Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Comparative Literature and Drama - BA (Hons)

UCAS code QW24

2019

The study of Comparative Literature complements the study of Drama, as the analytical and comparative skills you learn are suited to both programmes, and results in a strong understanding of broad range of texts, written or performed. Your literary appreciation will aid the practical drama elements, as you will have a clear understanding of the cultural and historical background of the playwright.

Overview

In Comparative Literature, you have the opportunity to study texts ranging from Classical Antiquity to the present day in English translation, including works by such famous authors as Homer, Ovid, Dante, Goethe, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Flaubert, Proust and Kafka, as well as British classics such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Joyce and Woolf. 

Studying on a joint honours Comparative Literature and Drama degree, you gain expertise in drama and theatre, and a broad, international perspective on literary history, literary movements and literary genres. It also allows you to compare themes and figures across various different cultural backgrounds, as well as to compare the works of English and American authors to European ones.

We also offer programmes with an opportunity to spend a year studying abroad in either America or Europe, where you can experience different cultures as well as different approaches to the study of literature and drama first hand.

Independent rankings

In the National Student Survey 2017, over 95% of final-year Comparative Literature students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course. Comparative Literature at Kent was ranked 1st for overall satisfaction.

Drama at Kent was ranked 13th for research quality and 19th overall in The Complete University Guide 2018.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

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Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

This literary-critical module deals with a wide range of selected international tales ranging from antiquity to the present day. The module addresses issues such as the development of oral folktales and fairytales into written forms, and discusses various short prose genres including Aesopian fables, myths, folktales and fairytales, as well as tales of the fantastic, nineteenth-century literary fairytales, and the modern short story.

The framework of discussion comprises a general survey of the issues that face the comparatist. In the course of the module students practice different methods of literary analysis, including close reading and comparative analysis by examining story-motifs and story-structures, and by considering symbolic meanings in the light of psychoanalytic concepts. Students also explore questions of transmission and transformation (e.g. how stories and motifs travel from one culture to another and alter in shape and emphasis) and questions of genre (for example the fantastic). A selection of critical texts on narrative devices and patterns, on psychoanalytical, structuralist and feminist approaches to the fairytale and on genre theories are studied in conjunction with the primary texts.

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This is a module about the implications of Peter Brook's idea that anything can be seen as 'an act of theatre’. Students will be invited to see beyond their own default assumptions about theatre, and introduced to a diverse range of methods of devising their own performances. In practical workshops, they will learn about professional practice, warming up, performance skills, and collaborative group work; and will explore the possibilities of creating performance from a range of starting points, including (for example), space, body, voice, text, or character. This practical exploration will sit alongside an introduction to related aspects of history and theory. In seminars, students will be introduced to such concepts as theatre spaces, traditional play texts, non-traditional theatre texts, historical approaches to characterisation (e.g. Stanislavski, Mike Leigh), physical approaches to acting (e.g. Grotowski, Lecoq), and the different models for engaging an audience (e.g. Brecht, Boal). The experience will be enhanced by 4 ‘Theatre Forums’ within which students experience a short piece of performance by Theatre Companies/Performers who have emerged from the department, followed by an ‘open discussion forum, situating the work within the world of performance, and the influence that their university learning had in relation to their current practice. Students will be assessed by a short in-class performance and an essay. This module (together with Making Performance 2) will offer a solid foundation for all modules in years two and three which involve creative performance work.

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Like Making Performance 1, this module is about the implications of Peter Brook's idea that anything can be seen as 'an act of theatre'. Students will be further encouraged to see beyond their own default assumptions about theatre, and introduced to an expanded range of methods of devising their own performances. In practical workshops, they will learn more about warming up, performance skills, and collaborative group work; and will explore the possibilities of creating performance from a further range of starting points, including (for example), improvisation, music, audience, personality, and aural and visual stimuli. Workshops will be longer than in Making Performance 1, to allow for a more developed engagement. Not only will this allow more time for discussion of the assigned reading, but it will also allow students to start engaging with technical aspects of theatre-making. Students will be encouraged to develop their own ideas about theatre and performance through a series of lectures in which different Drama lecturers talk to the students about their ideas of what theatre is and could be, and how these ideas have been shaped by their encounters with theatre as audience members, theatre makers, and academics. This module (together with Making Performance 1) will offer a solid foundation for all modules in years two and three which involve creative performance work.

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Who and what is 'a child', and what is adolescence? This module examines the representation of childhood and adolescence in a cross-section of texts from modern literature within the context of World Literature studies. Students will pay close attention to the rhetoric and techniques of storytelling woven around these themes, as well as to relevant socio-political debates, while also examining how these specific texts function across cultures.

The module encourages students to find innovative approaches to the topic, and at the same time invites them to explore the relationship between literature and childhood and the joy of reading often associated with childhood and adolescence.

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This module will introduce students to a wide range of films produced in different European and Latin American countries between the late 1980s and the present day. The module will focus on prevailing trends and dominant themes in contemporary European and Hispanic cinemas. The aim is to make students aware of the place which cinema has played and continues to play in the cultural life of Europe and Latin America, its importance in establishing national and supra-national identity, and the ways in which international relations are expressed through film production.

The module will begin with an overview of European and Latin American cinema, and then will be divided into geographically determined sections (Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain and Mexico) before being brought together again in the final conclusive lecture. The course is also designed to provide students with basic film terminology, as well as with basic tools for cultural analysis.

