English and Creative Writing with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
QW3A
Attendance:
Full Time (4 years)
Starting:
September 2019
Campus:

The BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing programme will support you in developing a rigorous and creative writing practice, while also honing your critical and analytical abilities.

You will develop your writing, close-reading and research skills, and learn to craft different kinds of original writing – from critical argument to fiction. In the School of English, you will be taught by world-leading academics and practitioners offering a diverse range of modules.

You will study literature from various major periods, movements and genres. You will also have the opportunity to produce audio drama, screenplay, short stories and poetry. Your degree will allow you to tailor your studies to your individual interests and career aspirations with both a local and global outlook.       

About foundation courses

This diverse and creative course incorporating a Foundation Year is a must for anyone passionate about English, whether that be language, literature, drama or creative writing.

As part of the foundation year you will develop essential skills and knowledge which will help you succeed in your future degree level studies and which will be transferable to your future career.

You will study a variety of subjects, including language and literature, drama and creative writing, and will learn how these different aspects of English study interact with one another.

Alongside this you will develop core skills in research, critical analysis, planning and evaluation, creativity and effective communication. Understanding how English is studied in context, developing that knowledge and applying it through a range of assignments and assessments, will provide you with a strong foundation upon which to progress to degree-level study at the School of English.

Why study a degree with a foundation year?

Foundation years are a great option if you have the talent, ambition and potential to thrive at Birmingham City University, but do not meet the entry requirements for your preferred course. It’s ideal if:

  • You want the flexibility of a year’s study on a more general course to find out the best degree choice for you.
  • You have changed your mind about your career since you chose your A-levels or BTECs and need to improve your skills in a different subject area.
  • You would like extra time and support to help you build your knowledge, skills and confidence before starting a full degree.

What's covered in the course?

English and Creative Writing allow you to examine how language and literature engage with societies and cultures past and present, to develop a rigorous, creative and disciplined writing practice, and to express insights into contemporary concerns, effecting the way you and others see the world.

Through workshops with published authors you will hone your writing craft, experimenting with forms including audio drama, screenplay, short fiction, poetry and the novel. You will produce polished pieces of writing using creative and analytical approaches that complement your study of English.

You will benefit from student-focused and research-informed teaching in a friendly, supportive learning environment where you will be taught by world-leading academics and expert practitioners who foster a community of experimentation, innovation and inclusivity.

Our graduates are characterised by their inventiveness, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity, reflected in the skills and abilities that enables them to adapt to a wide range of career paths and employment opportunities. Throughout your studies, you will develop a range of transferable skills valued in the creative industries and beyond.

The School is committed to contributing to the cultural life of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands. We do this through working closely with partner colleges and schools, by maintaining close links with cultural institutions such as the Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI) and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), and by working with agencies such as Writing West Midlands. In all of this we seek to widen participation and provide opportunities for the community to engage with the discipline and the University.

Why Choose Us?

  • You’ll be taught by expert practitioners and world-leading academics, who encourage experimentation and innovation. Our courses are interdisciplinary by design, offering opportunities to explore literature, drama, language and creative writing, and collaborate in, for instance, student-led conferences and showcases.
  • Alongside your formal learning, you’ll have the opportunity to meet acclaimed authors and industry specialists as part of the activities of our Institute of Creative and Critical Writing. Recent guests include author Kit de Waal, poetry activist Jo Bell, agent Cathryn Summerhayes, and Writing West Midlands’ CEO, Jonathan Davidson.
  • You’ll be part of a thriving creative community, alive with opportunities to develop your creative and critical skills. We encourage you to seek out ways to collaborate with student actors, radio producers, musicians and illustrators across a Faculty equipped with world-class production facilities and an internationally-acclaimed student radio station.
  • While you’ll develop abilities as an independent researcher and effective communicator, responding imaginatively to briefs and completing research projects, you can also submit work to our annual anthology and discuss your creative career with those working in the industry.
  • We contribute to a thriving literary scene, whether it’s holding informal poetry readings in the pub, hosting the launch of the acclaimed Poetry Review, or interviewing Man Booker Prize shortlisted authors at Birmingham Literary Festival. 

BA Hons Eng Creative Writing overview

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This course is not open to International students

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work in jobs such as:

  • Authors, writers and translators
  • Marketing associate professionals
  • Primary and nursery education teaching professionals

Entry Requirements

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

UK students
Essential

At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English Language. Equivalent qualifications can be considered in lieu as long as the required subject is covered.

80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level

Typical Offers
A level  CDD. A minimum of 2 A Levels required (must include English A-Level) although other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one A-level subject. Applicants with 2 A Level qualifications or equivalent can combine with AS levels to achieve required points.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

MMP
Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall. Minimum of 45 credits at level 3. In a relevant pathway.

Scottish Advanced Higher

DDD. Must include English Language.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Obtain a total of 10 points or above from three higher level subjects. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificate.
Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level) and English Group A – Grade 4 or above or English Group B and Ab initio – grade 5.
A combination of GCSEs, A-levels and IB certificates will be considered on a case by case basis.

OCR Cambridge Technical Certificate

Must be offered along with either A-levels, AS-levels or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/BTEC 90 credit diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification/Foundation Diploma in Art and Design/ UAL extended diploma to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

DM will be considered in combination with either A-level, AS-levels or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/BTEC 90 credit diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification/Foundation Diploma in Art and Design/ UAL extended diploma to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff 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.
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UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 4 years
TBC
Apply via UCAS

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

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.

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Portfolio Guidance

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

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 your course. 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.

View additional costs for this course

Additional costs

The additional costs listed at the bottom of the page are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Foundation year

During your foundation year you will be taught in small classes where active participation is part of the teaching methodology. Your study will involve reading and analysis, discussion and debate, and practical activities which allow you to test and implement your skills and knowledge. In addition to attending classes you will be required to complete preparation and follow-up tasks and activities to support your learning.

Literature In Time
20 credits

You will study a range of texts which will provide you with a broad knowledge of how they literature responds to their its own time period and to the literary movements specific to that age. As you will study literature from different time periods you will also be able to draw connections between different literary movements and discuss their relationship to one another. You will also focus on different literary genres, for example plays, novels, poems and nonfiction, and be able to identify their specific formal features and discuss their creative use.

Language and Texts
20 credits

This module is designed as a gentle introduction to English Language study. Instead of looking at abstract theories about language rules, you will learn through the close analysis of real texts, including literary texts such as novels and non-literary texts such as newspaper articles, advertising and social media. You will examine these texts in terms of their structure, the words used within them, and their impact on the reader. In doing this you will develop core skills in data collection and analysis, and in summarising and evaluating key findings.

Researching in English
20 credits

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to identify appropriate research methods and material for the study of English. You will learn how to select research material, discriminate between sources, evaluate their relevance and summarise and explain key ideas. You will do this by developing skills which are integral to the study of English at university-level, such as close reading, critical analysis and data compilation and evaluation.

Literature in the World
20 credits

You will be provided with the knowledge and skills to identify and discuss examples of literature which are drawn from different cultural contexts. You will study a range of texts which will provide you with a broad knowledge of the relationship between literature and culture and you will identify and discuss the ways in which literary form has been adapted and appropriated to accommodate different cultural contexts. and the retelling of canonical tales. You will do this by studying a range of paired texts which offer contrasting and often competing viewpoints and which reflect upon both literature’s place within the world and its power to shape the world.

Language and Creativity
20 credits

This module builds upon the knowledge gained in the Language & Texts module. In Language & Creativity you will use your knowledge of linguistic theory to produce your own texts across a range of forms and genres. You will consider topics including persuasive language, metaphor and parody, as well as humour, puns and other wordplay. You will also explore language change over time: how new words are formed and how existing words develop new meanings. You will study and create literary texts as well as non-literary texts, such as advertisements, political speeches, newspaper headlines, comedy sketches, song lyrics, graffiti and memes.

Writing Development
20 credits

During this module, you will develop the research skills acquired in the semester 1 module ‘Researching in English’ by focusing on the practical application of your knowledge and ideas through the production of a series of formative pieces of academic writing, which will culminate in the submission of a longer-length piece of written work. You will develop core subject skills in the effective communication of ideas and will progress from writing about concrete objects to discussing abstract ideas. To do this you will focus on integral steps such as planning and ordering ideas, prioritising points, developing ideas, relating points to evidence and formulating and communicating clear arguments. You will also develop your knowledge of scholarly conventions and matters of presentation.

Year one

Literature, Drama and Origin (semester one)
20 credits

This module introduces you to the study of literature through the examination of authorship, literary history, origins of form, and influence and allusion. You will also learn about the principles of dramaturgy and be encouraged to apply your knowledge in the practical explorations of plays.

Foundations of Language (semester one)
20 credits

This module introduces you to a number of core topics in contemporary language studies, including pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and psycholinguistics. You will also learn about key linguistic concepts and terminology and will develop your skills in critical thinking, analysing data, and identifying and synthesising complex information.

Foundations of Creative Writing (semester one)
20 credits

By experimenting with different ways of gathering source material and generating new writing in response to stimuli, you will shape and craft that writing into prose and poetry. You will develop a rigorous, inventive and sustainable writing practice, in weekly creative writing tasks that will serve as the foundation for your assessment.

Key Critical Concepts (semester two)
20 credits

This module introduces you critical concepts fundamental to undergraduate-level English studies, In order to analyse literary, linguistic, dramatic and media texts. Lectures and seminars will develop your understanding of the key theories of meaning, critical distance and representation, and how these can be applied to texts.

Craft of Writing (semester two)
20 credits

This module introduces you to a range of techniques used in creative writing, such as showing, telling, detail, and description. Through exploring different literary formats, such as screenplay and poetry, you will learn about key elements of effective writing and how to apply these techniques to enhance your own work.

In your second semester you will also have a choice of one of the following modules:

Literature and Conflict (semester two)
20 credits

You will examine the idea of conflict in poetry, the short story and novel. From war and revolution to social class and gender, and also at a psychological level, conflict creates dramatic interest in narrative, and you will consider how a historical understanding of conflict is important in our contemporary world.

Language in Action (semester two)
20 credits

This module further develops your understanding of language studies and covers a variety of topics, including phonetics, grammar, and corpus linguistics. You will learn how to identify and analyse the phonetic and grammatical features of English in context and will develop your ability to critically evaluate data, construct clear arguments and integrate scholarly research into your writing.

Modern Drama (semester two)
20 credits

This module introduces you to dramaturgical styles associated with ‘modernism’ through the exploration of key playwrights and practitioners from the late nineteenth century. You will examine seminal works from this era, both as written texts and in performance, concluding with your own practical interpretation of a chosen play informed by historical and critical research.

Year two

Key Critical Traditions (semester one)
20 credits

This module introduces you to the most influential twentieth-century schools of thought within English. You will employ different critical perspectives for thinking about literature and related art forms, using tools of analysis to reveal the unexpected and exciting possibilities of critical thought. You will explore theoretical works in their own right, and gain insight into how criticism has developed historically.

Writing Short Stories (semester one)
40 credits

This module introduces you to writing short fiction. You will learn from the work of a diverse range of short story writers, exploring the distinctive characteristics of the form, and experimenting with techniques involved in crafting a strong short story. You will identify, practice and apply elements of craft such as narrative structure, voice, diction, dialogue, characterisation and imagery as they relate to the short story form in particular, and experiment with editing and rewriting. You will share your work in progress with other students for constructive criticism, and explore ways of giving effective feedback, as well as reflecting on how to improve your own work.

20 credit module (semester two)
20 credits

During semester two you will study two 20 credit English modules totalling 40 credits. Choose any two 20 credit modules from the blue button below:

Year 2, 20 credit modules

In your second semester you will also take either the Collaborative Practice module or the Work Placement module (see below).

Collaborative Practice (semester two)
20 credits

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined project to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.

Work Placement (semester two)
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and BCU Careers. Typically, the placement duration is 70 hours. This can be achieved in one block, or can be dispersed over a longer period of time, if required. It is also possible to fulfil this module via a shorter placement of 35 hours duration and a linked ‘live’ project set by the employer.

Alternatively, you may choose to take the Study Abroad option which will allow you to achieve all 60 credits needed for semester two:

Study Abroad (semester two)
60 credits

Find out more about studying abroad on our Erasmus page

Year three

Writing the Novel (semester one)
40 credits

This module will provide you with the skills to undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed creative project. You will work individually to initiate, develop and shape a substantial piece of fiction, exploring a subject, style and narrative approach that is of personal interest. You will also work in groups with other students to inform and develop work-in-progress and to produce short presentations on elements of writing craft in relation to your practice. You will be offered guidance on content, structure and style. The outcome will take the form of a substantial extract from a novel, along with a fully-developed synopsis and a reflective, critical commentary. You will work independently, but you will also receive one-to-one supervision along with small- and whole-group support. Your learning will typically be supported by workshops, Moodle activities, seminars and advice from established writers.

20 credit module option (semester one)
20 credits

Modules will run in either semester one or semester two and are selected from the list below. While we aim to run the majority of modules please note that availability is dependent on student uptake.

Year 3, 20 credit modules

In your second semester you will also complete one of the major project modules which include: Dissertation, Advanced Poetry, Drama Workshop, and Undergraduate Conference (see below).

Dissertation (semester two)
40 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area of personal interest. The research outcome is individually negotiated with your supervisor and will take the form of a written piece. Your area of study must be relevant to your programme and you are actively encouraged to choose a topic relevant to their future academic or professional development.

The focus of the module is independent learning, with one to one sessions from a supervisor who is familiar with the selected topic. (In addition, you will be supported by group seminars, workshops and online materials relevant to the discipline.)

Advanced Poetry (semester two)
40 credits

This module will enable you to build upon your current reading and writing of poetry, and to develop your range, technique and sophistication as a contemporary poet and thinker on poetry. As well as cultivating your ability to read poetry sympathetically and critically, you will learn how to nurture the poetic imagination and what Ted Hughes called its ‘psychic disciplines’, with a view to strengthening and emboldening the intuition and sensitivity upon which poetic technique depends. You also will acquire practical knowledge of publishing and performing your own work. In composing, designing and producing a volume of your own poetry, you will initiate, manage and complete an independent creative project, and in writing an author statement to accompany it, you will describe and justify your own ideas concerning poetry, and the relationship between your work and the intellectual and poetic traditions in which it participates.

Drama Workshop (semester two)
40 credits

This module will provide you with the skills to undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed practical project as part of a group. You will work collaboratively to identify, stage and perform a play, extracts of more than one play, or alternative type of dramatic text. This task will enable you to explore an area of theatre production or performance that is of personal interest. You will be offered guidance on your choice of text(s) on the basis of the composition and interests of the group, and logistical and technical considerations including performance space. By keeping a production log throughout the rehearsal process, you will record and self-evaluate your developing practice in relation to relevant research. This will enable you to reflect critically on your work, and contextualise it within Drama and English studies.

Undergraduate Conference (semester two)
40 credits

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed independent research project while working collaboratively with other students to stage an undergraduate conference. As a group you will be given a broad theme (for example, ‘Contemporary Identities’, ‘Making History’ or ‘Modern Myths’) decided by your module tutor in advance. You will interpret that theme to produce a focused, 10 minute, oral research paper in one of the following areas: language, literature, drama or creative writing.

You will examine different ways of interpreting the brief based on subject discipline and practice the skills necessary to work collaboratively with others in the running of an academic conference. You will be able to identify a relevant topic and develop it to produce an evaluative and theoretically or creatively-informed response to the initial brief. The conference itself will be supported by a micro-site and twitter feed. Here you will have to create a professional online presence and participate in the marketing and effective communication of the conference proceedings and publicity.

20 credit module option (semester two)
20 credits

Modules will run in either semester one or semester two and are selected from the list below. While we aim to run the majority of modules please note that availability is dependent on student uptake.

Year 3, 20 credit modules

Course Structure

In Year one you explore core subjects in English Literature, Drama, Language and Creative Writing through a combination of face-to-face lectures, seminars, field trips, workshops, online tasks, group work and – crucially – independent research and practice. You will build on these theory and practice-based elements in the second half of Year one, deepening your understanding and practice of elements of writing craft across a range of forms and genres (such as audio drama, memoir and screenplay), along with other disciplines of your choice.

In Year two, you have the opportunity to specialise further. Depending on the modules you choose, project work in creative writing might include writing screenplays and pitches for short films, crafting short story collections, poetry pamphlets, or writing and producing audio drama. You will complete either a collaborative project or work placement, or you may choose to spend your second semester studying abroad. You also have the opportunity to draw on the full range of English modules which will help you develop your skills in critical analysis, investigative enquiry and synthesising ideas from a range of sources – all skills highly valued in the workplace.

In Year three, you can keep exploring new fields of study, while also deepening your understanding in your chosen specialisms. This might include exploring new forms, for instance, by researching and writing creative nonfiction (which includes travel writing, autobiography and literary journalism), or by specialising further as a poet or screenwriter. You will also choose options from the full suite of English modules available. Alongside your studies, we advise you to attend face to face sessions with literary agents and other industry professionals visiting our Institute of Creative and Critical Writing. You will complete a major independent project, such as a substantial extract of a novel, enabling you to showcase all the skills you’ve learned during your degree. 


Hours in the classroom

In your first year, you will spend a cumulative total of 216 hours in taught class time. In your second year, you will spend a cumulative total of 180 hours in taught class time. In your final year, you will spend a cumulative total of 144 hours in taught class time. The exact pattern of this will vary depending on which modules you select and when these modules run.

Overall, you will usually spend 8 to 10 hours per week in the classroom.

Teaching breakdown

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

Assessment breakdown

valuelabelcolor
8 Written exams DarkOrange
89 Coursework FireBrick
3 Practical exams #fece5a

Teaching and learning activities

Teaching and learning activities may include lectures, seminars, practical workshops and guided independent study. You will also have access to a wide range of extracurricular opportunities, including theatre trips, seminars by prestigious guest speakers and published authors and a programme of scholarly and creative events. Online facilities, such as the University’s Virtual Learning Environment Moodle, are used to guide, support and enhance your learning experience.

You will benefit from tutorial support and spoken or written feedback on your learning and preliminary work to help you in preparing for and reflecting on your assignments. A wide range of assessment methods are used in the programme, including essays, presentations, performances, conferences and creative portfolios, giving you the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills.

77 per cent of research undertaken by lecturers from the School of English, classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF2014)


Links

The School maintains close links with cultural institutions such as the Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI) and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) and works with agencies such as Writing West Midlands.

View more examples of student work...

Overseas Opportunities  

We encourage you to consider taking the opportunity provided by the Erasmus scheme during your time with us. Recent graduate, Charlotte Keogh, studied for a semester in Austria as part of her undergraduate degree.

Charlotte said: "Going to live and study in Austria was the single most terrifying and tremendous experience of my life. I left England with a self-taught basic knowledge of German (meaning I could say “hello”, “goodbye” and “can I have a glass of water please?”) and left being able to hold conversations with the gorgeous old ladies who shared my tram journeys through the city every morning."

Read Charlotte's story

Further Study

After completing your undergraduate degree, you might want to progress to our  MA in Creative Writing or any one of a multitude of postgraduate programmes, including PGCEs for teacher training, programmes in digital marketing, journalism and public relations or conversion courses such as the Graduate Diploma in Law programmes.

