School of Humanities and Performing Arts

BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing

Writing is an age-old craft – and an essential skill in the twenty-first century. At Plymouth, you’ll work with poets, novelists, journalists, and digital writers to hone your writing with a view to making your way in the field. Our small, accessible team of published authors has years of professional experience working within creative fields. We are adept at nurturing talent and enabling future successes.

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Complete University Guide rankings

We are very proud to announce our new Complete University Guide ranking of no.16 in the UK for Creative Writing!

We have also risen 29 places in The Guardian 2020 league table.

New course

We are very pleased to announce our brand new BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing. We are now accepting applications for September 2020. Find out more at our Open Day!

Key features

  • [ Work with published and award-winning writers and journalists
  • Ä Spend time in our nurturing, small-group workshops with staff, honing your craft
  • . Learn and grow as a writer through trying out multiple forms and genres
  • x Encounter digital writing and new ways of expressing yourself
  • ~ Gain work-facing skills utilised in industries such as journalism, content-writing, publishing, editing, marketing, and more

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In this year, you will study 6 core modules introducing you to the fundamental elements of writing and beginning your journey as a professional.

    • Craft of Writing I and II
    • Make It New: Digital Writing
    • Make Your Own: Bespoke Independent Project
    • Plus two literature modules to ground you in the basics of fiction

    Core modules
    • ENGL406 Gods, Monsters and Heroes: Myths and Legends in Literature

      This immersive module provides an important grounding for new students studying English and Creative Writing. Based around some of the earliest written texts that underpin Western literature, the module engages with a number of issues to enable students to gain an understanding of the historical development of literature and the ways in which texts relate to each other over the centuries.

    • ENGL407 Rewritings: Contemporary literature and its Histories

      This module will examine how and why modern and contemporary authors have rewritten or reworked influential literary texts of the past. Students will engage with a range of different literary forms, including fiction, poetry, drama and, where appropriate, film. By investigating the impulses behind such intertextual acts, students will explore the ways in which literature engages with the cultural politics of its times, focusing particularly on issues of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class and aesthetics.

    • ENGL408 The Craft of Writing II: Poetry and Drama

      This module introduces students to creative writing research, including writing theory, contextual literature, and criticism. Forms emphasised will be poetry and dramatic writing, developing from the first-semester emphasis on prose. Lectures will introduce topics, and subsequent workshops will promote the development of student work through feedback. Students will submit creative work alongside `research statements¿ twice during the term, in the form of portfolios.

    • ENGL409 The Craft of Writing I: Prose Fiction & Non-Fiction

      This module introduces students to the key concepts and issues in creative writing through the practise of workshops. We will read classic contemporary works of fiction and nonfiction including autobiography, travel writing, poetry sequences, essays and reportage. We will produce our own works, and critically evaluate and contextualise them.

    • ENGL410 Make It Your Own: Independent Mini-Project

      In this module, students are asked to take charge of their own independent writing-based project. The module guides students through the making of 'research questions' through the choosing of which form (fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, dramatic writing, and more) might best be used to interrogate those questions. The module is taught through lecture, seminars, and workshops where students are asked to submit and feedback to peers and tutors on a regular basis.

    • ENGL411 Make It New: Digital Writing

      This module introduces students to writing digitally for, most notably, the Web, and its various platforms (from blogs to websites to Twitter etc). Students are invited to explore and expand ideas around authorship and audience and the writing (or images) that connects them as 'content', in its myriad of possible forms and formats. It will also introduce speculative and theoretical ideas about the relation between the self, writing, and digital forms. The module is taught through lecture, seminars, and workshops where students are asked to submit and feedback to peers and tutors on a regular basis.

  • Year 2
  • This year will see you develop further skills within popular, market-driven genres, and engage further as a professional.

    • Professional Writing for Media
    • Genre Fiction: YAF, horror, sci-fi, romance, thrillers, and more
    • Creative Non-Fiction: travel writing, memoirs, autobiography
    • Dramatic Writing for Stage and Screen
    • The Impact of Publishing: learn about the elements of the publishing trade
    • Burning Issues: independent project engaging with other disciplines such as science writing, political writing, and more

    Core modules
    • ENGL518 The Impact of Publishing: Understanding the Technologies of Knowledge

      The module will provide an introduction to some of the key concepts in publishing history. It will look at the ways that knowledge has been captured, stored, retrieved, disseminated, policed and suppressed. It will consider how the development of different writing and printing technologies changed the understanding of the self and the self in relation to the world. It will discuss the creation, production, publication, distribution and reception of texts within their cultural, economic and technological contexts.

    • ENGL520 Creative Nonfiction

      This module introduces students to the key concepts and issues in contemporary works of creative nonfiction including autobiography, travel writing, essays and reportage. We will produce our own works of poetry, short story and nonfiction, and critically evaluate and contextualise them.

    • ENGL522 Dramatic Writing for Stage, Screen, and Beyond

      This course explores a wide range of dramatic writing and dramatic writing theory, integrating critical reading with creative writing projects. Class time will be spent discussing published authors/texts/productions, writing/reading theories, compositional processes, practical exercises, and student work.

