Film Studies and Literature (Including Foundation Year)

Staff member? Login here

Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Film Studies and Literature (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

UK and EU applicants:

All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you

  • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
  • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
  • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
  • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

Standard offer:

Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP
  • T-levels: Pass with E in core

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

International applicants:

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Student 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 required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Student 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

Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen 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.

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

Staff photo
Dr Andrew Birtwistle

Reader in Film and Sound

Canterbury Christ Church 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.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 23 October 2023 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.
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 0 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  IA111-3-FY-CO  Major Writers in English Literature  Core  30  30 
02  IA145-3-FY-CO  Research and Academic Development Skills  Core  30  30 
03  IA108-3-FY-CO  The United Kingdom During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II (1952 – 2022)  Core  30  30 
04    IA121-3-FY or IA101-3-FY  Core with Options  30  30 

Year 1 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  LT705-4-SP-CO  The Humanities Graduate: Future Pathways  Compulsory  15  15 
02  LT111-4-FY-CO  Origins and Transformations in Literature and Drama  Compulsory  30  30 
03  LT121-4-FY-CO  Approaches to Film and Media  Compulsory  30  30 
04  LT182-4-AU-CO  Text Up Close: Reading for Criticism  Compulsory  15  15 
05    Outside Option(s) from list  Compulsory with Options  30  30 

Year 2 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  LT204-5-FY-CO  Criticism: Practice and Theory  Compulsory  30  30 
02    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
03    LT203-5-FY or (1 x Spring and 1 x Autumn) option(s) from list  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
04    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 

Year 3 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01    Final year option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
02    Final year option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
03    Final year option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04    Capstone Project  Compulsory with Options  30  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 across the fields of Literature and Film Studies (including a variety of English and other literatures in translation, encompassing several genres and periods, as well as a variety of films, encompassing a number of different genres, periods, and national cinemas).
  • To provide a framework for students to think critically about both written and visual texts, and to explore the links between literature and film.
  • To encourage students to exercise their own judgements in the examination of both primary and secondary literary/visual texts.
  • 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 literatures in English and in translation, including knowledge of a variety of genres (poetry, fiction, and drama)

    A2: A range of cinema from the late-nineteenth century to the present day, including knowledge of a variety of cinemas from different regions and genres

    A3: Some major figures in literature and film, and the major social, theoretical, cultural tendencies or movements influencing the fields covered by the degree scheme

    A4: The complex relationship between film, literature and culture (an appreciation of the way in which literary and visual texts are embedded in their cultural and historical milieux, and an awareness of their role in creating cultural change)

    A5: Certain key formal and theoretical links between film and literature

    A6: The key critical debates that have informed the fields of literary studies and film studies (and some familiarity with the most recent critical interventions)

    A7: Methods of critical analysis and argument

    A8: Specialised study in the final year in areas students have identified as being of particular interest

    Learning methods

    1-8 are acquired through lectures, classes and assessed coursework (with regular feedback, both oral and written, from tutors).

    Literature lectures on the first and second year offer surveys of the major periods of literature covered in the course and address the major approaches and issues (mainly 1 and literary aspects of 3, 4, 6 and 7).

    Film lectures and film screenings on the first and second year cover major periods and address major approaches and issues in the field (2 and film aspects of 3, 4, 6 and 7).

    Year 1 and 2 classes in literature focus in more detail on textual examples, and give emphasis to student discussion and/ or presentation, preparing their argumentative skills for formal assessment (7).

    Film classes are similar in format, but focus on close viewing of examples of cinematic texts, while film teaching in all 3 years emphasises the relevance of key critical movements that apply to both film and literary studies.

    A range of Year 2 and 3 classes bridge the two fields and address the intermedial relations between the visual and the written (5, but also enhancing 1-3, 4, 6 and 7).

    In Year 3, the format changes to a two-hour seminars, 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 (7, 8).

    In addition, students are expected to extend and enhance the knowledge and understanding they acquire from classes and lectures by regularly consulting texts and IT materials related to the course. This independent research is then consolidated in essay work.

    Assessment methods

    Formal assessment of students' knowledge and understanding (1-8) takes place through coursework essays, written examinations, and in some cases oral presentation mark.

    Students are expected to analyse written and cinematic 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.

    B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

    B1: Hone skills in analysis and interpretation of texts

    B2: Read complex written texts and view complex visual 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.

    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 part of a process of acquiring skills 1-6.

    Students apply the skills used there in 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 these skills in controlled conditions.

    C: Practical skills

    C1: A vocabulary and a critical terminology for the analysis of literary and cinematic 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, cinematic, and generic conventions

    C5: The use of a critical methodology in written work, employing reasoned argument to appreciate and evaluate literary and cinematic texts

    C6: An effective style of writing to convey a range of responses as readers of literary and cinematic 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 courses.

    Assessment methods

    Assessment is by essays, examinations, and in some cases oral presentation.

    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% of 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 relevant key skills are implicit throughout the degree, and are supported in their development by seminar work, feedback on essays and one-to-one discussion in office hours.

    Assessment methods

    Communication, IT, working with others, and self-improvement are assessed through coursework and in some cases the optional Independent Study.

    Communication (with aspects of problem solving, working with others, and self-improvement) is assessed through a module 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.


    If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing

    If you're a current student and have questions about your course or specific modules, please contact your department.

    If you think there might be an error on this page, please contact the Course Records Team by emailing