About the course
BA Drama and Literature (including Year Abroad) allows you to follow modules in drama and literature, so you can study a wide range of dramatic texts, from Ancient Greek times to the present day, and develop an understanding of the principal developments in European Theatre. There is also the opportunity to spend your third year abroad.
You benefit from our Lakeside Theatre at our Colchester Campus, which has been established as a major venue for good drama, known for a commitment to new writing for the stage. Not only do many professional touring companies bring their productions of new plays to our Lakeside Theatre but there has been a wealth of new work produced by our own staff and students. An essential element of our Lakeside Theatre’s programme has been the opportunity it gives you to write or direct new plays, as well as re-define classics and re-discover neglected masterpieces.
Why study BA Drama and Literature (Including Year Abroad) at Essex?
The Centre for Theatre Studies at Essex is part of a unique literary conservatoire that offers talented students the support and confidence to respond both critically and artistically to the study of drama. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning playwrights, actors and directors, as well as leading academic specialists. At Essex we don’t just develop your discipline and scholarliness, we develop your sense of adventure so that you can strike at the heart of what makes us human and bring it to life on the stage.
Our Department is a vibrant conservatoire of scholars and practitioners who are committed to unlocking creative personal responses to literature, offering talented students the support and confidence to respond both critically and artistically to academic study. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning novelists, poets and playwrights, as well as leading academic specialists. At Essex you don’t just study English Literature, you study world literature in English. This breaks down traditional boundaries and liberates us to take you on a journey of discovery.
Why study this subject?
Through drama, you can become anyone, anywhere, at anytime. By understanding drama, you can learn to understand anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Plays often capture the essence of a culture or a group within that culture. They reveal the attitudes and opinions of their day.
Drama plays a major role in our lives. We all experience 'real life’ drama in the form of our own personal experiences as well as ‘real life’ drama in the news and current affairs. We are also exposed to fictional drama in film, on television, and in the theatre. By studying drama’s impact on our culture, you start to look more critically at what these media offer us and can choose whether or not to accept the messages that they give. By studying drama, you become intelligent spectators who can distinguish between good and bad drama as well as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ideologies. You can start making informed decisions about the drama that you see.
If you are studying within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, then you will have access to a range of exceptional facilities to enhance your learning and research, including our Lakeside Theatre.
Over the past three decades, our Lakeside Theatre at our Colchester Campus has been established as a major venue, known for a commitment to new writing for the stage. Not only do many professional touring companies bring their productions of new plays here but there has been a wealth of new work produced by our own staff and students.
An essential element of our Lakeside Theatre’s programme has been the opportunity it has given students to write or direct new plays, as well as re-define classics and re-discover neglected masterpieces.
Study abroad/placement opportunities
Within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, we operate an exchange scheme with universities in Denmark, France, Finland, Greece, Germany, Spain, and Italy (the ERASMUS programme), which you can apply to follow in your second year. This period of time abroad offers a host of benefits, including the opportunity to view the world (and literature) from another perspective. The nine-month course of study, from October to June, spent abroad, carries full recognition of your assessment for that year and counts towards your final degree result.
Our courses are characterised by choice and flexibility. Studying at Essex is about discovering yourself,
so your course combines compulsory and optional modules to ensure you gain key knowledge in the discipline
while having as much freedom as possible to explore your own interests. Our modules change from year to year
in response to new developments and innovation, but our
module directory can show you which modules are available to our current students.
Your course structure will depend on your unique interests, but this popular pathway gives you a flavour
of what you could study. For many of our courses you have a wide range of optional modules to choose from –
those listed below are examples of popular modules.
- Two second-year drama options
- Two second-year literature options
- Choose from a range of drama, literature and film studies options.
As a new undergraduate, you may find university-level learning, assessment and studying differs to school or college. Here at Essex, we understand and recognise this by having support in place, particularly during your first year when you may notice the change more.
If you are studying a non-science subject, then 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.
First-year assessment is a combination of written coursework, end-of-term tests, practical and laboratory work (where appropriate) and end-of-year exams.
Teaching methods and styles
At Essex we subscribe to a concept known as ‘Assessment for Learning’. This means that the ways in which we assess you are not designed solely for the purpose of assessing, but also to provide learning experiences in themselves.
Our methods of assessment for drama are many and varied. Drama is assessed mostly through a rich variety of coursework assignments which include both practical performance and written work, such as devised practical pieces, performances of extant texts, presentations, scripts, portfolios, dissertations, rehearsed readings, and written essays.
Methods of assessment
Within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, all of our courses are assessed in the same way. Your final mark for each module is determined half by coursework and half by examination. To reflect the importance placed on the acquisition of key skills, a mark for class participation is included in your coursework mark.
