BA Spanish and Portuguese

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Study Project (Portuguese)

Course unit fact file
Unit code SPLA10600
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


Running parallel with the core course unit SPLA10130 Introduction to the Cultures of the Lusophone World, this is a hands-on course which will enable students to improve their reading abilities in Portuguese, whilst deepening their appreciation and understanding of literary texts and of social issues in the Lusophone world.  Through a combination of small-group discussions, individual tutorials and private study, students will acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to undertake close readings of texts (chosen from a prescribed list) and to write analyses of them that situate them in their social-political context. The discussions will focus on a range of tutor-led and student-led activities designed to develop an understanding of literature in Portuguese and also methods of analysing and discussing that literature. 


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Introduction to the Cultures of the Lusophone World SPLA10130 Co-Requisite Optional

Core course unit for Level 1 for post-A level Portuguese students, or students on certain programme combinations. 


  • To develop critical thinking, conceptual reasoning and analytical skills 
  • To develop the ability to read and analyse literary texts 
  • To develop the ability to place literary texts in social and political context 
  • To develop a better understanding of the historical and social realities of the Lusophone world 
  • To develop a better understanding of literary texts in Portuguese  

Knowledge and understanding

Having satisfactorily completed this course unit, students will be able to: 

  • demonstrate an improved ability to read in Portuguese 
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of literary texts in Portuguese 
  • write commentaries and essays in English discussing and analysing literary texts in Portuguese 
  • place literary texts in their historical context within the Lusophone world 
  • engage critically with secondary literature and write a literature review 

Intellectual skills

Having satisfactory completed this course unit, students will: 

  • Display cultural analytical skills (literary analysis, social and political analysis) 
  • Be able to value knowledge for its own sake, and to appreciate literary creativity within the Lusophone world

Practical skills

Having satisfactory completed this course unit, students will demonstrate: 

  • A significantly improved ability to read Portuguese 
  • A significantly improved vocabulary and syntax in Portuguese 
  • An ability to manage time, and work to deadlines; 
  • An improved ability to work with information and communication technology (ICT) 


Transferable skills and personal qualities

Having satisfactorily completed this course unit, students will have learned to: 

  • undertake independent learning and reflect upon their achievements; 
  • participate constructively in group discussions; 
  • think critically and present arguments logically 

Assessment methods

Assessment task Formative or Summative Weighting within unit (if Summative)
Commentary Plan Formative  
Commentary Summative 40%
Essay Plan Formative  
Analytical essay about a novel Summative 60%


Resit Assessment

Assessment task
Essay on novel

Feedback methods

Feedback method  

Formative or Summative 

Comments made during class discussion regarding the relevance and coherence of student participation in classes. 


Individual written comments on student participation at the end of Semester 1 and Semester 2 


Individual written comments on the assessed commentary by the beginning of semester two and on the assessed essay by the end of the examination period at the end of semester two. Global feedback is delivered orally in class (for the commentary) and posted on Blackboard. 

Summative and formative 

Individual written feedback on the commentary and essay plans 


Individual written comments on formative commentaries and analyses of passages 


Recommended reading

David Birmingham, A Concise History of Portugal (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). HD. 

Marion Kaplan, The Portuguese. The Land and its People (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991). HD. 

Boris Fausto, A Concise History of Brazil (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1999).  HD 

Leslie Bethell, Colonial Brazil (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1987).  HD 

Leslie Bethell, “The Independence of Brazil”, Cambridge History of Latin America, vol 3, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984): 157-196 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Project supervision 4
Seminars 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 155

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Bailey Unit coordinator
Lucia Sa Unit coordinator

Return to course details