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Creative Writing and English Literature - BA (Hons)

Why study this course?

Study on a degree that combines theoretical study with the development of your own creative voice as a writer. Taught by experienced poets and novelists, you'll increase your understanding of literature through the study of the historical and contemporary genres in national and international contexts. Publishing, the arts, education, communications and business sectors are just a few of the areas open to you after graduation.

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This combined degree in Creative Writing and English Literature gives budding writers the best of both worlds. You may want to be a performance poet, adapt a work of literature for the screen or stage, think about literature from a philosophical perspective or find out more about the publishing industry. The blend of modules on this course makes all of these goals achievable.

The English Literature modules cover all the major genres of poetry, drama and prose, which helps you gain an understanding of their development through history. You’ll study major literary and cultural movements such as romanticism and modernism, and will have the opportunity to choose niche specialisms such as the literature of childhood or the literature of London.

On the Creative Writing modules, you’ll learn how to edit your work and develop your writing across literary and commercial genres as well as developing the ability to think critically about the cultural, ethical and political dimensions of writing. The skills you'll gain by editing and critiquing your own work will be valuable when working on essays in other areas.

You'll benefit from our exceptional facilities and have the resources of the British Library at your fingertips. London is a vast hub of literary and cultural history, and you will benefit from organised visits to theatres, galleries, libraries, archives and events, giving context and support to your studies.

You'll be taught by experienced academics who are dedicated to undergraduate teaching, as well as published poets, novelists and dramatists, whose knowledge of the publishing industry can give you the valuable professional insight needed to kick-start your career. Staff are dedicated to helping you get the most out of your degree and the enthusiastic, high quality teaching on this course has been highly rated by students.

After you graduate you will be an excellent candidate for a career in publishing, the creative and cultural industries, the arts, education and the communications sector.

Assessment

You will be assessed through a mixture of critical essays on literary topics and portfolios of creative work produced in relation to workshops and critiques.

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grades DD in  A levels (or a minimum of 48 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification)
  • submit two pieces of your creative work from two of the following three genres: prose fiction, poetry and or script
  • GCSE English at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above (or equivalent)

If you are a mature student with significant work experience, you are invited to apply for this course on the basis of the knowledge and skills you have developed through your work.

For prose fiction or non-fiction the writing sample must be between 500 and 1000 words.

For scripts, you should include at least three scenes to give an idea of character, setting and development of plot. The scenes should be written in the correct format for stage or screen.

For poetry you should include at least four pages of poetry. This can be a combination of longer and shorter pieces. You should show some awareness of verse form.

If you don’t have traditional qualifications or can’t meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Creative Writing and English Literature Extended Degree (including Foundation Year) BA (Hons).

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2016/17 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    Romantics to Victorians is a year long level 4 module which introduces students to the transformations of English literature and culture from the mid-18th to the mid- to late 19th century. Through the study of literary, philosophical, political and popular texts the module provides an introduction and context to the study of literature in the late modern period, and situates a number of key critical debates about science and religion, political and social revolutions, industrialisation, city and citizen, Romanticism and Realism, mid-Victorian society, and Empire. The module is taught in weekly sessions, and is assessed by a series of written coursework pieces.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    The module Theory and Practice of Drama provides an opportunity to study across text, performance and creative writing. Students will study the formal characteristics of representative playtexts and the political, social and philosophical concerns of the societies in which they have developed. This will be combined with a study of theatrical practice and performance where students will examine how writing and performance intersect, inform, and inspire each other. Students will further have the choice of pursuing specialist skills, either in the critical and theoretical analysis of dramatic genres, or in creative writing and the production of playscripts. The module is generally taught in weekly three-hour sessions comprising a lecture and seminar or workshop, and a weekly hour of tutorial time, and is assessed by essay, presentation, and reflective or creative writing.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    The module Theory and Practice of Poetry will provide students with a wide-ranging introduction to reading poetry and to the great variety of poetic forms and genres, from sonnets to free verse. It will introduce students to poetic literary history and give students the skills to identify key poets including Shakespeare, Pope, Wordsworth and Eliot, and also poetic forms and poetic conventions. It will conclude with an exploration of contemporary poetry and poetics. Throughout the module, students will be provided with the skills and opportunities to read published poetry, write their own poetry, and discuss classic poetry, their own work and the work of other students in a supportive environment facilitated by their tutor. The module is taught in weekly three hour sessions comprising a lecture and seminar or workshop, and a weekly hour of guided blended learning or tutorial time and is assessed by presentation, essay, reflective writing or creative writing with a commentary.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday afternoon

