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Creative writing btec

Creative Writing BA (Hons)

Are you a budding novelist, Netflix screenwriter or experimental poet? On this degree, you’ll learn the art and craft of writing in all its forms. Taught by published authors, you’ll gain a wide range of skills across creative and non-fiction genres. You’ll examine how writing can be used to communicate in a range of contexts, with appropriate uses of style, register and form.

You’ll take part in masterclasses by industry professionals and join the thriving community of our specialist Writers’ Centre. An extended writing project will be on a subject of your choice. You’ll also build a professional portfolio and work on real-life industry projects, giving you vital employment experience to prepare you for a career in writing.

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time W8P5 2022
2023
4 years full time including sandwich year W85P 2022
2023
4 years full time including foundation year WP58 2022
2023
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston

  • Many of our graduates have had their work published. Recently, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s multi-award winning debut novel My Sister, The Serial Killer, was longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019.
  • This course covers a range of formats, including digital writing, creative non-fiction, prose writing, poetry, and dramatic writing.
  • Workshops will allow you to hone your writing craft, while lectures and seminars will give you the tools you need to develop your own creativity.

The Art School Experience

As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.

Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines – enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.

What you will study

This course is intellectually stimulating and exciting, designed to provide you with opportunities for creative writing across a variety of genres and media, embracing poetry, prose fiction and non-fiction, professional writing, and writing for performance on stage, radio and screen.

You’ll work with published writers, academics and industry professionals on writing for digital media, pitches, exhibitions, reviews, and articles.

Modules

Each level is made up of four modules each worth 30 credit points. Typically a student must complete 120 credits at each level.

Year 1

Year 2

Optional year

Final year

In your first year, you’ll be introduced to the field of creative writing through a variety of practical workshops and seminars. You’ll attend interactive lectures, small-group discussions and individual writing exercises.

Core modules
Practical Journalism 1

30 credits

Writing is a key communication tool of journalism. This module introduces you to the language, practical conventions, contexts and functions of written journalism in the multimedia environment. Through studying and critically analysing the structure, style and content of articles published on websites, in newspapers and magazines you will begin to develop an understanding of how copy is gathered, put together and directed at specific readerships.

Through lectures and through practice in workshops you will learn to identify a story from raw, diffuse or incomplete information by the application of news values, to write it in appropriate style, to add headlines and online “furniture” and to upload it to a content management system.

Writing clear, accurate and engaging text relies on understanding and applying the rules of grammar, using the right words and constructing coherent prose. This module also helps you to boost your grammar and punctuation skills, choose and use appropriate words and craft effective sentences and paragraphs. You will discover the underlying rules and principles, consider the impact of your writing decisions and develop your own writing and editing skills.

Also, by examining and practising skills needed to develop and write pieces such as: originating ideas, researching, assessing the reliability of sources, interviewing, organising material and adhering to house style, you will aim to produce journalistic news pieces and feature articles that are suitable for publication.

Introduction to Creative Writing I: The Writer’s Toolkit

30 credits

This module centres upon practical work designed to develop the skills appropriate to the undergraduate study of creative writing. These skills will be focused in the following areas: the analysis and use of published writing; language and style; seminar/workshop practice; and habits of writing, self-reflection and revision. The module will investigate how writers think about their craft and the techniques they use to write most effectively in their various mediums. Weekly lectures will be given by practicing writers who will introduce students to their own published work as well as that of a wide range of other authors. Students will read, analyse and discuss poems, short stories, plays and essays, and will develop a greater awareness of language and style in writing through a variety of exercises. These workshop exercises will allow students to establish guidelines for constructive participation and encourage co-operation and self-reflection.

Writing that Works

30 credits

This module is designed to familiarise students across the humanities with a range of rhetorical strategies, aesthetic techniques, redrafting and editing skills, while also providing the opportunity to practise writing and editing in a number of critical, literary, creative and professional forms. In “Writing that Works” students are introduced to key techniques for writing effectively and they develop their ability to identify strengths and weaknesses in writing by studying exemplary texts in each form. The first strand of the module focuses on writing, techniques. Students create a piece of original writing and this work is then developed in weekly workshop sessions that align with interactive lectures focused on different aspects of writing. The impact that language choices make on the effectiveness of writing will lead on to the discussion of audience, social context, identity and voice. In the second strand, the focus turns to writing in professional contexts. The interactive workshops focus on writing in a number of professional contexts and students practise using a range of techniques and strategies to produce professional documents. The framework of the module, and the core content we aim to transfer to students, is a firm grasp of rhetorical strategies and how to employ them to the best advantage depending on the form in which they are writing, the intended audience for their work and the ideas they hope to share.

Introduction to Communication

30 credits

This module is a core requirement for students of English Language. It introduces you to language as a tool for human communication drawing on linguistics and its related disciplines. The main features of the module are (a) its focus on the analysis of language use and meaning in context and (b) its concern with key issues in intercultural communication.

You will study language as communication in its social and cultural contexts and gain an insight into the formation of meaning and social relationships. The module will initiate you to the key concepts and frameworks for describing and analysing discourse, (ie. language above the sentence), with specific reference to meaning in context, talk in interaction, narrative practices and discourse strategies in intercultural encounters.

By the end of this module, you should have gained an insight into the nature of human communication and feel competent at discussing instances of everyday and institutional communication, demonstrating familiarity with the key frameworks in the study of communication in linguistics. This module will also encourage the development of your interactional and intercultural competencies.

In the second year, there is an increasing emphasis on private study and independent writing.

You’ll develop the appropriate skills, techniques, and practices in order to produce a sustained piece of writing in poetry and fiction.

Core modules
Style and Meaning

30 credits

This module explores the linguistic study of style and meaning in a range of contexts, such as spoken and written mediums, including natural conversation, literary and media texts. It brings together work from the fields of stylistics and pragmatics to consider how we use and understand language in use. The topics presented in this module focus on contextual meaning and its effects, exploring aspects of language and creativity, as well as key theories and frameworks in stylistics and pragmatics to understand how style and meaning are created and interpreted. The module builds on the foundational knowledge acquired at Level 4 and prepares students for work at Level 6 by introducing concepts and ideas that can be explored in Special Studies or as a final-year English Language and Communication Dissertation project.

Independent Creative Writing

30 credits

This is a dissertation-style module, taught through a combination of small-group sessions and individual tutorials, in which students will have the opportunity to work on a sustained creative writing project of their choosing. They will produce a substantial piece of writing in a chosen form, having undertaken contextual reading in that form and engaged in other research as appropriate, such as location scouting, conducting interviews, or visiting archives and specialist collections. Through group workshops and presentations, as well as one-on-one tutorials, students will receive constructive feedback and guidance on how to plan, structure, write, revise, and edit their projects, and gain advice in developing the skills and habits necessary to working independently. In addition, students will learn how to plan strategies for the possible dissemination and promotion of their projects in the world outside the university, as professional authors would, such as through various methods of publication or performance. By learning to work independently and by planning the dissemination and promotion of their projects, students will acquire the entrepreneurial skills and abilities necessary for success in self-employment and in other professions.

Optional modules
Content, Form and Creativity

30 credits

On this module, you will have the opportunity to progress your creative writing skills by exploring the relationship between theory and practice. You will be presented with a range of theoretical and contextual approaches to the production of imaginative work, and will be invited to respond to these provocations through their creative projects. You will attend interactive lectures whose themes may include psychogeography, adaptation, narrative techniques for literary authors, history and narrative, identity and aesthetics. You will learn more advanced practical techniques for crafting expressive, imaginative work, which will allow you to make more sophisticated use of aspects such as voice, point of view, structure, character, imagery, and tone. The module will entail the reading and discussion of texts by a variety of contemporary authors, whose work reflects the diverse range of styles and approaches at work today. You can choose to experiment with writing the novel, short story, script for radio, stage or screen, or poetry. You will be asked to participate in improving each other’s work by offering thoughtful, constructive feedback. Along with developing your own personal sense of voice and style, you will practise applying skills learned on the module to real-world situations faced by professional authors, such as writing a piece for a commission or for a target audience.

Magazine Journalism

30 credits

The UK magazine industry has never been more exciting and challenging. Despite digital and economic changes modern magazines devoted to trends and interests endure. This module looks at how these contemporary publications are positioned and how they co-operate to weave together strands of information. In this module you will learn about the contexts in which contemporary magazines operate. You will look at the current state of the periodicals sector and reflect on trends and developments by researching, originating and developing a magazine concept for a specified readership. You will build effective editorial, team-working skills and adapt these to the needs of differing audiences and objectives through the origination and production of your own magazine. You will apply journalistic skills to create a portfolio of articles and will use design and layout skills to produce a dummy magazine.

Write Action: Introduction to Dramatic Writing

30 credits

The module introduces you to the craft of writing dramatic scripts for stage, screen and radio. Through a series of practical exercises, writing tasks and feedback you will become familiar with key principles of dramatic writing that apply across the three forms. A refined sense of how ‘conflict’ and ‘action’ build suspense, tension, humour or pathos; of how to create characters that draw the audience’s empathy; of the importance of ‘subtext’ and of how to harness the scenographic dimension through stage directions and settings, all contribute to the craft of a successful dramatic writer. In addition, sessions on radio and screen writing will not only introduce students to the specific conventions of these forms but also, in drawing attention to the spoken word and aural dimension (in radio) and visual story-telling (in screen), you will be sensitised to the power of the scenography as a component of dramatic craft.

Introduction to Screenwriting

30 credits

Film is often seen as a director’s medium, rather than a writer’s. This course doesn’t debate the relative claims of either – it retains a strong commitment to the visual – but its primary focus is on the construction of script and, in particular, the screenplay of the mainstream narrative film.

The cornerstone of the module is an exploration of what makes an effective screen story through analysis of dramatic structure. The tutors on this module, both experienced screenwriters, contend that all genres of screen narrative use essentially the same core principles of storytelling and that an understanding of how these principles work is a creative tool: we can use them to create our own stories and adapt them to different forms. First, through close study of several successful films – focusing in particular on structure and character – you will be taught the contribution of the screenplay to how a film is constructed and why it succeeds. Second, with particular emphasis on dialogue and the craft of visual storytelling, we will guide you to the creation and completion of your own short screenplay, providing you with models (in both film and script form) from a selection of short films, and teaching you how to present and format your script.

Students will be invited to demonstrate their knowledge of structure and screenwriting craft in analysis of a feature film. In TB2 they will pitch an original idea for a screen narrative before developing their own screenplay.

Transforming Realities: Innovation and Social Change in Twentieth Century and Contemporary Literature

30 credits

This module is an optional period module at Level 5. It will begin by exploring literature published from the 1930s through to the present day, and will examine the strategies writers have used in response to a changing Britain and wider world. We will consider how twentieth and twenty-first-century texts adapt realist, modernist and postmodern techniques to engage with issues such as the rise of mass culture, the threat of totalitarianism, the establishment of the Welfare State, post-war immigration, and sexual liberation. To enhance your perspective on these issues, you will be introduced to non-fiction material by other contemporary writers, such as J.B. Priestley, Erich Fromm, Iris Murdoch, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Richard Hoggart, and George Lamming, as well as more recent critical and theoretical material. The module also examines the development and continuing popularity of realist drama in the twentieth century. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which realist drama is used as a tool of social and political examination in the various contexts of pre-Revolutionary Russia, Dublin in the aftermath of the First World War, and the establishment of the welfare state in Britain after 1945. Secondly, we will examine the developments in non-realist forms of drama and the experiments which gave rise to what is, somewhat controversially, called the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’. The module culminates with the study of a selection of texts chosen to illustrate the great variety of genres and styles in contemporary British literature and to exemplify literature written by different nationalities and social groups. Underpinned by relevant theoretical perspectives, questions will be raised about the relation between literature and contemporary events, with relation to issues pertinent to literature, such as social mobility, hybridity, democracy and technology. In recent years, authors studied have included Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, George Orwell, Sylvia Plath, Harold Pinter, Alan Hollinghurst, and Zadie Smith.

This degree is also available with a sandwich option. Students selecting this route will be supported by the placements office in finding a suitable work placement.

You can also study abroad or take a work placement in your second year at locations in Europe, the United States, and Australia.

In your final year, you’ll have the opportunity to complete an extended writing project on a subject of your choice, and to work on real-life industry projects, giving you vital employment experience.

