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Study information

Programme Specification for the 2023/4 academic year

BA (Hons) Politics and Geography

1. Programme Details

Programme nameBA (Hons) Politics and Geography Programme codeUFA3HPSGOACA
Study mode(s)Full Time
Academic year2023/4
Campus(es)Cornwall Campus
NQF Level of the Final Award6 (Honours)

2. Description of the Programme

This distinctive interdisciplinary programme in Politics and Geography is an exciting opportunity for you to engage with some of the greatest intersectional challenges of our times – challenges linked to the past, situated in the present, and shaping the future.

Over this three-year programme you will receive a thorough education, from internationally-recognised scholars, in the core disciplines of Politics and Geography. Further, drawing on the particular interdisciplinary strengths of the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, this programme will offer you the unique opportunity to question how politics and geography interact to shape the world together. You will come to understand how formal, geographically diverse practices of government and policy arise from and are challenged by the diverse practices that define spaces and shape places.

Our programme is oriented around the central problem of change and uncertainty in contemporary political, spatial, and ecological systems and processes. We are deeply committed to providing you with geographic and historical context, practical application and place-based research, which we offer through both academic and field-based modules. This training will be particularly beneficial for any students looking for careers or postgraduate training in areas such as local/regional/urban planning, green politics and policy, sustainability, international aid/development, climate transitions, heritage studies, border studies/migration policy, or international conflict and security studies.

The programme builds on Penryn’s interdisciplinary strengths in three key themes, which are connected to the complex transitions underway in Cornwall and around the world:

  • Politics of Sustainability – including political ecology, energy and society, green politics, social movements, resource use, environmental justice
  • Settlement, Space, and Politics – including regional development and regionalisation, rural transitions, urban geography and global urban transitions, place-based politics, migrations, regional identity and identity conflicts
  • Governance and Scale – including policy analysis and development, foreign policy, civil service, protest politics/social movements, local politics/participation and governance practices in specific area studies

BA (Hons) Politics and Geography combines the analysis of politics at different territorial scales with the study of the way environments are organised and managed through cultural, economic and political processes. This programme allows you to explore various political systems across the globe and the connections between them, introducing you to the spatial analyses of politics and to political analyses of the productions of space, place, and landscape. Our academics bring the latest political and geographical research to your degree, ensuring you develop the theoretical, practical, and field-based research techniques necessary to work at the intersection of these two disciplines.

This programme is only available at University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, renowned for its setting in the Cornish landscape and for its specialised environment of supportive learning, accessible staff, and world-leading interdisciplinary research and teaching. You can pursue a rigorous, intellectually challenging, and career-oriented programme that unites the world-class resources of the University of Exeter with the particular strengths in critical interdisciplinary research and teaching for which Penryn Campus is renowned, situated in the environmentally beautiful and politically complex setting of west Cornwall.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

  • To offer an excellent Honours-level education in Politics and Geography that explores the interface between the disciplines, in a supportive and responsive learning environment that is enriched by research.
  • To develop your competence in subject-specific knowledge in both Politics and Geography and to develop your core academic and personal and key skills.
  • To produce graduates who can engage imaginatively in the process of understanding and analysing complex and sophisticated problems in the two disciplines using critical approaches that blend detailed and broad levels of analysis.
  • To offer you a range of choice, insofar as this choice is consistent with the coherence and intellectual rigour of the degree.
  • To maximise your learning and enjoyment through an optimal mixture of lectures, seminars, field-based learning and supervised research projects that is commensurate with your needs and abilities as you progress through the programme.
  • To assess your ability and progress through a mixture of methods, including essays, examinations, year-long research projects, oral presentations, group role plays, and seminar participation.
  • To develop students who are imaginative, critical thinkers and problem solvers; creative team players; engaged leaders; confident and adaptable individuals; and active global citizens.

