Bachelor of Arts (BA)
3 years full-time
27 September 2021
Department of Study
Department of Philosophy
Location of Study
University of Warwick
If you have a keen interest in political affairs, legal debates and philosophical questions about human existence, our Politics, Philosophy and Law (BA) degree provides an opportunity to study three interconnected disciplines that each play a vital part in our everyday lives. You’ll benefit from working closely with world-leading and internationally renowned experts in three of the UK’s most highly ranked Social Science departments.
Taking a cross-discipline approach, you’ll consider the relationships between a functioning society, and how political and legal systems are structured and operate. The course will also develop your understanding of the philosophical origins and basis for law and politics. You may explore concepts such as justice, freedom, morals and democracy, as well as the formulation and implementation of law and policy across the world. In addition to core modules in each discipline, there is significant flexibility as the course progresses to choose optional modules from within the three departments as well as across the University. You’ll have the opportunity to apply to spend a year abroad with one of our international partners and you may also apply to take a work placement.
In your first year, you will take core introductory modules with each discipline plus a core interdisciplinary module in PPL.
In your second year, you will take an optional core module in each discipline from a list in each department, including choices such as Theories in International Relations, Ethics and Applied Ethics, and International Law. The remaining 25% of optional modules can be drawn from any of the three departments, enabling you to focus up to 50% of your modules in one discipline in the second year. Alternatively, you may take optional modules from other departments across the University.
In your final year, you can choose to discontinue one subject, and study 75% of your modules from at least two of the disciplines, including the option to research and write an interdisciplinary PPL dissertation or a dissertation in one subject. The remaining 25% can be chosen from any of the disciplines, or you may take these optional modules from other departments across the University.
Please note that the degree is not available as a Qualifying Law Degree. If you are interested in becoming a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales, you will need to consider the routes open to you as authorised by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority or the Bar Standards Board. We will provide you with guidance on the choices available as and when you need it.
The process by which a student qualifies as a solicitor in England and Wales is due to change in 2021. The Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) is introducing a new route to qualifying as a solicitor. Soon, any graduate from any discipline will be able to take the Solicitor’s Qualifying Examination (SQE).
How will I learn?
Lectures provide you with information, analysis and argument, on the basis of which you prepare for discussion or problem solving in your seminars. Seminars are much smaller groups, in which you deepen and further your learning through interactive group discussion, debates, and exchange of ideas.
Your seminar tutor or lecturer will provide you with reading, instructions, notes or tasks, and set the format and guide the discussion or work, prompting debate and involving the whole group in the task at hand.
You should expect to attend around 8-12 teaching sessions per week, between lectures and seminars. For each hour you should expect to put in a further 6-8 hours of private study. You’ll be expected to prepare independently or in groups, and share your views and debate the issues and concepts with your classmates.
Lecturers and seminar tutors are available outside of class to give advice on essay writing and on other matters related to their module. They will also give you feedback on your essays to help you improve your writing and problem-solving techniques.
Research training, personal and professional development are all embedded into your PPL degree programme. Through modules, extracurricular activities, skills workshops, careers events and one-to-one advice sessions, you will be able to hone the skills that employers and further study programmes are looking for.
Lectures vary greatly, with core first year modules having up to around 500 students. In later years, optional modules may be from 30 up to around 200. Seminars in first year have a maximum of 14 students, and in later years may be up to 18 students.
Typically there are 8-12 hours of classroom contact per week. Teaching follows a pattern of weekly lectures and seminars, supplemented by group work, one-to-one advice and feedback hours, and the use of web-based materials.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and exams, and in some modules you are allowed to choose the assessment method. The first year exams are qualifying exams and do not count towards your degree classification. The final degree classification is determined by your second and final year marks and each year contributes 50%.
We support student mobility through year abroad programmes. BA PPL students have the opportunity to apply for an intercalated year of study abroad at one of our prestigious partner universities. The Study Abroad Team offers support for these activities.
You can apply for an intercalated year of Work Placement that extends the degree to four years.
General entry requirements
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.
Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only).
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
We do not typically interview applicants. Offers are made based on your UCAS form which includes predicted and actual grades, your personal statement and school reference.
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.
Introduction to Politics
Introduction to Politics gives you a broad overview of the main issues and theoretical perspectives within Politics. You'll learn first to understand and then apply the core concepts of comparative political science and theory to processes, institutions, ideologies and practical policy-making. You'll conduct a comparative study of different political systems and political change, both in writing and in open debate.
Introduction to Philosophy
You'll 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'll learn to engage critically with different viewpoints and critically analyse and evaluate arguments central to philosophy.
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 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.
Optional cores (at least one full-year module from each department):
Politics and International Studies:
Political Theory From Hobbes, Theories of International Relations, Core Issues in Comparative Politics, International Security, States and Markets: An Introduction to International Political Economy
You may choose optional modules either from within the PPL departments or from departments across the University. In your final year you can choose to research and write a dissertation in either PPL or any one of the three disciplines.
Examples of optional modules/options for current students
Crime and Punishment; Philosophy of Terrorism and Counterterrorism; Issues in Political Theory; Politics of Globalisation; War in the 21st Century; Comparative Human Rights; Legal Issues of Brexit; Medicine and the Law; Philosophy of Religion; East Asian Transformations; Law and the International Business Environment; Gender and the Law
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who choose to complete a work placement or study abroad will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
As no PPL students have yet graduated from the programme, information on careers pathways is unavailable. However, our students have expressed an interest in law, business, the civil service, and journalism.
Helping you find the right career
Our department has a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant. They offer impartial advice and guidance together with workshops and events throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:
- Career Pathways to International Development
- Identifying Your Skills, Strengths and Motivators
- Thinking about Work Experience for Philosophy Students
- Careers in the Public Sector
- Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
"Fantastic lecturers and riveting topics"
"PPL perfectly encapsulates the breadth of its individual subjects, also constantly acknowledging the ways in which all of them are so closely intertwined with one another.
This is whilst maintaining a consistent applicability to modern times, even when you least expect it; Plato’s Gorgias might be centuries old, but its relevance has not diminished in the slightest and PPL captures exactly what makes books like this so important beyond a historical context. It’s a balancing act you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere, maintained by fantastic lecturers and riveting topics.
What surprised me most, however, is that the tripartite degree has helped me uncover a deep passion and regard for law I never thought I had - I’m particularly thankful for picking it, knowing that I’ll be able to specialise my degree in a law oriented manner for the rest of my degree."
BA Politics, Philosophy and Law
"A unique course to study"
“As a tripartite student, the first year is all about reaching the same level of confidence and analysis in three subjects as other students have when they focus on one sole discipline.
The 'Introduction to PPL' module is there to help us bridge the gap and give us a grounding in all three subjects as well as link them together. The lecture and seminar are combined into a single two hour class, which is especially useful when giving us a crash course in understanding legal texts and academic practice early in the first term, to help us in our study of either Tort or Criminal Law.
The module changes in the second term, as we move from studying the links between the disciplines to studying legal cases where there are specific political and philosophical issues, which is something that I have not found to be available on other modules or courses and makes PPL such a unique course to study.”
BA Politics, Philosophy and Law
This information is applicable for 2021 entry. Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.