English and United States Literature (Including Placement Year)

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Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
English and United States Literature (Including Placement Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
BA T723

Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: BBB, including one essay-based subject

IB: 30 points, including a Higher Level essay-based subject grade 5. 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

Prof Duncan James Salkeld

Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature

University of Chichester

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  LT705-4-SP  The Humanities Graduate: Future Pathways  Compulsory  15 
02  LT111-4-FY  Origins and Transformations in Literature and Drama  Core  30 
03  LT161-4-AU  Introduction to United States Literature  Compulsory  15 
04  LT182-4-AU  Text Up Close: Reading for Criticism  Compulsory  15 
05    LT142-4-SP or LT109-4-SP or Spring option from list  Optional  15 
06    Option(s) from list  Optional  30 

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  LT203-5-FY  "I, too, sing America": Identity, Diversity, and Voice in United States Literature  Compulsory  30 
02  LT204-5-FY  Criticism: Practice and Theory  Compulsory  30 
03    LT210-5-AU or LT213-5-AU  Compulsory with Options  15 
04    LT214-5-SP or LT215-5-SP  Compulsory with Options  15 
05    2nd year Literature option(s) from list or outside option(s)  Optional  30 

Year Abroad/Placement - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  LT702-6-FY  Placement Year  Compulsory  120 

Year 3 - 2022/23

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01    Final Year Literature option(s) (United States)  Optional  30 
02    Final Year Literature option(s) (English)  Optional  30 
03    Final Year option(s) from list  Optional  30 
04    LT831-6-FY or LT835-6-FY  Compulsory with Options  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 and United States literatures 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 English and United States literature, from the early modern period to present-day, including knowledge of a variety of genres (poetry, fiction, and drama)

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

A7: To provide the opportunity to apply academic learning outcomes in a work-related context

A8: To develop essential work-based skills throughout the placement

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 course.

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 1 and 2, and further developed in seminars, as well as one-to-one tutorials where appropriate.

The seminar- based work of Year 3, like that of Years 1 and 2, 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 3 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 3 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% fo 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, 3-5 are assessed through coursework and dissertations.

D4 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.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: crt@essex.ac.uk.