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?
Our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at Essex is a unique literary conservatoire that offers talented students the support and confidence to respond both critically and artistically to their academic study. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning writers, film-makers and theatre-makers, as well as leading academic specialists. Our courses span the globe: our expertise is geographical as well as chronological, practical as well as theoretical. At Essex you don’t just study English Literature, you study world literature in English. This breaks down barriers and liberates us to take you on a comparative journey of discovery across literature, screen and stage.
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.
The special characteristics of our courses are flexibility and choice. In your first year, you usually take four or five modules that include pre-requisite(s) for your course but, in many cases, mean you can try subjects you have not come across before. If you are taking a humanities or social science, then you have the greatest choice, as most of our first-year modules do not assume any specialist knowledge.
With a small number of exceptions, if you successfully complete the first year of your BA, then you are qualified to enter the second year of that course and a range of other courses: for example, if you take economics, politics, philosophy and sociology, then you have a choice of at least nine possible single or joint honours courses at the end of your first year. This means you can change your course, providing you have taken the appropriate pre-requisites and places are available. We offer a range of optional modules in your second- and final-years and most courses allow you to undertake a final-year project, an individual piece of research on a topic that interests you.
We operate a credit framework for our awards, which is based on principles widely used across the UK university sector. Each module has a credit rating attached and our standard three-year course consists of 360 credits (120 credits in your first year, and 240 credits across your second and final years).
Please note that module information on our course finder provides a guide to course content and may be subject to review on an annual basis.
Year 1 core and optional modules
Introduction to Drama;
Literature: Origins and Transformations;
Close Reading Skills (taken in either the autumn or spring terms); and
one of the following: Undergraduate Writing Skills for the Humanities and Social Sciences (taken in either the autumn or spring terms), Introduction to United States Literature (autumn term), or Introduction to European Literature (spring term).
Year 2 core and optional modules
Two second-year drama options; and
two second-year literature options
Year 3 core and optional modules
Year 4 core and optional modules
One final-year drama option;
one final-year drama option or independent study option;
one final-year literature or film studies option; and
one final-year literature option or independent study option
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.
Your employability and Essex
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.
A-levels: ABB-BBB, with one A-level in an essay-based subject
GCSE English: C
BTEC qualifications in relevant disciplines will be considered on an individual basis depending on the units studied. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.
IB: 32-30 points (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).
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 and students wishing to defer 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.