BA Philosophy and Modern Languages
|Typical offer||AAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM|
This degree allows you to combine the history of intellectual thought on profound and challenging problems, or the social diversity associated with important contemporary issues, with one of a number of modern languages. It is a four year programme, with the third year spent studying abroad developing your language skills.
While studying Philosophy you will discuss and explore long-standing questions on the nature of many topics: knowledge, science, reality, ethics, art and beauty, the mind-body relationship, the meaning of life and more. Studying a modern language will enable you to develop strong skills in spoken and written language, and analytical thought, and gain a deeper understanding of another culture and people.
You can choose to study Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish. See entry requirements for more information.
You will receive an excellent research-inspired education in a supportive, responsive environment from expert academics who are passionate about their subjects. By the end of your degree, you will have acquired a diverse and valuable set of skills employers seek across a wide range of professions.
Sitting in a philosophy lecture, you imagine what it must sound like to an outsider: questioning the obvious, doubting the undoubted, the nature of time, of reality… what is this? It’s philosophy. And never have you been so engaged. The course is hugely varied, in the first year providing a broad overview of the subject – from its ancient beginnings right up to the present day, at the cutting edge of philosophical thought and research – to further specialisation in the topics that interest you most in the later years. Once, last year, having finished discussing Plato’s Theory of Forms, our lecturer’s final words were followed by an almighty rumble of thunder right above the theatre. I can’t quite promise that your experience at Exeter will be as epic as that, but I can guarantee that you will love studying philosophy here as much as I do.
Tim Woolley, BA Philosophy and Spanish.
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 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.
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. However this is not normally available for Combined Honours programmes which feature a language.
The third year is spent abroad.
Please note that modules offered are subject to change, depending on staff availability, timetabling, and demand.
Entry requirements 2020
AAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM
Dependent on your chosen language; see table below.
Languages and levels for Combined Honours programmes with Modern Languages
Study a new language at Beginners level (excluding programmes with Arabic)
|Available languages||Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish|
|Language requirements||GCSE grade B/grade 5 (or equivalent) in any modern foreign language|
Study your A level language at Advanced level (including programmes with Arabic)
|Available languages||French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish|
|Language requirements||A level grade B or IB HL 5 (or equivalent) in the language chosen at advanced level|
Completing your UCAS form
In the section named ‘further details’ on your UCAS application form please indicate in the ‘choices’ field the language and route you wish to study using the abbreviations below, separated by a space:
- 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.
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 should check details of our English language requirements, and may be interested in our Foundation programmes and English Language programmes offered by the INTO University of Exeter centre.
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
Our teaching in Modern Languages 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(s) 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.
Each language has its own student society which brings together students to share in experiences and to give advice on choices of location for the year abroad, as well as module choices. The societies build upon the family atmosphere that is central to the ethos of the department and they arrange talks, films, drama and social activities.
You'll study Philosophy 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 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 and oral language tasks.
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.
Philosophy degrees are popular with employers because they produce students who think analytically and creatively and know how to relate to people. Our programmes give you an excellent all-round education, where you’ll learn to understand other people’s points of view, to communicate your own position clearly and to argue effectively. You’ll also learn to collect, assess and present evidence and to work independently and in groups. The programmes are demanding and encourage initiative and open mindedness, helping to ensure that you’ll be well equipped with a range of academic, personal and professional skills that will prepare you for future employment or study in a wide range of fields.
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.