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This module focuses on the development of the Romantic Movement in Britain, France, Germany and Russia. It begins with the work of eighteenth-century writers such as Goethe and Rousseau, and then explores their influence upon British, French and German writers of the early Romantic period (Blake, Chateaubriand, Kleist). The middle part of the module mainly concentrates upon British Romantic poetry, grouped around themes such as art, nature, politics and identity. The final part of the module examines how Russian writers, such as Lermontov and Pushkin, responded to the legacy of their Western counterparts. There will also be exploration during the course of the module of sub-genres such as the Gothic (Walpole, Dacre, M. Shelley), the historical novel (Dumas) and the confession (de Quincey). The work of painters, such as Fuseli, Goya and Turner, will be available as a resource via Moodle.

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This module offers students a wide-ranging grounding in classical literature as a basis for the further study of Western literature within a comparative framework. Major works of ancient Greek and Roman literature are studied in order to enable students to appreciate the literary engagement with the following in the classical world: myth (including the stories of the Trojan War, Oedipus, Jason and Medea, and the founding of Rome); the relationship between human beings and the gods, between the sexes, and between the human and the animal; and the journey motif. Themes explored included sexuality, violence, conceptions of justice, metamorphosis, and madness. The module introduces students to some of the major genres of Western literature (tragedy, comedy, the epic), and considers how these were theorized by Aristotle. It also encourages students to reflect on questions of cultural transmission, and on why the myths represented in classical literature should have proved to be such a rich source for the literature of the West.

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This module introduces students to some of the most influential theories of World Literature, which are studied alongside a selection of literary examples. The theories include Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's reflections formulated in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Goethe coined the term 'world literature’ [Weltliteratur] to describe the international circulation and reception of literary works in Europe. In the course of the module, we reflect on the relationship between national literatures and world literature, and on the ways in which the literary market facilitates and complicates transnational exchanges of ideas. In addition, students are given the opportunity to hone their close reading skills by studying a selection of ancient and modern world creation myths. These include texts from the Near East, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. The module offers students the unique opportunity to analyse in detail different ways in which cultural backgrounds can shape literary productions, and how stories, motifs and themes travel across national boundaries. In the course of the module, we discuss key literary terms and concepts, including fictionality, literariness, translation, the canon, and the various modes of reception and circulation that shape our understanding of world literature.

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The twentieth-century imagination was marked by a spirit of doubt, especially of the Enlightenment faith in reason's capacity to advance mankind to happiness and freedom. In this module will be discussed some classic fictional explorations of freedom and social, political, religious and racial oppression which have had an international impact. These texts will be read as works of literature in their own right as well as contextualised with the ideas they question and propagate: universal happiness, human liberation, and morality without God, personal and political freedom, the self and its responsibility.

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The 'knowledge of good and evil' is unique to human beings. It informs the individual's conscience and determines the moral systems on which societies are based. The violation of moral codes is expected to induce the experience of guilt, while the lack of any sense of guilt is considered to be psychopathic. As the manifestation of an internal, and sometimes also external, struggle of varying intensity, guilt is an almost universal concern of literary texts; as is the quest for redemption, the alleviation of guilt and despair – through atonement, forgiveness or denial. In this module, we will analyse and discuss literary texts which explore the frequently fuzzy edges of the experiences of guilt and redemption as a human quandary and as perceived against changing conceptions of morality. Texts included in the reading list engage with questions of personal and collective guilt incurred with hubris, cruelty, the violation of animal rights, and genocide, etc.

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Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

This module will look at disability in the arts, covering theatre, film and visual art. The students will engage with the historical representation of disability within the arts and the way in which disability scholars have critically engaged with it. The students will also look at arts institutions (i.e. theatres, cinemas and galleries) and the disabling barriers within those institutions that prevent the full participation of people with impairments in the arts. This will culminate in an 'accessibility review', whereby the students analyse the adjustments made by arts institutions for people with impairments and the extent to which they are effective. Finally, the students will engage with examples of contemporary disabled artists whose impairments informs the aesthetic qualities of their work.

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The course will introduce basic skills related to the craft of acting, predominantly within naturalist and realist idioms. This acting course will provide a core practical introduction to mainstream acting techniques descended from the teachings of Stanislavski and his heirs, as well as providing an introduction to contrasting practice and theories from other significant practitioners.

The course will introduce students through practical means, to basic terms and concepts in mainstream rehearsal-room practice. The students will develop a practical and usable understanding of a contemporary approach to the Stanislavskian system. Students will explore approaches concerning the use of detailed textual analysis when preparing a naturalistic role for performance and concepts to be introduced will include text analysis and uniting, actions and activities, objectives, obstacles, stakes, and given circumstances. On some level, this course will allow the student to explore varied and contradicting ideas from the world of actor training.

All of these concepts will be explored in practice through a combination of physical and text exercises, improvisation and close textual analysis. Students will be encouraged to adopt a critical overview of the work and to evaluate for themselves, both via class discussion and through reflective analysis on paper, the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques to which they are introduced.

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Students' learning will be organised around research-based performance projects. These will be

based on detailed examinations of particular popular performance genres (for example, variety theatre, slapstick, cabaret, pantomime, radio comedy). Initially, students develop relevant performance skills, which might include, for example, addressing an audience, developing a stage persona, dance, singing, and/or simple acrobatics. In addition to this, they will be set weekly research tasks relevant to the particular genre they are studying. These tasks will lead towards a research essay, which will typically relate to the piece they go on to perform in the final assessed show. They will work independently on devising and rehearsing material related to both the research and the skills acquired in workshops, testing this material in front of an audience made up of other students on the module in their weekly all student practical session. Subsequently, they will develop their material to create a show in the style of the assigned popular performance genre, which will be performed to a public audience.

