Undergraduate Course

BA Creative Writing

Now In Clearing
BA Creative Writing

Overview

The details
Creative Writing
W800
October 2018
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

Explore the urge to create and build new worlds, to share language and stories with others. On our course you work on the craft of writing through a multi-genre approach, through and across a variety of writings from fiction and poetry, to non-fiction, psychogeography, performance writing and beyond.

At Essex we offer an unusual approach to the practice of writing, combing innovative and traditional methods in order to develop your writing skills and abilities to judge your work critically, while expanding your knowledge across different modes and genres. In the Centre for Creative Writing we encourage a culture of experiment and creativity, enabling you to feel part of a community of writers.

Uncover the history and theories of writing practices through studying familiar as well as unfamiliar writings from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to Wordsworth, and Kate Tempest, as well as writers taking alternative approaches to text production, from contemporary revisionings of fairytales, to new nature writing, science fiction, and the experimental language play of the French Oulipo group.

You will enhance your skills by engaging with a range of techniques, practical exercises and creative approaches and opportunities, including:

  • Discover how words and ideas move across the world and are transformed through translation
  • Write an independent creative project developed over eight months in your final year
  • Explore the psychological foundations of creativity in relation to myth
  • Surrealism and Defamiliarisation
  • Creative use of social media
  • Writing for radio and playwriting

Essex has nurtured a long tradition of distinguished writers whose work has shaped literature as we know it today, from past giants such as the American poets Robert Lowell and Ted Berrigan, to contemporary writers such as mythographer and novelist Dame Marina Warner, and Booker Prize winner Ben Okri.

Our course offers a varied, flexible and distinctive curriculum, focused on developing your abilities as a writer, while allowing you to take options from the other courses within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies including literature, filmmaking, journalism and drama.

We are ranked among the top 200 departments in the QS World University Rankings (2018).

Why we're great.
  • You can respond both critically and artistically to your studies in our unique literary conservatoire.
  • We encourage innovation, experimentation, and originality in writing and thinking.
  • Our literature and creative writing courses are taught by leading academics and writers.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Placement year

When you arrive at Essex, you can decide whether you would like to combine your course with a placement year. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

Our teaching staff are experienced and established writers who have a breadth of experience across literary genres, from novels, prose and plays, to poetry and song.

The Centre for Creative Writing is part of a unique literary conservatoire that offers students the skills, support and confidence to respond artistically and critically to the study of writing with the guidance of experts.

The Centre for Creative Writing currently hosts two Royal Literary Fund Fellows, professional writers who are on-hand to help students develop their writing on a one-to-one basis.

Specialist facilities

  • Access the University’s Media Centre, equipped with state-of-the-art studios, cameras, audio and lighting equipment, and an industry-standard editing suite
  • Write for our student magazine Rebel or host a Red Radio show
  • View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
  • Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading literature specialists at regular talks and readings
  • Our on-Campus, 200-seat Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
  • Improve your playwriting skills at our Lakeside Theatre Writers workshops
  • Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested

Your future

Many of our students have gone on to successfully publish their work, notable recent alumni including:

  • Ida Løkås, who won a literary prize in Norway for The Beauty That Flows Past, securing a book deal
  • Alexia Casale, whose novel Bone Dragon was published by Faber & Faber and subsequently featured on both the Young Adult Books of the Year 2013 list for The Financial Times, and The Independent’s Books of the year 2013: Children
  • Elaine Ewert, recent graduate from our MA Wild Writing, placed second in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015
  • Patricia Borlenghi, the founder of Patrician Press, which has published works by a number of our alumni
  • Petra Mcqueen, who has written for The Guardian and runs creative writing courses

.

Our graduates are also ideally prepared for careers in the media, education, publishing, and the film and theatre industries. Two particular areas in which our graduates have had recent success are publishing and the theatre. One of our former students is now in charge of editorial at a large publishing house, and another has just taken over running one of the country’s major theatres.

Other recent graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of desirable roles including:

  • The Civil Service
  • Journalism and broadcasting
  • Marketing
  • Museum and library work
  • Commerce and finance
  • Teaching

We also work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

“After graduating from Essex I began writing novels and my debut, The Beauty That Flows Past, won a literary prize in Norway, which was a massive achievement for me and a great honour. Studying BA Creative Writing definitely helped develop my writing. I had the privilege of being taught by talented and inspiring professors, and I am grateful for all their encouragement and guidance during my three years at Essex.”

Ida Løkås, BA Creative Writing, 2009

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

If you have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2018 entry through Clearing. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Essex Cultural Outreach (optional)

Gain first-hand professional experience in the cultural and creative sector with this practical skills-based module. You will work with the Arts Education team on an arts projects with a local school, discovering how to plan and deliver effective and engaging sessions, whilst learning about the career opportunities in this sector. By helping children develop, you’ll reflect upon your own strengths and capabilities, building on vital transferrable employability skills such as teamwork, resilience, leadership, and experience of working with outside organisations. You will have the opportunity to put yourself forward for extra Arts Award training, helping you to stand out from the crowd. Complementing other modules on the course, this module will also prepare you for a placement or year abroad.

View Essex Cultural Outreach (optional) on our Module Directory

Writing in Society: The Art of Communication (optional)
Multicultural Britain: A History (optional)

Britain is a diverse, multicultural society. Yet traditional histories of Britain often ignore the fact that British society has been remade and its culture enriched by people from a wide variety of different cultures, communities and backgrounds. This module will examine how 'race' became a defining concept for understanding British society, how mass immigration transformed the concept of Britishness, and how Black, Asian and other Ethnic Minorities had to fight in order to exercise their rights as British citizens. It will also examine the history of Europeans in Britain from Jewish immigration in the 1900s through to debates on the EU and Brexit.

View Multicultural Britain: A History (optional) on our Module Directory

Origins and Transformations in Literature and Drama

Which writers re-worked Homer’s Odyssey? Or borrowed ideas from Dante’s Inferno? Examine how key literary texts and genres have been used by successive generations of writers up until the present day. Shift from classical text to a more modern example, studying the long cultural traditions that exist.

View Origins and Transformations in Literature and Drama on our Module Directory

The Writer's Toolkit

How do you get started as a writer? How do you practise your writing? And how can you make improvements? Using exercises and texts, focus on your basic skills and essay writing. Cover topics like characterisation, dialogue, point of view, plotting, suspense, and metaphor and imagery.

View The Writer's Toolkit on our Module Directory

Writing for the Radio

What possibilities does radio offer a writer? What techniques are required? How can the main tools of dramatic construction be exploited for radio? Focusing on drama, study work currently being broadcast plus classic pieces. Make use of the University’s studio to record extracts of your own radio scripts.

View Writing for the Radio on our Module Directory

Creative Writing: Tradition and Innovation

Want a thorough grounding in creative practice? Keen to engage creatively with texts from your other modules? Explore creative writing practice in seminars, workshops and writing exercises. Use literary themes as a springboard for writing, studying the forms and traditions but exploring ways of adapting approaches for a contemporary audience.

View Creative Writing: Tradition and Innovation on our Module Directory

Writing Structures

What are the key theories for creative writing? And how do writers (such as Wordsworth or Pound) theorise their own work and that of others? Study a range of genres, from poetry and fiction to autobiography, with practical writing exercises. Explore “making the familiar unfamiliar” (defamiliarisation), and focus on narrative.

View Writing Structures on our Module Directory

Creative Non-Fiction

What is creative non-fiction? How does it engage and experiment with the world around us? Explore the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction, from Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year to today’s “misery memoir”. Understand the creative aspect of others kinds of writing, widening your own scope and sense of possibility.

View Creative Non-Fiction on our Module Directory

"I, too, sing America": Identity, Diversity, and Voice in United States Literature (optional)

What are the major US texts since 1850? And what problems are connected to them? Study a varied spectrum of US literature, looking at issues such as the relationship between American writing and history, American “difference” and differences within American society, nationalism and regionalism, and conflicts of race and gender.

View "I, too, sing America": Identity, Diversity, and Voice in United States Literature (optional) on our Module Directory

Children’s Fiction and the Turn to Young Adult Adventure (optional)
Myth and the Creative Process (optional)

How is myth used by writers? How is the creative process of writing linked to myth? Study collaborative and creative processes of writing through group work and seminars. Explore the term myth in relation to elements such as fairy tale, tradition, locality, folklore, and divination.

View Myth and the Creative Process (optional) on our Module Directory

Understanding and Writing Science Fiction (optional)

How did science fiction develop as a genre? What are the key themes? How do you write your own science fiction story? Explore key science fiction works, alongside texts from film, TV and the internet. Write your own science fiction short stories and complete world-building exercises in group workshops.

View Understanding and Writing Science Fiction (optional) on our Module Directory

Independent Creative Writing Project (optional)

All second year students have the opportunity to apply to undertake an Independent Study Project in their final year in the following fields: Literature, Creative Writing, Film, Film Studies and Theatre. Independent Study gives you an opportunity to pursue a particular enthusiasm that might not be covered in our taught modules. You will focus your chosen subject in depth for six months, eventually producing a 10,000 word argument or creative piece.

View Independent Creative Writing Project (optional) on our Module Directory

Reading and Writing Poetry (optional)

How do you write poetry? Be introduced to the practice of writing poetry. Examine seven distinct formal elements of verse alongside the best examples from canonical poetry in the English language. Build your own skills, as well as an appreciation of the history, variety and power of poetry.

View Reading and Writing Poetry (optional) on our Module Directory

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Teaching will mainly take the form of lectures and classes of about 20 students
  • Emphasis on practical exercises and creative approaches
  • A typical timetable involves a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your modules every week

Assessment

  • Your final mark for each module is determined half by coursework and half by examination
  • A mark for class participation is included in your coursework mark

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

£14,020

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2018 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, September 15, 2018
  • Saturday, October 27, 2018

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.


Apply now
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