Creative Writing with English - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full-time: W8Q3
Part-time: apply direct to the University
Attendance:
Full Time (3 years), Part Time (6 years)
Starting:
September 2016
Campus:

Love reading and writing stories, poems, scripts, novels, films or plays? Study Creative Writing with English and gain expert tuition from published writers.

New for 2017/18

Creative Writing with English

If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.

Sign up for course updatesBenefits of our new curriculum

What's covered in the course?

The three year undergraduate degree, Creative Writing with English BA (Hons), will help you to develop your own writing - under the inspirational tuition from published authors, poets and screenwriters - whilst gaining a sound understanding of literature and language studies.

To support you as a writer, you'll have the opportunity to meet and learn from established and emerging authors from our MA in Writing and Institute of Creative and Critical Writing.

  • Divide your time between creative writing and English, taking all compulsory creative writing modules.
  • Develop your skills through modules covering fiction, poetry, biography, autobiography and memoir in year 2.
  • Adopt new approaches to writing, experiment and have fun with your work.
  • Share and absorb new and interesting ideas with our active body of students and expert staff.
  • Specialise and show off the skills you've learned in your third year, focusing on a topic of your choice as part of your creative independent study module.
  • Enjoy studying at our new £63m Curzon building.

Choose your own path

As with English and Creative Writing, this degree course allows you to focus on more creative writing modules, including introductory modules in your first year and two intensive modules in your second year – one on short fiction and the other on writing poetry. In addition, modules like Radio Writing, Life Writing and Screen Writing will be on offer.

All of our English degree courses are designed to give you flexible choices as you progress through your English studies, with module options ranging from period literature and poetry to science fiction and Shakespeare studies.

Alongside creative writing, the School specialises in linguistics at every level; allowing you to explore fascinating modules including basic linguistic analysis and contextual language studies.

“My English degree changed my life. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. It made me a better human being and more analytical.” Frank Skinner comedian, writer and alumnus*

“I’ve discovered, having been at the University for a year-and-a-half now, that the tutors are fantastic – they are always there to help the students, and they are enthusiastic about the modules they teach, which is always something that gives your own enthusiasm a boost.” Danielle Cotton Taken from the Metro, 20 Sep 2011*

Why Choose Us?

  • You will benefit from the work of the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing, which operates from within the School and provides opportunities for masterclasses and workshops with our Fellows and other visiting writers, in addition to our own highly qualified staff.
  • You will enjoy inspirational tuition from published authors, poets and screenwriters.
  • The university is an active research centre and the latest Research Assessment Exercise found 80 per cent of the School's research to be of international standard and some to be 'world-leading'.
  • You will be supported by a richly stocked library, including electronic resources giving you access to every printed book published in the UK between 1470 and 1800.
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Day - 11 June 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 11 June 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

Please note: we are currently reviewing our entire course provision for 2017/18. Details will be included in your registration email.

This course is open to International students

School of English

Discover the School of English

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Peter Books and Furnitures

And in jobs such as:

  • Marketing Assistant

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
Essential

You must have the minimum of 5 GCSE's at Grade C or above which MUST include English Language C+. No other equivalence (including Key Skills) will be considered.

280 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2016/17
GCE A Level/ AS Level 280 UCAS Tariff points from 3 A level subjects including English at grade C or above. This may also include General Studies and Critical Thinking. Remaining points can be made up with AS levels in different subjects. AS level in the same subject of an A level will not be accepted.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with 60 credits, 45 at level 3 and 15 at Level 2 including English at Level 3. Distinction/merit in 18 credits at Level 3 plus answer set essay question.
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM (280 UCAS points) in related area (e.g. Media, Performing Arts).
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
International Baccalaureate Diploma 26 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 280 points, including 4 higher level passes
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 280 points, including 3 higher level passes
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) 120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
EU/International students
Essential
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2016/17
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 26 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

 

International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

Unconditional Offers

Unconditional Offers

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2016/17 year, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.

To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:

280 tariff points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBC or above)
or
be predicted DMM profile at BTEC level

You will also be required to attend an interview.

Learn more about unconditional offers >>

New UCAS tariff

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £9,000 per year Apply via UCAS
PT 6 years £1,125 per 15 credit module

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £12,000 per year Apply via UCAS

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

In year one your initial studies will equip you with basic research, analysis and presentation skills, particularly as they apply to creative writing. 

Alongside modules in drama, language and literature you will study two modules which focus on the craft and practice of writing.

Reading Literature: Prose
15 credits

This module enables students to consider prose in a variety of forms from the Renaissance to the present day. While the central focus is on fiction, we will also examine some other forms such as letters, essays, biography and autobiography.

Drama
15 credits

The module is a structured and purposeful introduction to staging, interpretation, reception and styles of representation. Specific topic covered include:

  • Key critical and theoretical perspectives relating to issues of staging, audience, writing for the stage, theatre space and critical approach to performance.
  • Key examples within the scope of an extensive historiography and review of Western performance practices.
Studying language
15 credits

This first language module provides an introduction to the field of linguistics and language studies. It starts by discussing the history of the English language and focuses in particular on its very beginnings during the Old English period. It further includes sessions on pragmatics, that is the study of how speakers use language when communicating with each other, and on politeness, investigating ways in which language can be used to express politeness. In the second half of the semester, several sessions focus on language acquisition, language and the mind as well as phonetics and the sounds of English.

The Craft of Writing
15 credits

The module allows students to explore aspects of creative writing within the larger critical context of English Literature, emphasising the relationship between reading and writing. Participants will be introduced to a representative text or texts in a major form - novel, short story, poetry, drama, and various kinds of creative non-fiction - with the aim of examining style and context as the starting-point for a creative response. A case-study in a particular genre will be read and discussed as the basis for writing exercises. In addition, a range of creative writing guides will be used as a way of evaluating theory in the context of traditional and new writing practice. The aim of the module is to show that good creative writing practice emerges from close and sustained engagement with reading.

Reading Literature: Poetry
15 credits

This is an introductory module to English poetry that requires students to examine a range of English language poetry from the Middle Ages to the present and so demonstrate awareness of the formal properties relating to these types, the relationships between poetry and historical moment, and the critical/technical language required for degree-level analysis. It asks students to develop and engage with personal preferences through the production of a mini-anthology.

Adaption
15 credits

This module introduces students to the creative and critical processes involved in translating narrative from one medium to another. Continuing from the semester 1 module, Drama, it gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge of dramatic theory and form through practical work, while encouraging the development of imaginative writing skills in different genres. Through historical and genre case studies, it provides an introduction to ideological and formal questions in the study of adaptation. Work undertaken may include a case study on (for example) Shakespeare adaptation in film, prose and drama; rewritings of Ovid's Metamorphoses in poetry and drama.

Describing Language
15 credits

The module builds on the first semester module Studying Language and further develops some of the topics covered in this previous module. Thus, it discusses varieties of the English language, that is to say different accents and dialects spoken in the UK but also abroad. It comprises classes on the history of English with a focus on Middle English and it includes several sessions on the importance of grammar. Towards the end of the semester, students then get to know the field of literary linguistics, which combines the study of linguistics and literature.

Being a writer
15 credits

This module aims to engage students with current writing practice in the forms of contemporary poetry, the novel and the short story. Beginning writers will be introduced to creating a regular space and time for writing. Students will keep a writing notebook as a quarry for inspiration and reflection. They will be introduced to the merits of drafting and redrafting work and proof-reading before submission of the finished copy. We will also reflect on the benefits and limitations of writing workshops. Finally, we will consider the possible markets for beginning writers today. These may include little magazines from independent publishers together with self-publication in paper or digital forms. The demands of professionally produced genre fiction will also be examined.

Years two and three

In Year 2, you will develop your skills through two intensive modules (30 credits each):

  • One module focuses on short fiction, considering the form from the writer's perspective and allowing you to develop your own portfolio of work.
  • In the other, Writing Poetry, you will engage with a range of poetic forms culminating in the production of a portfolio of your own work.

You are then also able to choose from a variety of modules which include Radio Writing and Life Writing (30 credits each).

You will conclude your studies in Year 3 with core modules in Twenty First Century Poetry and an independent study project as well as optional modules such as The Fantastic and Screen Writing (all 30 credits each).

During your three years as an undergraduate you will also take modules in literature and language studies, giving you a broadly-based education in English; this will enable you to develop your reading, writing, critical thinking, presentation and research skills.

Writing poetry
30 credits

This module allows students to concentrate on the task of writing poems, together with the reading and appreciation of contemporary poetry inseparable from that task. Students will consider poetry from a practitioner’s perspective, together with writing exercises intended to form the basis of completed poems. Although the focus of the module is on literary works, it will also consider the importance of recital style, and its relationship to text. Students will engage with a range of traditional poetic forms during the module, and will be encouraged to approach contemporary literary culture as part of a continuing tradition.

Writing Short Stories
30 credits

This module allows students to concentrate on the task of writing short stories, together with the reading and appreciation of contemporary short fiction inseparable from that task. Students will consider short stories from a practitioner’s perspective, together with writing exercises intended to form the basis of completed stories. Topics will include narrative structure, voice, characterisation, diction, dialogue and imagery. Students will be able to produce draft work to be read out and discussed in class. Students will be encouraged to approach contemporary literary culture as part of a continuing tradition.

Three Creative Writing modules
30 credits

Three further Creative Writing modules - see details for:

Any three English Modules
30 credits

Teaching breakdown

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37 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
63 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

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4 Written exams DarkOrange
86 Coursework FireBrick
10 Practical exams #fece5a

Summer showcase

Our students celebrate their work in the end of year Summer Showcase. It's an opportunity to look at the work you and other students have produced and value your outstanding achievements.

View more examples of student work...

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Student experiences

Hip hop Shakespeare with the Sonnet Man

English and Drama students recently had the chance to work alongside the Sonnet Man, a US rap artist who delivers Shakespeare’s sonnets set to hip hop beats.

Emma Blyth, a second year student, said: “The Sonnet Man was able to create in me even more admiration for Shakespeare’s work."

More about Sonnet Man's visit

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Firewalking

BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Our approach to employability

We are committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Jim Crace novelist

Learn from industry experts

You could have the chance to learn from industry experts with guest masterclasses and visiting authors.

Novelist Jim Crace visited to carry out a series of workshops with students, giving feedback on their work and an insight into the world of professional writing and the publishing industry. Student Nabiyah Saddique said: "It was beneficial to students like me who want to write and be an author by career, to see how his experiences have shaped him and how he has created such beautiful pieces of work from these experiences."

Jim also enjoyed the chance to work with the students: "Everybody tried their hands at pitching an idea, writing the opening paragraphs of a novel, and line editing. It was testing and daunting but nobody fell short. The level of commitment and ability was astounding. London publishers should be beating a path to the School of English; it houses writing talent in abundance."

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Studying in the UK is better

Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.

The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.

So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.

Overall measures: ranked positions
UK
Australia
Canada
NZ
US
Undergraduate 2014 2014 2014 2013 2014
Recommendation 1 4 3 5 2
Overall satisfaction 1 4 3 5 2
Arrival overall 1 2 4 5 3
Learning overall 1 4 3 5 2
Living overall 1 2 5 3 4
Support overall 1 4 5 3 2

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

The Curzon Building

This course will be held at our newest facility, The Curzon Building, part of our City Centre Campus.

The £63 million building provides you with a unique learning space, featuring plenty of informal ‘break out’ areas available, creating an open, sociable atmosphere. There is also a new home for the Students’ Union, with its location moving to the restored Victorian pub The Eagle and Ball. Both City North and Millennium Point libraries have moved to the new building.

The dedicated social learning spaces ensure you’ll have the perfect facilities to work independently and confidently, having the time and support you need.

All this ensures that The Curzon Building is a vital support hub and a true central location for students in Birmingham City Centre.

Dr Gregory Leadbetter

Director of the MA in Creative Writing, Director of the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing

Gregory’s poetry collections include The Fetch (Nine Arches Press, 2016) and The Body in the Well (HappenStance Press, 2007). He’s a regular contributor to The Poetry Review, and his poems appear widely in journals and anthologies. His book on Coleridge’s poetry, the transnatural, and the dilemmas of creativity, Coleridge and the Daemonic Imagination (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) won the University English (formerly CCUE) Book Prize 2012. He has written radio drama for the BBC, and was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2013. View Gregory’s blog.

Anna Lawrence

Deputy Director of the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing

Anna writes prose and poetry. She is particularly interested in the interaction of the magical and the mundane, and her first novel, Ruby’s Spoon (Chatto & Windus, 2010), is set in a fictional Black Country town where witches and mermaids may (or may not) reside: Susan Hill wrote that this was “one of the best first novels I’ve ever read”. Her critical writing on Margaret Mahy and prize-winning poetry explores similar territory.

Before coming to Birmingham City University, and after leaving her job as a trainee prison governor, she facilitated community writing workshops and site-specific writing projects. Anna gained a first class degree from the University of Oxford.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295