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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 Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities (CISH), 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).

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.

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

Studying at Essex is about discovering yourself, so your course combines compulsory and optional modules to make sure you gain key knowledge in the discipline, while having as much freedom as possible to explore your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are just a selection of those available. The opportunity to take optional modules will depend on the number of core modules within any year of the course. In many instances, the flexibility to take optional modules increases as you progress through the course.

Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.

The language module that you will study will depend upon your level when you arrive in the department. We are happy to accept students with no previous knowledge of the language (except for French where an A level is required if you wish to major in this language). Please refer to the progression pathway table to find out which modules are suitable for your linguistic profile.

In your first, second and fourth year you can choose optional modules from other subject areas if you wish.

Our courses allow you to study up to two, three or four modern languages. The below example structure shows a student studying French and Spanish.

Year 1

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.

How do you study culture? We analyse the history, methods, and theories of social anthropology, using a range of ethnographic and case studies (from witchcraft to the aesthetics of nomadic people). Develop a critical awareness of how your own culture, and that of others, can be studied.

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.

Want to build your confidence when both speaking and writing in French? Develop your university-level French language skills, improving your aural comprehension while boosting your grammar knowledge and vocabulary. Learn to appreciate, summarise and evaluate a piece of text. Expand your understanding of French culture and society.

To whom do you say “¿Cómo estás?” And to whom do you say “¿Cómo están?” Gain the basic linguistic skills to enjoy a visit to Spain. Learn the dialogue, structures and tenses needed for everyday situations, and develop the writing skills required for short messages.

Year 2

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 is the body understood and experienced around the world? In what ways does our culture affect this? Does gender and power also play a part in our understanding? And why does our experience of death vary across cultures? Study the basic facts of human existence from a cross-cultural perspective.

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.

Are you ready to study abroad? How will it improve your French? Prepare for your period abroad by examining how your language skills will develop, alongside topics related to French gastronomy, music, and suburban life. Study literature, with a focus on creative writing and participate in assessed filmed role-plays.

Want to improve your Spanish? Need a chance to focus on difficult areas of Spanish for English speakers? Further your language abilities by undertaking practice of oral skills. Learn to produce written work in Spanish. Expand your Spanish so that you can incorporate more sophisticated structure in your communication.

Final year

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.

What impact has the printed press had on our social and cultural life? What about radio, cinema, TV and recorded music? And how important is all this in the light of new technological advancements? Examine the development of our mass media culture, from the nineteenth century to the present day.

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.

Want Final Honours level competence in French? Wish to deal quickly and precisely with any written or spoken document? Refine your knowledge of French grammar and vocabulary to near-native level comprehension. Undertake collaborative research into topical issues, and consolidate your understanding of French culture.

Want to develop your Spanish comprehension? Improve your spoken and written language skills? Sharpen your grammatical accuracy? Study topics related to Hispanic culture, starting with text to improve vocabulary and grammar, then undertaking related listening and speaking activities. Build coherent and cohesive skills for both speaking and writing in Spanish.

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

A-level (or equivalent) French required, if French is taken as the major language

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.

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.

IELTS entry requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. (Different requirements apply for second year entry.)

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

Visit days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our visit 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 visit 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.

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