It all depends on the specific rules for your course, they should be set out in your departmental handbook. My undergrad dept essays didn't include footnotes or bibliography, but I used to use the word count on Microsoft Word and it was a while before i realised that the built in word count includes footnotes unless you tell it not to but i think each footnote only classes as one word because it is counting the number in the text referring to the footnote not the footnote itself, so to get the correct number do a word count and take away the number of footnotes you have. Hopefully that made sense.
The word count for all coursework essays should include all footnotes, endnotes,
and quotes, but should not include the bibliography. Please include the word
count on the title page of your coursework.
But that's advice for postgrads, I think. I'm not sure, but if your footnotes are very small, I wouldn't worry about them knocking you slightly over the word count. If you need to state the word count, you could do it twice, including and excluding footnotes.
Edit: It looks similar for 5th year IR modules... and for 1st year divinity.
Edit (again): The geography department has a document discouraging people using footnotes to bulk out their word count, but everything else I have found suggests that footnotes count, bibliographies don't.
Last edited by ImperceptibleNinja; 03-11-2009 at 00:09.