    Writer’s World will introduce students to the major forms of literary prose including fiction, memoir, and essay. Students will research and discuss the historical development of these forms as well as familiarising themselves with their contemporary forms. Students will analyse individual texts in context of literary history, critical theory and contemporary production as well as learn to situate their own creative practice in both historical and contemporary literary and critical contexts. The module is taught in weekly sessions over a period of 30 weeks and will be assessed via students’ contribution to seminars, a portfolio of creative work on which students will work throughout the year, and a final work of prose fiction or creative non-fiction.

    Read full details.

Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday afternoon

    Genre Fiction explores a range of fictional genres. From crime and gothic horror to science fiction and romantic comedy, a well-established range of narrative genres dominates the production of popular fiction for both page and screen. Often dismissed as escapist entertainment for the masses, genre fiction may also be considered a literature of subversion and resistance in its expression of transgressive desires and imagination of alternative realities. This module studies the historical development, interplay, techniques, conventions and audiences of some major types of genre fiction from the eighteenth century to the present day. The module will be taught via a programme of weekly sessions supplemented by tutorial and online support. As well as developing skills of literary analysis, students will have the opportunity to practise the role of creative producer and critical reviewer by producing a variety of written coursework. Students will also make a short group seminar presentation on a genre text or series of their choice.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    Victorians to Moderns is a year long level 5 module which provides a continuation to the level 4 module Romantics to Victorians, and examines the transformations of English literature and culture from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. Through the study of literature, philosophy, criticism and the arts, the module develops the student’s critical understanding of cultural context and formal innovation in the English literary tradition. The module develops and extends a number of debates encountered in Romantics to Victorians, and introduces intellectual and critical debates proper to Modernism. These topics include Naturalism and the Social Sciences; Spiritualism and Esotericism; Decadence and Aestheticism; Psychoanalysis; The Machine and the City; Art, Manifesto and Revolt; The New Woman; & Fascism, Communism and War. The module is taught by weekly sessions comprising lecture and seminar, supplemented by tutorials, and assessed by a combination of critical essays, open-book tests and summaries.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    This module explores the writing and rewriting of fiction and creative nonfiction. Attention will be paid to both originating new work and the process of revision. The module will outline some fundamental principles of style, genre and editing. Students will consider different kinds of narrative such as fiction, history, life writing, travel writing and literary journalism – their shared techniques as well as distinctive characteristics. Students will have the experience of writing in different formats such as short stories, memoirs, features and essays. They will develop an understanding of some of the principles of editing both their own and other people’s work (as well as the differences between them). They will also develop an enhanced sensitivity to the role and practice of editing at the level of the paragraph, the sentence and the word, in addition to the text as a whole. Emphasis will be laid on developing clarity, precision, and expressiveness in writing style, as well as the ability to explain their editing decisions. Through a variety of exercises students will be shown how to identify common problems in writing and how to remedy them. They will also develop an appreciation of how successive re-workings of the same text can alter and refine its meaning and effectiveness. The module will develop valuable and transferable skills for critical thinking and reading, effective editing techniques, and enhance employability.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday morning

    Contemporary and historical relationships between poetry and performance are of central concern in the module Poetry and Performance. From oral poetry and performance in folk customs, to classical and Shakespearean traditions, from bardic ways to W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot, from blues and jazz to Patience Agbabi, John Hegley and Dizzee Rascal, there will be something to inspire everyone in the poetry and performance studied on the module. There will be opportunities for research and development of each student’s writing and/or performance style, and for immersing themselves in the sights and sounds of chosen performance cultures. Collective and individual poetry may be developed for performance. Students will be able to listen to a variety of poets performing and to consider their own response to the work in the process of developing research and writing. The module will be taught by weekly two-hour sessions comprising a lecture and seminar, and assessed by essays and reviews on performance poetry or by the creation, performance and recording of performance texts.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday morning

