English Literature (Including Foundation Year)

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Academic Year of Entry: 2024/25
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
English Literature (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
BA Q320


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

UK and EU applicants:

All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you:

  • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
  • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
  • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
  • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

Standard offer: Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP
  • T-levels: Pass with E in core

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

International applicants:

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

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.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

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

Course qualifiers

A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).


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 Doug Haynes

Reader in American Literature and Visual Culture

University of Sussex

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 2024 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 0 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  IA129-3-FY-CO  Analysing the Social and Political World  Core  30  30 
02  IA195-3-FY-CO  Research and Academic Development Skills  Core  30  30 
03  IA180-3-FY-CO  Understanding People and Society  Core  30  30 
04  IA138-3-FY-CO  Knowing Your World from Language to Politics  Core  30  30 

Year 1 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  LT111-4-FY-CO  Origins and Transformations in Literature and Drama  Compulsory  30  30 
02  LT182-4-AU-CO  Text Up Close: Reading for Criticism  Compulsory  15  15 
03    LT109-4-SP or LT137-4-SP or LT171-4-SP  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
04  LT705-4-SP-CO  The Humanities Graduate: Future Pathways  Compulsory  15  15 
05    LT151-4-AU or LT161-4-AU  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
06    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 

Year 2 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  LT210-5-AU-CO  Love and Death in the Renaissance  Compulsory  15  15 
02    LT218-5-AU or LT262-5-AU  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
03  LT204-5-FY-CO  Criticism: Practice and Theory  Compulsory  30  30 
04    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
05    LT267-5-SP or TH205-5-SP  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
06    LT215-5-SP or LT212-5-SP  Compulsory with Options  15  15 

Year 3 - 2027/28

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01    Final year Literature option (English)  Optional  30  30 
02    Final year Literature option (English)  Optional  30  30 
03    Final year option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04  LT831-6-FY-CO  Independent Literature Project  Compulsory  30  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

  • To offer a varied, flexible and distinctive curriculum focused on the study of English literature and encompassing several genres and periods.
  • To encourage students to exercise their own judgements in the reading of both primary and secondary texts.
  • To enable students to:

    • Understand the methodology necessary for undertaking a close analysis of a text passage or film extract.
    • Acquire the critical terminology to identify and name the literary devices at work in a text.
    • Work in a small group to prepare a presentation that demonstrates the skills involved in the close reading of an unseen text.
    • Appreciate the relationship between the written and the spoken language.
    • To acquaint students with a range of contextual, conceptual and comparative frameworks.
    • To provide the knowledge and skills (critical inquiry and argument, imaginative understanding, written and spoken communication and presentation) that will not only stand students in good stead for more specialised academic study, but will also enhance their graduate careers.

    • 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 range of literature, from the early modern period to present-day, including knowledge of a variety of genres (poetry, fiction, and drama) and national literatures

      A2: The major figures in the field, and the major literary tendencies or movements covered by the degree scheme

      A3: 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)

      A4: The key critical debates that have informed the field (and some familiarity with the most recent critical interventions)

      A5: The basic methods of critical analysis and argument

      A6: Specialised study in the final year in areas students have identified as being of particular interest

      Learning methods

      1-6 are acquired through lectures, classes and continuously assessed coursework (with regular feedback, both oral and written, from tutors).

      The lectures offer surveys of the major periods of literature covered in the scheme and address the major approaches and issues (mainly 1-4).

      The classes, on the other hand, tend to focus in more detail on textual examples, and give emphasis to student discussion and/ or presentation, preparing their argumentative skills for formal assessment (5).

      In Year 3, the format changes to a two-hour seminar, which may include informal lectures/ presentations by the teacher and gives further scope for students to practise their oral communication skills as well as to pursue more specialised areas of interest (5, 6).

      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 module.

      This independent research is then consolidated in essay work.

      Assessment methods

      Formal assessment of students' knowledge and understanding (1-4, 6) takes place through coursework essays and unseen written examinations.

      Students are expected to analyse texts in the light of the contextual, conceptual and comparative frameworks offered to them during the scheme, whilst also formulating their own arguments and displaying critical competence (5).

      B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

      B1: Analyse and interpret

      B2: Read complex texts and comment cogently on them

      B3: Reason critically and argue coherently

      B4: Identify critical literary positions and interrogate them

      B5: Make and account for connections between texts and their contexts

      B6: To think independently and to make connections between familiar and new ideas

      Learning methods

      Intellectual and cognitive skills are initiated through lectures in Year I and II, and further developed in seminars, as well as one-to-one tutorials where appropriate.

      The seminar- based work of Year III, like that of Years I and II, 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 III 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 III further develops and hones skills 1-5, but it is also where cumulatively 6 comes into its own (see also Independent Study), and where we seek evidence of the successful deployment of skill 6 in the assessment

      Assessment methods

      The seminars are intended as practice sessions for skills 1-6.

      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: A vocabulary and a critical terminology for the analysis of literary texts

      C2: A capacity for working independently and under guidance

      C3: The use of accepted conventions of presenting essays, references and bibliographies, and an ability to challenge these

      C4: The utilisation of a knowledge of literary and generic conventions

      C5: The use of a critical methodology in written work, employing reasoned argument to appreciate and evaluate a literary text

      C6: An effective style or range of styles to convey a range of responses as readers of literary texts

      C7: A range of methods to perform a bibliographical search.

      Learning methods

      Skills 1 and 4 are introduced in lectures and developed through classes (first and second years) and through seminars (third year).

      Guidance on skills 2, 3, and 5-7 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

      Assessment is by essays and examinations.

      Provision is made for students to be assessed on an Independent Study project in the third year.

      There is a presentation element to the project which consists of 20% of the final mark.

      Essay questions are designed to test all skills.

      Examination questions test skills 1 and 4-6.

      D: Key skills

      D1: Clear, focused, relevant and effective written expression and oral communication

      D2: Use appropriate IT to research and present materials.

      D3: Management of projects and timetables. Finding, understanding and organising information.

      D4: Ability to "read" an argument in seminar discussion; ability to respond effectively; ability to work in a variety of group contexts

      D5: Receptivity to feedback in the form of written comments on coursework and oral communications.

      Learning methods

      The five relevant key skills are implicit throughout the degree, and are supported in their development by seminar work, feedback on essays, and key skills packages.

      Assessment methods

      D1-2 and D4-5 are assessed through coursework and dissertations; D3 is assessed through a particpation mark.


    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 admit@essex.ac.uk, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing pgadmit@essex.ac.uk.

    If you're a current student and have questions about your course or specific modules, please contact your department.

    If you think there might be an error on this page, please contact the Course Records Team by emailing crt@essex.ac.uk.