study is basically the same as a final year departmental dissertation.

FCH students can take either a departmental dissertation or FCH Independent Study. Most FCH students take departmental dissertations, but you may find the potentially greater flexibility offered by Independent Study more suitable. If you need advice on which to take, ask an FCH subject co-ordinator or the FCH staff.

The Independent Study can be about a specific area of one of your subjects, or look at something that 'overarches' them. For example, if you are studying Psychology and History:

  • subject-specific Independent Study:
    • (Psychology) How do we recognise faces?
    • (Psychology) What can be learnt from children's art?
    • (Spanish) The Numancia legend in literature and art
    • (Spanish) The culture of Flamenco
  • overarching Independent Study:
    • The psychology of Fascism
    • Why did people believe in witches so much during the 17th century?

Finding a supervisor

You choose the subject area in consultation with the appropriate FCH subject co-ordinator(s) or the actual supervisor(s) (if you already have one/some in mind) and the FCH Director.

You should try to arrange your supervisor during the spring term of your second year.

What to create?

The work can be a traditional text-based dissertation presented in paper or electronic form, or a combination of a practical element and written critique.

The nature of the Independent Study will determine the most appropriate media for presentation - there are no rules as such.

You will be expected to display a research element and critical academic depth in the work, just as in a departmental dissertation.