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Find the English and creative writing course for you

Explore literature throughout history, or learn to pen your own creative work

What can you do with an English and Creative Writing degree?

Writing has the power to transport readers and listeners to an entirely different time and place, and to engage us in new ways with the world around us. In an increasingly digital world, written works still matter – whether to tell a tale, highlight a point or unlock an appreciation for another belief.

The ability to communicate with creativity and clarity is in high-demand, and the world needs people that appreciate literature and can add their own voice. Studying for an English or Creative Writing degree is the perfect foundation for many jobs in the arts, the media and publishing, where employers will value the analytical, communication and presentation skills you'll develop.

With a qualification in English or Creative Writing, you'll get a deep appreciation for the power of words. You'll develop skills that could take you into jobs such as a copywriter, advertising creative, scriptwriter, editor, bid writer, content manager, social media manager, press officer or teacher.

The study of literature spans genres from crime writing to magical realism, and classic to contemporary. It takes in the past to explore written works shaped by history, looking beyond the words, to study the art, culture and context.

If you've always dreamed of penning your own stories and developing your writing craft, then studying creative writing will give you the platform. Aside from building on your writing talent, you'll learn to write across different genres and creative industries, from print and online media to film and television.

Take a literary history tour of Portsmouth with us

From Charles Dickens and Sherlock Holmes to Neil Gaiman, Portsmouth is steeped in lively literature. Join two of our students for a tour around our literary city.

Chibuzor and Holly: Welcome to Portsmouth.

Chibuzor: Our island city has a really rich history of literature and culture.

Holly: Come and join us for a tour.

Chibuzor: One of our most famous literary residents is Charles Dickens, who was born here on Old Commercial Road. It is now home to the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum.

Holly: Portsmouth is also the birthplace of another famous figure. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote his first Sherlock Holmes story while practising as a doctor here in Southsea. Now you can walk in his footsteps while doing a spot of shopping on Elm Grove.

Chibuzor: Thinking of shopping, our popular Gunwharf Quays features in Graham Hurley's DI Faraday crime novel, The Take. Graham Hurley is a friend of the English Literature programme. If you study with us here at the University of Portsmouth, you may get a chance to work with him in class.

Holly: There is literally an ocean at the end of this lane. It was renamed in honour of the famous novel by Neil Gaiman, who lived just outside of Portsmouth and spent many holidays here with relatives in the city.

Chibuzor: As an island city, Portsmouth has had a huge influence on authors both from home and abroad. Jane Austen often visited here to see her brothers, who were stationed here with the Royal Navy. She was inspired to include Portsmouth in her novel, Mansfield Park.

Holly: Stephanie Norgate's poem, Ferries at Southsea, was inspired by the view of ferries here on Clarence Parade Pier. Her poem is strongly rooted in the local area, but also tackles global issues of immigration.

Chibuzor: Portsmouth’s naval history means we can't shy away from the topics of race and slavery. The first slave narrator, Ukawsawa Gronniosaw, visited our city, while John Jea, another former slave, was a prominent preacher near the docks. Their memoirs movingly reveal the city's black history.

Holly: As we move into modern day, we have authors and poets tackling issues both big and small. Poet laureate Simon Armitage studied at the University of Portsmouth. Local poet Denise Bennett has written on Portsmouth Jewish history, and Fatima Bhutto featured Portsmouth in her contemporary novel on Islamic culture. As well as its fabulous literary history, Portsmouth also has a really vibrant, creative writing community, and you can be a part of it if you decide to study here.

Chibuzor: Our final stop is Milldam building. Originally a mill pond, it was featured in a long forgotten novel by Walter Besant, who was a contemporary of Charles Dickens. The Navy drained the pond and built officer quarters here. Then it changed hands and became home to the English Literature team at the University of Portsmouth.

Holly: Which means Portsmouth is home to the next generation of writers, thinkers and world shapers.

Chibuzor: We hope you join us.

3 reasons to study English and Creative Writing with us

  • You'll walk in the footsteps and hone your craft in the home of literary greats like Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • You can combine your interests by studying another subject with your primary course such as BA (Hons) English Literature with History, BA (Hons) English Literature with Media Studies, BA (Hons) English Literature with Creative Writing, or BA (Hons) Film Industries with Creative Writing.
  • Take advantage of our great links with industry, meaning you could do a placement with organisations like Red Apple Creative's audio book production team, Medtronic media technology services, Hays Specialist Recruitment, and the British Council.

University Open Days, tours and events

Thinking about joining us? Book your spot at one of our upcoming Open Days.

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Student life

Explore our island city and its many attractions, and find out what student life is really like at the University.

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