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English at Durham

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    Hi! I've got an offer from Durham for English (college allocation pending), though I'm having trouble deciding between Durham and York at the moment. I've heard quite a bit about the latter, though not as much about the former.

    I was wondering how you would rate the department and course - what you liked/didn't like about it, which modules you enjoyed etc? Would you say the course is more traditionally inclined? (The list of modules I found seem to suggest so)

    Also, I'd like to know more about assessment methods - is there more emphasis on written exams, or extended essays? Do many graduate with Firsts? Looked up the numbers on Unistats and the rate is apparently 22%, though I don't know if this varies from year to year.

    Thanks
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    (Original post by _JSL_)
    Hi! I've got an offer from Durham for English (college allocation pending), though I'm having trouble deciding between Durham and York at the moment. I've heard quite a bit about the latter, though not as much about the former.

    I was wondering how you would rate the department and course - what you liked/didn't like about it, which modules you enjoyed etc? Would you say the course is more traditionally inclined? (The list of modules I found seem to suggest so)

    Also, I'd like to know more about assessment methods - is there more emphasis on written exams, or extended essays? Do many graduate with Firsts? Looked up the numbers on Unistats and the rate is apparently 22%, though I don't know if this varies from year to year.

    Thanks
    I'm firming Durham this year. All I can tell you is that the only unis that beat it for English are Oxford, Cambridge and UCL. There is a huge emphasis on written exams as far as I am aware, many modules being 100% exam. Have a look here http://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/facul...works/q300.pdf if you click each module and scroll to the bottom, it tells you how they are assessed

    I have been in a similar situation to you - torn between Nottingham and Durham. But turning down a Durham offer seems ridiculous as it is such an amazing place to study Eng lit.
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    I'm in a similar situation, but I'm torn between Bristol and Durham. I'm tending towards Bristol but that's because I prefer it as a city- when it comes to the course I suspect Durham is a bit better and they always say, go for the course! I'm so stuck!
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    (Original post by lozvegas)
    I'm firming Durham this year. All I can tell you is that the only unis that beat it for English are Oxford, Cambridge and UCL. There is a huge emphasis on written exams as far as I am aware, many modules being 100% exam. Have a look here http://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/facul...works/q300.pdf if you click each module and scroll to the bottom, it tells you how they are assessed

    I have been in a similar situation to you - torn between Nottingham and Durham. But turning down a Durham offer seems ridiculous as it is such an amazing place to study Eng lit.
    Just typed out a reply but it seems to have vanished mysteriously for some reason! Which college accepted you, if I may ask? (: I got my confirmation from Durham about six weeks ago, though I still haven't heard back about my college allocation. I hope they haven't forgotten about me!

    Generally, it seems Durham is more exam-oriented, while York is more coursework inclined. The modules at York seem to offer a lot more in terms of variety and choice, though I'm not the most consistent worker and tend to fare better in timed exams. I really do prefer Durham as a place, though, so it's a tough decision to make! Thankfully, my last university has yet to reply, so I still have some time to make up my mind.

    (Original post by communiKate)
    I'm in a similar situation, but I'm torn between Bristol and Durham. I'm tending towards Bristol but that's because I prefer it as a city- when it comes to the course I suspect Durham is a bit better and they always say, go for the course! I'm so stuck!
    It's a good dilemma to have, though! I thought I'd be able to decide more effectively with more information, though I've been hearing so many different things from different sources that I don't really know what to think any more. Some say go for the course, others say go for the university as a whole/the collective experience it offers as a place. Both do matter quite a lot to me, though, so... Do you have m/any friends going to either school?
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    (Original post by _JSL_)
    Just typed out a reply but it seems to have vanished mysteriously for some reason! Which college accepted you, if I may ask? (: I got my confirmation from Durham about six weeks ago, though I still haven't heard back about my college allocation. I hope they haven't forgotten about me!

    Generally, it seems Durham is more exam-oriented, while York is more coursework inclined. The modules at York seem to offer a lot more in terms of variety and choice, though I'm not the most consistent worker and tend to fare better in timed exams. I really do prefer Durham as a place, though, so it's a tough decision to make! Thankfully, my last university has yet to reply, so I still have some time to make up my mind.
    I got Collingwood I applied there so all was good. I'd ring up if I were you - I heard about 3 weeks after I got my offer. Where did you apply?

    Yes, Durham IS more exam-orientated, but I think that may be why it's seen as a more traditional degree, almost on a par with Oxbridge. I know prestige isn't everything, but Durham is impressive. Someone said to me that you have to remember, you'll be at uni for 3 years; the degree will be with you for life! If you prefer Durham as a place, go there. I think the modules at Durham are amazingly varied, just more traditionally swayed.
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    (Original post by _JSL_)
    Hi! I've got an offer from Durham for English (college allocation pending), though I'm having trouble deciding between Durham and York at the moment. I've heard quite a bit about the latter, though not as much about the former.

    I was wondering how you would rate the department and course - what you liked/didn't like about it, which modules you enjoyed etc? Would you say the course is more traditionally inclined? (The list of modules I found seem to suggest so)

    Also, I'd like to know more about assessment methods - is there more emphasis on written exams, or extended essays? Do many graduate with Firsts? Looked up the numbers on Unistats and the rate is apparently 22%, though I don't know if this varies from year to year.

    Thanks
    What do you mean by traditional? I doubt there are any media/film type modules as Durham doesn't have a media studies or film studies department so it would be a big effort to find a lecturer for the module, etc. However you can take modules from other departments, so you can take sociology modules about film and popular culture, or they may be relevant history of art, history or politics modules. You can take 2 out of your 6 first year modules in any department (providing they don't clash with your English modules' lectures), and 2 modules from another department over years 2 and 3 (ie 2 in second year and 0 in third year, or 1 and 1 or 0 and 2).

    Here are some media-related modules in other departments: http://www.dur.ac.uk/faculty.handboo..._code=SOCI3441
    http://www.dur.ac.uk/faculty.handboo..._code=EDUC1011
    http://www.dur.ac.uk/faculty.handboo..._code=EDUC1441
    http://www.dur.ac.uk/faculty.handboo..._code=HIST2901
    You can see the assessment methods for each module and the modules available here: http://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/facul...works/q300.pdf

    I have 2 friends doing English Lit and I think they have 4 exam modules and two coursework only (essay) modules.

    I remember looking at York when I was looking at unis and I think all their modules were essay and seminar assessed only, no exams and you had to study a language or read foreign literature or something? So obviously that's a huge difference from Durham if you do/don't like essays/exams and do or don't want to have to study another language. It may have changed though since I looked so please don't take my word for it!

    You can take language modules (including foreign literature) modules at Durham, but you don't have to.

    You can be flexible with your dissertation if you have a particular interest though. Eg if you were interested in the portrayal of sport in literature in a certain time period, you could write an English Lit dissertation on that (or equally, a history or sociology dissertation).
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    Oh, and here are the degree results:

    2010/11: 32% first class, 65% 2:1, 2% 2:2, 0% 3rd.

    http://www.dur.ac.uk/spa/statistics/...te/2.8results/
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    (Original post by undergradstudent)
    What do you mean by traditional? I doubt there are any media/film type modules as Durham doesn't have a media studies or film studies department so it would be a big effort to find a lecturer for the module, etc. However you can take modules from other departments, so you can take sociology modules about film and popular culture, or they may be relevant history of art, history or politics modules. You can take 2 out of your 6 first year modules in any department (providing they don't clash with your English modules' lectures), and 2 modules from another department over years 2 and 3 (ie 2 in second year and 0 in third year, or 1 and 1 or 0 and 2).

    Here are some media-related modules in other departments: http://www.dur.ac.uk/faculty.handboo..._code=SOCI3441
    http://www.dur.ac.uk/faculty.handboo..._code=EDUC1011
    http://www.dur.ac.uk/faculty.handboo..._code=EDUC1441
    http://www.dur.ac.uk/faculty.handboo..._code=HIST2901
    You can see the assessment methods for each module and the modules available here: http://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/facul...works/q300.pdf

    I have 2 friends doing English Lit and I think they have 4 exam modules and two coursework only (essay) modules.

    I remember looking at York when I was looking at unis and I think all their modules were essay and seminar assessed only, no exams and you had to study a language or read foreign literature or something? So obviously that's a huge difference from Durham if you do/don't like essays/exams and do or don't want to have to study another language. It may have changed though since I looked so please don't take my word for it!

    You can take language modules (including foreign literature) modules at Durham, but you don't have to.

    You can be flexible with your dissertation if you have a particular interest though. Eg if you were interested in the portrayal of sport in literature in a certain time period, you could write an English Lit dissertation on that (or equally, a history or sociology dissertation).
    Hm, I somehow missed that bit about modules when looking through the Faculty Handbook. I wasn't too sure about how many you could take from another department - I had the impression it was more traditional in the sense that the modules under the English department didn't include, say, related popular culture/history/politics modules, though I see now that it's possible to take a few from another department. Thanks for clarifying that

    I do want to study another language, actually! Not sure whether it'd be better to do it as an undergraduate module, or as an extracurricular class/Languages For All, though (I suppose the latter is safer since it won't pull down overall results). York is still more or less essay/seminar-based it seems, with the exception of the translation exam for the foreign language module. I'm told it might change this/next year though I'm not aware of the specifics. I'm leaning more towards exams at the moment because it's what I'm used to and I generally do better at them. I wouldn't describe it as a significant preference, though.

    Thank you for the statistics, too! They seem to vary... significantly from what I found on Unistats. Should probably have verified that... I'm just going to hope my last school holds off replying to me for now
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    (Original post by lozvegas)
    I got Collingwood I applied there so all was good. I'd ring up if I were you - I heard about 3 weeks after I got my offer. Where did you apply?

    Yes, Durham IS more exam-orientated, but I think that may be why it's seen as a more traditional degree, almost on a par with Oxbridge. I know prestige isn't everything, but Durham is impressive. Someone said to me that you have to remember, you'll be at uni for 3 years; the degree will be with you for life! If you prefer Durham as a place, go there. I think the modules at Durham are amazingly varied, just more traditionally swayed.
    It's great that you got your choice college! I applied to St. John's after browsing the college pages briefly and trying that 'choose a college' quiz. I am a little worried now, though, having heard talk about its religious reputation and all that. I'll just wait and see where they place me for now - I'll probably drop them an email soon.

    That's true too! And it really does seem like a lovely place to be
    Well, I'm hoping I'll stumble upon some make-or-break factor that helps me come to a decision by the end of the month or so - I doubt my last reply will take that long to come.

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