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Politics with English for Academic Purposes

Course overview

(Graduate Diploma) Graduate Diploma
Politics with English for Academic Purposes
University of Essex
University of Essex
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Graduate Diploma
Politics and International Relations

External Examiners

Dr Nicholas Walter Vivyan
University of Durham
Senior Lecturer

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

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 IA931-6-AU English for Academic Purposes Core 15 Core
02 IA932-6-SP Advanced English for Academic Purposes Compulsory 15 Compulsory
03 IA933-6-SU Extended English for Academic Purposes Project Compulsory 15 Compulsory
04 IA934-6-FY Critical Reading and Seminar Skills Core 15 Compulsory
05 GV519-6-FY Political Parties in Britain and Europe Core 30 Compulsory
06 GV207-5-AU Political Analysis: Introduction to OLS Core 15 Compulsory
07 GV112-5-SP Comparative Political Analysis Core 15 Compulsory

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

Develop and acquire the productive and receptive language and study skills needed for successful participation at graduate level in a British university.

These include both linguistic and communicative competence, oral skills, academic writing, reading efficiency and the ability to work independently; develop an understanding of critical thinking, including how to construct coherent arguments and enhance reflexivity skills; develop knowledge and understanding of the major conceptual and theoretical foundations, and current issues, of the discipline of political science, and of quantitative methods for studying politics; provide the opportunity for students to learn about political systems, political behaviour and political ideas; provide a foundation for Masters level study in the discipline.

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 Improve language accuracy and fluency to B2 level
A2 Recognise and use the appropriate lexical and discourse structures of their subject area
A3 Understand the concept and importance of critical thinking in an academic context
A4 Knowledge of different conceptual, theoretical and normative perspectives within political science
A5 Knowledge of developments, issues and debates in political science
A6 Knowledge of statistical methods appropriate for political studies
Learning Methods: All modules are taught through informal lectures, seminar discussions, tutorials and student presentations, with both peer and tutor feedback.

Where feasible, input in the EAP modules will be based on material provided by academic module teachers, and some classes may be team-taught, for example, A4 - A6 are taught in academic modules which include weekly readings and this material will, where possible, be included in EAP input.
Assessment Methods: Taught modules assessed 50/50 by continuous assessment through written assignments and essays, and three-hour closed examinations at end of the modules.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Use language accurately and appropriately, using a variety of lexis, grammatical structure and communication strategies
B2 Demonstrate an awareness of the language and discourse structure of their subject area
B3 Synthesise information from a variety of sources with appropriate acknowledgement and integrate this into presentations or written work
B4 Create a structured argument based on appropriate research methods
B5 Have an appreciation of representative approaches to empirical research in the literature of social science, be familiar with the role of computers in social research, have elementary statistical skills, be aware of the ethical constraints on the social researcher
B6 Develop the ability to be reflective, independent learners and to organise their time in an efficient and effective manner
B7 Understand the arguments of classic texts of political theory and the arguments made historically for and against a variety of political ideals
B8 Acquire a knowledge of key concepts, principles and methods of argument which have been important in the western tradition and globally influential
Learning Methods: Intellectual/cognitive skills B1 - B8 are practised in discussion and presentations, as well as through assessed written work.

Students are given advice in tutorials on research skills and have the opportunity to analyse model assignments.

The ability to develop a coherent argument, supported by evidence, is practised in group discussion and is also a requirement of all assessed written work.

All of these skills are taught and re-enforced continually by a variety of methods - classes involving pair and group work, individual tutorials, taped lectures and student-led workshops.

Input ranges from print to audio and video materials.

Students also use interactive web-based teaching materials.

Oral presentations are video-recorded and students are given group and individual feedback, from peers and tutors.

B5 - B7 are addressed explicitly in classes and included in oral or written feedback.
Assessment Methods: B1-B4 students are assessed by two end of module examinations on knowledge of grammatical structures, listening and note-taking, and there is an integrated English for Academic Purposes skills examination covering reading, vocabulary and writing.

The EAP coursework portfolio also requires demonstration of learning outcomes B1 - B4.

B1 - B4 outcomes are assessed via an extended project in EL933.

This is designed to examine students' ability to produce an extended piece of writing which demonstrates the ability to present a coherent argument based on a range of sources drawn from key texts in the target academic discipline.

B4 - B8 are assessed by means of the coursework and examination requirements of GV200 & GV201.

C: Practical skills

C1 Demonstrate a range of academic skills, including effective note-taking, accurate listening skills and active participation in class discussion
C2 Find relevant information from a variety of sources including books, journals and the Web
C3 Read and evaluate sources critically and offer views based on evidence
C4 Present an argument in oral presentations and by planning, drafting and revising written assignments in an appropriate style, referenced according to academic conventions
Learning Methods: C1 EL 931 - 933: students practise these skills using audio and video materials.

They are also expected to make notes during classmates’‘ presentations.

They are then required to write up a selection of these notes at a later date, to check their accuracy and effectiveness.

The teaching materials and methodology place great emphasis on pair and group work and student participation - this is explicitly addressed in tutors’‘ reports and students are encouraged to discuss these reports in tutorials.

C2 &C3 EL932: students select texts from a variety of sources for class discussion - these texts are then read for content and also critically evaluated for the quality and reliability of the evidence they contain and the structure of their argument.

There is also some analysis of the varying requirements of specific academic genres.

C4 EL933 preparation for project work in plenary sessions and in 1:1 tutorials and feedback on process, editing and drafting All of these skills are also practised, both directly and indirectly, in EL931 & EL9322, and in GV200 & GV201
Assessment Methods: Assessment is based on a mixture of oral and written assignments which test the students' ability to implement these skills effectively.
GV201 includes a variety of class tests and a research design for a survey.

D: Key skills

D1 A fundamental aim of the programme is effective communication in English; orally, through class participation and presentations, in writing and in critical reading. Skills in the communication of arguments and ideas cogently and effectively in a range of different contexts is a specific objective.
D2 Students perform a variety of word-processing operations and use the Internet for research. Students use PowerPoint for presentations. They also communicate with tutors by email e.g. sending drafts of work as attachments
D3 Making and interpreting graphs and tables, for presentations and for written assignments. Understanding the use of quantitative evidence
D4 Identification and evaluation of various source materials, analysis of tasks and working out objectives and priorities
D5 Pair and group work are an integral part of the programme, and peer evaluation is also built in. There are opportunities for group projects in some subject modules
D6 Students are encouraged to keep both learner diaries and records of their own learning and to work independently.
Learning Methods: D1 There is a continuous emphasis on effective communication.

Awareness of audience and appropriate linguistic and discourse choices is a focus of all work, especially in writing.

D2 Students are trained in the use of PowerPoint for presentations and in using the Internet for research purposes.

In GV200 students are encouraged to follow and complete the syllabus for the ECDL.

D3 There are EAP classes which introduce the interpretation of tables and students use graphic materials in and assignments where appropriate and some tasks are based on problem-solving e.g.

Through the use of case studies.

D4 & D5 In all classes students are expected to work in pairs and groups on a variety of information- and opinion-gap tasks and analysis of texts.

In presentations students give and receive peer feedback, both oral and written.

Students are encouraged to reflect on their learning, especially in individual tutorials.

Reflective tasks are also part of the portfolio requirement.

D1 - D5 are also implicit in GV200 and GV201
Assessment Methods: D1-D6 are assessed as an integral part of class work and assignments.

EL modules: Students are required to word process their work and to use PowerPoint for oral presentations.

Peer evaluation and feedback are an important part of the informal assessment of students’‘ performance.

D6: EL931 - EL 3 include reflective tasks in the portfolio of 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: