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BA European Studies and Modern Languages

Why we're great

  • Our students are extremely happy - we score consistently high in student satisfaction.
  • You are taught by a team of international experts in a range of subjects at Essex and abroad.
  • Each of our courses enables you to study at an excellent European university of your choice.

Course options2017-18

UCAS code: R9T9
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Philosophy and Art History (School of)
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666
Email admit@essex.ac.uk

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About the course

Switch on the news any day of the week, or pick up just about any national newspaper, and you will be sure to come across an item on Europe. It is clear that the future of Europe is a geo-political question of profound importance for the future of the world we live in. Yet, few of us truly understand the complex phenomenon that is modern Europe.

In order to achieve such an understanding, one must examine Europe’s economic, legal, and sociological context, as well as its historical origins. Just as important is an understanding of Europe’s rich cultural traditions. The artists, writers, musicians, composers and film-makers of Europe have exerted a cultural influence that even now is not eclipsed by the dominance of America on the world’s stage.

Alongside your European studies modules, you also become fluent in your choice of one or more modern European languages. You can spend your third year in Europe, immersing yourself in European cultures. Language is fundamental to our thought, our relationships, and our civilisations. Through language we transmit knowledge, from inviting someone for coffee, to promoting the latest scientific theory, to settling global political disputes. How could speaking another language change the way you think about and describe the world?

Here at Essex, our teaching and research offers maximum flexibility for you to study areas that interest you, so you can pursue a wide range of topics including:

  • European identity and the development of the EU
  • Representations of non-Europeans in art
  • Europe’s colonial history
  • Religion in Europe
  • EU law

The study of Europe is vital for ongoing discussion of what Europe’s future ought to be; a discussion that will profoundly affect every European citizen. Through a course in European studies, you will acquire the knowledge, skills and experience to make an active contribution to one of the most important political and cultural processes of the century.

Based within our Interdisciplinary Studies Centre (ISC), you will have access to expertise in modern languages, literature, film, history of art, history, politics and sociology, with experienced staff in all disciplines.

We have one of the largest and most prestigious language and linguistics departments in the world, a place where talented students become part of an academic community in which the majority of research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, placing us firmly within the Top 10 departments in the UK for research quality (REF 2014) and among the Top 150 departments on the planet (QS World University Rankings 2017).

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond our University campus. You can spend your third year at one of the European universities with whom we have an exchange agreement, at no extra cost (2017 entry).

You spend your year abroad in a country where your chosen language is spoken.

Studying abroad allows you to explore and become immersed in European culture, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

Our expert staff

You are taught by a highly qualified, enthusiastic team with wide-ranging research interests and proven academic track record.

Our European studies staff teach in departments across the university, and specialise in a wide range of topics including European politics, economics, law, societies, history, literature, film, philosophy and art.

Current research is exploring EU-China relations and security operations, the analysis of civil security systems in Europe, and EU social policy.

In addition to helping you acquire practical foreign language skills, our modern languages staff share their expertise with you in the areas of professional translation, interpreting and subtitling, film and art, business, and culture.

Specialist facilities

  • Access to two multimedia language teaching labs which are equipped with state-of-the-art Melissi Digital Classroom software, and fitted with computers integrating audio-visual projectors and large screens
  • A new 20-position Interpreting Lab
  • Meet other linguists and practice your language skills at our Language Cafés
  • Experience world cinema at our Modern Languages film club
  • Our Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence provides a forum for pan-European research

Your future

As a graduate in European Studies, your year abroad will have developed your confidence, independence, maturity and other invaluable life skills. You will have exactly the combination of skills and experience most in demand from a wide range of employers.

This provides excellent preparation for areas which includes import/export management, banking and financial sectors, academia, airlines, information technology, management, museums, teaching, non-governmental offices, and development agencies in the UK and abroad.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of organisations including:

  • The Civil Service (especially the Foreign Office)
  • Embassies around the world
  • The European Council on Foreign Relations
  • The Europe Direct Contact Centre in Brussels
  • The Spanish Congress of Deputies
  • LEAD Europe

Other recent graduates have also undertaken traineeships with the European Commission, for the Directorate-General for Education and Culture, and various internships in journalism and with NGOs.

We also work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory modules and options chosen from lists. Below is just one example of a combination of modules you could take. For a full list of optional modules you can look at the course’s Programme Specification.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change.

The language module that you will study will depend upon your level when you arrive in the department and we are happy to accept students with no previous knowledge of the language. The structure shown below is an example of the progression for a student who has an A Level or equivalent in Spanish, but it is possible to start at an initial level with no prior knowledge of Spanish. Please refer to the progression pathway table to find out which modules are suitable for your linguistic profile.

