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English Language and Literature

Course overview

(MA) Master of Arts
English Language and Literature
University of Essex
University of Essex
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Full-time or part-time
MA QQ2324

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 Options year 1 Compulsory with Options 0 Compulsory 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

1. To enable students to deepen their knowledge and refine their skills through the combined study of Literature and aspects of English Language/English Language Teaching relevant to the study of Literature
2. To give students a structured introduction to advanced material and advanced perspectives in their fields of specialisation
3. To encourage students to work independently as scholars in specific fields of investigation and to formulate and present a coherent and reflective view of their findings
4. To provide a choice of modules to suit individual interests and needs.
5. To enhance (deepen and extend) students' acquaintance with literary texts, and to open paths to areas of current scholarly and critical specialisation
6. To enable students to acquire understanding of recent theories, research findings, issues and practices in the area of English Language/English Language Teaching
7. To deliver vocationally relevant training, enhance career prospects, and prepare suitably qualified students for progression to doctoral 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 Familiarity with a range of literature in special subject areas, with contexts for the study of the writers and writing taught, and with critical opinion and significant critical debates
A2 Understanding of the interrelation of the writing studied with literary critical thinking about it
A3 Knowledge of major cultural domains, literary contexts, & theoretical parameters, and appreciation of advanced perspectives for the analysis and theorisation of relevant cultural domains, literary contexts & theoretical parameters
A4 Familiarity with approaches to the study of language adopted in contemporary work in English Language/English Language Teaching
A5 Knowledge of contemporary theories, issues and research findings in the chosen fields of specialisation in English Language/English Language Teaching, and an in-depth understanding of relevant methodological, theoretical, descriptive and pedagogical issues
A6 Knowledge of advanced methods of analysis and argumentation and of appropriate research techniques and methodologies
Learning Methods: Learning methods 1-6 are addressed in lectures/seminars/ classes, in oral and written feedback on essays and draft dissertations, and in individual guidance provided in office hours and by email. 6 is additionally addressed in special seminars and workshops.
Students are expected to deepen their knowledge through guided reading and independent study.
Tutors are available to offer advice on the adaptation of generic research techniques (6) to individual needs
Assessment Methods: Assessment methods Formal assessment is by coursework (typically essays), participation and dissertation, the latter constituting the most significant form of assessment of the knowledge and understanding acquired.
Essays range from 3000 to 5000 words apiece.
The dissertation is 16,000 words.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Question received thinking, and think independently
B2 Analyse and evaluate data/theoretical concepts/experience/practice at an advanced level
B3 Reason critically, and adopt critical positions in reading complex texts and in writing on them
B4 Argue coherently and persuasively about complex ideas (adducing appropriate forms of evidence), and develop and sustain a critical argument over a sustained period of research
B5 Reflect maturely and independently on own ideas/work/experience and relate to ideas and research in the field
B6 Identify a research topic/question/hypothesis, and use appropriate research methods to explore it
Learning Methods: Learning methods These skills are developed in seminars, class presentations, oral and written feedback on coursework, and guided reading.
Individual guidance is also provided in close supervision of coursework, of dissertation proposals, and of dissertations.
Assessment Methods: Assessment methods Coursework, dissertation and class presentation/participation

C: Practical skills

C1 Ability to seek and retrieve relevant information from a variety of sources (e.g. library, journals, WWW)
C2 Organise, structure and present an argument in writing, putting forward clear critical positions, and writing in a scholarly manner, making appropriate use of advanced specialist vocabulary and terminology
C3 Present work (whether written or oral) in an appropriate professional format
C4 Compile and present extended bibliographies and provide complex references according to accepted convention
C5 Propose, plan, execute and write up an original piece of research, paying due attention to proper professional practice and ethics
C6 Acquire key skills in conducting and reporting empirical research (e.g. use of data gathering instruments like observation, tests or questionnaires, simple data analysis)
Learning Methods: Learning methods This range of practical skills (1-6) is taught in seminars and developed through tutors' oral and written feedback on essays, and in supervision of written work.
Additional guidance is provided in special seminars on techniques and methodology.
Advice on writing essays and dissertations is given in the graduate handbooks of the two departments
Assessment Methods: Assessment methods These skills are assessed via coursework and dissertation

D: Key skills

D1 Clear, focused, relevant and effective written expression and oral communication
D2 Using relevant computational tools and software packages to obtain, store and process information stored in electronic form (e.g. from the Library, Web or DVD), and (where appropriate) to analyse data and results
D3 Use of simple descriptive and inferential statistics in linguistics; making and interpreting graphs and tables
D4 Analysis of tasks and identification of objectives; identification and use of relevant information sources; establishing main features of a complex problem; identifying and evaluating alternative solutions
D5 Participation in pair/group class tasks and seminar discussion (including evaluating own and others' contributions); ability to interact with others and grasp their point of view Participation in pair/group class tasks and seminar discussion (including evaluating own and others' contributions); ability to interact with others and grasp their point of vie
D6 Developing independent time management skills, initiative, and autonomous working and learning skills; making use of feedback from others to improve work.
Learning Methods: Learning methods 1 via essays/dissertation, seminar discussion and note-taking in lectures 2 via essays, dissertation and centrally provided training 3 via tasks involving counting data 4 via coursework, dissertations and seminar discussion 5 via group work/discussion in seminars 6 via deadlines, self-study and oral/written feedback/supervision from staff
Assessment Methods: Assessment methods 1 via coursework, dissertation and class presentation/participation 2 via coursework/dissertation 3 via coursework and (if on a relevant topic) dissertation 4 via coursework, dissertation and class presentation/participation 5 via participation 6 via OCS, coursework, dissertation and class presentation/participation


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: