Mode of StudyFull-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start dateSeptember 2023
Take your love of literature to a higher level and refine your writing skills with academic rigour on our English and Creative Writing degree course.
Explore literature through an academic lens in theory and in practice, enhancing your understanding of each through participation in the other.
You'll learn to analyse literature as a critic, historian and linguist, and from the perspective of future creators, storytellers, playwrights and poets – all of which will transform your writing skills. Develop techniques for producing short stories, poetry and plays, and learn to dissect, critique and perform your own writing.
By the end of your degree, you’ll open up professional career paths and postgraduate routes eager for writing and literary expertise, including editing and publishing, teaching, and broadcasting.
- Take part in Portsmouth's annual Comic Con for the latest developments in creative writing and literature, popular culture, fan communities, and technology – course lecturers and students are panelists
- Build your writing portfolio by contributing to our course blog The Eldon Review and our local news zine Star & Crescent
- Contribute to cultural preservation projects with staff members, such as the Portsmouth Literary Map and the Writing Literary Portsmouth blog, to enhance your research practice
- Learn from experts in both creative writing and English literature: from published novelists and industry-active writers, to renowned specialists of 19th to 21st-century literature and culture
- Gain valuable professional experience by taking an optional placement
- Spend a year or a semester studying abroad to discover another culture and way of learning
- Take advantage of our extra-curricular Institute-Wide Language Programme to improve your linguistic skills and earn credits
BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing
- A levels – ABB–BBC
- UCAS points – 112-128 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, including 32 points from A level English (calculate your UCAS points)
- International Baccalaureate – 26
You may need to have studied specific subjects – see full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept
- Applicants without relevant qualifications will be requested to provide a portfolio to support their application.
- For more information on how to put together a portfolio, read our Creative Writing courses portfolio guide.
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.
How to prepare for this course
Here are two ways you can get ready for all the exciting writing you'll be doing over the next three years.
We have some recommended titles you can check out:
- ‘The Writer’s Journey’ (Christopher Vogler)
- ‘The Seven Basic Plots’ (Christopher Booker)
- ‘From the Beast to the Blonde’ (Marina Warner)
- ‘The Creative Writing Handbook’ (edited by Steve Earnshaw)
- ‘Save the Cat’ (Blake Snyder)
All of these appear in module reading lists on our Creative Writing courses, so buying them could be worthwhile – or you could wait until you can access them in our University Library or on our Moodle pages after starting this course.
Write every day; don’t throw any of it away.
Writing's the easiest and most important way to prepare for a creative writing course. The more you write, the more you’ll:
- discover your voice
- hone your technique
- become more self-reflective
You don’t have to pen a major publication or a future blockbuster screenplay either. You can start small by keeping a diary, journal, or setting up your own blog, and adding entries to those.
Facilities and specialist software
Course-related projects and blogs
Portsmouth Literary Map
Explore Portsmouth's rich literary heritage and contemporary literature scene through an interactive map and blog
Writing Literary Portsmouth Blog
Our blog explores the literary depths of Portsmouth, featuring local and famous authors and their relationships with the city.
Careers and opportunities
An excellent writer and speaker will prosper in a vast field of career opportunities.
You’ll graduate from this course with outstanding writing and speaking skills, as well as proofreading and grammar proficiency. All of these qualities will help you from the moment you write your first job application.
You’ll also have developed excellent skills in imagination, empathy, and research, which are valuable assets to any employer.
Areas graduates from our Creative Writing courses have worked in include:
- creative writing (prose, poetry, script)
- advertising and marketing
- arts and events management
- local and community broadcasting
- stand-up comedy
- travel industry
Roles graduates from our Creative Writing courses have gone onto include:
- theatre manager
- editorial assistant
Some of our graduates have landed spots in big companies and organisations, including:
- BBC Radio 1
- Red Magazine
Ongoing careers support
Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience. You can also venture into freelancing, or set up and run your own business with help from the University Startup Team.
Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.
Placement year (optional)
Between your second and third year, you can complete an optional work placement to gain professional experience and enhance your skills. It's also a great incentive for employers once you graduate.
You can work for a company, organisation or agency, or you can go self-employed and start your own business with fellow students or by yourself.
Whatever you decide – or even if you just want some employability advice – our exclusive Creative Careers team can support you every step of the way.
Our in-faculty Creative Careers team has extensive recruitment experience and knows the creative sector well, making it easier for students to find placements within the creative industries.
They can guide you through every step of the application process, including:
- Searching for the ideal job through their database of vacancies
- Giving tips on how to write an interesting CV that will catch employers' attention, no matter the role
- Organising mock interviews, so you can hone your technique and familiarise yourself with the recruitment environment
- Writing your startup business proposal – if you're going down the self-employment route
The team will continue to give you support throughout your placement year.
What you can do on a placement year
If you're thinking of doing a placement but not sure what role to take or where to go, we can steer you in a direction that fits your aspirations.
Check out our Creative Careers team's blog to find out where fellow film, media and communication students have interned during their studies.
Placement students on our Creative Writing courses have worked in a variety of roles in commerce, publishing, entertainment, and education. Others have chosen to work for themselves.
Among these experiences are:
- Digital content creator at the head office of a major retailer
- Trainee editorial assistants at The London Magazine and Star & Crescent
- Writing and publishing novellas and poetry collections as a freelancer
- Content writer for a Brixton music promotion company
- Teachers in schools
What you'll study
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:
- Body Politics – 40 credits
- Telling Tales – 20 credits
- Tips, Tricks, Techniques – 20 credits
- True Stories – 20 credits
- The Short Story: Murder, Madness and Experimentation – 20 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules for this year include:
- Literary Prizes and Public Acclaim – 20 credits
Optional modules in this year include:
- Bloody Shakespeare: the Politics and Poetics of Violence – 20 credits
- Creative Writing and Critical Thinking – 20 credits
- Creative Writing for Comedy – 20 credits
- Creative Writing for Film – 20 credits
- Crime Writing – 20 credits
- Dystopian and Apocalyptic Environments: Ecocrisis in the Literary Imagination – 20 credits
- Engaged Citizenship Through Interdisciplinary Practice – 20 credits
- Finding Form - Fiction – 20 credits
- Finding Form - Nonfiction – 20 credits
- Finding Form - Speculative Fiction – 20 credits
- Finding Form - Writing for Performance – 20 credits
- Modern Foreign Language (Institution-wide Language Programme) – 20 credits
- Press and Public Relations – 20 credits
- Professional Experience – 20 credits
- Research in Practice – 20 credits
- Space, Place and Being – 20 credits
- Student Enterprise – 20 credits
- Women's Writing in the Americas – 20 credits
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. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
- English Literature Dissertation – 40 credits
- Or Creative Writing Dissertation – 40 credits
Optional modules in this year include:
- Consuming Fictions: Food and Appetite in Victorian Culture – 20 credits
- Fact and Fiction – 20 credits
- Fan Fiction – 20 credits
- Holocaust Literatures – 20 credits
- Magical Realism – 20 credits
- Neo-historical Fiction – 20 credits
- Time, Temporality, Contemporary Fiction – 20 credits
- Travel Writing – 20 credits
- US Masculinities – 20 credits
- Writing Project (with Publishing) – 20 credits
Changes to course content
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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
Exchanges and study abroad
In your second or third year, you can choose to study abroad at one of our partner universities in Europe, Asia, Australia or North America. All classes are delivered in English and you'll still be able to get both your tuition fee and maintenance loans. You may also qualify for a government travel grant.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- short stories
- a novel in progress
- a screenplay
- a collection of poems
- a video production
- 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.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- one-to-one tutorials
There's an emphasis on giving you the freedom and choice to develop the skills you need to succeed wherever your career takes you.
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.
We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies. As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.
Supporting your learning
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 support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:
Types of support
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.
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
As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.
Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.
You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.
If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.
They'll help you to
- discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
- liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
- access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
- liaise with external services
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.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2023 start)
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £9,250 a year, including our Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £17,200 a year (subject to annual increase)
You won't pay any extra tuition fees to another university for taking part in a study/work abroad activity if you choose to do it for the whole academic year. During a year abroad you'll only have to pay a reduced fee to the University of Portsmouth.
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
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 show your accommodation options and highlight 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’ll need to cover additional costs, such as travel costs, if you take an optional placement or placement abroad.
These costs will vary depending on the location and duration of the placement, and can range from £50–£1000.
During your placement year or study abroad year, you’ll be eligible for a discounted rate on your tuition fees. Currently, this discount amounts to 90% of the year’s fees.
Tuition fees for that year are:
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £925 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £925 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £1,800 a year (subject to annual increase)
The costs associated with your specific destination will be discussed during your second year, as well as possible sources of additional funding.
How to apply
To start this course in 2023, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – QW38
- 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
See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. 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.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.