BA/BSc Human Sciences
|Typical offer||AAA-ABB; IB: 36-3232; BTEC DDD-DDM|
|Location||Cornwall (Penryn Campus)|
Human Sciences video
Find out more from our staff and students about our BA/BSc Human Sciences degree, based at our Penryn Campus in Cornwall. View full size.
BA Human Sciences flyer
Download the BA Human Sciences flyer (pdf).
Who and what are human beings?
Why are individuals and society the way they are?
What problems do human societies face now and in the future, and how can we address them?
Our BA/BSc Human Sciences degree is designed to enable you to answer these questions through examining the past and present of humans from the perspectives of both social and biological sciences.
This unique, interdisciplinary programme covers a broad range of topics, from human evolution and genetics, to the development of human cultures and cultural diversity, all the way through to sustainability and the interactions between human societies and their environments. It is designed for those interested in human biology, the environment, social policy, politics, economics and society.
The study of human behaviours – culture and society – is often set apart from the natural world. Yet humans, like other animals, have an evolutionary history and evolutionary forces continue to shape behaviour and culture, affecting the way we live today. Important insights can therefore come from studying humans in the same way as we study other animals. Also, many of the problems we currently face, such as the biodiversity crisis, climate change, or the conflicts which occur within or between countries, relate to how humans create, shape and interact with their natural and social environments. Solutions to these problems will come from insights generated from a number of different disciplines.
Bridging the gap between the natural and social sciences, our BA/BSc Human Sciences programme allows you to combine exciting disciplines to make connections between biological processes, political and environmental issues and social patterns. It will enable you to understand relationships between science and policy and show how you may be able to facilitate decision-making in this context. The degree will encourage your curiosity about the human environment and how it functions. Modules are delivered by world leading academics in Biosciences and Geography plus you have the opportunity to select from a range of relevant modules in other disciplines such as Law and Politics.
Cornwall is an exceptional place in which to study issues related to human culture, the environment and sustainability. The county has a unique cultural heritage with creative and resilient communities, and is a perfect living laboratory which offers a diverse range of marine and terrestrial habitats, and a wealth of natural resources. Throughout your studies, you will engage in field work and laboratory research exploring the social and natural science behind the complexity of human evolution, behaviour and social organisation.
Studying at the intimate and welcoming environment of our Penryn Campus, you will benefit from excellent student to staff ratios, small tutorial groups and friendly, accessible and supportive staff. Research undertaken at the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) on the Penryn Campus – a £30 million centre leading cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research into solutions to problems of environmental change and enhancing people’s lives by improving their relationship with the environment – inspires our teaching.
The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.
The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.
You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.
You may take up to 30 credits of elective modules outside of the programme in all Stages of the programme as long as you have obtained the explicit permission of the Programme Director, any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.
Entry requirements 2019
AAA-ABB; IB: 36-3232; BTEC DDD-DDM
Please read the important information about our Typical offer.
For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.
Learning and teaching
You will be welcomed into an intimate and supportive learning environment that encourages enthusiasm and passion for your programme. You will benefit from excellent student:staff ratios, small group tutorials and friendly, accessible staff. Teaching and learning is through lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory classes and field work. We have well equipped laboratories with the latest scientific teaching equipment.
We are committed to providing you with a supportive learning environment in which you can build confidence. All students have a Personal Tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies, as well as a group of dedicated first-year tutors whose role is to support your transition to university-level learning. In addition, all students are represented through Student-Staff liaison committees and can regularly feed back through module and course evaluations. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Student’s Guild Advice Unit.
As a student on our Penryn Campus you will have the opportunity to participate in a Student Mentoring Scheme in your first year, matching you with a second or third year student who can answer your questions, offer advice and moral support to smooth your transition to university.
Your progress is monitored through a mixture of examinations, assessments (oral and written, formative and summative), and practicals.
The final degree mark is based on approximately 50 per cent exam and 50 per cent coursework assessments. The latter include a final year dissertation, which is an independent research project in which you study the topic that excites you most.
The modules taken in the first year must be passed to progress to the second year but the marks obtained do not influence your final degree classification.
Assessment methods will vary depending on your choice of optional modules; check individual module descriptions for details.
Find out more
Our field courses are among the most inspirational, rewarding and enjoyable experiences as an undergraduate student at the University of Exeter. They form an integral part of your degree, positioned at the very heart of our teaching in Human Sciences.
Field courses provide you with the ambition and ability to develop and apply the knowledge gained from our world-leading academic staff in the classroom into the central issues, concerns and experiences facing the world around us.
Each field course is carefully designed to bring theory to life, whether through developing fundamental field techniques in some of the most stunning landscapes found on our doorstep in West Cornwall, or further afield.
In your final year, you will go on a residential field course. This field course is likely to see you travel to California, New York, Kenya or Iceland*. This will give you the opportunity to apply your research and practical skills.
*Please note that the field class locations are subject to change.
Our BA/BSc Human Sciences will allow you to take full advantage of the growing demand in research organisations, industry and business for graduates who are able to work in the multidisciplinary environments of the future. The breadth of career opportunities open to graduates is vast, such as health, conservation, education, third sector work, culture and heritage and community work. With training in both biological and social sciences, your options are likely to be broader than from a more narrowly focused subject.
We provide a range of support to help you develop skills attractive to employers. Visit our Careers and Employability web page for more information.
The University of Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Whatever path you want to follow after graduation, we’re here to help and support you with all your career and employability needs.
Penryn Campus, Cornwall
Web: Enquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801
View the Geography, Environmental Science and Human Sciences brochureDownload PDF
Transformational Climate Science conference 2014
In May 2014 we hosted the first gathering of Co-Chairs and authors from all three IPCC working groups with over 500 climate scientists, policy makers, industry professionals, students, and members of the public participated in this exciting event. View full size.