    • ENGL523 Genre Writing

      This module introduces students to writing in various genres, with possibilities including fantasy, science-fiction, period/historical, young adult fiction, horror, comedy, romance, crime, and thriller. Forms explored will include fiction, dramatic writing for stage and screen, and poetry. The module is taught through lecture, seminars, and workshops where students are asked to submit and feedback to peers and tutors on a regular basis.

    • ENGL524 Burning Issues: Interdisciplinary Writing Project

      This module asks students to engage with the 'burning issues' of our times, by thinking outside of their own discipline and engaging with research taking place in other departments, schools and faculties around the university, or even the country and the world. Students select a topic from outside their discipline and then, through research and communication with experts in the chosen field, devise a writing project to communicate and explore their chosen issue. The module is taught through lecture, seminars, and workshops where students are asked to submit and feedback to peers and tutors on a regular basis.

    • ENGL525 Professional Writing for Different Media

      In the context of this module, Professional Writing refers to commercial content for a variety of media outlets including advertising and marketing, as well as other 'businesses' which students have imagined and created themselves. Students will experiment with creative formats such as posters, reviews, reports, 'copy', interviews, the op-ed (opinion-editorial). The module is taught through lecture, seminars, and workshops where students are asked to submit and feedback to peers and tutors on a regular basis.

  • Final year
  • In this year, you will start to find your specialist niche as a writer and look forward to your career. Engage in small, tailored workshops driven by the research interests of the staff and your own developing profile.

    • Advanced Short Story workshop with novelist Ben Smith
    • Advanced Poetry workshop with professor of poetry Anthony Caleshu
    • Features Journalism workshop with Times columnist Miriam Darlington
    • Script to Screen: make your own podcasts and films of your own work for a professional audience
    • Final Project: a year-long dissertation supervised one-on-one by a full-time member of staff

    Core modules
    • ENGL602 Project in Creative Writing

      The student will complete, under tutorial supervision, a project in creative writing such as a collection of poetry, short stories, a longer piece of prose fiction, autobiography, travel writing or other suitable modes which may draw upon issues encountered in other English modules and which includes relevant literary-critical material. Maximum length 12,000 words.

    • ENGL616 Advanced Short Story Workshop

      In this module we will examine a range of contemporary short story writing and relevant theory as a way for students to learn how to compose their own short fiction. Class time will be divided between discussion of short fiction and theory, writing exercises and peer workshops of student work. The workshops will be substantially informed by staff research practice.

    • ENGL617 Advanced Poetry Workshop

      In this final year module we will examine a range of contemporary poetry and poetic theory as a way for students to advance their own composition of poems. Class time will be divided between seminar discussions of published poetry/theory, writing exercises, and workshops of student poetry.

    • ENGL618 Features Journalism Workshop

      This module offers students an in-depth experience of professional writing. We will explore technique in features and literary journalism; music reviews, opinion columns and longer immersion features as well as other contemporary works of non-fiction feature writing, both short- and long-form, from sub-genres including profiles and interviews, autobiography and columns, travel writing, and reportage. We will learn to research and produce our own works of professional nonfiction and critically evaluate them.

    • ENGL619 Script to Screen: Making Films, Podcasts, and More

      This final year module asks students to realise an original script of their own making with an on-screen production. In addition to writing their own scripts, students will be introduced to the production side of things, including storyboarding, working with actors, cameras, and using film-making software. We'll also study some classic examples of page to screen adaptations (albeit most on bigger budgets than you'll have!). The module is taught through lecture, seminars, and workshops where students are asked to submit and feedback to peers and tutors on a regular basis.

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

104 - 112

Normal minimum entry requirements are 104-112 points at A-level or equivalent to include an A-level in English language, English literature, creative writing, or a related humanities subject.

We normally request a B in the English/ humanities A level, but this requirement can be adjusted subject to academic judgement.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2019 2020
Home/EU To be confirmed £9,250
International To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts and Humanities additional costs.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

A student perspective

INK magazine

Published by the University of Plymouth Press, and supported by English and creative writing staff, INK is entirely edited and produced by our students.

The process of producing INK is as important as the end product. It’s the chance for you to publish your creative work in a literary magazine.

Read a sample copy of INK

English and Creative Writing research

Our teaching is driven by research which in 2014 was rated among the best in the UK by the nationwide Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment. Our staff have published extensively and internationally across a diverse range of fields in literary criticism and creative writing.

For example, Senior Lecturer Peter Hinds, author of The Horrid Popish Plot, teaches and publishes on early modern literature and Professor Anthony Caleshu, prize winning poet, leads the Contemporary Poetry module.

Latest news:


Professor Anthony Caleshu talks about his writing, editing and research of contemporary poetry, as well as his teaching of creative writing in this short video.

People

Plymouth's creative writing experience

New to creative writing or looking to expand your talents? 

No matter the level of study you want to pursue – undergraduate, masters, PhD – the creative writing experience at Plymouth allows you to explore every possible aspect of writing.

Ready your writing for submission to the world. Discover your voice and refine your craft with our thrilling series of study opportunities.

Find out what it is like to study creative writing at Plymouth