What are the challenges facing the world today? How can nations work together to tackle contemporary issues? How do language barriers hinder relationships between states? Is globalisation an opportunity or a threat?
Global Studies and Modern Languages at Essex explores the complex modern world in which we live. You will examine how the problems and developments of today are profoundly international in character. Globalisation has led to a shrinking of borders as travel has increased and information technology has developed rapidly. Yet, the borders constituted by language communities continue to exert a strong influence on the character of the globalised world and effective inter-language communication remains as essential as ever.
This course allows you to choose modules from many academic disciplines, including history, sociology, philosophy and politics, in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the complex problems in the modern world. Within these you will examine issues such as:
nature and the environment
war and areas of political strain
Language is fundamental to our thought, our relationships, and our civilisations. Alongside your Global Studies modules, you will also become fluent in your choice of one or more modern languages. You will spend your third year abroad immersing yourself in another culture and enhancing your language skills.
By studying within our Interdisciplinary Studies Centre (ISC), you will have access to expertise in modern languages, literature, film, history of art, history, politics and sociology, and more, with contributions from experienced staff from around the University.
You become fluent in one or more optional modern language.
You spend your third year studying abroad in a partner institution.
You are taught by a team of international experts in a range of subjects at Essex and abroad.
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad.
Studying abroad allows you 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.
If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university
Our expert staff
Our staff within the Interdisciplinary Studies Centre teach in departments across the University, and specialise in a wide range of topics including history, law, literature, film, politics, and sociology.
We are a team of internationally recognised writers and lecturers with expertise across the arts, humanities and social sciences. As well as being one of the UK’s leading universities for social science, and the highest ranking institution for political science, our staff research topics that stretch across the globe – we are working on issues in Latin America, North America, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
Our language and linguistics staff are internationally renowned. Their books dominate the reading lists at other universities. All our language teachers are native or bilingual speakers, we maintain excellent student-staff ratios, and we integrate language learning with linguistics wherever there is synergy.
In addition to helping you acquire practical foreign language skills, our staff share their expertise with you in the areas of professional translation, interpreting and subtitling, film and art, business, and culture.
Our Albert Sloman Library’s collections of Latin American, Russian and Eastern European materials are of national significance
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
Extra-curricular activities are available through student societies
Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
Our graduates are well-placed to address the complex issues which confront the modern world. You can gain a diverse set of skills as well as a wide-ranging knowledge of the world’s most current and significant problems.
Our course provides you with an excellent basis for going on to a career in media, education, politics, the Civil Service, international organisations such as the UN and NATO or non-governmental organisations, and many other fields. Additionally, companies and organisations in the UK and abroad are struggling to find university graduates who are fluent in at least one other language, apart from English – making you even more employable as a graduate fluent in your chosen language.
We also work with the university's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
UK entry requirements
If Portuguese is taken as the major language, A Level pass (or equivalent) in Italian, French, Spanish or Portuguese or first language level fluency in Italian, French, Romanian or Spanish is required.
BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.
IB: 32 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) 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.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.
To study Portuguese as your major language, you need a pass in Higher Level Italian, French, Spanish or Portuguese or fluency in Italian, French, Romanian or Spanish.
Access to HE Diploma:15 level 3 credits at Distinction and 30 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.
T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.
What if I have a non-traditional academic background? Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.
You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here
If you are a mature student, further information is here
International & EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select
your country page
where you'll find this information.
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 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.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.
Components and modules explained
Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.
Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.
What this means
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.
Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.
In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.
Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:
The department or school the module will be taught by.
In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.
Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture
Certain ideas shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us - ideas like democracy, free speech, individualism, free markets, and human rights. These ideas took their definitive modern form during a politically and intellectually revolutionary stretch of history known as the Enlightenment (ca. 1650-1800). This interdisciplinary module examines this period and thus serves as an essential prerequisite for students who want to understand the intellectual currents that run through the world they live in. Graduating students often rank it among the most useful modules they have taken.
This module introduces students to the study of international relations, with a particular emphasis on two broad fields: international security and international political economy. Topics in international security include state and non-state actors, the nature of power, the causes of war and peace, terrorism, international institutions, and human rights. Topics in international political economy include trade, finance, European integration, the origins of underdevelopment, government responses to disasters, and foreign aid. Throughout the class, students are encouraged to apply theoretical concepts to real world events.
Democracy in Europe and the United States, 1789-1989
Democracy cannot be taken for granted. There was a long road to modern democracy and universal suffrage. Evolution of existing systems, revolutions, and wars created what is generally called Western Democracy. This module will explore the development of democracy in Europe and the United States over the last 200 years. It will examine how democratic states were established, challenged and reborn from the late eighteenth century to the late twentieth century. Europe experienced dictatorships, two World Wars and the fall of the Iron curtain in this time period, but it also saw the expansion of citizenship and civil liberties, the establishment of
parliamentary democracies on a global scale and the emergence of the welfare states with greater social provisions for its populations. In the year that followed its creation, the United States rapidly expanded its franchise, but it also continued to exclude many people from the democratic process well into the twentieth century. The module will also investigate the crisis of the welfare state, the rise of Neo-Liberalism, and the rise of populism--all challenges to democratic systems in the past and today.
Making the transition from school to University studies can be challenging. This module will introduce you to University life and enable you to acquire the study skills to make a success of your degree. It also orients you to work, volunteering and extra-curricular activities so that you can acquire additional skills and experience while you study.
The World in Question: The Social, Cultural, Political & Environmental Legacies of the Enlightenment
How have contemporary societies been shaped by the legacies of the Enlightenment, colonialism, and the different phases of capitalism? This interdisciplinary module helps you to critically understand some of the key forces and processes that have shaped the challenges we face in the 20th and 21st century. It is divided into three broad themes; Empire, The Self, and Nature. We’ll be examining processes of ‘othering’ that were intrinsic to colonialism; changing conceptions of the self; as well as both the causes of and potential solutions to the ecological crisis we are confronting today. The module is co-taught by academics from Art History, ISC, LiFTs, Philosophy, Psychoanalytic Studies and Sociology.
Social Entrepreneurs, Sustainability and Community Action
Did you know that the not-for-profit sector is expanding fast in the UK, and offers meaningful jobs that can contribute to positive social change and ecological sustainability? This module introduces you to this sector and the concept and practice of social entrepreneurship using case studies of initiatives that have helped local communities, disadvantaged people and the environment. It also gives you the opportunity to develop your skills and use your creativity and imagination to design your own project or enterprise.
Global Challenges in Interdisciplinary Perspective: Water Conflicts, Water Cultures
Access to water is one of the most urgent global challenges facing us today. Vital for health and well-being, as well as integral to indigenous cultures and industrial processes, water is a threatened commons and contested commodity. In this module, we will explore global and local case studies that highlight challenges of scarcity, contamination, privatization, and climate change, and the cultural importance of bodies of water for diverse communities. We will examine water-related problems, such as economic and urban development, grassroots activism, political conflict, community relations, heritage and public health.
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.
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
Other teaching methods will depend on your individual combination of subjects
Assessed through a combination of written coursework and end-of-year examinations
Other assessment methods will depend on your individual combination of subjects
Fees and funding
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
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.
For information on transferring from another university, applying when you are not at school or college, and applying for readmission, please see How to apply and entry requirements
If you are an undergraduate student residing in the UK who has received an offer to study with us in October 2023, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Applicant Days. Our Colchester Campus Applicant Days run from February to May 2023 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus Applicant Days run from March to June 2023 on various weekdays and Saturdays. Applicant Days provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. We appreciate that travelling to university events can be expensive. This is why we have increased our Applicant Day Travel Bursary cap, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Applicant Days, including Terms and Conditions and eligibility criteria for our Travel Bursary, please visit our Applicant Days webpage.
If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Applicant Days if you are able to, so if you’d like to book a place, please contact our Applicant Day Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Colchester Campus
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
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.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification 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, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the 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 students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and
Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.
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