4. Programme Structure

The BA (Hons) Politics and Geography is a three-year full-time programme of study at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 6 (as confirmed against the FHEQ). This programme is divided into three stages. Each stage is normally equivalent to an academic year. 

5. Programme Modules

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 must complete 360 credits, with at least 150 credits of Geography modules and 150 credits of Politics modules throughout your degree.

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 elective modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme in each stage of the programme with permission 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.


Stage 1

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
GEO1401B Approaches to Geographical Knowledge 15No
GEO1413 The Geography of Cornwall 15No
POC1021 Key Concepts in Politics and International Relations 15No
POC1031 Political Communication 15No

Optional Modules

60 credits of compulsory modules, 60 credits of optional modules (of which 15 credits must be selected from stage 1 Politics optional modules and 15 credits from stage 1 Geography optional modules).

For a full list of Politics modules on Penryn Campus, see:

For a full list of Geography modules on Penryn Campus, see:


Stage 2

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
POC2124 Political Analysis 15No
POC2108 Political Geographies: Local to Global 15No

Optional Modules

90 credits of optional modules of which at least 30 credits must be selected from stage 2 Politics optional modules and 30 credits from stage 2 Geography optional modules

For a full list of Politics modules on Penryn Campus, see:

For a full list of Geography modules on Penryn Campus, see:

Stage 3

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
POC3040 Dissertation 30Yes

Optional Modules

90 credits of optional modules of which at least 30 credits must be selected from final stage Politics optional modules and 30 credits from final stage Geography optional modules.

All Combined Honours students register for POC3040 but will be supervised by staff in Politics or Geography depending on their research interests.

For a full list of Politics modules on Penryn Campus, see:

For a full list of Geography modules on Penryn Campus, see:


6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. demonstrate through written and oral work a solid understanding of theories and approaches in politics and geography.
2. apply knowledge of the recurring theoretical and empirical problems in Politics and Geography and demonstrate awareness of how each interacts with and shapes the other.
3. apply knowledge of the main themes in relevant modules; trace the key developments within a topic and relate them to the broader subject matter; evaluate complex themes in Politics and Geography; make specialist evaluations of key developments within particular topics.
4. use different types of political and geographical evidence to address fundamental questions in Politics and Geography, including: using different quantitative, qualitative and theoretical approaches to make sense of source material; using primary and secondary sources; and using field-based research.
5. appreciate the different approaches to evidence and argument in Politics and Geography, evaluate scholarly work in both disciplines, evaluate methodological and empirical changes within and between disciplines, and be aware of the potential of interdisciplinary work.
6. define a suitable interdisciplinary research topic in the subject area and pursue it to completion.
7. present work in the format expected of Political Science or Geography (as appropriate), including footnoting and bibliographical references.

  • 1, 2 and 3 begin to be developed in stage one, especially core modules, though lectures, seminars, written assessments, and group and individual presentations. Second and final stage extend this foundation into more specialist knowledges and approaches, in the context of more defined debates.
  • 2 and 3 form the backbone of all modules taken at all stages, but the level of complexity and nuance develops according to stage. The choice of assessment topics that you are given in upper-level modules develops your capacity to assess, apply, and extend your relevant knowledge.
  • 4 from the outset of the programme. Where applicable, you are encouraged to use the stage two modules in research methods, in Politics or Geography and the final stage dissertation as a further way of addressing 4. Further, required field trip modules ensure you are instructed in field-specific methods and incorporation of field data into research and assessment.
  • 5 is a requirement of all Politics and Geography modules, but there is particular emphasis on developing methodological and theoretical complexity as you progress through the stages of the programme.
  • 6 you are supported through your methods training and supervision structure to identify and pursue a self-defined research topic.
  • 7 you are given clear guidelines on style and academic practice, suitable to each of Politics and Geography, in online Handbooks, are instructed in such matters across all stages of the degree, and are expected to demonstrate it in all modules.

