BA Politics and English

UCAS codeLL30
Duration3 Years
Typical offerAAB–ABB; IB: 34-32; BTEC: DDD-DDM
  • Politics and International Relations
  • English
Location Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


  • Engage with social and political issues through interpretive skills that seek to understand their meaning rather than explaining their causes
  • Particularly for students interested in pursuing careers or further study in areas such as journalism, service, arts administration, and marketing
  • University-subsidised field trip to the USA

This distinctive interdisciplinary programme is an exciting opportunity for students to combine the study of English Literature and Politics. It will enable students to understand political ideas by studying texts in the history of political thought and to engage with literary texts in light of political concepts such ideology, power and gender.

Over this three-year programme you will receive a thorough education, from internationally-recognised scholars, in the core disciplines of Politics and English. Drawing on the particular interdisciplinary strengths of the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, this programme will offer you the unique opportunity to reflect on the meaning and significance of political events both historically and in relation to contemporary societies.

The programme builds on Penryn’s interdisciplinary strengths in three key themes:

  • History of Ideas: including ancient and modern political thought, and the politics of literature from the early modern period to the present.
  • Power and conflict: including race, class and gender; democratic and anti-democratic politics, ideas of the good life, nationalism and empire, post-colonialism.
  • Political Experience: including oppression, political activism, urban life, environmental thought, visual politics.
  • Programme variations

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 English 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 English.

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

Year 1

In year one, you will take compulsory modules in Politics (Classical Political Ideas and Modern Political Theory) and English (Literature and the History of Ideas and The Craft of Writing) and have the opportunity to choose additional modules from both departments, allowing you to specialize in areas such as international relations, public policy, British politics, critical theory and Shakespearean studies.

Compulsory modules

POC1017 Classical Political Ideas And Why They are Still Useful 15
POC1028 Modern Political Theory 15
TRU1113 Literature and the History of Ideas 30
HUC1002 The Craft of Writing 15

Optional modules

Choose from optional modules available.
Please visit English and Politics for details of optional modules in Year 1.

Year 2

In year two, you will take core modules in Politics (Political Analysis and Power and Democracy) and optional modules in English (e.g. From Modernism to the Contemporary, Inventing the Early Modern, and Liberty, Slavery, Tyranny). In year two you begin to develop your capacity as an independent, engaged scholar, with module choices from both departments emphasising research expertise in urban politics, social change, nationalism, global cultures, humanitarian intervention, radical democracy, religious writing and environmental thought .

Compulsory modules

POC2120 Power and Democracy 15
POC2XXX Political Analysis 15

Optional modules

Choose from optional modules available.
Please visit English and Politics for details of optional modules in Year 2.

Year 3

In your final year you will be able to continue to specialise through more focused module choice on innovative subjects that work within, across, and beyond the traditional fields of Politics and English. Possible module themes in Year 3 include contemporary political theory, the politics of protest, gender and sexuality, political campaign strategy, the politics of statelessness, post colonialism, witchcraft and magic, the gothic, affect and embodiment, queer cultures, and creative writing. In addition to these and other diverse taught options, you will work independently, under supervisors from Politics and English, to produce a dissertation on a topic of your own choosing.

Compulsory modules

POC3040 or Dissertation 30
TRU3032 Dissertation 30

Optional modules

Choose from optional modules available.
Please visit English and Politics for details of optional modules available in Year 3.

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer


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

International students should check details of our English language requirements

If your academic qualifications or English language skills do not meet our entry requirements our INTO University of Exeter centre offers a range of courses to help you reach the required language and academic standards.

International Foundation programmes

Preparation for entry to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree:

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

Your teaching will include lectures, tutorials and seminars, with a growing emphasis at each successive level on student-led learning.

We place considerable emphasis on teaching in small groups (15-20 students), which gives you ample opportunity to participate, as well as providing close contact between you and members of staff. In the third 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.

Research-inspired teaching

Teaching that is inspired by research ensures lectures are up-to-date and relevant and you will benefit from access to the latest thinking, equipment and resources. All staff teach final year options which are linked to their own interests which include the study of Middle East politics, comparative politics, public policy and administration, climate change and sustainability, ethno-politics, terrorism and security studies, electoral and political behaviour, political theory, study of culture, religion, consumption, music, science and technology, sport and the armed forces.


You will be assessed through a variety of tasks, including essays, individual and small group presentations, projects and exams. You may also complete a dissertation and/or project work, including a work placement project. You must pass your first year modules in order to proceed but your performance at this level does not count towards your final degree classification.

A four year ‘with Study Abroad’ degree programme is available. A full year abroad, at one of our partner institutions, is generally taken in the third year of a four year degree programme. You can apply directly for the four-year 'with Study Abroad' programme, or transfer from another programme once you are at Exeter. An opportunity to study for one semester at an overseas partner institution may also be available to those studying over three years.

More details about study abroad options and destinations can be found on the College of Social Sciences and International Studies study abroad web pages.


Graduates from the University of Exeter are highly successful in obtaining graduate employment or moving on to further study. Whilst studying for your degree, you will develop a number of skills that are useful in professional and managerial careers. The ability to research and analyse information from a variety of sources, together with the written and verbal skills needed to present and discuss your opinions and conclusions, are attributes that many employers look for in graduates. Your understanding of complex political and cultural issues, often in continually changing environments, can also be relevant to both business and public sector appointments.

Many students from the department take part in the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award. These schemes encourage you to participate in employability related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market.

Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Many employers target the University when recruiting new graduates.

Find out more about the destinations of Politics and International Relations graduates and destinations of English graduates on our Employability site.

Contact us

College of Social Sciences and International Studies

Applicants and offer holders

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Web: Enquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 723192

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

Web: Enquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Current students

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Phone: 01392 723301

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

Phone: 01326 371800

Website: Visit the Politics and International Relations website

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BA English at our Penryn Campus

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Studying Politics and IR at the Penryn Campus, Cornwall

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