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English and Comparative Literature

Course overview

(BA) Bachelor of Arts
English and Comparative Literature
University of Essex
University of Essex
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
BA Q210

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.

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.

External Examiners

Prof Duncan James Salkeld
Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature

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

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 LT111-4-FY Origins and Transformations in Literature and Drama Compulsory 30
02 LT182-4-AU Text Up Close: Reading for Criticism Compulsory 15
03 LT705-4-SP The Humanities Graduate: Future Pathways Compulsory 15
04 LT161-4-AU Introduction to United States Literature Compulsory 15
05 LT171-4-SP or LT109-4-SP or LT142-5-SP Compulsory with Options 15
06 Option(s) from list Optional 30

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 LT210-5-AU or LT213-5-AU Compulsory with Options 15
02 LT214-5-SP or LT215-5-SP Compulsory with Options 15
03 LT203-5-FY or LT248-5-AU and (LT228-5-SP or LT249-5-SP) Compulsory with Options 30
04 LT204-5-FY Criticism: Practice and Theory Compulsory 30
05 Option(s) from list Optional 30

Year 3 - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 Option(s) from list Optional 30
02 Option(s) from list Optional 30
03 Option(s) from list Optional 30
04 LT831-6-FY Independent Literature Project Compulsory 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 comparative literature in theoretical contexts.

To enable students to exercise their own judgements across a range of genres and literatures.

To acquaint students with a range of theoretical and comparative frameworks.

To enable students to think critically about their own reading and writing.

To provide the knowledge and skills (creative and intellectual development, critical inquiry and argument, imaginative understanding, written and spoken communication and presentation) to stand students in good stead for more specialised academic study, as well as enhancing 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 literatures, from the early modern to the present day, including the understanding of a variety of modes (poetry, fiction, drama)
A2 A range of key approaches to writing from Anglo-American to Caribbean to European.
A3 Major literary and theoretical figures in the field and major literary tendencies or movements
A4 The relationship between literature and culture and an awareness of the writers role in creating cultural change
A5 Key methods of literary analysis and research and writing skills
A6 The function of influence and diverse traditions in understanding comparative literature
A7 Specialised study in the final year in the form of an independent project
Learning Methods: 1-7 are acquired through lectures, classes, workshops and continually assessed coursework. Classes focus on textual examples and give emphasis to student discussion and/or presentation, preparing argumentative and analytical skills for formal assessment. In addition, students extend and enhance knowledge and understanding of writings they study in classes by independent research.
Assessment Methods: Formal assessment of student skills, knowledge and understanding (1-7) takes place through coursework essays, presentations, portfolios and group projects.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Show an ability to engage in the practice of comparative criticism and critical writing
B2 Show an ability to reflect critically on their own work and that of others
B3 Read complex texts and comment cogently on them
B4 Reason critically and argue coherently
B5 Think independently and creatively
Learning Methods: Learning methods
Intellectual and cognitive skills are initiated through lectures, classes and workshops in year 1 and 2, 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 set 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 their comparative judgements, 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.

Assessment Methods: Assessment is by coursework essays, presentations, writing assignments, portfolios, and group projects.

C: Practical skills

C1 A vocabulary and a critical and analytical terminology for the analysis of writing
C2 An ability to write on a variety of literatures and modes and genres
C3 A capacity for working independently and under guidance
C4 The use of accepted conventions of presenting essays, references and bibliographies, and an ability to challenge these conventions
C5 An effective style or range of styles to convey a range of responses as readers of literary texts
C6 A range of methods to research projects
Learning Methods: Practical writing skills are developed through practice in workshops, group activities and the development of writing skills through peer review and reflective practice and research
Assessment Methods: Assessment is by coursework essays, writing assignments, portfolios, group projects and capstone project

D: Key skills

D1 Clear, focussed, relevant and effective written communication and oral communication
D2 Use appropriate IT to research and present material
D3 Basic grasp of numeracy as it relates to literary form eg. sestina
D4 Management of projects and timetables, finding, understanding, organising and creatively processing information
D5 Ability to read an argument in seminar discussion, engage in workshopping constructively, engage in collaborative projects, ability to work in group contexts
D6 Receptivity to feedback
Learning Methods: The six 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: Key skills are assessed through coursework and through the participation 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: