Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies

4 students standing outside on the grass with 2 reading notes from books while a third writes

Specialists across literature, screen and stage

We are an interdisciplinary department with expertise in English literature, drama, creative writing, journalism, film and screen media. Our courses are taught by leading academics, writers, film makers and journalists, and allow you to follow specialised pathways or to combine your interests across our subject areas.


Literature was one of the founding subjects at the University of Essex and since our department's inception in the 1960s under the poet Donald Davie, we have nurtured a tradition of distinguished writers, who have shaped literature as we know it.

Although our department built its reputation on scholarly and critical achievements across English, comparative and world literature, the addition of centres for creative writing, theatre studies, and film and screen media further expanded our range and combined with journalism, a new subject area, give our department its uniquely diverse and interdisciplinary character.

Our teaching draws on our internationally recognised expertise across a range of research specialisms. In literature, our specialisms span from Arthurian legends through Shakespeare and early modern literature to feminist and queer theory, postcolonial writing, and dystopian fiction. Our creative writers are experts in experimental and contemporary poetry, science fiction and fantasy, nature and landscape writing. Our drama academics are professional theatre practitioners, working in the theatre world as writers, directors, actors and theatre-makers, as well as being researchers of theatre history. Our film specialists explore interactive screen media, adaptation, world cinema and documentary and are professional filmmakers with extensive industry experience, and our journalists have held senior editorial and correspondent roles with national and international media organisations.

Did you know we're also home to the UK's most innovative teacher?


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choose us?

Top 10 for overall student satisfaction for Drama in the National Student Survey 2022
21st in the UK for Communication and Media Studies (Complete University Guide 2022)
86% of our LiFTS graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2022)
12th in the UK for Creative Writing (Complete University Guide 2022)
Top 40 in UK for overall student satisfaction for Media Studies (National Student Survey 2022)
1st for Drama and Dance (The Guardian University Guide 2022)
Ranked in the top 250 for English Language and Literature in the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2021)
Drama students rehearsing with script
Man holding microphone
Essex graduation ceremony
4 students standing outside on the grass with 2 reading notes from books while a third writes
Drama students rehearsing with script
East 15 Dance studios
Two students with books
A row of old looking library books
Our research

The Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies has internationally recognised expertise in the literatures of the British Isles, the Americas, and Europe, combined with strengths in world cinema, film theory and practice, contemporary theatre and poetry, as well as adaptation and translation studies. 

Find out more
Latest news
Story about doubt wins international writing prize
21 Sep 2022
Class of 2022: Marina Cusi Sanchez
12 Jul 2022
UK’s biggest theatre conference comes to Essex
08 Jul 2022
4 students standing outside on the grass with 2 reading notes from books while a third writes
Contact the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: +44 (0)1206 872626