Our four-year BA English and Comparative Literature (including foundation year), will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills in order to support your academic performance.
This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.
You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.
After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies.
From ancient texts to contemporary literature, from US literature to Petrarch and the English Imagination, our course provides the chance to immerse yourself in a wide range of topics, whilst also providing the opportunity to focus on a specialist area of your choice. Topics covered include:
- US and Caribbean Literature
- Modern Literature
- Petrarch and the English Imagination
- The Victorians
Essex has nurtured a long tradition of distinguished writers whose work has shaped literature as we know it today, from past giants such as the American poets Robert Lowell and Ted Berrigan, to contemporary writers such as mythographer and novelist Dame Marina Warner, and Booker Prize-winner Ben Okri.
Your degree in literature takes place in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, which is home to a variety of Academic disciplines. You will have the opportunity to benefit from seminars, lectures and events from all the disciplines available in the department. These include film studies, drama and theatre studies, creative writing and journalism.
Our expert staff
We have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department, all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.
At Essex, we have an impressive literary legacy. Our history comprises staff (and students) who have been Nobel Prize winners, Booker Prize winners, and Pulitzer Prize winners.
Our Department is committed to unlocking creative personal responses to literature. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning novelists, poets and playwrights, as well as leading literature specialists.
Our academic staff specialise in a range of areas including modernism, comparative and world literature, Shakespeare, the Renaissance, travel writing, nature writing, translated literature, cultural geography, Irish and Scottish writing, U.S. and Caribbean literature, and the history of reading.
By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:
- We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials.
- Our Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
- Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends.
Take advantage of our extensive learning resources in our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies to assist you in your studies:
- Meet fellow readers at the student-run Literature Society or at the department’s Myth Reading Group
- Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading literature specialists at the Essex Book Festival – the festival director is based in our department, and loads of events take place on campus
- At Essex, we give you the opportunity to learn a language at no extra cost alongside your course – a great opportunity when you are studying literature from around the world
- Access the University’s Media Centre, equipped with state-of-the-art studios, cameras, audio and lighting equipment, and an industry-standard editing suite
- Produce content for our student media platform Rebel
- View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
- Learn from leading writers and literature specialists at weekly research seminars
- Our on-Campus, 200-seat Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
- Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested
A good literature degree opens many doors.
The number of careers that lead from courses in literature is almost as large as the number of graduates, but two particular areas in which our graduates have had recent success are publishing and the theatre. One of our former students is now in charge of editorial at a large publishing house, and another has just taken over running one of the country’s major theatres.
Our recent graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of desirable roles, including:
- The Civil Service
- Journalism and Broadcasting
- Museum and library work
- Commerce and finance
We also work with the university’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
- Guarantee a place on your chosen course upon successful completion of your foundation year.
- Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
- Your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students
- A typical timetable includes a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your four modules every week
- Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions
- Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention
- Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, book reviews, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects.