BA Philosophy and Politics with Study Abroad

Duration4 Years
Typical offerAAA-AAB; IB: 36-34
  • Philosophy
  • Politics and International Relations
Location Streatham (Exeter)


This programme allows you to apply analytical-philosophical skills to the study of political events and theories. Philosophy and politics overlap considerably when it comes to discussing concepts of ‘state’, ‘democracy’ and ‘public good’, and yet both disciplines have their own methodologies and styles. This programme will enable you to become familiar with the best known approaches and appreciate their complementary nature. 

Studying Philosophy will give you the opportunity to discuss long-standing questions about the nature of knowledge (how do we know what we know?), science (does science provide us with a special kind of knowledge?), reality (does the world out there really exist?), ethics (how should we act?), art and beauty (who decides what counts as beautiful?), the mind-body relationship (how can the brain produce the mind?), the meaning of life (why is there something rather than nothing?) and more.

From the beginning you will be encouraged to develop your own views on all these topics, and to assess other philosophers’ take on them. Studying philosophy will teach you to think rigorously, to defend your views in a clear and consistent way, to understand the why and what-for of different points of view, and ultimately to develop a sharp, analytical and open mind.

During your degree you will develop a sound knowledge of the four principal areas of study in Politics: political thought, international relations, comparative government, and public policy.  You’ll also gain a wider understanding of the world by focusing on both the theoretical and practical problems of politics through a combination of core compulsory modules and options covering topics as diverse as environmental politics, security, foreign policy, American politics, globalisation and political campaigns.

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 Politics 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.

The third year is spent studying abroad.

Year 1

The first year gives you a foundational knowledge of philosophical and political theory and concepts. You will also gain important analytical techniques that will be useful across a range of subjects and research tasks.

Compulsory modules

Choose at least 3 from the following Philosophy modules
PHL1006Introduction to Philosophical Analysis 15
PHL1002AKnowledge and Reality 1 15
PHL1005AEvidence and Argument 115
PHL1002BKnowledge and Reality 2 15
Plus the following two Politics modules
POL1025Classical Political Thought15
POL1026Early Modern Political Thought15

Optional modules

Philosophy modules - choose 15 credits, examples below
PHL1007Philosophical Reading 115
PHL1008Philosophical Readings 215
PHL1013Philosophy of Morality 15
PHL1036Foucault-Discipline and Punish15
PHL1112Philosophy of Film15
Politics modules - choose 30 credits, examples below
POL1001ABritish Government and Politics15
POL1019Power and Democracy 15
POL1020Politics in Europe 15

Year 2

In the second year you will advance your grasp of philosophical and political knowledge and methods. Optional modules enable you to develop specialist knowledge on a range of topics.

Compulsory modules

Choose at least 3 from the following Philosophy modules
PHL2010APhilosophy of Mind - 115
PHL2011APhilosophy of Nature 115
PHL2012Social Philosophy 15
PHL2014Philosophy of Morality15
PHL2015Body and Mind 15
PHL2016Metaphysics 15
PHL2018Philosophy of Language15
Politics modules
POL2059Political Thought of Modernity 15

Optional modules

Philosophy modules - you choose 15 credits, examples below
PHL2016Metaphysics 15
PHL2018Philosophy of Language15
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
Politics modules - you choose 45 credits, examples below
POL2055EU Member States15
POL2071Experimental Research in the Social Sciences15
POL2052Foreign Policy: Leadership, Power and Responsibility 15
POL2067Gendering World Politics15
POL2068Global Justice and Transnational Democracy15
POL2058Governance and Public Policy in the EU15
POL2001Government II: Comparative Politics30
POL2042International Relations - Order and Justice15
POL2039International Relations, Introduction to Strategic Studies15
POL2037International Relations, Rethinking Third World Politics 15
POL2038International Relations, War and Peace in the Middle East 15
POL2063Introduction to Middle East Politics 15
POL2021Introduction to Postcolonial Politics15
POL2036Introduction to Strategic Studies30
POL2049Media, Public Opinion and Campaigns15
POL2008Middle East Politics15
POL2032AModern Politcial Thought: From Hobbes to Wollstonecraft15
POL2032Modern Political Thought - From Hobbes to Marx30
POL2032BModern Political Thought: From Kant to Marx15
POL2030Order and Justice in International Society30
POL2026Political Analysis: Behaviour, Institutions, Ideas15
POL2045Political Analysis: Methods15
POL2022Political Ideologies15
POL2050Political Philosophy 15
POL2059Political Thought of Modernity15
POL2053Power Politics and Leadership15
POL2041Ppa - Politics of the Public Sector15
POL2040Ppa - Public Policy15
POL2060Public Policy and Administration 15
POL2003Public Policy and Administration30
POL2070Quantitative methods in political science15
POL2072Race Ethnicity and Politics15
POL2033Rethinking Third World Politics30
POL2057Security Studies 15
POL2046The Economics of Politics 15
POL2064The Political Economy of Globalization 15
POL2027The Politics of the World Economy15

Year 3

Students will spend the third year of their studies in a partner university [on an Erasmus/Socrates exchange or other approved programme of study]. The year abroad comprises 120 credits and assessment is based on the credits gained at the partner institution.

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 or POL304030
POL3040Politics Dissertation or PHL304030

Optional modules

Politics modules
POL3069Globalisation and the Politics of Resistance 30
POL3070Electoral Politics 30
POL3074The Politics of Climate Change30
POL3120War and Public Opinion30
POL3123Strategy in the Twenty-First Century: From Idea to Practice30
POL3124Anarchism and World Ordering30
POL3125The History and Political Development of Iraq15
POL3126Ethno-Politics: Theoretical Considerations and Case Studies15
POL3127EU Democracy Promotion in the Middle East and North Africa30
POL3128Armed Islamist Movements: Jihadism and Beyond15
POL3129Politics and Reform in the Gulf15
POL3136Political Psychology30
POL3148Human Rights and the Political 30
POL3153Justice, Democracy and Civil Society.30
POL3156Central Asian Politics 30
POL3166Comparing Western Democracies: Parties, Elites, Institutions30
POL3168War and its Aftermath: Interventions and Contemporary Conflict30
POL3170Marxism and Post-Structuralism 30
POL3174International Security and US Foreign Policy 30
POL3175Nationalisms in the Middle East15
POL3177The Refugee Crisis in the Modern World30
POL3179City Politics: Power, Policy and Conflict30
POL3180Latin American Parties, Politics and Elections30
POL3184Politics of Semi-democratic and Authoritarian Countries30
POL3186BGender, Militarization and Resistance 30
POL3187Sub-National and Local Governance: A Practice Approach30
Philosophy 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

Entry requirements 2018

Typical offer

AAA-AAB; IB: 36-34

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.

Programmes with Study Abroad

Entry for programmes ‘with Study Abroad’ is offered on the basis that you will spend your time abroad at an institution where the teaching and examining is delivered in English. However, we also have partners that teach in French, Spanish and German. Should you wish to study at one of these institutions you will need to take modules through the Foreign Language Centre up to ‘Advanced’ standard in the appropriate language. In order to reach this standard before the year abroad, students usually need to have entered the University with the equivalent of a good GCSE or AS level (or higher) in that language.

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

You'll study Philosophy and Politics 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 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.

Study abroad

A full year abroad, at one of our partner institutions, is generally taken in the third year of a four year degree programme. You can apply directly for the four-year 'with Study Abroad' programme, or transfer from another programme once you are at the University of Exeter. More details about study abroad options and destinations can be found on the College of Social Sciences and International Studies 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.

Our programmes not only give you an understanding of your subjects but also give you an excellent all round education. 

During your studies, you will develop a number of skills that are particularly useful in professional and managerial careers. The ability to research and analyse information from a variety of sources, together with the written and verbal skills needed to present and discuss your opinions and conclusions, are attributes that many employers look for in graduates. Your understanding of complex political and cultural issues, often in continually changing environments will also be relevant to business, media and public sector appointments.

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 the Employability Officers based in your College.

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.

You may have the option to undertake a work placement through the Learning from Work Experience in Social Sciences module (SSI2001).

You will be encouraged to research and reflect on a range of work-related questions such as the nature of an organisation and your role within it,  employment practices including induction, health and safety procedures, self-appraisal and continuing professional development.

By practising specific skills for employment, including the writing of CVs, application forms and supporting statements, you will become better prepared for the world of work beyond university.

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Phone: +44 (0)1392 723192

Website: Visit the Philosophy website