Staff member? Login here

Literature and Sociology

Course overview

(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Literature and Sociology
University of Essex
University of Essex
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree

A-levels: BBB, including one essay-based subject

IB: 30 points, including a Higher Level essay-based subject grade 5. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes 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. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.

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 Tier 4 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 Tier 4 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.

External Examiners

Prof Duncan James Salkeld
Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature

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 21 October 2019 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
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
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 LT705-4-SP The Humanities Graduate: Future Pathways Compulsory 15
02 LT111-4-FY Origins and Transformations in Literature and Drama Core 30
03 SC111-4-FY The Sociological Imagination Core 30
04 Option(s) from list or Outside Option(s) Optional 30
05 Option from list or Outside Option Optional 15

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 SC201-5-FY Continuity and Controversy in Sociology: Sociological Analysis II Compulsory 30
02 Sociology option(s) from list Optional 30
03 LT203-5-FY or LT204-5-FY Compulsory with Options 30
04 LT210-5-AU or LT213-5-AU or LT248-5-AU Compulsory with Options 15
05 LT214-5-SP or LT215-5-SP or LT228-5-SP or LT249-5-SP Compulsory with Options 15

Year 3 - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 SC301-6-FY Current Disputes in Sociology: Sociological Analysis III Compulsory 30
02 Sociology option(s) from list Optional 30
03 LT831-6-FY Independent Literature Project Compulsory 30
04 Final year option(s) from list Optional 30

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

The aims of the course are:

To understand the intellectual and cultural foundations of Western thought.

To experience a varied, flexible and distinctive curriculum focused on the study of English literature and encompassing several genres and periods.

To become acquainted with a range of contextual, conceptual and comparative frameworks used in the study of literature.

To learn how to exercise their own judgements in the reading of both primary and secondary literary texts.

To gain understanding of the distinctive character of sociological thinking.

To learn about the main theoretical traditions of sociology.

To develop their capacity for critical enquiry and independent learning.

To acquire the knowledge and skills to enable them to proceed to further study and research.

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 A knowledge of Enlightenment culture and thought
A2 A knowledge of the intellectual foundations of Sociology
A3 A knowledge of key sociological concepts and theories
A4 An understanding of the relationships between individuals, groups, and social institutions
A5 A knowledge of the relationship between sociological theory, concepts, and substantive issues
A6 An understanding of the analysis and interpretation of substantive materials
A7 An understanding of the complex relationship between literature and culture (an appreciation of the way in which literary texts are embedded in their cultural and historical milieux, and an awareness of their role in creating cultural change
A8 A knowledge of a range of English literature from the early modern period to the present day, including knowledge of a variety of genres (poetry, fiction, and drama)
A9 The basic methods of critical analysis and argument
A10 Specialised study in the final year in areas students have identified as being of particular interest
Learning Methods: Both departments use lectures to present material - ideas, data and arguments - in a clear and structured manner using examples, mapping the field and the contours of debates.

Lectures are also used to stimulate students' interest in the area under discussion.

Issues and arguments covered in lectures are explored further through weekly classes or workshops for which students have to prepare.

The curriculum is designed to involve clear progression between the foundational work in the first year and the subsequent compulsory and then optional courses.

In addition, students are expected to extend and enhance the knowledge and understanding they acquire from classes and lectures by regularly consulting archival materials related to the course.

This independent research is then consolidated in essay work.

Learning techniques in the departments include thinking and writing in an interdisciplinary context (CS101); close textual analysis (all LT courses); the production of a glossary of sociological concepts and a sociological journal on a chosen topic (SC111); and the possibility of independent study and research (SC831, LT831).
Assessment Methods: All outcomes are assessed through coursework and unseen written examinations.

Written examinations not only include standard essay type questions, but SC201, and LT201, 202, and 203 involve a compulsory question interpreting a passage of text.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 An ability to analyse and critically assess original and complex texts and to comment cogently on them
B2 Reason critically and argue coherently
B3 Identify critical literary positions and interrogate them
B4 Make and account for connections between texts and their contexts
B5 To think independently and to make connections between familiar and new ideas
B6 Understand, summarise and critically assess sociological work
B7 An ability to compare competing theories and explanations and develop a reasoned argument (B)
Learning Methods: In Sociology students enhance the above intellectual skills primarily through the work they do for their courses, although lectures and classes provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through example, and in the first year staff give specific presentations on their ongoing sociological research.

Preparation for classes and class presentations involve the reading, interpretation and evaluation of original sociological texts and the collection and evaluation of empirical data.

Class tutors provide feedback on class presentations and contributions to classes through comment and discussion.

Similarly the preparation of essays and other assignments also develops the listed intellectual skills.

Students are provided with feedback on all assessed work and this is crucial to their intellectual development.