The assessment of these skills is through a combination of:

  • term-time essays (1-5, 7),
  • critical reviews (1, 3, 5, 6),
  • examinations (1, 2, 3, 5),
  • year-long projects (the final stage dissertation) (1-7),
  • group role plays (1-3),
  • creative, narrative, and visual analyses (1-7)
  • oral presentations (1-5),
  • seminar participation (1-5, 7).

The criteria of assessment pay full recognition to the importance of the various skills outlined.

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

8. draw comparisons between empirical evidence and theoretical approaches from a variety of different cases.
9. show awareness of contrasting approaches to research and judge between competing views.
10. show a clear understanding of the challenges of knowledge and different forms of evidence, and evaluate different approaches to knowledge in a given context.
11. evaluate problems of reliability and bias in evidence and use evidence effectively to deploy logical arguments.
12. comprehend and effectively deploy complex terminology and discourses in politics and geography, in different situations.
13. think and write effectively about large themes and new situations with a systematic approach to accuracy, precision and uncertainty.
14. collate data from a range of sources, comprehend a range of texts, and reference sources accurately in written work.
15. present work and answer questions concisely in written and oral practice.
16. ask pertinent and intellectually demanding questions of texts and other students.
17. use library, electronic and other resources to conduct independent research.

These skills are developed throughout the degree programme, but the emphasis becomes more complex as you move from stage to stage. They are developed through lectures and seminars, written work, oral work (both presentation and class discussion), and other interactive and collaborative learning practices that require engaging and assessing multiple perspectives.

The criteria of assessment pay full recognition to the importance of the various skills outlined.

These skills are assessed through a combination of:

  • term-time essays (8-15, 17)
  • critical reviews (8-12, 15)
  • examinations (8-15, 17)
  • year-long projects (final stage dissertation) (8-13, 17)
  • group role plays (10, 12, 13, 15, 16)
  • oral presentations (8-17)
  • seminar participation (8-16).

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

18. undertake independent study and work to deadlines.
19. digest, select and organise material for written work and oral presentations, and write to varying word counts.
21. sit timed, unseen examinations of a challenging nature.
22. communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently by written, oral and visual means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience.
23. work with others as part of a team on challenging material, including the presentation and discussion of material in groups.
24. interact effectively with peers, staff, and management.
25. identify, formulate and evaluate questions or problems, develop relevant approaches to problem-solving and research design, and execute appropriate skills in research and communication.
26. plan the execution of demanding work over a very long time scale and develop capacity to critically evaluate own work and progress.
27. use C&IT tools effectively and appropriately to select, analyse, present and communicate political and geographical information, including effective interpretation of qualitative, quantitative, numerical, and statistical information as appropriate.

  • 18 is an essential part of the successful completion of the programme.
  • 19 is developed through the formative assessments and increasing complexity of assessment forms over the programme
  • 21 is developed through practice: at all stages, you are partly assessed by timed, unseen examinations.
  • 22 is developed by ongoing opportunities to practice writing and speaking in academic contexts and receive continual, structured feedback
  • 23 and 24 is developed through self-assessment of work, peer review and meetings with module convenors (which you generally arrange); also developed through seminars, which form the whole or part basis of all modules.
  • 25 is developed to some extent in all modules, through interaction in seminars and in discussion with tutors about essay work, and in response to criticism both collective and individual.
  • 26 is most closely supported through the research methods training and the dissertation supervision process.
  • 27 is supported by the requirement to complete multiple forms of assessment that use C&IT tools relevant to a BA in Politics and Geography, including word processing, powerpoint and other presentation software, image processing applications, and potentially spreadsheets and quantitative analysis tools.

These skills are assessed in Politics and Geography modules through a combination of:

  • term-time essays of differing lengths – 2,000 words in Level 4 modules,
  • 2,500-3,000 in Level 5 modules,
  • 3,000-4,000 in Level 6 modules, and 10,000 in the Level 6 Dissertation (18-19, 22, 25-27),
  • critical reviews (18, 19, 22),
  • examinations (21),
  • year-long projects (final stage dissertation) (18-19, 22, 25-27),
  • group role plays (22-24),
  • oral presentations (18-19, 22-25, 27),
  • seminar participation (22-24).

