Unlocking Your Academic Potential: How to Study at University

The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 13 December 2024
14 March 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA M900 Criminology,
BA M901 Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA M903 Criminology (Including Foundation Year),
BA M904 Criminology (Including Placement Year),
BA L3C8 Criminology with Social Psychology,
BA L3H8 Criminology with Social Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BA LHC8 Criminology with Social Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LP33 Media and Digital Culture,
BA LP34 Media and Digital Culture (including Placement Year),
BA P300 Media and Digital Culture (Including Foundation Year),
BA PL33 Media and Digital Culture (including Year Abroad),
BA CL83 Sociology with Social Psychology,
BA CL93 Sociology with Social Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BA CLV3 Sociology with Social Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BA L300 Sociology,
BA L301 Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA L304 Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA L306 Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LM38 Sociology and Criminology (Including Placement Year),
BA LM39 Sociology and Criminology,
BA LMH9 Sociology and Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LMHX Sociology and Criminology (Including Foundation Year),
BA LL23 Sociology and Politics (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL24 Sociology and Politics (Including Placement Year),
BA LL32 Sociology and Politics,
BA L3J9 Sociology with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA L3M9 Sociology with Human Rights,
BA LMJ9 Sociology with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL36 Social Anthropology,
BA LL3P Social Anthropology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL6P Social Anthropology (Including Placement Year),
BSC L315 Sociology (Applied Quantitative Research),
BSC L316 Sociology (Applied Quantitative Research) (Including Year Abroad),
BSC L317 Sociology (Applied Quantitative Research) (Including Placement Year),
BA L333 Criminology with Counselling Skills,
BA L334 Criminology with Counselling Skills (Including Year Abroad),
BA L335 Criminology with Counselling Skills (Including Placement Year),
BA LM11 Criminology with Criminal Law,
BA LM12 Criminology with Criminal Law (Including Year Abroad),
BA LM13 Criminology with Criminal Law (Including Placement Year),
BSC L310 Sociology with Data Science,
BSC L311 Sociology with Data Science (including Year Abroad),
BSC L312 Sociology with Data Science (including Placement Year),
BSC L313 Sociology with Data Science (Including foundation Year),
BA LY10 Social Sciences,
BA LY11 Social Sciences (Including Placement Year),
BA LY12 Social Sciences (Including Year Abroad),
BA LY13 Social Sciences (Including Foundation Year),
BA L350 Sociology and Health,
BA L351 Sociology and Health (including Foundation Year),
BA L352 Sociology and Health (including Placement Year),
BA L353 Sociology and Health (including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module is designed to help students develop core academic skills including understanding of study and coursework requirements in sociology and criminology; effective study habits; inquiring and reflective habit of mind; critical thinking, problem solving, competence in learning technologies and effective written communication. The work undertaken for this enabling module will equip the students to thrive during and beyond their first year of study at the University of Essex. Students will be guided to identify and analyse features of effective academic discourse, will engage in supported independent information research; encouraged through course tasks in reflective review, learn how to read critically and write with clarity and precision. They will develop an awareness of how their key academic skills can be transferred to professional contexts, thus enhancing future employability capabilities.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To provide students in the Department of Sociology and Criminology with an opportunity to develop the core skills necessary to do well in their first year of studies. By participating in the classroom activities and completing skills-based coursework, students will be able to understand the culture (ethos, aims and practices) of university level studies in social science.

  • To provide participants on the module with the opportunity to develop a range of core transferrable skills, from the ability to think critically and analytically about texts encountered and assignments set, to the ability to manage their time and studies and to undertake independent research. Students will be supported to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses, and to engage with lecturers and peers within a culture of supportive and constructive feedback. In sum: the module aims to help students to maximise their potential as undergraduates.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to able to:

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of how to prepare, engage with and review taught sessions in their other modules in order to gain maximum benefit from lectures and seminars

  2. Demonstrate a deep understanding of the criteria by which their work will be assessed, and the attributes of good academic writing;

  3. Independently research, take effective notes from their reading, and provide reflective commentary on their reading;

  4. Incorporate ideas and information from sources using appropriate referencing and citation;

  5. Plan and structure essays in an appropriate and effective manner;

  6. Demonstrate a good understanding of academic style and the importance of clarity, precision, conciseness, and elegance in their writing.

  7. Demonstrate a clear understanding of their own interests, skills and competencies, relevant to their future career choice.

Transferable skills:

  1. Active Learning and Engagement: Students will learn how to maximise their learning from lectures and seminars by preparing effectively, actively engaging with the material, and reviewing their notes. This skill translates to being an engaged and proactive learner in professional settings.

  2. Understanding Assessment Criteria: Students will gain insight into assessment criteria and academic writing attributes, enabling them to align their work with specific expectations. This skill is crucial for meeting targets and deliverables in any job role.

  3. Independent Research and Note-taking: Developing the ability to independently research and take effective notes from readings enhances information-gathering skills, essential for conducting research, staying updated, and making informed decisions in various work contexts.

  4. Referencing and Citation Proficiency: Students will learn how to properly incorporate ideas from sources using appropriate referencing and citation. This skill is valuable in professions that require accurate information sourcing and avoiding plagiarism.

  5. Effective Planning and Organisation: Students will master the skill of planning and structuring essays logically and effectively. This competency translates to efficient project management, task organisation, and presentation of ideas in the workplace.

  6. Clear Communication and Writing Style: Understanding the discipline's academic style and refining writing through review and redrafting enhances clarity, precision, conciseness, and elegance in communication. This skill is beneficial for creating professional documents and reports.

  7. Critical Thinking: The ability to provide reflective commentary on reading materials demonstrates critical thinking. This skill is essential for analysing complex situations, solving problems, and making informed decisions in professional roles.

  8. Attention to Detail: Developing a deep understanding of assessment criteria and academic writing attributes requires attention to detail. This skill is valuable for tasks that involve quality control, data analysis, and compliance.

  9. Time Management: Learning how to engage with lectures, seminars, research, note-taking, and writing demonstrates effective time management. This skill is essential for meeting deadlines, managing projects, and maintaining productivity in any job.

  10. Adaptability: Acquiring a deep understanding of assessment criteria, research methods, and academic writing prepares students to adapt to new challenges and tasks in their future careers.

  11. Feedback Incorporation: Understanding the importance of review and redrafting helps students refine their work based on feedback. This skill translates to a willingness to learn, adapt, and continuously improve in the workplace.

Module information

Non-Essex Requisites

Erasmus/IP students must have already taken at least two criminology or sociology related modules at their home institution.

Complementary learning or prior knowledge

Students should have already taken/have some knowledge of/have some experience of sociology or criminology.

Syllabus information

  • Introducing the module – content and assessment

  • University Systems

  • Planning an essay

  • Academic integrity

  • Library session

  • Reading academic texts

  • Organising your writing

  • Tutorials

  • Getting the most from feedback

  • Other kinds of assessment

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • A 2-hour seminar every week.
  • The module will be taught by the conveners, and a wider teaching team of library and study skills staff and assistant lecturers.

Students will be expected to participate in class discussions; undertake group learning activities; participate in pair-work (e.g. discussing reading texts with a ‘study partner’); undertake reading and self-study activities outside of the classes and produce formative and summative pieces of assessed work. Students will also be expected to reflect on their own experience, skills, and development and consider the meaning and implications of feedback received on other modules.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
Sociology and Criminology

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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