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Study information

Programme Specification for the 2024/5 academic year

BA (Hons) Philosophy and Politics with Study Abroad

1. Programme Details

Programme nameBA (Hons) Philosophy and Politics with Study Abroad Programme codeUFA4HPSHPS35
Study mode(s)Full Time
Academic year2024/5
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award6 (Honours)

2. Description of the Programme

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.

You may also have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience relating to Politics e.g. with an MP or at Westminster, through the Exeter Politics Internship Programme.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

1. To produce graduates from the programme who are knowledgeable, curious, critical members of society.
2. To produce graduates who are grounded in the main themes of Philosophy through a combination of modules which develop a deep understanding of some pervasive and problematic features of the world and of ourselves.
3. To produce graduates who are grounded in the main themes of Politics through a combination of modules which develop a deep understanding of how societies, institutions and practices of all kinds came into being, how they are currently organised, and how they might change in the future.
4. To develop students competence in the specific skills required in Politics and in Philosophy, and in core academic and personal and key skills.
5. To offer a wide range of choice within the programme of study, insofar as this choice is consistent with the coherence and intellectual rigour of the degree.

The programme aims:

4. Programme Structure

The combined honours programme is studied over four years. The first two years, and the final year, are university-based; the third is spent at a university abroad. Study is undertaken in four stages, one for each year of study. The programme is divided into units called modules. Modules have a credit rating of either 15 or 30 credits; 15-credit modules last for one term and 30-credit ones usually for two. Each stage comprises 120 credits.

If students wish to undertake their study abroad in a University which does not teach in English, they must normally take 30 credits from the Foreign Language Centre at Stages 1 and 2 in the appropriate language. In doing this they would be deemed to have exercised their rights under the University’s modularity provisions.

Credits at Stage 1 must be successfully completed in order to proceed to Stage 2, but marks gained at this stage play no further part in the final assessment. Procedures for the final assessment of the degree programme can be found at:

5. Programme Modules

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.

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

Stage 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

Philosophy - 45 credits of core
a - For Philosophy you must choose 3 of the core modules listed

Politics - 30 credits of core
You must take both POL1025 and POL1026

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
PHL1002A Knowledge and Reality 1 [See note a above]15No
PHL1002B Knowledge and Reality 2 [See note a above]15No
PHL1005A Evidence and Argument 1 [See note a above]15No
PHL1006 Introduction to Philosophical Analysis [See note a above]15No
POL1025 Classical Political Thought 15No
POL1026 Early Modern Political Thought 15No
PHL1013 Philosophy of Morality [See note a above]15No

Optional Modules

Politics: 30 credits of option modules
View option modules here -

Philosophy: 15 credits of option modules
View option modules here -

Please note that modules are subject to change and not all modules are available across all programmes, this is due to timetable, module size constraints and availability

Stage 2

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

Compulsory Modules

As part of your 120 credits for the year, you must do the following:

Philosophy - at least 45 credits of core
b - Choose 3 of the core Philosophy modules listed

Politics - 15 credits of core
POL2059 must be taken

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
PHL2010A Philosophy of Mind 1 [see note b above]15No
PHL2043 Philosophical Research [see note b above]15No
PHL2015 Body and Mind [see note b above]15No
PHL2016 Metaphysics [see note b above]15No
PHL2018 Philosophy of Language [see note b above]15No
PHL2118 Moral agency in social context [see note b above]15No
POL2059 Political Thought of Modernity 15No

Optional Modules

Philosophy: 15 credits of option modules
View option modules here -

Politics: 45 credits of option modules
View option modules here -

Please note that modules are subject to change and not all modules are available across all programmes, this is due to timetable, module size constraints and availability

Stage 3

Students will spend the third year of their studies at an approved partner institution. The year abroad comprises of a 120 credit compulsory module, and assessment is based on modules taken at the partner institution.

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
HAS3999 Study Abroad (HASS) 120Yes

Stage 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 specialist modules to create a programme of work fully reflecting your interests.

Compulsory Modules

Philosophy or Politics Dissertation
c - As part of your 120 credits for the final year, you must choose one of the two dissertation modules.

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
PHL3040 Philosophy Dissertation [See note c above]30No
POL3040 Dissertation [See note c above]30No

Optional Modules

Politics - Choose 30 credits of options if POL3040 chosen. Choose 60 credits of options if PHL3040 chosen
View option modules here -

Philosophy - Choose 30 credits of options if PHL3040 chosen. Choose 60 credits of options if POL3040 chosen
View option modules here -

Please note that modules are subject to change and not all modules are available across all programmes, this is due to timetable, module size constraints and availability.

