Creative Writing BA (Hons)
BA Hons Creative Writing
If you’re an aspiring writer, there’s no better place to hone your craft than the home of literary greats, Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
On this BA (Hons) Creative Writing degree course, you’ll learn to write across various mediums. From stories to scripts and plays to poetry, you’ll develop your writing voice and improve your technique under the guidance of professional novelists, poets and playwrights.
The course develops your talent and prepares you for a career in writing. You’ll learn the skills to succeed in many creative and professional industries, from print and online media to film and television, as well as public relations, advertising and teaching.
100% graduates in work or further study (DLHE, 2017)
71% overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)
What you'll experience
On this Creative Writing degree course, you'll:
- Get to grips with techniques that writers have used for centuries and study contemporary skills to inspire and entertain your audience through the power of written word
- Learn from published authors, scriptwriters and media specialists who'll help you bring your ideas to life in creative workshops
- Share your work with fellow writers who are buzzing with fresh ideas
- Learn to write across a variety of mediums and genres including magazine articles, television dramas, stage plays, autobiography, travel writing, fan fiction and publicity campaigns
- Have the chance to publish your work in our annual anthology and course blog
- Glean tips and tricks from visiting professional writers like Andy McNab, Francesca Beard and Suzi Feay
- Get the opportunity to shadow theatre professionals and have your work performed on stage thanks to our links with Portsmouth's New Theatre Royal and other local theatres
Careers and opportunities
You’ll graduate from this Creative Writing degree course with the knowledge, skills and market awareness to succeed wherever your writing takes you, in whatever industry you choose.
What jobs can you do with a Creative Writing degree?
With the ability to take on roles in a variety of professional and creative sectors, previous graduates have gone on to become copywriters, journalists, theatre managers and editorial assistants in areas such as:
- creative writing (prose, poetry, script)
- advertising and marketing
- arts and events management
- local and community broadcasting
You could also go on to postgraduate study or research.
You'll get help and support from our Careers and Employability service in finding your first role and for 5 years after you graduate.
What you'll study on this BA (Hons) Creative Writing degree
Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.
Core modules in this year include:
- True Stories
- Telling Tales
- Tips, Tricks and Techniques
- Professional Writing
- Creative Reviews and Features
- Writing for the Film and TV Industries
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Creative Writing and Critical Thinking
- Finding Form - Fiction
- Finding Form - Non-fiction
Options to choose from in this year currently include:
- Creative Writing for Comedy
- Finding Form - Writing for Performance
- Press and Public Relations
- Script Writing
- Transmedia Narratives and Strategies
- Professional Experience
On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry. We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions.
The core module in this year is:
- Creative Writing Dissertation
Options to choose from in this year currently include:
- Creative Writing for Film
- Cultures of Consumption
- Fact and Fiction
- Fan Fiction
- Global Journalism and Human Rights
- News, War and Peace
- Representing Science in the Media
- Studying Comedy
- Writing and Producing Magazines
- 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 modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- short stories
- a novel in progress
- a screenplay
- a collection of poems
- a magazine pitch
- public relations campaign
- a research portfolio
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
The way you’re assessed may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:
- Year 1 students: 100% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 12% by written exams, 5% by practical exams and 83% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 100% by coursework
After your second year, you can spend a year putting your writing skills into practice on an optional placement. This gives you valuable workplace skills and builds your CV.
Previous students have worked in:
- Red Apple Creative's audio book production team
- Debenhams' editorial team
- Dolby's field marketing team
Interested in running your own business on your placement year instead? You can start up and run your own company for a year as an alternative to a work-based placement. You'll work with fellow students to build and launch a successful venture.
However you spend the year, we’ll give you plenty of support and mentoring to make sure you’re getting the most out of your placement. You’ll have access to Creative Careers; a team within the faculty helping students to find placement opportunities within the creative industries. They’ll provide you with a database of placement vacancies, support with your job search, including help with applications and interviews, and support throughout your placement, should you need it.
Work experience and career planning
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.
We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and add to your portfolio.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- one-to-one tutorials
You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.
How you'll spend your time
One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.
At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it.
A typical week
We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Creative Writing degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, tutorials and presentations for about 12 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.
The academic year runs from September to early June with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- September to December – teaching block 1
- January – assessment period 1
- January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
- May to June – assessment period 2
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. There’s no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.
Extra learning support
The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:
Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.
You’ll have regular contact with your personal tutor in learning activities or scheduled meetings. You can also make an appointment with them if you need extra support.
Student support advisor
In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you’ll also have access to a Faculty student support advisor. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing and refer you to specialist support services.
Academic skills tutors
You'll have help from a team of faculty academic skills tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.
They can help with:
- improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
- delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
- understanding and using assignment feedback
- managing your time and workload
- revision and exam techniques
Creative skills tutors
If you need support with software and equipment or you want to learn additional skills (including skills not covered on your course), our creative skills tutors provide free workshops, activities and one-on-one tutorials. Skills you can learn include life drawing, film camera operation and video production.
IT and computing support
Computing support staff are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5pm to midnight at busy times of the year.
Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.
The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.
Support with English
If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.
BA (Hons) Creative Writing degree entry requirements
Qualifications or experience
- 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
- Applicants may be required to submit a portfolio of written work.
These fees are based on courses starting in 2020. We'll confirm 2021 fees here in autumn 2020.
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £14,300 per year (subject to annual increase)
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
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.
You may need to buy items such as DVDs and MiniDV tapes to use on practical units, which cost approximately £20–£30.
You’ll need to cover the material costs for individual project work, which usually costs £50–£100.
How to apply
To start this course in 2020, apply through UCAS. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code – WW80
- our institution code – P80
If you’d prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
How to apply from outside the UK
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS or apply directly to us (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.