Year 1

Want to build your confidence when both speaking and writing in Spanish? Develop your language abilities, expanding your vocabulary and improving your listening and oral skills. Expand your understanding of Spanish and Latin American culture and history through the use of texts, films and conversations with native speakers.

Want to learn German from scratch? Study the German language from basic to advanced level, so that you can communicate in complex situations and read extended texts, like newspaper articles. Learn how to give short talks or presentations in German and be able to write German coherently.

What created a European identity? Was it religion, politics, war, art? And how do Europeans interact with the world? How is Europe viewed from afar? By studying themes like the Reformation, and focusing on individual writers and artists, test the idea and myth of Europe from many perspectives.

This module is an introduction to some of the most influential European writers from the Enlightenment period up to the present day. You study significant works of literature that sparked particular movements or represent crucial literary innovation. The works selected are novels, novellas, short stories and plays, and we examine these texts within their historical and political contexts. This module will help you to build understanding of the development of genres, forms, styles, content and ideas.

How do we forge, manage, and maintain better relationships between nations? How do relationships between countries affect the decision-making of governments? You study specific historical events including the two world wars and the cold war, as well as contemporary issues including security issues, nuclear technology, and drone warfare.

Are you ready for graduate employment? Like to improve your core skills? Wish you had some relevant work or volunteering experience? Attend workshops, events and activities at the University and elsewhere to build your knowledge, abilities and experience. Polish your CV, while developing your employability, citizenship and life skills.

Year 2

Want to improve your Spanish? Study topics related to social and historical events in Spanish-speaking societies to build your vocabulary and knowledge. Learn to interact in everyday situations, as well as in discussions on more specialised topics. Become familiar with more complex grammar, while developing your oral and written skills.

Got an idea for a project, job or not-for-profit enterprise that will enhance local well-being? We study the concept and practice of social entrepreneurship, using case studies of work that has helped local communities, people or the environment. From this, you develop your project proposal or business plan.

How are decisions made in the EU? What impact do states and government have on European policy, and vice versa? Gain an understanding of the relationship between the EU and its members through studying the origins of European Integration and the institutional systems of the EU.

Since the Enlightenment, religious belief in the Western World has been under new pressures to justify itself in terms compatible with the worldview of modern science. You explore the work of philosophers who have sought to show that we can and need to make a place for religion in modern cultural and social life, through the work of Hegel, Rosenzweig, Habermas, and Levinas.

Want to do a dissertation in your final year? Have a great idea for a topic that you wish to study in depth? The short lectures, practical research exercises and discussion opportunities on this module help you develop your own coherent research project.

Final year

Want near-native level competence in Spanish? Wish to deal quickly and precisely with written or spoken documents? Refine your knowledge of Spanish grammar and vocabulary by studying different texts. Practice your writing with essays and reports, and learn to express yourself clearly in complex situations.

Want to develop your German comprehension? Improve your spoken and written language skills? Sharpen your grammatical accuracy? Learn to master complex situations in German and how to deal with extended texts, like newspaper articles. Advance your language abilities, building coherent and cohesive skills for both speaking and writing in German.

How was the history play invented in early modern England? And why? Examine Shakespeare’s English and Roman history plays, as well as works by Marlowe, Jonson and Ford. Understand how the Elizabethan history play responds to the radically different kinds of history being written and translated in early modern England.

What did the first anthropologists, discovering places outside Europe, say in their biographies? How does this contrast with contemporary anthropologists? What did the first explorers put in their travel reports? Or early missionaries in their diaries? Study primary source materials, plus films, to learn more about depictions of other societies.

Are you doing a dissertation in your final year? Need help and advice on your research findings? Our workshop module lets you present your work to academic staff and your peers, gaining valuable feedback and guidance while you write your dissertation.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Taught through lectures plus classes of about twenty students
  • You take a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your modules every week
  • Activities designed to develop your practical language skills, such as role-play and class presentations
  • Cultural and social themes are explored through film, music, the internet, theatre and literature

Assessment

  • Language abilities are assessed through role-plays, translations, essay writing, creative writing and quizzes
  • Written examinations are also taken for the majority of modules at the end of each academic year
  • Weighted 50% coursework and 50% exams

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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB
If Portuguese is taken as the major language, A Level pass (or equivalent) in Italian, Spanish or Portuguese or first language level fluency in Italian, Romanian or Spanish is required.

IB: 30 points. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.
To study Portuguese as your major language, you need a pass in Higher Level Italian, Spanish or Portuguese or fluency in Italian, Romanian or Spanish.

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.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email admit@essex.ac.uk for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 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 listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 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.

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Applying

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.

Applicant Days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our applicant days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your applicant day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email visit@essex.ac.uk so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

Visit us

Open days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder 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 prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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