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Student-Led Curriculum Design in Joint Degrees

About the Project

Curriculum design is often owned by academic staff with student feedback relegated to module evaluations. However, genuine engagement must embed student voices in all aspects of modular design. At the same time, interdisciplinary modules offered in joint degree programmes present unique challenges in combining perspectives with different ontological, epistemological, and methodological foundations. To address both dimensions, students in this project co-created all aspects of the curriculum for a joint degree module in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). In two groups, students, together with academic members of staff from the constituent departments, designed the module’s topics, reading list, assessment methods, guest lecturers, and discussed broader questions of curriculum design for interdisciplinary modules.

Not only did the project result in an innovative, truly interdisciplinary, research-led module, but in post-project interviews student co-creators highlighted the broader benefits the project had on their personal development and student experience. This includes a better understanding of module design processes, a re-evaluation of student-staff relations, an understanding of interdisciplinarity, and enhanced research skills. More broadly, co-creators perceived a sense of ownership over their programme, an improved connection to each other and the university, as well as feelings of pride and confidence.

Project Aims

  • To increase students’ felt connection to and community within their joint degrees, rather than perceiving themselves as sitting between different departments
  • To produce a core curriculum for an Honours level interdisciplinary module for the Philosophy, Politics and Economics joint degree
  • To produce a handbook for student co-creation in interdisciplinary modules for joint degrees. This handbook will reflect on student-staff collaboration considering the particular opportunities and challenges of designing truly interdisciplinary curricula for joint degrees

Project Impact

The project created a core curriculum for an Honours level interdisciplinary module for the PPE joint degree - PH255 PPE: Interdisciplinary Topics - which will be offered to students from the 2023/24 academic year onwards. Various resources were developed that enable the outcomes of the project to be embedded and sustained in the university and their broader dissemination. The team developed a handbook on student co-creation of joint degree modules which will be shared with other joint degree programmes in the Faculty of Social Sciences, especially “Economics, Psychology and Philosophy” and “Politics Philosophy, and Law” which share many similarities with PPE. They are also planning on using insights from this project in future pedagogical research.

Project Lead

Benjamin Ferguson


Project Co-Lead

Laura Gelhaus



  • Cecilia Ilori
  • Aaron Smith
  • Mahek Vhora
  • Themis Christopoulos
  • Lucas Huan
  • Vivek Venkatram
  • Eric Sun


  • Benjamin Richardson, PAIS
  • Amrita Kulka, Economics
  • Lucy Campbell, Philosophy