In Literature intellectual and cognitive skills are initiated through lectures in Year 1 and 2, and further developed in seminars, as well as one-to-one tutorials where appropriate.

The seminar- based work of Year 3, like that of Years 1 and 2, encourages critical discussion arising from the analysis and interpretation of texts with an emphasis on being able to reason cogently, argue coherently and present one's own viewpoint persuasively.

Year 3 students are guided towards the acquisition of a reflective understanding of the arguments they and others propose, the analyses they and others offer, and the critical positions they and others employ.

This is done through in situ feedback (formally and informally, as appropriate) in oral and written presentations, group based critical discussions and the analysis and interpretation of texts and critical positions.

Therefore, Year 3 further develops and hones these skills, but it is also where we seek evidence of the successful deployment of independent thinking in the assessment.
Assessment Methods: Outcomes B2-5 are assessed in all courses, B1 in CS101, SC201, and all Literature courses.
B6-7 are judged and evaluated in every piece of assessed sociological work.

In Literature seminars are intended as practice sessions for skills B1-5.

Students translate the skills acquired there collectively into individually assessed essays.
In turn, the essays prepare students for the exam.

As the summative assessment for any given course, the exam tests their ability both to demonstrate and to sustain the same skills in controlled conditions

C: Practical skills

C1 An ability to retrieve relevant sociological evidence using bibliographic and web searches and to summarise, report and evaluate arguments, texts and findings.
C2 Summarise, report and evaluate arguments, texts and findings
C3 An ability to demonstrate reflexive awareness in interpreting sociological material
C4 A vocabulary and a critical terminology for the analysis of literary texts
C5 Use accepted conventions of presenting references and bibliographies in writing
C6 The utilisation of a knowledge of literary and generic conventions
C7 Deploy a critical methodology in written work, employing reasoned argument to appreciate and evaluate a text
C8 An effective style or range of styles to convey a range of responses as readers of literary texts
Learning Methods: In the first year, assignments cover tasks such as producing a bibliography on a sociological topic, producing a glossary, describing and evaluating a sociological text and producing a sociological journal.

Throughout the three years of the degree practical skills are developed through preparation for classes, preparing essays and other assessed assignments, giving presentations and doing written examinations.

In SC111, students are required to demonstrate reflexive awareness in the construction of a sociological journal.

The work for SC201 and CS101 includes the detailed examination and interpretation of key texts.

And of these skills are further developed by the work students do for their optional courses.

Students receive detailed feedback on all their coursework and presentations.

Study skills advice and training is available from the Student Support Officer in the Resource Room, which is dedicated to this purpose.

In Literature skills 4 and 6 are introduced in lectures and developed through classes (first and second years) and through seminars (third year).

Guidance on skills 5, 7, and 8 is given in teaching, in supervision of essays, and in Departmental Handbooks.

The strategy ensures that, having acquired a basic command of them, students exercise these skills in the third year in more specialised modules.
Assessment Methods: Skill C1 is specifically assessed in a first-year Sociological assignment, but also forms part of the assessment of almost every piece of assessed coursework.

Skill C2 is assessed in the majority of pieces of assessed coursework and written examinations, and particularly in the assignments for SC201, including a compulsory unseen examination question on interpreting a passage from a classic text.

C3 is assessed in the journal for SC111.
The principle methods of assessment are essays and examinations.

Essay questions are designed to test all skills.
Examination questions test skills C2, 3, 4 and 5-7.

D: Key skills

D1 Clear, focused, relevant and effective written expression and oral communication
D2 Use appropriate IT to research and present materials
D3 Analysing materials, abstracting generalisations and testing hypotheses
D4 Collaborating with others to achieve common goals e.g. in project planning, management and presentation, including the ability to 'read' and respond to arguments in a seminar setting and the ability to work in a variety of group context
D5 Under guidance, working independently, demonstrating self-organisation and time-management, and being receptive to feedback in the form of written comments on coursework and oral communication
Learning Methods: Generic skills are taught and learned throughout the degree through a range of strategies, for example, requiring students to give oral presentations, giving them specific assignments such as carrying out bibliographic and web searches, or others requiring numerical skills, and through class discussion and class and essay preparation.

Students have the opportunity to discuss essay plans with staff and are given clear deadlines for their work which they must meet.

They are given feedback on all their coursework and are encouraged to reflect and improve upon their work.

Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through their participation in the classes for every module.
Assessment Methods: Communication skills are assessed throughout the degree through continuous assessed coursework and examinations and in particular through the Participation Mark for all Literature courses.

IT skills are a component in the evaluation of most assessed work which require bibliographic and web searches, but there is a particular focus on them in first year assessments such as the sociological journal.

Problem solving skills are assessed in almost all assignments.
Since the curriculum is structured in a progressive manner, students' skills in improving learning and performance are also assessed through the related structured progression of formal assessed work.


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.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: