Philosophy, Politics and Economics

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Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Philosophy, Politics and Economics
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Politics and International Relations


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

GCSE: Mathematics C/4

A-levels: ABB

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 32 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655. Either must include Standard Level Mathematics grade 4 or Higher Level Mathematics grade 3. We will accept grade 4 in either Standard Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Standard Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.
Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above or 4 in IB Middle Years Maths.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma:15 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 30 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?

If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Dr Katharine Dommett

Senior Lecturer

The University of Sheffield

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 23 October 2023 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  EC111-4-FY-CO  Introduction to Economics  Core  30  30 
02  GV100-4-FY-CO  Introduction to Politics  Core  30  30 
03  PY111-4-FY-CO  Introduction to Philosophy  Core  30  30 
04    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
05  GV711-4-FY-CO  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 
06  GV164-4-SU-CO  Doing Political Research  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01    2nd year Economics option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
02    2nd year Politics option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
03    2nd year Philosophy option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04    2nd year Economics or Politics or Philosophy option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
05  GV711-5-FY-CO  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 
06  GV275-5-SU-CO  Issues in Politics: Final Year Project preparation  Compulsory 

Year 3 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01    Capstone Project  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
02    Final year Politics option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
03    Final year Economics or Politics or Philosophy option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04    Final year Economics or Politics or Philosophy option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
05  GV711-6-FY-CO  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

  • To provide a rigorous training in the basics of these three disciplines and a sound academic grounding in at least two of them.
  • To develop students' knowledge and understanding of:
    • the significant literatures in politics, philosophy, and economics;
    • the theoretical and empirical dimensions of the subjects, where appropriate; and
    • the interplay between methods, theories and evidence.
  • To offer students, through a range of option choices, a varied menu of sub-disciplinary and area-oriented specialisms in the subjects in order to:
    • ensure that they have solid knowledge of at least two sub-field of politics, philosophy, or economics;
    • provide them with opportunities to develop an empirical base for the study of economics and politics in different contexts; and
    • to broaden their theoretical and philosophical perspectives.
  • To equip students with a rang of generic and subject-specific skills fostered by the study of politics, philosophy, and economics.
  • To maintain an intellectual environment that is exciting and challenging, fostering students' capacities for creative study and dialogue and maintaining high standards of teaching and learning.
  • To develop and promote students' skills and capacities for independent thought and critical reflection in the three subject areas, with a view to subsequent academic study, employment, personal development, and social participation.

  • Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

    On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

    A: Knowledge and understanding

    A1: Knowledge of different conceptual, theoretical and normative perspectives within the discipline, whether politics, philosophy, or economics.

    A2: Knowledge of the main findings of existing research and the current state of the literature in the relevant discipline.

    A3: Knowledge of developments, issues and debates in the relevant discipline.

    A4: Knowledge of methods appropriate for the relevant discipline.

    A5: Knowledge of sources of information for studying the relevant discipline.

    Learning methods

    A1-A5 are addressed in lectures, participation in seminars and classes and written comments on assignments and essays.

    A3 is additionally addressed in optional choices in years 2 and 3 and/or in projects.

    Assessment methods

    In politics and philosophy the assessment of most full-year modules is normally based equally on course work and on a written examination, each counting for 50 per cent of the final mark.

    Apart from philosophy courses, where the coursework load normally comprises two essays, an average module work load consists of three essays per modules or equivalent.

    Assignments and class tests are also sometimes used.

    In Economics, skills A1-A5 are assessed in final examinations and coursework.

    Coursework takes the form of assignments and tests (especially A1, A4, A5) in introductory and intermediate level courses.

    Coursework takes the form of term papers (especially A2, A3, A5) for advanced undergraduate courses.

    Coursework counts for up to 50 per cent of the aggregate mark in each economics course and cannot lower the aggregate mark for any economics module.

    The Project counts as a separate module and is assessed on its own merits.

    B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

    B1: To question received thinking.

    B2: To develop their own thinking

    B3: Advanced knowledge of different modes of explanation and theoretical perspectives in political science and political theory at an appropriate level.

    B4: To analyse and evaluate data.

    B5: To analyse and evaluate arguments and reason critically.

    B6: To argue coherently and persuasively.

    B7: To present ideas in a structured form in writing.

    Learning methods

    These skills are developed in:- (a) Seminars and classes (b) class presentations (c) written comments on essays and assignments.

    Individual guidance is available for the writing of essays and the construction of presentations.

    Opportunities exist to consult a Study Skills Officer in the Government Department.

    Assessment methods

    Essays and written examinations.

    C: Practical skills

    C1: Organise and structure an extended argument, advancing clear critical positions.

    C2: Use theoretical terms correctly.

    C3: Compile systematic bibliographies.

    C4: Provide references according to accepted conventions.

    C5: Use methods appropriate to the discipline, and abstract and synthesise relevant information.

    Learning methods

    This range of practical skills (C1-C5) is taught in seminars and developed through comments on essays, and in supervision of written work.

    Assessment methods

    Essays and projects are assessed for these skills while written examinations are assessed for skills C1, C 2 and C5.

    D: Key skills

    D1: Clear, focused, relevant and effective expression and communication.

    D2: To use word processing software and/or electronic information sources.

    D4: To manage projects and timetables. To find, understand and organise information. To work with ideas.

    D6: To be receptive to feedback; to learn new material and to improve ways of learning.

    Learning methods

    The key skills are implicit throughout the degree.

    Skills D1, 2, 4 and 6 are acquired and developed through the teaching and learning methods described above.

    Students are encouraged to use University key skills on-line package, word processing packages, library searches and internet resources.

    Assessment methods

    Outcomes D1, 2, 4 and 6 are assessed through continuous coursework and unseen written examinations.

    Coursework consists of essays written during the academic year for a specified course, returned with a grade and written comments.


    The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

    The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.


    If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing

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