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. Show familiarity with philosophical ideas about the nature of society and the social sciences
2. Reflect upon the conditions of human social life.
3. Show familiarity with the history of modern Philosophy
4. Evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events
5. Demonstrate familiarity with basic concepts in epistemology, metaphysics, philosophies of mind and nature
6. Analyse concepts in ethics
7. Analyse and criticise substantial works by important historical and contemporary moral and political philosophers
8. Engage in logical and conceptual analysis and reasoning about abstract matters
9. Demonstrate understanding (at increasing depth, according to level) of issues (increasingly complex, according to level) arising from the subject matter of the elective modules taken.
10. POLITICS: Understand the nature and significance of politics as a human activity


In explicit terms, 1 and 2 are developed through lectures, seminars and essay work in PHL1002A and PHL1002B,; 3 and 4 through similar methods and strategies in PHL1006A, PHL1005a, PHL201a, PHL2016, PHL2015, and PHL2018; 5 and 6 through similar methods in PHL1013 and PHL2118; and 7 through similar methods on PHL2010A, PHL2010B, and PHL2018.

However, depending on the student’s chosen portfolio of modules, they will be developed, with increasing intensity as s/he progresses through the Stages, on the elective modules as well. 8 is developed through the optional modules taken. The level of competence expected of students intensifies at each stage of the programme.

9-12 are developed across all programme stages, moving from broad areas of politics in Stage 1 to progressively more specialised aspects at Stages 2 to 3; 10 is developed through the political theory modules students are required to take in each of the three years; 11 and 12 are present in some form in all Politics modules and the specific way it is developed will depend on the choice of Politics options in the three years, which fall roughly into the categories of International Relations, British and Comparative Politics, Public Policy, and State and Society.

The assessment of these skills is through a combination of the following:
Term-time essays 1-10
Oral presentations, 1-10
Examinations (and, where applicable, Research Methods Project, Dissertation work). 1-10
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:

11. Draw thematic comparisons between material from different sources
12. Show awareness of contrasting approaches to research
13. Understand and demonstrate the different uses of qualitative and quantitative data, and evaluate their relative advantages and disadvantages
14. Show awareness of the basic philosophical questions arising from academic research.
15. Think and write broadly about large themes
16. Use library and the world-wide web to find appropriate and relevant information.
17. Develop and deploy argument, grounded in theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence
18. Identify problems of reliability and bias in, and more generally evaluate, empirical evidence
19. Collate data from a range of sources
20. Produce accurate reference to sources in written work..
21. Answer questions concisely and persuasively in written work
22. Collate data from a range of sources
23. Deploy complex terminology in a comprehensible manner
24. Focus on and comprehend complex texts.
25. Manage their own learning self-critically
26. Work at an advanced level, both orally and in writing, in a foreign language.

These skills are developed throughout the degree programme, but the emphasis becomes more complex as students move from stage to stage. They are developed through lectures and seminars, written work, and oral work (both presentation and class discussion). 25 is developed through peer and self assessment of assignments, staff feedback on formative assignments, and student self-appraisal, which are used in various Politics modules.

These skills are assessed through term-time essays, assessed presentations, and examinations. 25 is not assessed (there is no requirement to do so in the Politics benchmark statement). 26 is developed through language tuition at Stages 1 and 2 and in the year abroad.

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:

27. Undertake independent study and ability to work to deadlines.
28. Deploy writing and research digital resources effectively
29. Digest, select and organise material for written work and oral presentations, and write to varying word lengths.
30. Evaluate own work
31. Sit timed, unseen examinations of a challenging nature.
32. Participate in oral discussions; present and evaluate complex arguments and ideas orally; digest, select and organise material for oral presentations
33. Formulate and express ideas at different levels of abstraction
34. Work with others as part of a team on challenging material.
35. Interact effectively with peers and staff.
36. Undertake group work, including the presentation and discussion of material in groups
37. Plan the execution of demanding work over a very long time scale.
38. Advance linguistic competence independently

27 is an essential part of the successful completion of the programme.

28 is developed through the requirement that all written work be word-processed, and through the requirement on students to use the WWW to access texts and other teaching materials.

