BA Philosophy and Modern Languages

UCAS codeVR04
Duration4 Years
Typical offerAAA-ABB; IB: 36-32
  • Philosophy
  • Modern Languages
Location Streatham (Exeter)


This degree allows you to combine the history of intellectual thought on profound and challenging problems, or the social diversity associated with important contemporary issues, with one of a number of modern languages. It is a four year programme, with the third year spent studying abroad developing your language skills.

While studying Philosophy you will discuss and explore long-standing questions on the nature of many topics: knowledge, science, reality, ethics, art and beauty, the mind-body relationship, the meaning of life and more. Studying a modern language will enable you to develop strong skills in spoken and written language, and analytical thought, and gain a deeper understanding of another culture and people.

You can choose to study Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish. See entry requirements for more information.

You will receive an excellent research-inspired education in a supportive, responsive environment from expert academics who are passionate about their subjects. By the end of your degree, you will have acquired a diverse and valuable set of skills employers seek across a wide range of professions.

Sitting in a philosophy lecture, you imagine what it must sound like to an outsider: questioning the obvious, doubting the undoubted, the nature of time, of reality… what is this? It’s philosophy. And never have you been so engaged. The course is hugely varied, in the first year providing a broad overview of the subject – from its ancient beginnings right up to the present day, at the cutting edge of philosophical thought and research – to further specialisation in the topics that interest you most in the later years. Once, last year, having finished discussing Plato’s Theory of Forms, our lecturer’s final words were followed by an almighty rumble of thunder right above the theatre. I can’t quite promise that your experience at Exeter will be as epic as that, but I can guarantee that you will love studying philosophy here as much as I do.

Tim Woolley, BA Philosophy and Spanish.

Programme structure

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 Philosophy and Modern Languages degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.

Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons. However this is not normally available for Combined Honours programmes which feature a language.

The third year is spent abroad.

Please note that modules offered are subject to change, depending on staff availability, timetabling, and demand.

Year 1

The first year gives you a foundational knowledge of philosophical theory and concepts, plus essential language training in your chosen language. You will also gain important analytical techniques that will be useful across a range of subjects and research tasks.

Compulsory modules

PHL1006Introduction to Philosophical Analysis15
PHL1002AKnowledge and Reality 1 15
PHL1005AEvidence and Argument 115
Modern Languages
MLF1001French Language30
MLG1001German Language30
MLI1001Italian Language30
MLR1001Contemporary Russian, Written and Oral30
MLS1001Spanish Language30
MLM1052Beginners Chinese30
MLP1052Portuguese Language for Beginners30

Optional modules

You must choose 15 credits of Philosophy modules

PHL1002BKnowledge and Reality 2 15
PHL1007Philosophical Reading 115
PHL1008Philosophical Readings 215
PHL1013Philosophy of Morality 15
MLM1010China of the Senses: Approaching Chinese Culture and Environments15
MLF1014Love and Death in French Culture15
MLF1015War and Conflict in French Literature15
MLF1103The French Language, Present and Past15
MLF1105An Introduction to French Thought15
MLF1119French Cinema from the New Wave to the Present Day15
MLF1121French Visual History15
MLG1014A Nation Remembers: Issues in German Cultural Memory15
MLG1015Representations of Education in German Literature and Film: Satire, Trauma, Melodrama15
MLG1016War, Passion and Possibly Love: Approaches to Genre in German Literature15
MLG1017Turning Points in German History 1200 - 200015
MLG1018Nature and the City in German Literature, Visual Arts and Film15
MLI1054Contemporary Italian Cinema: an Introduction to Reading Popular Film15
MLI1055Introduction to Italian Linguistics15
MLI1121A Thousand Faces: Cultures and History in 19th-Century Italy15
MLP1002Introduction to the Lusophone World15
MLR1005Chekhov's Major Plays15
MLR1023Russia Empire and Identity15
MLR1024Russian Heroes and Heroines15
MLS1012Contemporary Latin America: Culture, Society and Institutions15
MLS1016Gender Perspectives15
MLS1021The Generation of 1898: Imagining Spain15
MLS1022The Outsider in Hispanic Texts15
MLS1023Spain since the Transition: Society, Politics and Culture15
MLS1062Introduction to the History of the Spanish Language15
MLS1064An Introduction to the Hispanic World: Texts in Context15

Year 2

In the second year you will advance your grasp of philosophical knowledge and methods through a set of compulsory modules, and continue the development of your language skills. Optional modules enable you to develop specialist knowledge on a range of topics.