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This module engages with the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as texts for performance; approached through a variety of critical, theoretical and practical methods. It considers the theatrical, cultural and historical conditions that produced and shaped them; examines the role played by the drama in a violent, volatile and rapidly-changing society; investigates and applies the principles of early modern playing spaces and performance practices, and considers the variety of ways in which these works have been encountered and reinvented in the modern period.

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Students will explore the historical and cultural contexts through which the genre of musical theatre dance developed. Learning will be organised around detailed examinations of particular periods of musical theatre dance including its interface with popular dance forms in the 1920s and the emergence of variety and Vaudeville theatre; the integration of Latin, Indian and African influences through the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s; the standardization of jazz in the 1970s; and the influences of ballet, cabaret, and burlesque theatre across the century's period styles. Weekly workshop sessions will include a comprehensive isolation-based musical theatre/jazz warm-up, followed by movement studies focused in specific periods and the learning of a section of musical theatre dance repertory. In addition, students will view filmed musicals and other performances from specific periods and present critical analyses of these in small groups during seminar classes. Attendance at three live musical performances will also be required. These tasks will lead towards a research essay focused on a period, artist, or musical of the students’ choice.

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Recent theatrical productions as diverse in form as experimental performance, new writing, musicals and live art have shown a recurring fascination with adapting existing works by other artists, writers, filmmakers and stage practitioners. The transition of an existing source or stimulus to the stage – be it film, book, play, artwork, or other performance – is not a smooth one. It implies negotiations of numerous kinds, such as interlingual and intercultural, but also ideological, ethical, aesthetic and political. Drawing on the work of contemporary international theatre-makers, this module will explore specific approaches to stage adaptation, study adaptation methodologies and develop an understanding of the implications of adaptation. Through seminar discussions, practical and creative work, the module will prompt a reflection on performance's near-obsessive desire to return, rewrite and repeat, establishing a dialogue across languages and cultural identities.

During lectures, students will study several adaptation projects and strategies, which will form the basis for an essay. During seminars, students will experiment with a source of their choice and produce a simple, tech-light group performance based on this source, for which they need to be able to rehearse in the classroom, without any technical assistance. The presentation of the group performance will be followed by a reflective essay on the chosen source and its afterlife, an analysis of the group’s performance, and any other supporting material. The students are expected to keep their performance time and tech to a minimum, and will not be provided with technical support or extra rehearsal space for this module.

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This module addresses issues that are central to performance studies and to contemporary social and political debates through its focus on the representation and performance of sex, gender and identity. The module explores these ideas in relation to a diverse range of trans-historical performance examples.

Students will explore changing concepts of gender and sexuality and will consider how performance and performers have engaged with these social changes by examining both contemporary and historical case studies. The module explores questions of self, authenticity, performing difference and identities in transition. Students will interrogate performance using a range of theoretical approaches drawn from gender and sexuality studies in dialogue with practical experimentation. Drawing on this knowledge, students will have the opportunity to develop contemporary performance inspired and shaped by the models of practice which they have encountered. Issues of risk and ethics will be core concerns as students develop understanding of how sex, gender and identity can create a performance aesthetic

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This module studies different approaches to physical training for performance. It covers examples from around the world, though developments in Europe during the twentieth century provide a focus for the module. The module is oriented towards training for 'physical theatre' – a term which emerged at the end of the twentieth century and refers to a shift away from script, playwright and linear narrative. As such naturalism and the work of Stanislavski do not fall within the remit of this module.

Students will gain valuable practical experience of physical training in weekly workshops where they will explore the fundamental principles of training the body. Indicative areas include:

• Posture, centre, balance, energy, space, tension, relaxation, sound within the body.

• Precision and clarity in movement

• Presence, spontaneity and improvisation

The module makes elementary investigations into the relationship between training and performance composition, an aspect which will be further explored in Physical Theatre 2.

Practice will be contextualised by historical and theoretical reading that explores the landscape from which the term 'Physical Theatre' emerged in the twentieth century. Key historical figures include: Jacques Copeau, Antonin Artaud, Edward Gordon Craig, Jerzy Grotowski, Eugenio Barba, and Jacques Lecoq, among others. Grotowski's term 'Poor Theatre’ is a crucial starting point for the module, and we explore how a performer might be prepared for a performance style that focuses so fully on the performer’s body in space, and the demands that come with that style. Eugenio Barba’s ideas about ‘pre-expressivity’ and the study of performer training across different cultures and disciplines are also important.

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This module will introduce students to the emergence and development of 'site specific' performance through the 20th Century and into the 21st Century, interrogating what has progressively become a generic label applied to a range of theatre/performance forms which embrace ‘site’ however tenuous this relationship might be. The module explores the context in which ‘site’ becomes the determining feature in the creation of artistic and theatrical works in the mid-20th Century, specifically considering the development of site/land art, installation art, celebratory community theatre and the subsequent influence of this work on the emergence of ‘site specific’ performance and current practice. The module will introduce students to a range of practitioners who explore the ‘site’ of performance from a number of perspectives, and the theoretical contexts in which these approaches might be considered.

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The module will introduce some central developments in non-English language (Continental) European theatre since the Second World War. Students will study new approaches to writing for the theatre, and to staging work, read some landmark plays and debate aesthetic developments in their social, historical and political contexts. The journey will take us from the Theatre of the Absurd (Beckett, Genet), via new forms of Political Theatre in the post-war era (Brecht, Peter Weiss) and new explorations to extend drama to physical and affective means of staging (as in the work of Tadeusz Kantor and Pina Bausch) to eventually arrive at Post-dramatic Theatre (Heiner Müller, Elfriede Jelinek), and contemporary plays that reflect a post-migrational Europe of the twenty-first century (for instance in the works of Jonas Hassen Khemiri and Chokri Ben Chikha).

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This module addresses the influence of the early avant-garde on later experimental performance forms such as performance art and multimedia performance. It examines the impact of new technologies on performance and representation throughout the last century, and explores the relationship between media culture and theatre practice. Key modernist and postmodernist practitioners are discussed as the module traces the evolution of multimedia theatre and performance art. Students analyse how time, space and bodies manifest within a diversity of contemporary media art and performance art, and focus is placed on the nature of audience engagement. The module also considers questions concerning the live and mediated aspects of performance, and explores concepts such as 'liveness', ‘the body’, ‘intermediality’, ‘posthumanism’ ‘public space’ and ‘participation’.

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This module is designed to give a theoretically-grounded understanding of Comparative Literature and its methods. Students will have an overview of the brief history, fundamental debates, theories and different areas of focus of the discipline of Comparative Literature, as well as learning about the important schools of literary theory that are relevant to Comparative Literature.

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This module looks at a group of politically inspired literary texts, comics and films, some of which were produced under the totalitarian regimes which held sway in Europe between 1917 and 1989. Others deal with the Middle East conflict, and the Islamic revolution in Iran and Mao's Cultural Revolution in China, or power relations in other contexts. Most explore ways of challenging and subverting authoritarian power structures and of articulating a critique in what Bertolt Brecht called 'dark times’. But we also focus on less obvious negotiations of fiction and power, especially with respect to the various forms of power to which these texts are subject, in which they participate, and on which they reflect metafictionally. The approach is comparative in various ways as the texts range historically and culturally, as well as across genres and language barriers (Arab, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Greek, Polish, Russian and Chinese).

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This course introduces students to the fiction (novels, novellas, and short stories) of some of the most influential twentieth- and twenty-first- century Latin American writers. The module ranges from Borges to the extraordinary literary phenomenon or explosion of the 'Boom generation', the post-Boom novel, and the recently acclaimed Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño (all studied in English translation). The course offers students the unique opportunity to study a fascinating corpus of literature celebrated for its creative innovation, fictional games, puzzles, labyrinths, fabulous and supernatural events, multiple storytellers, and magical realist writing. The course also addresses questions of gender, class, and social, cultural, and technological changes, as well as representations of identity, subjectivity, time, space, and landscape.

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This module investigates representations of gender and identity in a selection of texts by women writers from different temporal, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. In particular, it seeks to explore the way in which representations of "self" and "other", love and desire, madness and motherhood reflect the respective socio-cultural contexts and the situation of women therein. Corporeal aesthetics, patterns of behaviour labelled as feminine or masculine, representations of transgressive conduct, and relations of power will be investigated, drawing on classic feminist theory and historiography (Wollstonecraft, Beauvoir, Irigaray, Butler, Moi, Badinter), psychoanalytical thought (Freud), narratology (Genette), genre-theory (Bakhtin) subject-theory (Sartre, Levinas, Derrida) and studies in visual culture (Barthes, Sontag, Mulvey).

Students will be asked to engage with the significance of images and representations of women and men proliferated through literature. These representations provide or question role models and perpetuate or problematise stereotypical versions of female/male goals and aspirations. Furthermore, emphasis will be placed on close readings of the selected literary works, on cultural differences and variations, and on how conceptions of sex and gender are changing in the course of time.

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This module introduces students to a range of nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century literary and cinematic representations of vampires from different cultural backgrounds. It explores the reasons for the abiding allure of the figure of the vampire both in popular culture and in literary fiction. The module examines the ways in which vampires function as polyvalent symbols of specifically modern preoccupations, for the emergence and popularity of vampire tales is intricately bound up with the advent and wider cultural ramifications of modernity. What do vampires represent in each of the works discussed, and what hidden desires and anxieties do they allow authors and filmmakers to express? The vampire is an allegorically highly potent figure which is suspended between life and death and between animal and human existence. Vampires frequently serve as foils to discuss more contentious matters, in particular questions relating to sexuality, gender roles, class, immortality and the desire for everlasting youth, being an outsider, and addiction.

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The award of literary prizes is a highly potent tool of cultural policy that frequently determines the wider national and international impact of a literary work. As such it is of crucial relevance to the study of comparative literature in a number of ways: the award of literary prizes reflects the beginnings of the successful or, as the case may be, the (ultimately) abortive formation of literary canons; moreover, it affords insights into processes of cultural production and marketing and reveals in which ways political and economic agendas are tied up with these processes; it also offers a perspective on transnational and transcultural aspects of the production and reception of literature and indicates shifting notions of the social function of literature and the writer; literature is thus understood as a cultural product in ever changing contexts which is frequently subject to external forces of which literary prizes become indicators or even 'enforcers'.

This module will investigate with the methods of literary and cultural studies the development of a number of major literary awards which have achieved global significance, among them the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Man Booker Prize, the Pulitzer Prize (for Fiction), the Prix Goncourt, and the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels. (This list may be modified according to precedent to accommodate the topical relevance of individual award winners in the future.) Seminars will develop a historical perspective by scrutinising and analysing award winners of the past and their most recent counterparts in their different production and marketing contexts as well as in changing reception contexts: seminars will include the close reading of individual works as well as their critical reception, and the analysis of marketing strategies in various media (e.g. reports in culture magazines, reviews, displays in book shops, translations, etc.); final winners will be interpreted in the context of the respective long and short lists from which they emerged; historical developments will be taken into account, for instance by investigating 'forgotten' prize winners in comparison with those who, largely through the agency of academic intervention, ‘made it’ into the canon; the module thus also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of literary studies.

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This module encourages students to establish connections between the critical analysis of literary texts and creative writing practice. Adopting a 'learning by doing'-driven analytical approach, students will engage both theoretically and practically with a selection of literary features and techniques. By reading closely a wide-ranging selection of short literary sample texts that encompass older and contemporary texts originally written in English as well as translations of texts written in languages other than English, we will analyse topics including character, point of view, setting, voice, style, structure, openings, and endings. We will also pay close attention to questions of translation and cultural specificity, and to the challenges of working with translations in a creative writing context.

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How is literature playful, and how does literary playfulness relate to the experience of play that is embedded in everyday life and across different cultures? By considering comparatively a broad selection of literary texts ranging from antiquity to contemporary times, we examine diverse themes and strategies relating to play. These include the humorous and ironic eroticism in Ovid's ars amatoria, masquerade and transvestism in Chinese poetry, language games and 'nonsense' writing in Lewis Carroll, Dada collages and Surrealist automatic writing, postwar Oulipo writers' formal experimentation, the integration of games such as chess and riddles in literary creation, and contemporary digital texts and conceptual artworks that provide a gaming experience to their audience. We will read these texts with specific questions about ludic writing techniques and the reader's experience of ludic literature in mind.

Throughout the module we will consider different notions and forms of play: as the negation of work, free and spontaneous action, technical games with rules, ritualistic spectacle, theatrical role-playing, or a mode of aesthetic experience. Drawing upon key theories about play and games offered by thinkers such as Huizinga, Caillois, and Bateson to articulate the different aspects of playful literature, we will also explore how the question of play provides a conceptual framework for comparison across different cultures and historical periods. Students will also gain insight into contemporary debates about playful participatory modes of literary production, gaming culture, and the exercise of one's creativity and imagination when navigating through a plethora of information and resources in daily life.

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally.  You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.

You can apply to add a Year Abroad to your degree programme from your arrival at Kent until the autumn term of your second year.  The Year Abroad takes place between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities.  Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme.  For a full list, please see Go Abroad.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad.  The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

This module will introduce students to practical and theoretical aspects of stand-up comedy. Initially, they will analyse the work of individual comedians, exploring such issues as comic theory, traditions of stand-up, and historical context. Later, they will work on creating their own short stand-up acts, generating original material and developing key performance skills such as developing persona, working an audience, improvisation, and characterisation.

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The module will offer students the chance to work on an independent creative project of their own devising, which will be a culmination of practical elements of their degree programme. Performance, workshop, design, stagecraft, producing or other creative skills encountered in earlier modules will be developed, extended and explored in autonomous work, which will be supported by regular group supervision sessions. Projects will also involve research which will contextualise the practical elements.

Supervision will take place in timetabled teaching slots, in which students involved in several projects will be supervised together. Practical outcomes might take the form of performances, workshops or public interventions.

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This module will ask students to critically engage with fundamental questions about theatre, such as 'what is performance?', 'who decides what a performance means?', 'why do we care about the fates of fictional characters?', 'why do we enjoy watching tragic events on stage?', 'what ethical questions does performance raise?', 'can performance be a kind of philosophy?'. After writing an essay focussing on one of these questions, the class will then turn its attention to a specific performance text and the various conceptual and philosophical questions that arise from it. Once they have engaged with a range of theoretical perspectives on the text the course will culminate in an assessed presentation where the students propose a production which engages with these issues.

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The module explores ‘physical theatre’ as a complex and rich term which describes works focusing on the primacy of the body in performance rather than text or character. It will focus on how Physical Theatre practitioners have deployed compositional techniques, and the principals that underlie such work. It differs from Physical Theatre 1 in focussing less on training for performance and much more on composition and different possibilities of structuring Physical Performance, using space, sound, movement, rhythm and the body.

Students will conduct in-depth investigations into the relationship between training and performance and devising techniques and compositional approaches through weekly practical workshops.

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Through weekly lectures, seminars and practical workshop sessions, the course will allow students to write scenes and experience the results and effects of their playwriting as performed by others. In the context of on-going discussions about the practice and characteristics of playwriting students will develop an understanding of the importance of revision and development of evolving work as mediated by the constructive criticism of group and convenor response.

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Over recent decades, dance in its various forms has established itself at the forefront of theatrical experimentation: from Contemporary Ballet to Post-Modern Dance, from Tanztheater to New Body Performances, dance invents, maps out and tests radical theatre and performance concepts, including thorough interrogations both of the performer's body and of the most fundamental parameters of theatrical presentation. Dance has thus, not the least, become a laboratory to investigate and meditate on the place of theatrical live performance within a mediatised sociocultural environment. This module studies some of the dramaturgic strategies employed in these new forms of choreography and dance performance.

A series of introductory lectures surveys the history and contexts of dance as a theatre genre and of choreography as creative method, while also addressing methodologies of analysing dance and its dramaturgic strategies. This will then be substantiated by an exploration of the works of selected choreographers, presenting a variety of styles and traditions from ballet to live art, in works by artists such as William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Lloyd Newson, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Ohad Naharin, Jerome Bel, and others.

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This module engages with Shakespeare by considering its unique resilience as a body of plays, focus of cultural mythology, and source of inspiration within modern theatrical culture. As well as surveying the Shakespeare work of major practitioners (The RSC, National Theatre, Shakespeare's Globe), the module will involve at least two theatre visits, as well as hands-on engagement with performance-making, performance reconstruction, and historical research.

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This module introduces the applied theatre form, and considers the historical and social context in which the form developed. It offers students the opportunity to both understand and apply workshop techniques, planning, facilitation and management of projects within an Applied Theatre context. Practical work is based on a theoretical understanding and grounding in the historical and social contexts of Applied Theatre. The module will be structured in 2 distinctive parts:

The first introduces and considers the historical development of applied theatre, current debates, methodologies and case studies within the field. This stage of the module will include a range of lectures, seminar discussions, and exploratory/task based workshops.The second stage will focus on developing associated practical skills to include project planning, management, workshop and facilitation skills.

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The aim of this course is to introduce students to the specific acting challenges presented by the classical texts of Shakespeare and his contemporaries and to facilitate, through practice, an in depth examination of proven analytical and practical approaches to these challenges. Instruction in the analysis of language structure and verse forms, verse structure, style, metre, imagery and language texture forms a key component to this course.

Through a classical repertoire, the student will be taught a systematic analysis of verse structure which, they will learn, is an integral part of an actor's development. This work on unambiguous structural matters will enable the student actor to articulate experience in time, avoiding the risk of leaving performance at the level of the pursuit of feeling and expression. Focus will also be placed on how this analysis can direct the performer, facilitating discovery in both action and character.

The course will also create an awareness of the vocal, physical and emotional demands placed on the performer when working with these plays and through practice, promote knowledge of how the actor’s instrument can meet these demands.

The module will run in two parts, the first part focusing on the demands of the verse monologue and its performing challenges, culminating in a solo performance assessment. The second part will explore performance text analysis when working with group scenes and how this analysis can direct the performer. The course will close with assessed practical scene performances taken from classical texts accompanied by a written scene analysis for later submission.

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This module explores critical and creative approaches to working with real lives in performance. You will examine how auto/biographical and documentary material is used and manipulated to construct identity in and through performance. You will question the concept of the 'true story' and explore the ethics and practicalities of using the personal in performance. You will also work creatively to produce a practical project on auto/biographical theatre. In this module you will work with a range of dramatic material and forms, studying, for example, play texts, performance art, verbatim and documentary theatre. You will also engage with a range of theoretical approaches and perspectives.

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This module will look at arts funding policy and public funding structures for the arts, including the formation of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and the Arts Council and its various models of operation since 1947 through to the present. This will serve to place productions from across the arts within the context of who makes policy and how it is formed, while acting as an introduction to arts funding and the application and measurement process. Students will gain an understanding of the structure of central, regional and local government in as much as they affect the arts. Trust and Foundations that support and nurture the arts are also explored in the context of how these can supplement and develop productions. Sponsorship and commercial involvement is looked at in the ways that this can be integrated into the package.

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The module gives School of Arts students across a range undergraduate programmes the opportunity to undertake a written independent research project at stage 3.

Students who wish to take the module must approach a permanent academic member of staff with a proposal, typically in advance of module registration, during the Spring term of the previous year. Students pick a research topic of their choice; however, students are only allowed to register for the module with the permission of a staff member who has agreed to supervise the project, and who has the expertise to do so. Potential supervisors must also ensure before they agree to supervise a project that the resources required to complete the project will be available to the student, and that adequate supervisory support will be available to the student throughout their study on the module.

Students will be supported in the preparation and submission of their work by their supervisor, although a central expectation of the module is that students will take increasing responsibility for their learning, consistent with expectations of Level 6 study.

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Students will engage in a work-based situation of their choice. The student will be responsible for finding the work-based situation, though support from the School and CES will be available. The internship should bear relevance to their subject of study or a career they expect to pursue upon graduation. The total of 300 hours will be divided as required for purposes of preparation, attendance of work placement and reflection/completion of required assessment.

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Films in certain genres, such as the Western, action film and martial arts film, are often gendered masculine, their powerful, active and typically violent male protagonists seen as representing masculinity. There is, however, also a long tradition of transgressive female protagonists in "male" genres, and this module investigates such characters. In addition to giving an overview of various types of transgressive female protagonists, the module explores in depth one or a few type(s) of transgressive female protagonist depending on the convenor's research interests. Case studies may include American action film, martial arts film, Blaxploitation/exploitation film, rape-revenge film, Western, crime film/television, film noir and horror in film and television. For example, in the action film the female protagonist’s display of power and strength may be seen as masculine, but she is often also portrayed with stereotypically feminine traits such as beauty and a sexy appearance. The female protagonist is thus often perceived as standing between the masculine and the feminine. Among the many questions triggered by transgressive female protagonists, this module might explore whether this character can and should be perceived as feminist or merely as exploitative, and how and why such protagonists may appeal to a female audience in particular.

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This interdisciplinary course will examine historical and current theoretical ideas and research on the ways in which art is created and perceived. Artforms that will be considered include visual arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, popular art), performing arts (dance and theater), music, and film. Readings will interface with subdisciplines of psychology such as perception, psychoaesthetics, neurophysiology, social psychology, and studies of emotion. Principal areas of focus will include aesthetics, arts-experimental design, perception of art, meaning in art, the psychology of the creative process, social and cultural issues, and the ramifications of arts-sciences research. The primary focus will be on Western art forms, though other world art traditions and aesthetics will be discussed. Assessment methods will test understanding through a summary and critical reflection on a selected text and the proposal, research, and design and oral presentation of a potential interdisciplinary research project.

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The award of literary prizes is a highly potent tool of cultural policy that frequently determines the wider national and international impact of a literary work. As such it is of crucial relevance to the study of comparative literature in a number of ways: the award of literary prizes reflects the beginnings of the successful or, as the case may be, the (ultimately) abortive formation of literary canons; moreover, it affords insights into processes of cultural production and marketing and reveals in which ways political and economic agendas are tied up with these processes; it also offers a perspective on transnational and transcultural aspects of the production and reception of literature and indicates shifting notions of the social function of literature and the writer; literature is thus understood as a cultural product in ever changing contexts which is frequently subject to external forces of which literary prizes become indicators or even 'enforcers'.

This module will investigate with the methods of literary and cultural studies the development of a number of major literary awards which have achieved global significance, among them the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Man Booker Prize the Prix Goncourt (This list may be modified according to precedent to accommodate the topical relevance of individual award winners in the future.) Seminars will develop a historical perspective by scrutinising and analysing award winners of the past and their most recent counterparts in their different production and marketing contexts as well as in changing reception contexts: seminars will include the close reading of individual works as well as their critical reception, and the analysis of marketing strategies in various media (e.g. reports in culture magazines, reviews, displays in book shops, translations, etc.); final winners will be interpreted in the context of the respective long and short lists from which they emerged; historical developments will be taken into account, for instance by investigating 'forgotten' prize winners in comparison with those who, largely through the agency of academic intervention, 'made it' into the canon; the module thus also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of literary studies. (It links up logically with the C-level module CP321 Literature and Nationhood)

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This is a module about the intersection of colonial power relations, anti-colonialism, postcolonialism, feminism, and identity politics in literature from 1940 to 2010 which interrogates the influence of imperialism on a sense of self. It considers the writing of a number of women and men from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, India and Sri Lanka in a range of genres from the Francophone and Anglophone traditions (short story, essay, novel, autobiography). In light of the complex relationship between coloniser and colonised, we consider the political activism of many of these writers, as well as the ways in which their politics are articulated in their writing, whether fiction or non-fiction. We also examine to what extent this literature is representative of other postcolonial concerns such as nationhood and national consciousness, hybridity and assimilation, and exile and alienation within the larger context of cultural theory. Particularly significant is our interrogation of the violence inscribed in both the colonial system and the colonised's fight for independence as seen from the psychoanalytical perspectives of Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks (1952), A Dying Colonialism (1959), The Wretched of the Earth (1961).

Studying the primary and secondary texts in English, we bring awareness to the reading scene of the translation process as an important development in the transnational study of comparative literature in our global world. In so doing, we acknowledge the significance of indigenous languages and dialects as signifiers of subject-hood in conflict with the coloniser's language. By exploring a variety of anti-colonial resistance and liberation discourses in relation to the development of current postcolonial thinking, the module also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of Colonial and Postcolonial studies.

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Don Juan and Casanova are archetypes of the male seducer who, in the Western European tradition, stand for different interpretations of excessive passion. Don Juan hunts for virgins, nuns, and other women who are difficult to get (in that they belong to other men). Meticulously, he keeps record of his conquests. Casanova, in turn, was attracted to the easy accessibility of moments of intense pleasure, which, although within potential reach to all, only few knew how to enjoy. While Casanova slept with everyone but took interest in nobody, Don Juan's quest is also motivated by the hidden desire to find a woman that would be his equal.

In this module we shall chart the metamorphoses of these two almost mythical figures since their emergence in seventeenth-century Spain and eighteenth-century Italy to explore the relationship between literature, music, film, and the erotic within different cultural and historical contexts. In our close analyses of plays, novellas, poems, philosophical texts, opera, and film, we will focus on notions of modern individualism in relation to narcissism and solitude. In addition, we shall also engage with theoretical concepts related to speech act theory (J.L. Austin's How to do Things with Words), Judith Butler's thoughts on gender as performance, Sigmund Freud’s observations on sexuality, and Jacques Lacan’s description of ego-constitution.

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How have twentieth-century writers across the world negotiated and appropriated Shakespeare's omnipresent cultural influence? How have they revised, reinvented, and reimagined his legacy in Europe, Asia, and the Americas (North, Central, and South)? This module focuses on a selection of Shakespeare's most influential plays (Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and The Tempest) in order to examine how their thematic, historical, and cultural concerns have been transplanted to a wide range of global locations including the Caribbean, Germany, Japan, a farm in the USA, and the Argentine Pampas. The module also engages with theoretical notions related to the act of appropriating Shakespeare, including the theory of intertextuality, the Benjaminian concept of the 'afterlife' of a text, and Genette's study of the 'palimpsest’ as a text derived from a pre-existent text. In addition, the module will reflect on issues of race, gender, and cultural identity embedded in the adaptations of the bard in the various world contexts in which his work has been complexly modernized and redeployed.Borges, J.L. 'Everything and Nothing’, 'Shakespeare’s Memory’, and ‘The Pattern’.

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This module is aimed at those students who would like to follow a career as Primary or Secondary School teachers, but is also suitable to those who would like to combine an academic course with work experience. Placements in a school environment will enhance the students' employment opportunities as they will acquire a range of skills. It will also provide students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of Comparative Literature and English Language & Linguistics in the primary or secondary school context. The university sessions and weekly school work will complement each other. At the university sessions students will benefit from the opportunity to discuss aspects related to their weekly placement and receive guidance.

