BA Politics and Geography with Study Abroad

UCAS codeLL29
Duration4 Years
Typical offerAAB–ABB; IB: 34-32; BTEC: DDD-DDM
  • Politics and International Relations
  • Geography
Location Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


  • One of the few programmes in the UK to combine politics and geography
  • Engage with contemporary transitions and uncertainties at the intersection of politics, ecology, and geography, with a balanced emphasis on local concerns and international/global systems
  • University-subsidised field trip to the USA

This distinctive interdisciplinary programme in Politics and Geography is an exciting opportunity for students 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 students 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

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 Geography 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 Geography.

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 introductory modules in Politics and Geography and choose additional modules from both departments, allowing you to specialise in areas such as political thought, international relations, public policy, and the geography of Cornwall. You can also undertake a field class in West Penwith, Cornwall, where you can engage with questions of transition, identity, landscape, and belonging in a hands-on, practical learning environment.

45 credits of compulsory modules, 75 credits of optional modules, of which at least 30 credits must be selected from stage 1 Politics optional modules and 15 credits from stage 1 Geography optional modules

Compulsory modules

GEO1401B Approaches to Geographical Knowledge 15
GEO1413 The Geography of Cornwall 15
POC1021 Key Concepts in Politics and International Relations 15

Optional modules

GEO1408B Global Issues in Environmental Science 15
POC1014 The Public Policy Process 15
POC1022 Violence in World Politics 15
POC1023 Participating in Politics 15
POC1026 Power, Inequality and Global Justice 15

Year 2

In year two, you will take core research training modules in both Politics and Geography as well as a specialised interdisciplinary module on Political Geographies: Local to Global. In year two you begin to develop your capacity as an independent, engaged scholar, with additional module choices from both departments emphasising research expertise in the local, regional, national, and global politics of issues as diverse as identity, climate change, colonisation and postcoloniality, social change and democratic theory, rural transitions and rural social issues, environmental regulation, waste and society, and approaches to nature and culture.

30 credits of compulsory 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.

Compulsory modules

GEO2448 Research Methods in Geography, Environment and Society^ 15
POC2048 Research Methods in International Relations^ 15
POC2108 Political Geographies: Local to Global 15

^ You must select either GEO2448 or POC2048 (you may not select both modules).

Optional modules

GEO2447 Isles of Scilly Field Course* 15
GEO2442 The Politics of Climate Change and Energy 15
GEO2445 Violence in World Politics 15
GEO2454 Rural Social Issues 15
GEO2455 Climate Change and Society 15
POC2018 National and Community Identity 15
POC2061 Order out of Chaos: Radical Democracy in Theory 15
POC2085 Imagining the Good Life: From Agora to the American Dream 15
POC2086 Governing the Good Life: Contemporary International Studies 15
POC2088 Understanding Israel and Palestine: One Land, Two People 15
POC2099 Sparking Social Change 15
POC2103 Introduction to Postcolonialism 15
POC2114 Green Politics in Theory and Practice 15
POC2117 The Politics of Climate Change 15

*During the programme you may only select one of the field course modules, GEO2447 or POC3048. If you select GEO2447 in stage 2, you are not then permitted to take POC3048 in stage 3.

Year 3

Students spend this stage in a partner University on an Erasmus/Socrates exchange or other approved programme of study. The year abroad comprises 120 credits. Assessment is normally based on the credits gained at the partner institution.

Final year

In your final year you will continue to specialise through more focused module choice on innovative subjects that work within, across, and beyond the traditional fields of Politics and Geography. Possible module themes in Year 3 include Politics in a Global Urban Age, the Politics of Fashion, Geographies of Democracy, Marine and Coastal Sustainability, Complexity in Human Societies, Postcoloniality, Indigenous History and Colonialism in Western Canada, the Modern Civil Service, and Contemporary Political Theories of Race, Class, and Gender. In addition to these and other diverse taught options, all students in the Politics and Geography Joint Honours Programme have the opportunity to undertake a subsidised field trip to the United States during their third year, where you mobilize your taught programme and methodological training in an intensive, supported process of pursuing original place-based research. Finally, in Year 3 you will work independently, under supervisors from Politics and Geography, to produce a dissertation on a topic of your own choosing.

30 credits of compulsory 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.

Compulsory modules

POC3XXX Dissertation in Politics and Geography 30

Optional modules

GEO3444 The Complexity of Human Societies 15
GEO3457 Geographies of Democracy 15
GEO3458 Marine and Coastal Sustainability 15
POC3048 New York Field Trip* 15
POC3096 American Democracy and the Challenges of the 21st Century 15
POC3100 The Politics of Fashion 15
POC3101 Contemporary Political Theory: Race, Class, Gender 15
POC3105 Negotiating Postcoloniality: History and Politics of Independent India 15
POC3109 Politics in a Global Urban Age 15
POC3116 South Asian Conflict Studies 15
POC3119 The Modern Civil Service: Working in Government 15

*During the programme you may only select one of the field course modules, GEO2447 or POC3048. If you select GEO2447 in stage 2, you are not then permitted to take POC3048 in stage 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.

Programmes with Study Abroad

Entry for programmes ‘with Study Abroad’ is offered on the basis that you will spend your time abroad at an institution where the teaching and examining is delivered in English. However, we also have partners that teach in French, Spanish and German. Should you wish to study at one of these institutions you will need to take modules through the Foreign Language Centre up to ‘Advanced’ standard in the appropriate language. In order to reach this standard before the year abroad, students usually need to have entered the University with the equivalent of a good GCSE or AS level (or higher) in that language.

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 Geography 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

Studying Politics and IR at the Penryn Campus, Cornwall

Watch our video to learn more about our exciting research-driven programmes.