(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Film Studies and Art History (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
History of Art, Architecture and Design
Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies
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.
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.
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.
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.
A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The
specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of
Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is
optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).
Rules of assessment
Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.
Dr Dominic Paterson
Senior Lecturer in History of Art / Curator of Contemporary Art University of Glasgow
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.
To offer a varied, flexible and distinctive curriculum across the fields of Art History and Film Studies (including the study of a variety of films, encompassing a number of different genres, periods, and national cinemas.)
To provide the opportunity for an in-depth understanding of Modern European and North American art, and to explore the links between visual art and film.
To introduce students to a variety of interpretative methods and forms of questioning appropriate to visual artefacts; including historical inquiry, theory of representation, aesthetic approaches to the value and function of visual art, and critical approaches to the conditions of the production, consumption, interpretation or reinterpretation of visual artefacts.
To encourage both critical engagement with and enjoyment of the visual and cinematic arts, particularly through first-hand observation.
To provide the knowledge and skills (critical inquiry and argument, imaginative understanding, written, spoken and visual interpretation, communication and presentation) that will not only stand students in good stead for more specialised academic careers, but will also enhance their opportunities for employment in a wide range of other 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 visual art from the Early Renaissance to the present day, including theoretical issues that have been central to the Western European and Latin American traditions in visual art. A range of visual art from the Early Renaissance to the present day, including theoretical issues that have been central to the Western European and Latin American traditions in visual art.
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: (in greater depth) one or more periods, places, theoretical texts and forms of visual art.
A4: The relationships of works of visual art or film to the broader cultural and historical context
A5: Some substantive areas of current research in the two fields of study including an awareness of the development of these areas of research
A6: The basic methods of critical analysis and argument appropriate to visual artefacts.
A1-A6 are acquired through lectures, classes and assessed coursework (with regular feedback, both oral and written, from tutors).
Weekly film screenings and classes in all years cover major periods and address major approaches and issues in the field (A2 and film aspects of A4, A5 and A6). Film classes focus on close viewing of examples of cinematic texts.
Art history lectures demonstrate skills of visual analysis and theoretical understanding in the context of a particular historical/geographical framework. These skills are developed further through seminar discussions and presentations.
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 of students' knowledge and understanding takes place through a variety of assessment instruments including written essays, take-home research papers, in-class slide tests, summaries of weekly readings, and unseen written examinations, including questions on visual material in photographic form.
B: Intellectual and cognitive skills
B1: Analyse a given body of material, breaking it down into component points or parts and highlighting the most significant among them.
B2: Synthesise evidence, arguments or ideas from different sources productively in a self-directed manner
B3: Reason critically and offer judgements based on argument
B4: Respond to unfamiliar artefacts, issues or ideas with an open mind
B5: Solve problems using knowledge and experience.
Intellectual and cognitive skills are initiated through lectures in Years 0 and 1 and further developed in seminars, as well as one-to-one tutorials where appropriate.
The seminar-based work, encourages critical discussion arising from the analysis and interpretation of texts and visual artefacts or films with an emphasis on being able to reason cogently, argue coherently and present one's own viewpoint persuasively. This is done through in situ feedback (formally and informally, as appropriate) in oral and written presentations and group based critical discussions.
The seminars are intended as part of a process of acquiring skills B1-B5. Students apply the skills used there in individually assessed essays.
Some modules are assessed only by essay, while other include exams. Where exams are included, they act as a summative assessment, testing students’ ability both to demonstrate and to sustain the skills mentioned here in controlled conditions.
C: Practical skills
C1: Visual Skills: including observation (including recognition of materials and techniques but also other aspects of works of visual art and film such as formal organisation or narrative structure), description (using ordinary as well as specialised language) and analysis.
C2: Research Skills: including use of appropriate methods to locate primary and secondary sources, and works of visual art and film
C3: Critical Skills: including selection of relevant material, and appraisal of other people's arguments on the basis of familiarity with source materials and current literature
C4: Writing Skills: including use of proper academic conventions, creating logical and structured narratives, and effective use of language to convey particular and general responses of readers or viewers to works of visual art, and to articulate complex conceptual issues and create frameworks for understanding them
Skills C1 and C3 are introduced in lectures and developed through classes and through seminars.
Discussion after film screenings develops C1 and C3 in a filmic context. Guidance on skills C1, C2, C3 and C4 is given in teaching, in supervision of essays, and in Departmental Handbooks. The strategy ensures that, having acquired a basic command of the range of skills, students exercise these skills in the more specialised modules.
A member of staff gives students choosing one of the Art History Dissertation modules (the capstone module) Dissertation module formal guidance on the development, research and writing of specialist studies, in the form of written instruction and in presentations.
Assessment is by written essays, take-home research papers, in-class slide tests, summaries of weekly readings, and unseen written examinations, including questions on visual material in photographic form.
Provision is made for students to undertake a capstone research project in Art History or Film in the third year in lieu of a taught course.
Essay questions are designed to test all skills. Examination questions test skills C1, C3 and C4.
D: Key skills
D1: The ability to communicate information, arguments and ideas cogently and effectively in a range of different contexts using a range of different aids or resources; special ability to deploy visual material in a variety of media in the context of presentations or written work
D2: Students should be able to make use of IT for research purposes (including searchable databases such as library catalogues and internet sources), to present assessed work, and be able to use email.
D3: Management of projects and timetables. Students should be able to apply knowledge and understanding in order to make judgements and offer solutions in a range of contexts.
D4: Ability to participate in seminar discussion; ability to respond effectively; ability to work in a variety of group contexts
D5: Students should have the ability to work to briefs and deadline, to take responsibility for their own work, and to reflect on their own learning and performance and make constructive use of feedback
The four key skills are implicit throughout the degree.
Communication is developed through seminar discussion, but also through attending lectures, writing essays, and delivering presentations.
Visual media skills are developed through presentation exercises in which students create PowerPoint presentations, and through drawing attention to the media whereby visual images are presented to us, both in terms of informing students but also developing a critical appreciation of the relationship between image and context in any medium.
Students are expected to acquire IT skills based on some initial guidance.
Students will be given the opportunity to work constructively and productively in groups, and be able to participate effectively in seminars.
Communication, IT, working with others, and self-improvement are assessed through coursework and the capstone project.
Communication (with aspects of problem solving, working with others, and self-improvement) is assessed through coursework, including individual and group presentations and participation marks.
Marks penalties systems for late submission of coursework ensure that students are aware of the need to organise their private study time, and deadlines provide key milestones throughout each year of study.