Students will spend one half-day per week for ten weeks in a school where each student will have a designated teacher-mentor who will guide their work in school. They will observe sessions taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Initially, for these sessions students will concentrate on specific aspects of the teachers' tasks, and their approach to teaching a whole class. As they progress, it is expected that their role will be to some extent as teaching assistants, by helping individual pupils who are having difficulties or by working with small groups. They may teach brief or whole sessions with the whole class or with a small group of students where they explain a topic related to the school syllabus. They may also talk about aspects of University life. They must keep a weekly journal reflecting on their activities at their designated school.

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This module explores the notions of exile, travel, migration, and displacement by focusing on an international corpus of nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts that concern the transnational movement of European and non-European writers across the globe. Migratory trajectories will be studied in relation to the specific historical and cultural contexts out of which the texts originated and that concern complex issues of race, identity, gender, and imperial history. Writers examined include Gustave Flaubert, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, D.H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, Marguerite Duras, Henri Michaux, Roberto Bolaño, Jack Kerouac, Gao Xingjian, and Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. The course aims to provide students with an international and comparative methodology for studying the phenomenon of travel, migration, and exile. Students will also be equipped with a critical framework that will allow them to interrogate and problematise Eurocentric and exoticizing perspectives of Asian, African, and Latin American countries, particularly what the critics Mary Louise Pratt and Edward Said have theorised as 'imperial eyes' and 'Orientalism' respectively.

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The module is predicated on independent research activity. It builds on the skills and experiences acquired through stages 1 and 2. Students write a dissertation on a topic of their own choice. The topic must be on a literary or related subject and must have a comparative element. The final-year dissertation gives students the opportunity to satisfy their intellectual curiosity by individually and independently researching a large-scale project of their own choice. Throughout autumn and spring terms students will be given guidance by a chosen supervisor, but the rhythm of research, the writing and frequency of meetings between supervisor and student is left to the individual student to determine. The SWIPE undergraduate conference will give students a chance to discuss their and their fellow students' work and to test some of their ideas in a larger context.

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The module seeks to explore how novels and plays are adapted and interpreted for the screen. We will analyse how certain texts lend themselves to multiple reshaping, such as Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons. We will also analyse lesser-known works that have gone on to become feature films, such as Arthur Schnitzler’s Dream Story, filmed as Eyes Wide Shut. Adaptations directed by internationally recognized filmmakers such as Roman Polanski, Vittorio De Sica, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, and Pier Paolo Pasolini will be examined with a view to eliciting and understanding their particular approach to, and filmic vision of, written texts.

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This module looks at a group of politically inspired literary texts, comics and films, some of which were produced under the totalitarian regimes which held sway in Europe between 1917 and 1989. Others deal with the Middle East conflict, and the Islamic revolution in Iran and Mao's Cultural Revolution in China, or power relations in other contexts. Most explore ways of challenging and subverting authoritarian power structures and of articulating a critique in what Bertolt Brecht called 'dark times’. But we also focus on less obvious negotiations of fiction and power, especially with respect to the various forms of power to which these texts are subject, in which they participate, and on which they reflect metafictionally. The approach is comparative in various ways as the texts range historically and culturally, as well as across genres and language barriers (Arab, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Greek, Polish, Russian and Chinese).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching and assessment

Comparative Literature

For most modules, you have one two-hour seminar per week. The Final-Year Dissertation is based entirely on your private research but is supervised by a tutor and includes workshops and the chance to participate in an undergraduate conference. Assessment varies from 100% coursework to a combination of examination and coursework, usually in the ratio 50:50 or 40:60.

Comparative Literature students can also choose to take a module that is linked to our SWIPE (Student Work in Progress Exposition) conference. SWIPE is an annual one-day conference organised by Comparative Literature students: it is a platform for our third-year students who give 15-minute presentations on their final-year dissertation projects. SWIPE is a fantastic experience for students, as they learn everything about planning, organising and running a conference, as well as about the art of preparing and giving professional conference presentations. For more information on SWIPE, please consult our website: www.kent.ac.uk/secl/complit/swipe.html

We also offer a module designed specifically for students who are planning to embark on a career in teaching: Comparative Literature and English & Linguistics in the Classroom.

Drama

Teaching is through workshops, seminars, lectures and practical projects. Drama and Theatre modules are continuously assessed based on coursework, projects and presentations, performances, essays and dissertations.

Programme aims

For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes will depend on your specific module selection:

Careers

Studying Comparative Literature and Drama, you learn to think critically, develop the skills of close reading and effective communication, and gain confidence and experience in expressing your ideas, both orally and in writing. These key transferable skills are essential for graduates as they move into the job market.

The Drama Department has developed partnerships with some of the major players in theatre in the UK including: Battersea Arts Centre, the RSC and The Gate. Selected programmes offer you the opportunity to go on work placements which can lead to future full-time employment, while the range of modules we offer ensures you develop key skills such as planning and organisation, team working, adaptability and leadership.

Our graduates have found jobs in diverse areas including journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching, as well as in banking, marketing analysis and project management. A significant percentage of our students pursue further study for postgraduate qualifications.

Independent rankings

Of Comparative Literature students who graduated from Kent in 2016, 100% were in work or further study within six months, making them the most successful in the UK (DLHE).

For graduate prospects, Drama at Kent was ranked 8th in The Guardian University Guide 2018. Drama and Theatre at Kent was ranked 3rd in the UK for the percentage of students who found professional jobs or further study within six months of graduation in 2016 (DLHE).

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 points at HL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2019/20 tuition fees have not yet been set. As a guide only, the 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15200
Part-time £4625 £7600

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

For 2018/19 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2018/19 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

For 2018/19 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Full-time

Part-time

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.