(BA) Bachelor of Arts
History and Literature (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
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.
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.
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. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Student 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 required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications
If you are an international student requiring a Student 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.
Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen 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.
Rules of assessment
Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.
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.
To impart to students essential skills and methods of historical and literary analysis, and a capacity to bring these to bear upon primary and secondary sources.
To provide a wide-ranging curriculum encompassing several genres, periods and themes.
To develop the capacity to bring the disciplines of history and literature together.
To enable students to arrive at a critical appreciation of the relationship of phenomena and texts to context.
To enable students to design and conduct an independent study on a specialist topic of their choice.
To develop in students those skills:
- of research, critical enquiry, argument, communication and presentation
- that can be applied in further study and in a wide range of occupations.
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: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of historical phenomena on the broader (continental or global) scale and/or a range of English literature from the early modern period to present-day, including knowledge of a variety of genres.
A2: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of thematic historical topics and/or the major literary figures, tendencies of movements covered by the degree scheme
A4: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of fundamental principles of historical analysis (such as concepts of continuity, change, and comparative analysis) and/or the basic methods of critical analysis and argument that pertain to the study of literature
A5: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of sources available for historical research
A6: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how the disciplines of history and literature can fruitfully be brought together, so that the student is able to place literature in its historical context, and understand historical and cultural phenomena through the study of literature
The structure of the degree is based on progression from outline topics in the first year (A1) to more specialised courses (A2 and A3) in the second and third years.
Knowledge of A1-A5 are acquired through lectures, seminars, independent reading and coursework (with regular feedback, both oral and written, from tutors).
The historical skills referred to in A4 are developed in particular in the second-year module 'Approaches to History'.
A5 is the focus of the third-year independent dissertation.
A6 is acquired through the special module, Fictions of Empire, that brings the disciplines together.
Knowledge and understanding of A1-A6 is continuously assessed through coursework and examination.
Essays are the principal form of coursework assessment, supplemented by a range of other assessments which may include document analyses, reviews, and other shorter assignments; assessed presentations and oral contributions; and in-class tests.
The independent dissertation tests knowledge of A5 in particular through a dissertation of up to 12,000 words.
The ability to produce, under set time conditions and without access to notes, cogent arguments demonstrating the interconnectedness of themes, concepts and issues covered in the course components is assessed by the first-year examination of the pre-requisite module for the course.
Examinations are principally unseen, essay based, of two or three hour duration.
B: Intellectual and cognitive skills
B1: Assemble, analyse and synthesise primary and secondary data
B2: Formulate and answer historical questions and/or read complex texts and comment cogently on them
B3: Evaluate and compare historical interpretations and/or identify and interrogate critical positions regarding literature
B4: Explain historical events, contexts and change with reference to social, political, economic and cultural forces and factors
B5: Reconstruct the mentalities of past societies
B6: Formulate and present ideas, arguments and connections, using historical evidence and/or literary materials
All skills are introduced and developed through in-class discussions essays, and other written and oral assignments.
The teaching environment of seminars, which emphasises student-focused discussion, enables students to develop all six skills through discussion and practice, and to receive feedback from peers and tutors.
All skills are assessed through the usual means of coursework and examination: a variety of types of coursework (including a Research Project) across the curriculum assess skills specifically.
The ability to understand questions and produce answers under set time conditions and without access to notes is assessed by the first-year examination of the pre-requisite module for the course.
C: Practical skills
C1: Critically read and evaluate historical and/or literary primary sources
C2: Critically read and evaluate secondary sources relating to the study of literature and/or history
C3: Work in groups to consider a question or clarify a topic
C4: Ability to construct appropriate bibliographies and to present work according to academic conventions
C5: Capacity to utilize terminology and methods appropriate for historical and/or literary analysis
Participation in seminar discussion, focusing on prepared readings or set questions, develops skill C3; preparation of work for submission develops skills C1 and C2, with a strong emphasis on certain kinds of primary sources in the Fictions of Empire module.
The final year dissertation enables students to take skill C2 and in some cases skill C1 to a higher level.
Students are strongly encouraged to discuss their dissertation with members of academic staff but are required to conduct their own bibliographic research and formulate their own lines of investigation.
Skills C4 and C5 are developed through essay and project work.
All skills are assessed through the usual means of coursework and examination.
In particular C1 is assessed by document analysis; C2 by essays; C3 by participation marks; C4 by coursework; and C5 by coursework and examintions as well as the dissertation.
The practical skill of working under pressure and without notes to produce cogent arguments in written work is assessed by the first-year examination in the pre-requisite course for the scheme.
D: Key skills
D1: Communicate ideas effectively using oral and written means including essays, other written work, oral presentations or contributions, and discussion
D2: Make appropriate use of information technology to research and present materials
D4: Analyse and explain evidence, understand and produce answers to essay questions, and manage work timetables
D5: Participate effectively as a member of a group to the benefit of oneself and others
D6: Use feedback from tutors to improve written and oral work and reflect on progress
Information technology is taught through independent learning supported by the University's online key skills package and the Computing Service.
Use of email and the internet is part of effective course participation and students are required to check their university email account at least once a week during term-time.
Students are strongly encouraged to produce coursework in work-processed form and it is formal requirement that the final-year independent research dissertaation is typed or word-processed.
The use of electronic library catalogues and other relevant electronic bibliographic resources and the use and interpretation of relevant material via the internet is introduced in the first year.
Students build on these skills in subsequent years.
Where relevant (this will be in certain history modules), students are encouraged to evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form.
Problem-solving, communication, working with others and improving own learning and performance are implicit throughout the degree.
Key skills are assessed through the usual methods of coursework, including evaluation of seminar performance, and also for D1, D4 by examination.
Management of work timetables is assessed by the requirement that students meet coursework deadlines and deadlines in the preparation and submission of their final year dissertation.
D5 is assessed through a participation mark.