Through optionality, both at assessment and module level, the programme will enable you to tailor your degree to suit your interests and employment or enterprise goals. Workshops will allow you to hone your writing craft, while lectures and seminars will give you the tools you need to develop your own creativity.

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BA Creative Writing

Our BA Creative Writing (including foundation year), will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills in order to support your academic performance.

This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies.

You will enhance your skills by engaging with a range of techniques, practical exercises and creative approaches and opportunities, including:

  • Discover how words and ideas move across the world and are transformed through translation
  • Write an independent creative project developed over eight months in your final year
  • Explore the psychological foundations of creativity in relation to myth
  • Surrealism and Defamiliarisation
  • Creative use of social media
  • Writing for radio and playwriting

Essex has nurtured a long tradition of distinguished writers whose work has shaped literature as we know it today, from past giants such as the American poets Robert Lowell and Ted Berrigan, to contemporary writers such as mythographer and novelist Dame Marina Warner, and Booker Prize winner Ben Okri.

Our course offers a varied, flexible and distinctive curriculum, focused on developing your abilities as a writer, while allowing you to take options from the other courses within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies including literature, filmmaking, journalism and drama.

We are ranked among the top 200 departments in the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2020).

Chat to our staff and students

Find out what it’s like to live and study at Essex from those who are already here.

  • We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
  • You are guaranteed a place on your chosen course after successful completion of your foundation year.
  • Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.

Our expert staff

We have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department, all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.

Our teaching staff are experienced and established writers who have a breadth of experience across literary genres, from novels, prose and plays, to poetry and song.

The Centre for Creative Writing is part of a unique literary conservatoire that offers students the skills, support and confidence to respond artistically and critically to the study of writing with the guidance of experts.

The Centre for Creative Writing currently hosts two Royal Literary Fund Fellows, professional writers who are on-hand to help students develop their writing on a one-to-one basis.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials.
  • Our Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends.

Take advantage of our other extensive learning resources to assist you in your studies:

  • Access the University’s Media Centre, equipped with state-of-the-art studios, cameras, audio and lighting equipment, and an industry-standard editing suite
  • Write for our student magazine Rebel or host a Red Radio show
  • View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
  • Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading literature specialists at regular talks and readings
  • Our on-Campus, 200-seat Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
  • Improve your playwriting skills at our Lakeside Theatre Writers workshops
  • Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested

Your future

Many of our students have gone on to successfully publish their work, notable recent alumni including:

  • Ida Løkås, who won a literary prize in Norway for The Beauty That Flows Past, securing a book deal
  • Alexia Casale, whose novel Bone Dragon was published by Faber & Faber and subsequently featured on both the Young Adult Books of the Year 2013 list for The Financial Times, and The Independent’s Books of the year 2013: Children
  • Elaine Ewert, recent graduate from our MA Wild Writing, placed second in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015
  • Patricia Borlenghi, the founder of Patricia Press, which has published works by a number of our alumni
  • Petra Mcqueen, who has written for The Guardian and runs creative writing courses

Our graduates are also ideally prepared for careers in the media, education, publishing, and the film and theatre industries. Two particular areas in which our graduates have had recent success are publishing and the theatre. One of our former students is now in charge of editorial at a large publishing house, and another has just taken over running one of the country’s major theatres.

Other recent graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of desirable roles including:

  • The Civil Service
  • Journalism and broadcasting
  • Marketing
  • Museum and library work
  • Commerce and finance
  • Teaching

We also work with the university’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

“After graduating from Essex I began writing novels and my debut, The Beauty That Flows Past, won a literary prize in Norway, which was a massive achievement for me and a great honour. Studying BA Creative Writing definitely helped develop my writing. I had the privilege of being taught by talented and inspiring professors, and I am grateful for all their encouragement and guidance during my three years at Essex.”

Ida Løkås, BA Creative Writing, 2009

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

UK and EU applicants:

All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you

  • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
  • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
  • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
  • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

Standard offer:

Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP
  • T-levels: Pass with E in core

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

International applicants:

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

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.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK.

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 required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Student 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.

Additional Notes

Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College.

Structure

Course structure

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

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.

Status What this means
Core 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.
Compulsory 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.
Optional 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

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.

The module number.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules – increasing as you progress through the course.