History and Literature (Including Year Abroad)

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Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
History and Literature (Including Year Abroad)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree

Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: BBB

IB: 30 points. 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.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

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.

Course qualifiers


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

Dr Mark Williams

Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History

Cardiff University

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.


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 1 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01    HR100-4-FY or HR111-4-FY  Core with Options  30 
02  HR101-4-AU  Becoming a Historian  Compulsory  15 
03  LT111-4-FY  Origins and Transformations in Literature and Drama  Core  30 
04    Option(s) from list  Optional  30 
05    Option from list  Optional  15 
06  HR510-4-FY  History Works: Career Portfolio  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  HR211-5-AU  Approaches to History  Compulsory  15 
02    History option  Optional  15 
03    HR231-5-SU or a History option  Optional  30 
04    Literature option(s) from list  Optional  30 
05    Literature option(s) from list  Optional  30 
06  HR510-5-FY  History Works: Career Portfolio  Compulsory 

Year Abroad/Placement - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  AW600-6-FY    Compulsory  60 

Year 3 - 2022/23

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01    History option  Optional  15 
02    Literature option(s)  Optional  30 
03    History or Literature option(s)  Optional  30 
04    HR831-6-FY or LT831-6-FY  Compulsory with Options  30 
05  HR371-6-SP  Fictions of Empire  Compulsory  15 

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 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 emcompassing 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

To provide students with opportunities to experience a different system of HE through a broad range of courses on the year abroad.

To enable students to experience, engage with and integrate into another culture through the year abroad.

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

A7: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of aspects of HE in another culture

Learning methods

The structure of the degree is based on progression from outline topics in the first year (A1) to more specialised courses (A2 nd 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 course 'Making Histories: concepts, themes and sources'.

A5 is the focus of the third-year independent dissertation.

A6 is acquired through the special course, Fictions of Empire, that brings the disciplines together.

Assessment methods

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

Learning methods

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.

Assessment methods

All skills are assessed through the usual means of coursework and examination: a variety of types of coursework (including an independent 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

C6: Students will be able to apply the necessary organisational and cultural skills for living and working abroad

Learning methods

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 course.

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.

Assessment methods

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

Learning methods

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 courses), 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.

Assessment methods

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.

The coursework journal for HR211 requires students to reflect on their progress.


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: crt@essex.ac.uk.