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Study information

Programme Specification for the 2023/4 academic year

BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with Employment Experience Abroad

1. Programme Details

Programme nameBA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with Employment Experience Abroad Programme codeUFA4HPSHPSCN
Study mode(s)Full Time
Academic year2023/4
Campus(es)Cornwall Campus
NQF Level of the Final Award6 (Honours)

2. Description of the Programme

Our programme at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall is focused on Politics and International Relations with employment experience abroad. You will engage with the key areas of the discipline: global politics / international relations, political thought and comparative politics in a variety of learning styles inside and outside of the classroom. As well as helping you to understand core theoretical concepts, our programme emphasises doing real politics and International Relations research that has the potential to influence key stakeholders locally and internationally and that builds essential employability skills. You will have the opportunity to participate in fieldtrips including a protest survey at a London-based protest to collect survey data to feed into an international political science research project. You will also engage in essential research work as part of our compulsory hands-on research training module that produces policy briefs for local political organisations in Cornwall. In your third year you will undertake a work-placement abroad and gain skills that equip you to work in the global employment market and to improve your knowledge of foreign cultures. You are encouraged to think about the intercultural competence and the employability skills that you acquire during the year abroad. 

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

  • To provide you with excellent education across the range of politics and international relations topics, from core to specialist, in a supportive and responsive learning environment that is enriched by research.
  • To enable you to appreciate the historical evolution and contemporary character of world politics, from both the system and actor perspectives.
  • To enrich your learning and enjoyment in politics and international relations through using a variety of teaching formats: lectures, seminars rooms, fieldtrips, research consultancies and year-long projects, commensurate with your needs and abilities as you progress through the programme.
  • To enable you to understand and use the main concepts, approaches and theories in the study of politics and international relations; to analyse, interpret and evaluate world political events, ideas and institutions; and to relate the academic study of politics to key matters of public and institutional concerns.
  • To develop your competence in subject-specific, core academic and personal and key skills.
  • To offer you a range of choice of modules to study, insofar as this choice is consistent with the coherence and intellectual rigour of the degree.
  • To equip you with the skills to be questioning and be productive members of society.
  • To provide you with a mixture of methods to illustrate your learning, including essays, examinations, year-long research projects, oral presentations, group role plays, and seminar participation.

4. Programme Structure

Your BA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations is a 4 year programme of study at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 6 (as confirmed against the FHEQ). This programme is divided into 4 ‘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 may take elective modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme in each stage 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.

If you are interested in taking a module from outside your course or programme of study you should first discuss this with your academic tutor or programme leader. All module choice requests require the approval of your College (and the College offering the module) and should be fully justifiable on academic or career grounds.

Stage 1

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
POC1003 British Government and Politics 15No
POC1021 Key Concepts in Politics and International Relations 15No
POC1031 Political Communication 15No

Optional Modules

Select a further 75 credits of optional modules (at least 45 credits must be Stage 1 Politics modules):

Stage 2

At stage 2, you are required to undertake 120 credits of modules at Level 5 that extend on the foundational knowledge of Level 4. You must take a minimum of 90 credits at Stage 2 (Level 5) (including the 30 credit compulsory module) from the Politics Programme. Students can take up to 30 credits of elective modules subject to approval of programme convenors.

You must take a minimum of 60 credits (if also taking 30 credits from other disciplines) and a maximum of 90 credits from the optional modules available. 

Note: You are permitted to take either FCH2015 or FCH2030 Work Experience modules ( never both ) as part of the programme. These two modules are not included in the 30 credits of choice for elective modules. In other words, you could take FCH2030 and up to 30 credits of elective modules.


Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
POC2124 Political Analysis 15No
POC2098 Comparative Politics 15No

Optional Modules

Select a further 90 credits of optional modules (of which at least 60 credits must be Stage 2 Politics modules):

Stage 3

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
SSI3018 Employment Experience Abroad 120Yes

Stage 4

In stage four (Level 6) you will carry out a piece of independent research and write a dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff from Politics. You will also choose from a number of optional 15 and 30 credit Level 6 modules (coded ‘POC3’) that are taught in weekly two hour seminars, or involve a field course. You must take a minimum of 90 credits and a maximum of 120 credits from the POC3 programme. A further 30 credits of elective modules may be taken subject to you having the correct pre-requisites and the course convenor’s consent.

You must take a minimum of 60 credits (if also taking 30 credits from other disciplines) and a maximum of 90 credits from the optional modules available. 

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
POC3040 Dissertation 30No

Optional Modules

Select a further 90 credits of optional modules (of which at least 60 credits must be Stage 3 Politics modules):


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 problems in politics and international relations.
2. Apply knowledge of the recurring theoretical and empirical problems in politics; of the main themes in particular topics selected for modules; trace the key developments within a topic and relate them to an overall conception of the subject matter; evaluate complex themes in Politics and International Relations; make close specialist evaluation of key developments within particular topics.
3. Show awareness of the variety of approaches taken in research in Politics and International Relations; ability to evaluate the professionalism and scholarly value of work in Politics and International Relations; ability to evaluate the reasons for methodological and empirical changes in Politics and International Relations approaches.
4. Define a suitable research topic in the subject area and pursue it to completion.
5. Use different types of evidence; use different quantitative, qualitative and theoretical approaches to make sense of source material; use primary and secondary sources to address fundamental questions in Politics and International Relations in a professional manner.
6. Present work in the format expected of Political Science, including footnoting and bibliographical references.

ILOs 1, 2 and 3 begin to be developed in stage one, especially in the core modules of British Government and Politics and Key Concepts in Politics. Knowledge is accumulated though lectures, seminars, written assessments, and group and individual presentations. ILO 2 and 3 form the backbone of all Politics modules taken at all stages, but the level of complexity and nuance develops according to stage. The choice of essays you are given in all modules develops throughout the programme helping you achieve ILO skill 4. Choice of essays begins at the outset of your programme, and advances to crafting an independent dissertation by the end of stage 3. Skills for the dissertation and to appraise the balance of evidence in existing work (ILOs 4&5) are developed through the Research Toolkit programme. ILO 5 is a requirement of all Politics and International Studies modules, but there is particular emphasis on developing methodological and theoretical complexity as the student progresses through the stages of the programme. Students are given clear guidelines about 6 in the Politics Undergraduate on-line Handbook, are instructed in such matters in the first stage of the degree, and are expected to demonstrate it in all modules. 

  • Written essays (or equivalent) (ILOs 1-6)
  • Critical reviews (ILOs 1,3,5)
  • Examinations (ILOs 1,2,3,5)
  • Year long projects (Research Toolkit and Dissertation) (ILOs 1-5)
  • Oral presentations (ILOs 1-5)
  • Seminar participation (ILOs 1-3, 5)

Marking criteria exist for each of the forms of participation, which fully recognise the importance of the various skills identified. 

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:

7. Draw comparisons between empirical evidence and theoretical approaches from a variety of different cases.
8. Show awareness of contrasting approaches to research.
9. Judge between competing views.
10. Show a clear understanding of the nature of both qualitative and quantitative evidence.
11. Think and write broadly about large themes.
12. Comprehend complex terminology and discourses, and deploy such terminology in a comprehensible manner.
13. Use a library and other resources such as the world wide web to conduct independent research.
14. Deploy arguments, based on professional standards of evidence use.
15. Show clear awareness of the basic philosophical questions arising from academic research.
16. Identify problems of reliability and bias in, and more generally evaluate, evidence.
17. Collate data from a range of sources.
18. Reference sources accurately in written work.
19. Answer questions concisely in writing.
20. Present work and answer questions orally
21. Ask pertinent and intellectually demanding questions of other students
22. Focus on and comprehend complex texts

Students will achieve ILOs 7-8 while progressing through the programme, with increasing degrees of complexity at higher stage levels. ILOs 7, 8, 10, 12 and 14 are advanced throughout the course of the Research Toolkit module. This module uses multiple learning and teaching methods to appraise the balance of evidence, including evaluating oral interviews with key political science practitioners. 

  • Written essays (or equivalent) (ILOs 7-22)
  • Critical reviews (ILOs 7, 10, 14-17, 22)
  • Examinations (ILOs 7, 8, 9, 11,17)
  • Year long projects (Research Toolkit and Dissertation) (ILOs 7-21)
  • Oral presentations (ILOs 8, 9, 12, 15, 20)
  • Seminar participation (ILOs 7-9, 12, 20-21)

Marking criteria exist for each of the forms of participation, which fully recognise the importance of the various skills identified.

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:

23. Undertake independent study and work to deadlines
24. Develop IT skills and use the world-wide web to a high standard
25. Digest, select and organise material for written work and oral presentations, and write to varying word counts
26. Evaluate own work
27. Sit timed, unseen examinations of a challenging nature
28. Participate in oral discussions; present and evaluate complex arguments and ideas orally; digest, select and organise material for oral presentations
29. Work with others as part of a team on challenging material
30. Interact effectively with peers and staff
31. Undertake group work, including the presentation and discussion of material in groups
32. Plan the execution of demanding work over a very long time scale

ILO 23 is an essential part of the successful completion of the programme. ILO 24 is developed through the requirement that all written work be computer-based, and through the requirement that students use the internet for bibliographical searches. ILO 25 is developed through essay and presentation work throughout the programme. ILO 26 is developed through self-assessment of work, peer review and meetings with module convenors (which students generally arrange). Students are encouraged by their personal tutor to reflect on written feedback provided from marked work and use it constructively to improve. ILO 27 is developed through practice: at all stages, students are partly assessed by timed, unseen examinations. ILO 28 is developed through seminars, which form the whole or part basis of all modules. ILOs 29 and 30 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. However, there is particular emphasis on ILO 29 (and ILO 31) where students work in teams to present and respond to the presentations of others. The Research Toolkit involves group work as a compulsory part of the course (31). ILO 32 is developed through the project in for Research Inquiry and through the stage three Dissertation, which has a single end of stage deadline.

Essays (ILOs 23-26, 30 and 32)

Group projects / presentations (ILOs 23, 29-31)

Presentations (ILOs 23, 28, 30)

Year long projects (ILOs 23, 32)

Group role plays (ILOs 29-31)

Seminar participation (ILOs 28, 30)

Examinations (ILO 27)

Reflective diaries (ILO 26)

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

The College has built a large library collection on the Cornwall campus and has also allocated additional resources for the next two years, with an emphasis on building E-book access. 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. Students 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, students 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 ensures that a full record of the student’s 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 each Politics module, 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 Tremough.

The University provides a wide range of student support services at the Cornwall Campus including: Student Counselling Service; Study Skills Service; Falmouth and Exeter Student Union (fxu); Accessibility Services.

The Cornwall Campus Careers Advisory Service provides expert advice to all students to enable them to plan their futures, through guidance interviews, psychometric testing, employer presentations, skills events, practice job interviews and CV preparation.

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. Students 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, Politics at the Cornwall Campus has a Student/Staff Liaison Committee that allows students to contribute directly to the enhancement of educational and other provisions directly to the Programme Co-ordinator of the programme.

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.

The College has a Personal Tutor System that entitles you to 4-6 group tutor group meetings with your personal tutor per year. The Personal Tutor System is  based on the principles contained in the TQA Manual Code of Good Practice for Personal Tutor Systems. Students 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 during tutor group meetings. The Personal Tutor Scheme is overseen by the Head of Department.

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 International Relations with Employment Experience 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

23. Dates

Origin Date


Date of last revision