Creative writing

Take a journey into the world of words, and learn about the theory and practice of becoming a writer.

Creative writing

Undergraduate degrees

We'll nurture and develop your writing and storytelling talents in a structured learning environment. You'll explore the transformation of words and ideas through translation, work on an independent creative project, delve into myths, and study surrealism and defamiliarisation. The curriculum also covers the application of creative writing and publishing in social media, radio, and playwriting.

At Essex you'll benefit from studying alongside the Centre for Creative Writing, our dedicated research centre established in 2010 that seeks to understand the innovative practices in Creative Writing. You'll also join a community of like-minded individuals who share your passion for writing, such as the award-winning Professor Elizabeth Kuti - who has explored the themes of folklore, and written two plays; 'Sea Longing' which explored stories of the selkie, and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Fishskin Trousers - a monologue play which interweaves myth, folklore and magic as it unfolds the experiences of three characters on the mysterious Island of Orford Ness.

Did you know we are also the only University whose Chancellor is a creative writer? Dr Sarah Perry - who amongst other novels is famous for her number on best-seller The Essex Serpent inspired by the history and landscape of her home county - Essex. The Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the University and presides over degree ceremonies and the annual meeting of the Court, the group which meets annually to receive a report from on the progress and development of the University.

Apart from our extensive library, you'll use facilities like our Media Centre with advanced studios and editing suite, as well as the Lakeside Theatre, a 200-seat venue on the University Colchester Campus. The Research Laboratory provides unique opportunities for experimentation and improvisation with innovative projects.

Whether you seek personal growth, a publishing career, or want to unleash your creative potential, our creative writing degree offers an ideal platform for your literary aspirations.

Why study here?
  • We're 7th in the UK for Creative Writing in the Guardian University Guide 2024.
  • 100% of our research impact in English Language and Literature is world-leading or internationally excellent (Research Excellence Framework 2021)
  • 88% of our Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies Undergraduate graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2023)
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Book your place for one of our on-campus Open Days and we'll make sure you have all of the information you need to make the most out of your day.

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Career prospects

Our School of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies ensures our graduates are prepared for their career in the media, education, publishing or film and theatre industries amongst many other career options. Some of our graudates have gone on to successfully publish their work such as Ida Løkås, who won a literary prize in Norway for The Beauty That Flows Past securing a book deal and 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

Explore the career opportunities our School can provide you and learn more about our Alumni.


"I definitely enjoyed film production and film theory modules. But I feel like third year was the year where I got to delve into the areas which particularly intrigued me: independent film production, analysing the human psyche, learning about the development of mental illness, propaganda in the 1900s and now, and sci-fi writing. Quite the combination, yes. I think the freedom to work independently on topics or stories that I'd created, with professional supervision is something incredible and something that I will never take for granted."
Egle Evergreen Radziute BA Film and Creative writing, 2018

Master the subject you love

Studying creative writing at the master's level offers aspiring writers and scholars the unique opportunity to refine their craft through skills development and exposure to diverse perspectives.

Beyond honing writing techniques and styles, you'll benefit from constructive feedback, mentorship, and networking opportunities with established authors and industry professionals.

Essex has nurtured a long tradition of distinguished authors 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. Joining Essex ensures you join the long line of success stories we are truly proud of. We’re also 7th in the UK for Creative Writing in the Guardian University Guide 2024.

As a postgraduate student you have the opportunity to submit your unpublished creative writing to our Creel anthology where members of the Centre for Creative Writing (or dedicated research centre) select and produce this anthology for publication.

Why study here?
  • Explore connections with other art forms alongside world-renowned scholars and writers in our unique literary conservatoire.
  • We have been the home of great writers, including Robert Lowell, Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott and Booker Prize winner Ben Okri.
  • Become a part of the vibrant community of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies students.
Book onto our Open Day

Book your place for one of our on-campus Open Days and we'll make sure you have all of the information you need to make the most out of your day.

Book your place

Your Research Degree

Whether your project involves poetry, fiction, theatre, screenwriting, or another form such as psychogeography, you will benefit from expert supervision by experienced writing practitioners in our Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies

Our interdisciplinary natures means you can gain expertise from film-makers, American Literature experts, professional theatre practitioners and more. Our active and interdisciplinary research community that will challenge you intellectually and artistically.

To find out more about us read our biographies and then use our research finder to find a supervisor.

Why study here?
  • We regularly invite writers to give talks, readings and masterclasses to our students as part of our Writers at Essex series.
  • We run weekly research seminars with speakers from around the world and host major conferences and symposia.
  • Our research students also organise and present at our annual PhD conference.
Book onto our Open Day

Book your place for one of our on-campus Open Days and we'll make sure you have all of the information you need to make the most out of your day.

Book your place

Start your application with us

Explore our Creative writing research by theme or your area of interest and find a supervisor that can support your through your studies. More information can be found about research degrees on our school pages. Our courses below will help guide you through the various research degree programmes we offer.

Explore funding opportunities Ready to apply? Start your application today
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We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We'll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we'll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.