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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

How should human beings best be governed? What does the answer depend upon: analysis of human nature, understanding ‘institutions’ like the economy, having knowledge of ‘the lessons of history’, the teachings of religion…?

Theories of International Relations

This module explores different ways of analysing international relations, and what is at stake in them. It offers a critical introduction to key theories of international relations including realism, liberalism, Marxism, constructivism, and feminism. Theory applicable to a variety of issues areas is explored, including international political economy.

Core Issues in Comparative Politics

This module introduces the core issues of comparative politics. You 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

This module introduces you to the study of strategy and warfare, debates about the meaning and scope of security, and key security actors, institutions, and mechanisms in world politics.

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 Modules (for students starting Year 1 in 2022/23) (A choice of):
Law, State and the Individual

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 gain 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.

International Law

This module will cover the main principles, norms and institutions of international law with an emphasis on the political, economic, social, and cultural context in which they operate. Two recurring themes guide the course materials, namely imperialism and crisis. These themes have been chosen to reflect the importance of history as shaping the present. International law demonstrates and constitutes biases of race, class, and gender which are rooted in its history of hegemony. Although this commonly aligns international law with imperialism, it also creates ruptures and possibilities of resistance.

Gender and the Law

This module examines the relationship of law and gender, in terms of the role of law in constructing, reinforcing and breaking down gendered inequalities, as well as the gendered assumptions that inform the processes of law, legal method and law making. The module aims to explore constructions of gender across a wide range of subject areas and different cultural contexts. We explore the role played by law in those constructions. So, for instance, we might consider the ways in which women's 'work' is constructed and valued relative to men's, or the power and pitfalls of sexual harassment as a framework for responding to sexist workplace cultures.

Tort Law or Criminal Law (the option not taken in Year 1)
Optional Modules
Politics and International Studies Modules
Philosophy Modules
Law Modules

In the Final Year, there are no required modules, and you can focus on two of the subjects or all three. You’ll be able to choose from the full range of approved options in each department, and again have the option to take courses from other departments across the university.

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