BA (Hons)

English and Creative Writing

Reflect on current literature and develop your own writing style

QW38UCAS code 3yrsfull time 1yrplacement option

Star 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. 

Combining this with English will allow you to write as critic and creator, becoming an expert in the history and theory of literature, and its modern trends and prize-winners, while testing out their traditional and experimental forms in original stories, poems and plays of your own. From Shakespeare to sexuality, Romanticism to race, your writing will have new perspective and power.

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:

  • Publish your work in our yearly anthology, get your stories out in the open
  • Post reviews online or speak at open-mic nights along with many other opportunities to showcase your skills
  • Learn from professional novelists, poets and playwrights
  • Join our community of writers. See examples of their work

What opportunities might it lead to?

Do you see yourself as a budding Andrew Lloyd Webber or the next J. K. Rowling? Have you always dreamed about writing your own novel, or perhaps you picture yourself doing the publishing of great novels? 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


In the future I want to become a writer and finally publish my novel. This degree will help me to refine my writing skills as well as my self-discipline and motivation. I feel that this degree will be the stepping stone to accomplishing my dreams.

Emily Priest, Creative Writing student, 2016

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Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
3 years full time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
The UCAS tariff for 2017 entry has changed. See how this affects your tariff score A LEVELS
104-120 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels or equivalent, including 32 points from A level English. See full entry requirements

We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications

104-112 points from A levels or equivalent, including 32 points from A level English. See full entry requirements

We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications


UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2017/18 entry: full time: £9,250 p/a*

International students
2017/18 entry: full time: £12,600 p/a**

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 5566
School of Media and Performing Arts
Programme specification


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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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

Your first year explores the beginnings of storytelling itself; you’ll learn the techniques of myth and epic poetry and use ancient tricks to create your own new work. This is the start of your training in the skills and techniques you’ll be using throughout your course.

Core units in this year include:

  • Introduction to Poetry and Poetics
  • Literary Powers: Renaissance to Romanticism
  • Critical Thinking
  • Telling Tales
  • Tips, Tricks, Techniques
  • True Stories

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 prose, scripts or poetry and also spotlight on certain topics.

Core units in this year include:

  • Styles And Subversions: Nineteenth Century To The Present Day
  • Literary Prizes and Public Acclaim
  • The Short Story
  • Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • Puritans To Postmodernists: American Literature
  • Revolutions! Literature And Change, 1700-1830 
  • Nation and Travel
  • Professional Experience
  • Student Enterprise
  • The Magazine
  • The Script
  • Victorian Literature and Visual Culture
  • Making a Spectacle: The Ruse of English Drama

Year three*

The final year allows you to put into practice your creative work as you become a specialist writer in prose, poetry or philosophical modes. Depending on your interests, you also have the choice between a dissertation, a writing project or undertaking a special exercise that boosts your professional writing skills.

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • Consuming Fictions: Food and Appetite in Victorian Culture
  • Creative Writing Dissertation
  • Dissertation / Major Project (English Literature)
  • Dwelling: Memory, Being, Place and the Modern
  • Ecocritical Perspectives: Environment and Literature, 1820-1939
  • Enlightenment: Literature, Culture and Modernity
  • European Literary Decadence 
  • Fact and Fiction
  • Holocaust Literatures
  • Love, War and Friendship in Renaissance Poetry: John Donne to Katherine Philips
  • Mortals and Immortals: Man, God and the Devil in Early Modern Literature
  • The Literary Journalist
  • Time, Temporality, Contemporary Fiction
  • Tracing Borders: Women and Writing 1890-1940
  • Travel Writing
  • US Masculinities
  • Writing Project (With Publishing)

*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work placement)

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:

  • Professional/industrial placements – work for a company or organisation on a professional 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.

  • Self-employed placement year – set up and run a business on your own or as a group

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.

Teaching and Assessment

The greatest 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.

How are you assessed?

Assessment takes many forms on the course enabling you to demonstrate the variety of your skills and talents. Here’s how we assess your work:

  • short stories
  • a novel in progress
  • a screenplay
  • a collection of poems
  • a video production
  • presentations
  • reports
  • a research portfolio
  • examinations
  • dissertation/project
Dr Alison Habens

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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Monitor Facilities & Features

The Study Centre

A suite of rooms with a comfy seating area, desks where you can work, a printer, 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.


Our acclaimed anthology is an exciting literary project allowing our creative students to feature their work and showcase their innovative writing abilities. You’ll be given the opportunity to contribute to our annual creative writing anthology and year after year, it is filled to the brim with your imaginative and inspiring poetry and stories.

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.

Laura Wilson, BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing student

In the past year we have had guest speakers from publishing houses etc, which were really informative and helpful.

Laura Wilson, BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing student

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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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
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:

  • editor
  • publishing assistant
  • copywriter
  • information abstractor
  • narrator
  • projects administrator

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunities
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
Career planning
6.04 minutes

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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Our next Open Day is Wednesday 5 July 2017

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