A degree in drama enables you to develop the graduate capabilities that employers value. You learn how to communicate with confidence, both orally and in writing. Our strong practical component equips you with the subject-related skills for degree-level employment.
Our graduates go on to become highly-regarded professionals in the cultural industries. Many now teach at all levels of the education system, while others progress to further research in drama and related subjects. Several graduates have become stage managers at venues across the UK, while others find work in varied areas including journalism, press relations, television production, magazine editing, copywriting, industry, commerce and law.
At Essex we take your employability seriously, helping you become a rounded individual with the ability to succeed, whatever your plans. You’ll find your department works with our Employability and Careers Centre to inform you about options to study or work overseas, your Faculty Employability Coordinator finds degree-related work placements, and our Students’ Unions ensures that, annually, over 700 students volunteer and more than 4,000 get involved in sports, clubs and societies.
At Essex you can gain new skills that look good on your CV, like paid placements through our frontrunners scheme, graduate-level paid internships, and opportunities to develop discipline-specific skills as part of your studies.
We help you understand your skills, and how to demonstrate these to an employer. You can get our extra-curricular employability award – the Big Essex Award – recorded on your transcript, receive one-to-one advice on careers, use our Essex CV guides on applying for work, learn from famous entrepreneurs and take part in workshops, and meet employers through on-campus events.
We develop your employability through fantastic opportunities, and give you the tools to explore the meaning of your unique experiences, so you are ready for your future.
Here at Essex, our students can undertake period of study or work abroad specifically tailored to his/her academic interests and future career plans. You are taught and assessed by your host university, so assessment may be in the form of written papers, oral or written exams, lab or project work, research, or work-based learning. All successfully completed pre-approved modules will be credited towards your Essex degree.
Study abroad is an excellent opportunity for personal development. It affords you the chance to become immersed in another culture over a sustained period, coming to know a country and its people in a way that you could not hope to as a tourist. It is also an opportunity to experience a different educational system and develop different skills. You learn to view the world (and your academic discipline) from another perspective, becoming more independent and confident.
Study abroad also enhances your employability. It helps your CV stand out from other candidates and signals to an employer that you have maturity, adaptability and organisational skills. As the world of business is becoming increasingly international, the experience of living abroad is, in itself, attractive to many employers. Depending upon your study abroad destination, you may also gain fluency in another language, which is a highly attractive skill to have as you enter the employment market.
If you are interested in learning another language then our Languages for All programme enables you to study a language, alongside your course, at no extra cost. You can take one of 50 taught language modules on a part-time day-time basis, or undertake flexible web-based learning, or opt for a language module taught in the evening. As employers can struggle to find graduates able to speak more than one language, Languages for All places Essex graduates in a very advantageous position.
Within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, we offer taught Masters courses and research supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by dissertation. All our MAs can be taken either full-time for one year or part-time over two years. There is normally considerable freedom for you to choose the topics of your essays and dissertation. Where appropriate, films, plays or pieces of creative writing can be submitted as your dissertation.
Our staff offer a wide range of expertise in different literatures and various approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages.
Entry requirements for 2015
Please see our Clearing pages for information about our course vacancies.
Entry requirements for 2016
- A-levels: ABB – BBB, including an essay-writing subject
- GCSE English: C
- IB: 32 - 30 points, including a Higher Level essay-based subject grade 5 (we consider IB certificates at the Higher level on a case-by-case basis)
- Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 45 level three credits at merit (or above).
- 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 with minimum 5.5 in each component (or equivalent). Different requirements apply for second year entry.
We accept a wide range of other qualifications from applicants studying in the UK, EU and other countries. For further details about the qualifications that we accept, please e-mail us
with information about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
We welcome applications from mature students, students interested in direct entry to the second year and students wishing to defer entry.
Come to one of our Open Days at our Colchester or Southend campuses and see for yourself
what makes Essex an outstanding place to study.
Our Open Days are your chance to attend general and subject-specific talks, tour our campus and accommodation, chat to current
students about their experiences, and find out more about what Essex has to offer.
If you can't make one of our Open Days then don’t worry, we offer regular Campus Tours at our Colchester and Southend campuses.
Please let us know which campus you want to visit using the email addresses below and we’ll organise a tour with a current
student for you.
Please try to give four working days' notice and if you or any of your guests have any specific individual needs. Please include
details in your email and we can arrange to tailor your visit accordingly.
We offer campus tours from Monday to Friday at 12.30pm. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know when you would like to come.
Watch our Colchester Campus tour on Vimeo.
See our videos on our University of Essex Vimeo channel.
Apply for 2015 entry
Apply for a place on this course through Clearing for October 2015 entry.
Apply for 2016 entry
Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the
UCAS website in the how to apply section.
Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school.
Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or
worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.
The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend
Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.