BA (Hons) Creative Writing - University of Portsmouth
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BA (Hons)

Creative Writing

UCAS codeWW80

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Learn from published authors and media specialists

Course Overview

Why take this course?

The birthplace of Charles Dickens and home to famous literary figures like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and H.G. Wells, Portsmouth is the perfect choice for a Creative Writing student. With a seaside backdrop, the buzz of a city and the excitement of university life all around, you'll write sonnets and film scripts, fairy tales and one-act plays, travel articles and Sci-Fi stories.

Creative Writing blends academic and practical study in a range of classes taught by professional novelists, poets, playwrights and essayists.

What will I experience?

From the starting point of autobiography - 'True Stories' - you go on to explore the beginnings of tale-telling itself, learning the techniques of myth and epic poetry and using the ancient tricks to create your own new work in 'Telling Tales'. Picking up 'Tips, Tricks and Techniques’ from those local authors you might invent a time-machine, uncover a crime or spend time with jungle creatures; just on the page, of course.

A thriving modern Writer's Hub brings visiting speakers like Andy McNab to the city and gives you the chance to be published in local e-zines and anthologies or speak at open-mic events nearby.

On this course you can:

  • Learn from our team of published authors, poets, scriptwriters and media specialists
  • Perform your own poetry in one class and then write an online travel review in the next
  • Create your own film script or write a TV drama
  • Join our community of writers. See examples of their work

What opportunities might it lead to?

Have you always dreamed about writing your own novel, or perhaps you picture yourself reviewing films? On completion of the course, you will have the necessary knowledge, skills and market awareness to enter a range of exciting careers.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • creative writing (prose, poetry, script)
  • copywriting
  • publishing
  • advertising and marketing
  • arts and events management
  • local and community broadcasting
  • teaching


Veronica Tomasiello, 2nd year BA (Hons) Creative and Media Writing student 2016

One of the best aspects of my course is its variety. If someone had told me, a year ago, that I would have found myself blogging and writing an autobiography, I wouldn't have believed it. My current project? I'm working on the comic book script adaptation of my autobiographical blog.

Veronica Tomasiello, 2nd year BA (Hons) Creative and Media Writing student 2016


English and Journalism

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Getting the chance to develop practical skills alongside learning the theory
  • The high-quality teaching and flexibility of options that enables you to tailor your course to your own interests
  • The passion and knowledge of the lecturers that makes studying so enjoyable

Browse all courses in English and Journalism

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

Your first year is an introduction to storytelling and the beginning of your training in the skills and techniques you’ll be using throughout your course.

Core units in this year include:

  • True Stories
  • Telling Tales
  • Tips, Tricks and Techniques
  • Professional Writing
  • Media Writing: Critical Reviews and Features
  • Writing for the Film Industries

Year two

This year allows you to start to specialise in the areas that interest you most. Choose to focus on specific writing forms such as magazines, scripts or poetry, and also look in depth at certain topics.

Core units in this year include:

  • Creative Writing and Critical Thinking
  • Print Media
  • The Short Story

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Approaches to Popular Culture
  • Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults
  • Media Writing for the Press
  • Media Writing for the Screen and Radio
  • Professional Experience
  • Researching Genre in Film and Television
  • Student Enterprise
  • The Magazine
  • The Media and Propoganda
  • The Script
  • Transmedia Narratives and Strategies

Year three

The final year offers you a broad range of options to choose from. Depending on your interests, you can choose a dissertation, a writing project or undertake a special exercise that boosts your professional writing skills.

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • British TV Drama and Society
  • Comedy Culture and Form
  • Creative Writing Dissertation
  • Cultures of Consumption
  • Fact and Fiction
  • Film and Media Dissertation
  • Media Fan Cultures
  • Media Writing Project
  • News, War and Peace
  • Representing Science in the Media
  • Researching Animation
  • The Literary Journalist
  • Travel Writing
  • TV Talk Shows
  • Writing Project (With Publishing)

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Placement year

Between the second and third years of study you will have the option to undertake a work placement year. There are two exciting options for the placement year:

We offer a range of salaried professional placements as part of your degree.  You can gain invaluable work experience to help you prepare for your graduate employment.  The University can provide you with advice on how to secure a work placement that matches both the needs of your degree and your future career plans, as well as giving you useful links and contacts.

Interested in running your own business instead? We also offer students the chance to start-up and run their own company for a year as an alternative to the traditional work-based placement. Students who choose this option often start-up their companies with fellow, like-minded students, working together, as a bona fide operation, in an attempt to build a successful venture. The Faculty and University provide mentoring and support throughout the year.

To find out more visit our Employability and Enterprise page.


A great feature of our course is that it allows for your intellectual freedom and choice. By attending workshops, seminars, lectures and one-to-one tutorials, you’ll develop a range of skills that will be tailored to your planned career path.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 26% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 74% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 77% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 9% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 91% studying independently and 0% on work placement


Assessment takes many forms enabling you to demonstrate a variety of your skills. Here’s how we assess your work:

  • short stories
  • a novel in progress
  • a screenplay
  • a collection of poems
  • a magazine pitch
  • public relations campaign
  • reports
  • a research portfolio
  • examinations
  • dissertation/project

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 0% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 100% by coursework
  • Year two students: 12% by written exams, 5% by practical exams and 83% by coursework
  • Year three students: 0% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 100% by coursework

Tutor's view


Dr Alison Habens
Creative Writing

This seaside city was home to Dickens and Conan-Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and H.G. Wells and in their famous footsteps this course provides the opportunity to write sonnets and fairy tales, plays and travel articles, sci-fi stories and philosophical essays. Taught by published writers with PhDs, you'll write everything from blogs to film scripts, micro-fiction to dissertations on this exciting course.

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Facilities & Features

The Study Centre

A suite of rooms with a comfy seating area, desks where you can work, printers, Mac workstations and access to the wireless network so you can log in using your own laptop. There are also several study rooms where you can rehearse or work on group projects.


Each year you’ll be given the opportunity to contribute to Borderlines, our acclaimed anthology allowing creative students to feature their work and showcase their writing abilities. 

The New Theatre Royal

Our relationship with the NTR, along with other theatres in the area, means you can benefit from a range of opportunities. Help out with advertising campaigns, find part-time work, shadow theatre professionals or even have your work performed at a theatre.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

There may be costs for items such as DVDs and MiniDV tapes for use on practical units of approximately £20 - £30. Material costs for individual project work may cost between £50 - £100.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

Once you’ve completed this degree, you will possess all the skills to succeed in an array of creative and professional industries. It could be film and television, print and online media or public relations and advertising, all welcome the creative graduate who possesses the relevant professional skills for their industry.

Alternatively, you can pursue postgraduate study and continue research into a specialised area of your choosing.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • copywriter
  • journalist
  • public relations coordinator
  • theatre manager
  • arts administrator
  • editorial assistant

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

Here at the CCI’s Creative Careers Centre we are committed to improving your employability. Whether it’s placements, self-employed placements, internships, short-term work experiences, freelancing opportunities and volunteering, we will help you find valuable and relevant work experience to complement your degree. The experienced team is always on hand to offer advice on everything from producing high-quality applications through to preparation for a company assessment day.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
University House
Winston Churchill Avenue
Portsmouth PO1 2UP

T: +44 (0)23 9284 8484