Compulsory modules

MLF2001French Language, Written and Oral30
MLG2001German Language, Written and Oral30
MLI2001Italian Language, Written and Oral30
MLR2001Contemporary Russian, Written and Oral I30
MLS2001Spanish Language, Written and Oral30
MLM2052Intermediate Chinese30

Optional modules

Select 45 credits of Philosophy Level 2 optional modules and 15 credits of Philosophy Level 3 options.

Select 30 credits of Modern Languages Level 2 optional modules.

Philosophy (Year 2)
PHL2010APhilosophy of Mind - 115
PHL2011APhilosophy of Nature 115
PHL2012Social Philosophy 15
PHL2015Body and Mind 15
PHL2016Metaphysics 15
PHL2018Philosophy of Language15
PHL2050Knowing the Social: perception, memory and representation15
PHL2222Career Planning Workshops0
Philosophy (Year 3)
PHL3011Philosophy of Science30
PHL3013Virtues and Vices15
PHL3014Symbolic Logic15
PHL3018Sex and Death: Introduction to the Philosophy of Biology 15
PHL3029Sociology and Philosophy of Globalisation15
PHL3035Critical Bioethics15
PHL3037Aristotle's Politics15
PHL3038The Self15
PHL3040Philosophy Dissertation 30
PHL3046AThe Holocaust, Genocide and Society30
PHL3074Cyborg Studies 30
PHL3075Philosophical Readings 615
PHL3100Knowledge and History: Theories of Scientific Change15
PHL3888EIndependent study module (FCH)30
MLM2010Reading China: from Mandarins to Revolutionists15
MLM2011Encounters and Entanglements: Chinese Art in Global Perspective15
MLF2003Freedom and French Realism15
MLF2012Evolution of the French Language15
MLF2029Varieties of French15
MLF2056Provoking Thoughts: French Literature and Philosophy from the Renaissance to the 20th Century15
MLF2063Crime and Punishment in French Fiction15
MLF2065Contemporary French Film: Issues and Debates15
MLF2066Intimate Spaces of the French Enlightenment15
MLF2067Gender and Resistance: Contemporary Women's Writing in French15
MLF2068 Telling Stories: Narrative Strategies in 19th and 20th Century Fiction in French15
MLF2069East is East? Cross-Cultural Encounters in Medieval French Literature15
MLG2018Berlin - Culture, History and Politics15
MLG2034Crime and Madness in German Prose Fiction15
MLG2042Ideologies and Identities in German Cinema15
MLG2045Protest, Priests and Princes: Germany in the Early Modern Period15
MLG2047Language in the Goethezeit15
MLI2024Love (and Marriage?)15
MLI2120Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed15
MLP2002Portuguese as a Global Language15
MLP2003The Lustotropical Tempest: An Introduction to Portuguese Speaking Africa15
MLR2017Monsters, Ghosts and Vampires in Russian Literature15
MLR2018Revolutionary Theatre: 1917-193215
MLR2054Soviet History 1917-199130
MLS2032Introduction to Commercial Spanish15
MLS2045Federico Garcia Lorca: Theatre and Poetry15
MLS2053Franco's Spain: Narratives under Dictatorship15
MLS2060Love and Death in Spanish Drama15
MLS2061The Latin American Short Story15
MLS2067Spain from Democracy to Dictatorship: Republic, Civil War and Francoism, 1931 - 195315
MLS2157The Short Story of the Spanish Golden Age15
Modern Languages
SML2209Music in Medieval Europe15
SML2244Multilingualism in Society15

Year 3

The third year is spent abroad, either on a work placement, studying at a university, or in a school working as a language assistant.

Compulsory module choice

SML3010Work and Study Abroad120
SML3020Study Abroad at a Partner University120
SML3025Internship Abroad Combined with Study at a Partner University120

Year 4

The centre-point of the final year is the dissertation. This provides you with the opportunity to explore an area of interest and to demonstrate what you have learned over the previous years of your degree. You will also take up to three other specialist modules to create a programme of work fully reflecting your interests.

Compulsory modules

PHL3040Philosophy Dissertation 30
MLF3111French Language30
MLG3111German Language30
MLI3111Italian Language30
MLR3111Russian Language30
MLS3111Spanish Language30

Optional modules

PHL3011Philosophy of Science30
PHL3013Virtues and Vices15
PHL3014Symbolic Logic15
PHL3018Sex and Death: Introduction to the Philosophy of Biology 15
PHL3029Sociology and Philosophy of Globalisation15
PHL3035Critical Bioethics15
PHL3037Aristotle's Politics15
PHL3038The Self15
PHL3040Philosophy Dissertation 30
PHL3046AThe Holocaust, Genocide and Society30
PHL3074Cyborg Studies 30
PHL3075Philosophical Readings 615
PHL3100Knowledge and History: Theories of Scientific Change15
PHL3888EIndependent study module (FCH)30
MLM3010Ritual and Power: Text and Image of Chinese Landscapes15
MLF3034Sociolinguistics of French15
MLF3046Dialectology in France15
MLF3050Music, Poetry, and Society at the Late Medieval French Court15
MLF3053Looking Awry: Exploring the Unorthodox in Early Modern France15
MLF3069Writing Women and Strange Monsters15
MLF3070Diasporic Cinemas15
MLF3072Sex and the Text: Gender and Authority in Late Medieval France15
MLF3073Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu15
MLG3022The Foundation of Modern Germany 1860-190015
MLG3026Pamphlets and Propaganda in German and Austrian History15
MLG3028Violence, Gender and Nationhood in the Work of Heinrich von Kleist15
MLG3035Violence and Vanitas: The German Baroque15
MLG3036Dictatorships on Display: History Exhibitions in Germany and Austria15
MLG3037Coping with Catastrophe: German Culture, Literature and Politics in the Interwar Years15
MLI3028Italian Varieties and Dialects15
MLI3052Representing Immigration in Contemporary Italian Cinema15
MLI3053Liaison Interpreting and Report Writing between English and Italian15
MLI3199Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend15
MLP3002Afro-Brazil: Ideas of Africa in Brazilian Fiction15
MLR3017St Petersburg30
MLR3025Apocalypse/Utopia: The Russian Roots of Revolution15
MLS3027Commercial Spanish15
MLS3031The Varieties of Modern Spanish15
MLS3037Women and Feminism in 20th Century Spain15
MLS3045Spanish Romantic Drama15
MLS3048Memory and Autobiographical Writing in 20th Century Spain15
MLS3054Advanced Portuguese30
MLS3057Cross Currents: Memory, Myth and Modernity in Latin America15
MLS3060The Amorous Lyric of the Spanish Golden Age15
MLS3061Religion, Revolution and Counterrevolution15
MLS3062Spain and the fin de siecle: from Disaster to Modernity15
Modern Languages
SML3012Law in Fiction15
SML3017Language Contact15
SML3030Extended Dissertation30
SML3031Advanced Translation Skills15
SML3035The Fantastic in 19th and 20th Century Literature15
SML3036Beyond Sex and the City: Becoming a Woman in Contemporary Western Cinema15
SML3037Longing for an Audience: Medieval Troubadour Lyric15

Entry requirements 2018

Typical offer

AAA-ABB; IB: 36-32

Required subjects

Dependent on your chosen language; see table below.

Selecting your chosen language when applying

When applying to a Combined Honours degree with Modern Languages you will need to indicate under ‘further details’ in the ‘choices’ section of the application the language you wish to study using the codes below. Please note you may choose only one language. For further information on completing your UCAS form, please visit the UCAS website.

CodeSubjectRequired subjects
Fren French GCE AL French grade B; IB French HL5
Chin Chinese GCE AL in a modern foreign language (French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish)  grade B; IB modern foreign language (French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish)  HL5
Germ German
Ital Italian
Port Portuguese
Russ Russian
Span Spanish

Language requirements

  • Grade B at A level is required in any language you intend to study from A level.
  • You may only choose one language.
  • Students wishing to pursue language study on the basis of a GCSE are normally classed as beginners.
  • French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish can be studied either from A level or beginner’s level, with both cohorts reaching degree level in the final year. Portuguese and Chinese can normally only be studied from beginner’s level, not from A Level; students of these two languages reach degree level in final year. 

Additional selection criteria

We are looking for well-qualified students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.

We receive a large number of applications from well-qualified applicants and may not be able to make offers to all those applicants who have achieved or are predicted to achieve grades in line with the typical offer shown above.

In addition to the specific requirements listed above, we look for excellent A level* results/predictions and we may also take into account results up to and including GCSEs* and AS Levels* as part of our holistic assessment of an application.

*Equivalent qualifications will be considered. For more information about our equivalencies for specific qualifications please contact our Admissions Office.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

Further information

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

Our teaching in Modern Languages aims not just to improve your production and comprehension of the language but also to help you develop your language-learning skills. These will enable you to take responsibility for your language learning, to continue learning the language(s) after graduation and to pick up new languages in the future.

Written language is taught through weekly classes of about 18 students with teams of tutors who contribute to a programme aimed at grammar improvement and the development of advanced writing skills. You’ll also have weekly oral practice in classes of about eight with native speakers of the language(s) that you are studying. You’ll be expected to prepare written work or presentations for seminars, in which you’ll have the opportunity to express your own point of view and to discuss other people’s ideas.

All language students have access to the language-learning facilities provided by the Foreign Language Centre, which include satellite television channels in each of our languages and audio, computer and multi-media language-learning packages.

Each language has its own student society which brings together students to share in experiences and to give advice on choices of location for the year abroad, as well as module choices. The societies build upon the family atmosphere that is central to the ethos of the department and they arrange talks, films, drama and social activities.

You'll study Philosophy through a combination of lectures and small-group seminars, with an increasing emphasis on small group seminar discussion and project work in the second and third years. You will be encouraged to develop your writing and presentation skills in a supportive atmosphere. You’ll have regular tutorials in which you meet to discuss essays with your tutor, together with a small group of other students. These personal contacts are very important in developing staff-student relations and for getting to know your fellow students.

Through our system of personal and subject tutors, you will find the individual help and guidance you need to succeed and you'll have a chance to make your mark on the programmes through regular student evaluations and participation in the Student-Staff Liaison Committee and student societies.


You must pass your first year assessment in order to progress to the second year, but the results do not count towards your degree classification. For three-year programmes, the assessments in the second and third years contribute to your final degree classification. For four-year programmes, the assessments in the second, third and fourth years all contribute to your final degree classification.

Assessment includes formal exams and assessed coursework, including essays and projects as well as practical assignments and oral language tasks. 

Study abroad

For programmes with Modern Languages, your third year will normally be spent studying abroad, developing your language skills.

Your year abroad could be spent abroad either:

  • On a work placement
  • Studying at a university
  • In a school working as a language assistant

You can find out more at our Study Abroad web pages.


A degree from the University of Exeter will provide you with a range of professional, academic and personal skills that will prepare you for future employment.

Philosophy degrees are popular with employers because they produce students who think analytically and creatively and know how to relate to people. Our programmes give you an excellent all-round education, where you’ll learn to understand other people’s points of view, to communicate your own position clearly and to argue effectively. You’ll also learn to collect, assess and present evidence and to work independently and in groups. The programmes are demanding and encourage initiative and open mindedness, helping to ensure that you’ll be well equipped with a range of academic, personal and professional skills that will prepare you for future employment or study in a wide range of fields.

Developing your skills and career prospects

We provide a range of support to help you develop skills attractive to employers. You will be able to access a range of specific activities such as careers skills sessions and employer-led events, or seek bespoke advice and support from Employability Officers based within Colleges.

The University of Exeter's Employability and Graduate Development Service also organises a busy schedule of activities including careers fairs, skills workshops, and training events, and can advise on graduate opportunities and volunteering.

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Phone: +44 (0)1392 723192

Website: Visit the Philosophy website