Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Course Structure


Your first year comprises foundation modules within each department. You will study a wide range of historical and contemporary topics such as moral philosophy, aesthetics, logic, core concepts in political theory and politics, and either tort or criminal law. Your interdisciplinary PPL module enables you to explore the intersections of the three subjects, by studying topics that can be examined from different perspectives. You’ll also receive training in reading legal cases and legislation, and will explore the political, legal, and philosophical questions raised by such cases.

PPL Core Module:
Introduction to PPL

This module provides you with an understanding of key concepts, theories, problems and methods in moral, political and legal thinking and how the three interact. You will explore the topics at the intersection of the disciplines, considering both academic and real-life issues. You will build on the legal, philosophical and political science skills learned in your other modules, broadening your studies and building a foundation upon which to make connections in future year. The module shows how the study of politics, philosophy and law intersect and will encourage you to think about what it means to be a PPL student.

Philosophy Core Module:
Introduction to Philosophy

You will have a wide-ranging introduction to philosophy, including Ancient, Continental, moral and political philosophy, followed by epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind and aesthetics, and logic. You will learn to engage critically with different viewpoints and critically analyse and evaluate arguments central to philosophy.

Politics and International Studies Core Module:
Introduction to Politics

You will begin your study of politics through discussion of the main issues and theoretical perspectives, learning first to understand and then apply the core concepts of comparative political science and theory to processes, institutions, ideologies and practical policy-making. You will conduct a comparative study of different political systems and political change, both in writing and in open debate, where you will be encouraged to link your own experiences to the issues raised.

Law Optional Core Module (A choice of):
Tort Law

You will examine the law of civil liability for wrongfully inflicted damage or injury: the law of tort. We emphasise the processes and techniques involved in judicial (as opposed to legislative or administrative) law-making; the relevance and responsiveness of doctrines thus developed to society’s actual problems; and the policies and philosophies underlying the rules. As well as acquiring knowledge of the application of these technical areas of law, you will develop skills of legal reasoning and critical judgement, with particular reference to insurance, loss spreading, developing medical knowledge, professional standards and consumer protection. Work is undertaken independently and in debate and collaboration with your peers.

Criminal Law

You will develop an understanding of the general principles of criminal law and its operation within society, coupled with an awareness of the social and political forces that influence the scope of the law and its enforcement. You will encounter basic concepts of the structure of English Criminal Law, and some knowledge of procedures, theories, and historical and political contexts, so as to understand and debate legal arguments and policy. In your studies, you will be expected to assess and present arguments for and against in open debate and also work collaboratively with your peers on specific tasks.


You will take at least one full-year module from each of the three disciplines. You will also have the choice to take a further year-long module or two term-long modules either from within Politics, Philosophy and Law or from other departments across the University.

Politics and International Studies Optional Core Module (A choice of):
Political Theory From Hobbes

The thinkers studied in this module lived between the seventeenth and the twentieth centuries, and they had very different answers to the big question – how should humans best be governed – and to the subsidiary questions – for example, what is human nature?

Theories of International Relations

As a student, you will learn to critically examine conventional wisdom about world politics and use theory to reflect on present and past examples of world politics.

Core Issues in Comparative Politics

Students will compare political developments in different countries around the world, and apply their theoretical knowledge of comparative politics by working on both academic research projects and film projects.

International Security

From traditional concerns about the use of military force to new threats such as poverty, climate change, and cyber-attacks, security issues occupy a prime spot on the policy agendas of states, international organisations, and civil society actors.

States and Markets: An Introduction to International Political Economy

Political economy focuses attention on the interaction of states and markets, and on the interplay of structures and the role of agency. It is political economy because it is concerned with how a particular social order works –and with how it might work, how it should work.

Philosophy Optional Core Modules (A choice of):
Ethics

In this module we use the tools of philosophy to shed light on central questions. We study different theories of what makes things right or wrong, (normative ethics). We will then take a step back and think about more basic questions – is anything right or wrong anyway?

Applied Ethics

We identify ethical questions of concern and attempt to go about answering them in systematic ways. We thus learn about the issues themselves and also about how best to think through the right answers to our ethical problems.

History of Modern Philosophy

We will look at the historical context shaping, and occasionally shaped by, the thinking of our philosophical protagonists, (reformation, scientific revolution, Enlightenment).

Law Optional Core Module (A choice of):
International Law

The purpose of the module is to offer, within a broad historical perspective, an approach to the study of the legal dimensions of international political, economic and social problems.

General Principles of Constitutional and Administrative Law

The module seeks to give a considered overview and coherent picture of the rules and principles governing the operation of government and administration in the UK: how we have arrived at where we are, why the rules and principles are as they are, and what future developments we should be aware of.

Optional Modules
Politics and International Studies Modules
Philosophy Modules
Law Modules

In the Final Year, you will be able to choose from across the full range of approved options in each department, taking the equivalent of at least one year-long module in each discipline.

You can also choose to write a final year dissertation in the field of your choice: Philosophy, Politics, Law, a Dramatised Dissertation, or a PPL interdisciplinary dissertation. Applying your knowledge and skills to independent research can help you stand out to employers or allow you to pursue an area of particular interest in greater depth.

Politics and International Studies Optional Module(s)
Politics and International Studies Modules
Philosophy Modules Optional Module(s)
Philosophy Modules
Law Optional Module(s)
Law Modules
Optional Modules OR Dissertation
PPL Dissertation
Politics and International Studies Modules
Philosophy Modules
Law Modules