BA Politics and Modern Languages

UCAS codeLR02
Duration4 Years
Typical offerAAA-ABB; IB: 36-32
  • Politics and International Relations
  • Modern Languages
Location Streatham (Exeter)


This degree gives you the opportunity of combining Politics and a modern language. Your third year will be spent studying abroad in a country where you can develop your chosen language.

In studying Politics you’ll gain a sound knowledge of the four principal areas of study: 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 specialised optional ones. The programme combines an academic grounding in the study of political science with access to current issues and practical experience.

For your study of a modern language, by the end of your degree you will have developed strong skills in spoken and written language and analytical thought, a deeper understanding of another culture and people, and have proven to yourself and others that you can meet a challenge head on. As our graduates testify, studying a modern language will equip you with the skills employers seek across a wide range of professions.

German, Italian, Russian and Spanish can be studied from A level or beginner’s level, with students reaching degree level in the final year. Chinese and Portuguese can normally only be studied from beginner’s level. French can only be studied from A level, not beginner’s level, to degree level, though it is possible to study French from beginner’s level to a lesser level of proficiency than degree level in the Foreign Language Centre, subject to demand.

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 BA Politics 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.

You will take half your credits in Politics and the remaining credits in Modern Languages.

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

Year 1

The first year will improve your language skills and introduce you to key methodological and theoretical debates within the study of politics and provide foundational knowledge in British and European politics, the history of political thought, international politics and the study of political behaviour and civil society.

Compulsory modules

MLF1001French Language30
MLG1001German Language30
MLI1001Italian Language30
MLR1001Contemporary Russian, Written and Oral30
MLS1001Spanish Language30
MLM1052Beginners Chinese30
MLP1052Portuguese Language for Beginners30

Optional modules

Select 60 credits of Politics Level 1 optional modules.

Select 30 credits of Modern Language Level 1 optional modules.

POL1001ABritish Government and Politics15
POL1006State and Society15
POL1016AHistory and Political Thought I15
POL1016BHistory of Political Thought 2 15
POL1019Power and Democracy 15
POL1020Politics in Europe 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 knowledge and methods through a set of compulsory modules. 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 60 credits of Politics Level 2 optional modules.

Select 30 credits of Modern Languages Level 2 optional modules.

POL2071Experimental Research in the Social Sciences15
POL2052Foreign Policy: Leadership, Power and Responsibility 15
POL2067Gendering World Politics15
POL2068Global Justice and Transnational Democracy15
POL2042International Relations - Order and Justice15
POL2037International Relations, Rethinking Third World Politics 15
POL2038International Relations, War and Peace in the Middle East 15
POL2063Introduction to Middle East Politics 15
POL2049Media, Public Opinion and Campaigns15
POL2026Political Analysis: Behaviour, Institutions, Ideas15
POL2022Political Ideologies15
POL2050Political Philosophy 15
POL2059Political Thought of Modernity15
POL2053Power Politics and Leadership15
POL2060Public Policy and Administration 15
POL2003Public Policy and Administration30
POL2070Quantitative methods in political science15
POL2072Race Ethnicity and Politics15
POL2057Security Studies 15
POL2046The Economics of Politics 15
POL2064The Political Economy of Globalization 15
POL2027The Politics of the World Economy15
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

MLF3111French Language30
MLG3111German Language30
MLI3111Italian Language30
MLR3111Russian Language30
MLS3111Spanish Language30

Optional modules

Select 60 credits of Politics Level 3 optional modules.

Select 30 credits of Modern Languages Level 3 optional 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
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

In Modern Languages our teaching 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 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.

Non-language modules in Modern Languages are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and/or tutorials. Our teaching methods are chosen to encourage you to become an increasingly independent learner as you progress through the years.

In Politics we also place considerable emphasis on teaching in small groups, which gives you ample opportunity to participate, as well as providing close contact between you and members of staff. In the final year much of your learning occurs in seminar groups led by a member of faculty on a specialised area of their research.

You'll have a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies.


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, oral language tasks, field work notebooks.

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. 

Our programmes not only give you an understanding of your subjects but also give you an excellent all round education. You will learn to understand other people's points of view, communicate your own position clearly and argue effectively. You will also learn to collect, assess and present evidence and to work independently and in groups.

Language skills are particularly valued in a wide range of employment such as finance, law, the media and the teaching profession.

Studying Politics will develop your understanding of complex political and cultural issues, often in continually changing environments, which can be relevant to both business 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 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.

Find out more about the destinations of Politics and International Relations graduates and destinations of Modern Languages graduateson our Employability site.

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Phone: +44 (0)1392 723192

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit the Politics and International Relations website