The criteria of assessment pay full recognition to the importance of the various skills outlined.

7. Programme Regulations


Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook. Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

You will be located in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies (Penryn Campus) which has working relationships with the other departments involved in this programme. The College has built a large library collection on the Cornwall campus. College staff make maximum use of on-line materials, including e-journals, EEBO, JSTOR and EBSCO, in the teaching programme. An inter-campus loan facility also gives Cornwall students full access to the University Library on the Streatham and St Luke's campuses, where the collection comprises over a million volumes and 3000 current periodical subscriptions. You may also make use of the special collections held in Cornwall and Exeter, including the maritime history collection at the National Maritime Museum, Cornwall, and the Cornish Studies Library at Redruth. For dissertation work, in particular, you have an excellent range of libraries and archives within the county, and are also encouraged to use collections outside Cornwall, for which letters of introduction are written as necessary.

The College provides a Personal Tutor System for students based on the principles contained in the TQA Manual Code of Good Practice for Personal Tutor Systems. You are allocated a personal tutor who will be available for discussion of any problems or queries The tutor is available through office hours but also sees the tutee as a matter of course three times a year: once at registration (September/October); once for a structured annual appraisal of their performance during the inter-semester break (January); and once to discuss examination results and overall performance at each stage (June). The appraisal is particularly important – here, you discuss a pre-completed self-appraisal with their tutor, and agree an ‘action plan’ to consolidate and improve performance over the coming year. Personal tutors report to the Programme Leader. The Personal Tutor Scheme is overseen by the Head of Department.

The College ensures that a full record of your attendance, marks and seminar contribution is maintained over the duration of the programme. The College uses the BART system to monitor records of attendance and submission of work and to deliver marks, and for both departments seminar contributions will be monitored through Exeter Learning Environment (ELE) submissions.

Information Technology (IT) Services provide a wide range of services at the Cornwall Campus throughout the University including open access computer rooms, some of which are available 24 hours, 7 days a week. Helpdesks are maintained on the Cornwall and Exeter campuses, while most study bedrooms in halls and flats are linked to the University's campus network. E-mail is a standard channel of communication between students and staff. Student support materials, e.g. module descriptions are available on the Cornwall CSSIS web-site and reading lists are available on-line via ELE.

There is an ELE site for modules in both Politics and Geography, built and maintained by the module convenor and a member of Cornwall campus IT Services staff, part of whose time is devoted to ELE at Cornwall.

The College and the University are pleased to welcome students with disability and provide extensive support services. Accessibility Services will develop a Personal Learning Plan for any student with disability, and this plan will enable the College to maximise the accessibility of the programme with support from the Personal Tutor in consultation with the College Disability Liaison officer and other members of the College. Almost all modules are classroom based and can be made accessible to students with a broad range of disabilities. You are encouraged, where possible, to contact their Personal Tutor and the Disability Liaison Officer in the semester before the Dissertation to enable forward planning.

In accordance with University policy, students in Combined Honours Politics and Geography at the Cornwall Campus will have a representative on the Student/Staff Liaison Committee for Politics and International Relations. This allows students to contribute directly to the enhancement of educational and other provisions directly to the Programme Co-ordinator of the programme.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Please refer to the University Academic Policy and Standards guidelines regarding support for students and students' learning.

10. Admissions Criteria

Undergraduate applicants must satisfy the Undergraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Postgraduate applicants must satisfy the Postgraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Undergraduate or Postgraduate Study Site webpages.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

(Quality Review Framework.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by


18. Final Award

BA (Hons) Politics and Geography

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

6 (Honours)

21. Credit

CATS credits


ECTS credits


22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date


Date of last revision