29 is developed through the requirement to use digital research and writing resources.

30 is encouraged and developed throughout, and is aided by the student Self-Appraisal system which takes place in the inter-semester week of Spring Term.

31 is developed through practice: at all stages, students are partly assessed by timed, unseen examinations.

32 is developed through seminars, which form part of all modules.

33 is developed throughout the Philosophy side of the programme.

The skills in 34, 35 and 36 are 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.

37 is developed through the Dissertation at Stage 3, which has a single end of year deadline.

38 is developed through language tuition at Stages 1 and 2 and in the year abroad.

The skills in 27, 28 and 29 are assessed in all modules.

29 is covered by the fact that students write essays, which are formatively and summatively assessed, of differing lengths and in the Dissertation.

30 Is assessed implicitly throughout, and is aided by the student Self-Appraisal exercise conducted in the inter-semester week in Spring Term.

35 Timed examinations are used in all modules except dissertation.

32 is a continuous part of formative assessment.

33 Forms a basic tenet of examination throughout the Philosophy side of the programme.

34, 35 and 36 are part of formative assessment on all modules.

37 is covered by the Dissertation (in either subject).

31 is assessed through oral and written work on the Exeter-based language modules and the modules taken in the year abroad.

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

Personal and Academic tutoring: It is University policy that all Colleges should have in place a system of academic and personal tutors. The role of academic tutors is to support you on individual modules; the role of personal tutors is to provide you with advice and support for the duration of the programme and extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties such as accommodation, financial difficulties and sickness. You can also make an appointment to see individual teaching staff.

As an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies you will be allocated a Personal Tutor at the commencement of your studies. In normal circumstances your Personal Tutor will remain your tutor throughout your study programme. Your Personal Tutor is normally available through scheduled office hours, but should also see you as a matter of course three or four times a year (depending on your year of study); these meetings may typically commence soon after registration. These meetings will take place once or twice mid-year to discuss your progress and to perhaps consider Personal Development Planning (ePDP) and once to discuss your overall performance. The ePDP is a particularly useful developmental tool which you are encouraged to utilize and which is accessible though the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE).

You should feel that you are able to approach your personal tutor for advice, pastoral support or academic support in a wider sense.

Library, ELE and other resources provided to support this programme:
The Library offers you core services for learning and research. Whilst the various locations house a large collection of materials and services, many of our resources are available online through this website for you to use at home, work or wherever you are located for your study. Each discipline has a subject librarian on hand to help you to find resources and we also work with tutors to digitize reading lists for inclusion in the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE).

Exeter Learning Environment (ELE) is used throughout the University to make course materials available online. You will be able to access module information, presentations, handouts, reading materials as well as interacting with other students and your tutors. Many tutors use ELE to run assessments and set coursework assignments. In addition to the materials provided by your tutors, there are various other resources available on ELE to help you in your studies, for example, you will be able to access your ePDP, the University’s online PDP system, which has been developed to help you keep an ongoing record of your academic, work and extra-curricular experiences, and help you develop action plans and personal statements.

The University provides a range of IT services, including open and training clusters of PCs (available on a 24/7 basis). In the Social Sciences and International Studies College this includes a 24/7 suite in Amory, based in the Law Library and a second one in the St Luke’s Campus Library. These suites are accessible by swiping your university card. The majority of the College also has access to the university’s wireless network. Network access is available from the majority of rooms in University halls of residence through the ResNet system.

At St Luke’s there is also a college-based open access suite (South Cloisters 14) providing access to another 20 machines. Entry is again made by use of your university card and it is open from 8.30am to 7pm Monday to Friday.

All of these suites have the standard ‘palms’ printing systems in them (printing from credit held on your university card). At the St Luke’s Campus there is also a cash-based printing service at the GSE Print Unit based in South Cloisters.

Please see link below for further information on the IT Services facilities on the Exeter Campuses:

Helpdesks are maintained on the Streatham and Cornwall campuses.

Student/Staff Liaison Committee enables students & staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

10. Admissions Criteria

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

The programme is not subject to accreditation and/ or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

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) Philosophy and Politics with Study Abroad

19. UCAS Code


20. NQF Level of Final Award

6 (Honours)

21. Credit

CATS credits


ECTS credits


22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

[Honours] Politics and international relations
[Honours] Philosophy

23. Dates

Origin Date


Date of last revision