    This module explores the research skills required for the production and publication of literary texts and places the process in its ethical context. The module will explore methods of research, use of researched knowledge to underpin creative production, as well as considerations of incorporating the knowledge into writing. The module will place both research activity and its incorporation into creative production into ethical and philosophical contexts, including but not limited to issues of censorship, self-censoring, and personal and collective sensitivities. It will explore matters of ownership and appropriation, including ideas and laws about intellectual property rights as applicable to writing as well as encourage students to consider their own production in context of ethical conduct regarding ideas, texts and publications. The module will engage with many forms and cultural examples of ethical questions in and about writing, and will enable students to consider their own reading and writing practice in a critical manner.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday morning

    This module explores diverse approaches to writing fiction, and develops the student’s awareness and understanding of the form, as both entertainment and literary texts. Students will learn the literary developments in contemporary fiction, engaging primarily with the short story in its various forms, as well as learn techniques and approaches necessary for creating their own. Students will also learn to locate their own creative practice of fiction in wider literary, historical and social contexts, as well as analyse individual texts. The module will encourage students to develop their own creative practice in context of contemporary literary as well as popular fiction.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday morning

    The Literature of Childhood is a 15 credit, level 5 module that looks at how literature written for and about children over the last two hundred years has given voice to the changing concept of childhood and the values, ideals and fears that have been associated with childhood throughout this period. The module will be delivered in weekly classes and tutorials over a 15 week period. Assessment is based on an oral presentation and a 3,000 word assignment.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Thursday morning

    In The Short Story students explore the short story as a popular contemporary form. Rooted in oral story telling, contemporary short stories are forms of entertainment and literary texts. Classically, the short story is to be read in one sitting and so can focus the reader on specific moments in time, intimate character portrayal and brisk narrative exposition. This module will engage with many forms and cultural examples of short stories and encourage students to consider their own reading and experience as they develop their skills in analysing short stories. Students will be offered a range of assessment options fostering engagement with the short story. The module is taught by weekly two hour sessions for fifteen weeks comprising lectures and seminar or workshop, and assessed by essay or reflective and critical writing.

    Read full details.

Year 3 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start)

    This Project module allows students to explore in depth a literary or creative writing topic of their own choice, arising out of previous study and subject to supervisor approval. Independent but supported learning and sustained research and writing provide students with a focus for refining and drawing together a wide range of creative, critical, literary and transferable skills.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning

    Why Literature Matters is a level 6 module which introduces and develops a series of related discussions about the personal, worldly and critical stakes involved in reading and writing literature. Students will follow a number of discrete syllabuses, some related to staff specialisms and publications, that require them to engage with the value of their reading, writing and critical practice in relation to other spheres of experience and action.

    Syllabus topics may include but are not limited to the following, and may change from year to year:
    1 - Why writers write
    2 - Writing, activism and geopolitics
    3 - Literature, ecology and environmental aesthetics
    4 - Literature and the sacred
    5 - Literature and ontology

    The module will be taught in weekly sessions comprising a lecture and seminar and supported by online and face-to-face tutorial hours, and assessed by short critical writing and essays.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon

    This module explores diverse approaches to life writing, both historical and contemporary, and develops student awareness of their own personal and literary histories. Students will reflect on the differences between autobiography, memoir and biography, and analyse contemporary published examples of each. The module will teach how to identify themes and specific time periods from students’ own lives and develop the literary skills to portray these in non-fiction, poetry, fiction, and other genres. Students will be expected to explore and auto/biographical contexts such as physical environment, gender, ethnicity, local and family history, ethics, and the broader social milieu; and discuss how theories of the self have contributed to the importance of life writing in contemporary literature.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    This module builds on the earlier core modules Romantics to Victorians and Victorians to Moderns for English Literature students, and Writers World and Research Methodology and Ethics for Creative Writing students. It examines the period from the 1950s to the 2010s. Through the study of poetry, drama and prose, their critical discussion and creative production, and through reference to other media forms, the module addresses major themes in the cultural, social and political history of the period. The syllabus includes canonical works but enlarges and transforms students’ understanding of literary production by considering works written in English within other national traditions and works in translation in order properly to represent the complex, intersectional experience of literary and cultural engagement for readers today. The module takes a partly chronological approach and addresses such themes as war and reconstruction; race, feminism and sexuality; post-war geopolitics, the Cold War; Thatcherism, Reaganism and the neo-liberal settlement; post-modernity; multiculturalism and intersectionality; post-9/11 writing and the political making of the modern world. The module is taught in weekly sessions comprising a lecture followed by an English Literature seminar or Creative Writing workshop. The module is supported by online material and face-to-face tutorial hours, and assessed by short critical writing, essays and/or creative pieces produced in workshop.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday afternoon

    This module ‘From Page to Performance: Stage and Screen’ will examine a selection of texts from prose and drama and students will assess the creative journey these texts make from the verbal medium of the page to the embodied and enacted forms of stage and screen and the range of representational modes involved in that process. Students will look at the semiotic systems involved in transmediation, that is, how the act of storytelling is transformed as it migrates from one medium, audience, context, purpose to another. This will involve the overlapping but distinct processes of critical analysis, creative writing and screen theory and practice.

    This module is taught over 15 weeks using a theoretical and practical approach to the subject. Assessment comprises seminar contribution (formative), a seminar presentation (40%) and written essay or creative adaptation with evaluation (60%).

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday afternoon

    Literary London is a 15 credit English Literature option module which examines the literary representation of London from the 17th century to the present day. Through the study of literature, criticism, journalism, and social & economic history, and through reflection on creative and literary critical work, students will develop their understanding of London’s literary history. The module is taught in weekly sessions of a lecture followed by a seminar and supported by online and face-to-face tutorials, and assessed by a critical essays.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Friday morning

    This module explores the processes of publishing and dissemination of creative writing in a range of genres and media. The students will learn about contemporary UK and international publishing markets, research the same to identify key factors guiding the industry and find ways to place their writing as well as writing related skills within the same. The module will focus on practical issues of publishing including submissions, queries and book proposals, providing students with an understanding of the wide spectrum of publishing activities and markets. With a clear employability focus, the module will provide students with transferable skills emphasising research, editing and marketing in contemporary globalised publishing industry.

    Read full details.

If you’re studying full-time, each year (level) is worth 120 credits.

Year 1 modules include:

  • Theory and Practice of Poetry
  • Writer's World
  • Romantics to Victorians
  • Theory and Practice Drama

Year 2 modules include:

  • Writing and Editing Fiction and Non-Fiction
  • Genre Fiction
  • Victorians to Moderns
  • Poetry and Performance (option)
  • The Literature of Childhood (option)
  • The Short Story (option)
  • The Craft of Fiction (option)
  • Research Methodology and Ethics in Creative Writing

Year 3 modules include:

  • Modern to Contemporaries
  • Why Literature Matters
  • From Life Writing to Fiction
  • English Literature or Creative Writing Project
  • Literary London (option)
  • Advanced Creative Writing Workshop (option)
  • From Page to Performance (option)
  • Publishing and the Industry (option)
  • Existentialism in Writing (option)

You can find more information about our modules on the course specification.

“The lecturers and tutors have all been enthusiastic in both subjects and for the institution they are teaching in. The course has introduced me to works I would have otherwise not known and opened my mind to new areas in literature. The partnership between English Literature and Creative Writing has created interesting opportunities to explore my own creative writing.”

Former Student, National Study Survey

Graduates have gone on to successful careers in publishing, editing and related industries as well as publishing their own creative work. This course is also excellent preparation for further study or research.

Creative Writing graduate and Somali-British poet Warsan Shire recently collaborated with Beyonce on her new album, Lemonade. The album, which sees the American superstar recite extracts from five of her poems, has catapulted Warsan into stardom in the US. Having graduated from London Metropolitan University in 2011, Warsan published Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth that same year and was named the first Young Poet Laureate of London in 2014.

Between 2016 and 2020 we're investing £125 million in the London Metropolitan University campus, moving all of our activity to our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching location of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2017. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things such as equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

Unistats is the official site that allows you to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The widget(s) below draw data from the corresponding course on the Unistats website. If a course is taught both full-time and part-time, one widget for each mode of study will be displayed here.

How to apply

UK/EU applicants for September full-time entry must apply via UCAS unless specified otherwise.

UK/EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University.

Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University, but please note that if you require a Tier 4 visa you are not able to study on a part-time basis.

All applicants applying to begin a course starting in January must apply direct to the University.

When to apply

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.

If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.

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