Trips and Visits

Novelist Jim Crace conducted a workshop that was held over three consecutive days in which time he imparted his professional knowledge to the participating School of English students. Jim covered his own personal approach to writing and making your own novel marketable. The students took part in writing activities and shared their work with the group to spark their discussion of creative writing.

Enhancing Employability Skills

Employability is embedded across our programme, from sector- and industry-specific skills in creative writing, drama, linguistics and literature, through to transferable skills that hold real value regardless of your employment direction, including literacy and numeracy, time management and organisation, oral and written communication, team work, initiative and enterprise, creative and analytical thinking, self-direction and discipline, independence, information gathering and interpersonal skills.

You will have multiple opportunities to engage in problem solving and problem-based learning, particularly through individual assessments and collaborative practice modules, and to reflect on your own career development needs through participating in the Graduate+ scheme and other employability schemes over the course of your degree.

95 per cent of our English graduates are in work or continuing their studies.
(2015/16 DLHE statistics)

Placements

The School is committed to developing strong links with employers in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Several language and Creative Writing modules have explicit employer and industry engagement, where you work in collaboration with employer and external partners over the course of the semester and are encouraged to adopt industry-standard practices to facilitate connections and links independently with external partners.

In the case of the Work Placement module, you will have the opportunity to develop skills and abilities in a sector-specific context, while ensuring that academic aims and objectives are met as part of your wider learning journey.

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.

Links to Industry

We regularly seek out opportunities to build further links with partner organisations in the region, including Creative Black Country, Birmingham Literary Festival, Birmingham Museums Trust (including Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), Black Country Museum Trust, Arvon Creative Writing Foundation, Flatpack Film Festival, West Midlands Screenwriters' Forum, and other Schools within the University, in addition to publishers, charities, third sector organisations, and more, in Birmingham and beyond.


Learn from industry experts 

The school regularly organises talks and visits that will provide you with the chance to learn from industry experts with guest masterclasses and visiting authors.

Novelist Jim Crace delivered 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."

Graduate Jobs

Our graduates are characterised by their extensive subject knowledge, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity, reflected in the skills and abilities that will enable them to adapt to a wide range of career paths, employment opportunities, or further study at Master’s or PhD level.

Graduates go on to careers in teaching, librarianship, marketing, journalism and public relations.

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £260 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

The Curzon Building

Our School of English is housed in the Curzon Building, a £63 million development, located on our City Centre campus, in the vibrant second city that is Birmingham.

Discover your bright and open learning spaces, your 24 hour (during term time) library, drama, media and radio studios, along with state of the art lecture theatres, and a variety of sociable break-out areas, all adding to your unique learning experience.

The Curzon Building
Curzon Building entrance
Lecture theatre in The Curzon Building.
ADM English Discussions
ADM English Discussions 2
Curzon Building - Social space
Entrance to Curzon Library, which is open 24 hours a day during term time.
A selection of books in our six storey library.
English Drama Workshop 3
English Drama Workshop 1
English Drama Workshop 2
English Drama Workshop 4
Drama room controls 1
Drama room controls 2
The ASK desk – your first point of contact for all queries related to university life.
The light filled atrium leads into the café and restaurant.
The restaurant has a diverse menu with affordable and high quality food.
Curzon Building - Eagle and Ball bar
Eastside Park

Our Staff

As you have a great deal of choice throughout your degree, it’s likely you’ll come into contact with many of our inspiring, research-active staff, including Anna Lawrence, Subject Leader for Creative Writing and a novelist and poet, whose interests include collisions between the magical and the industrial, Andy Conway, specialist in screenwriting and founder of Digital Film Studio and talent development hub, BFilm Micro, and Rhoda Greaves, award-winning short story writer.

Dr Gregory Leadbetter

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

Gregory is a poet and critic, with research interests in English Romanticism, poetry and creative writing. His poetry collections include The Fetch (Nine Arches Press, 2016) and The Body in the Well (HappenStance Press, 2007). A regular contributor to The Poetry Review, and his work is published widely in journals and anthologies. He has written radio drama for the BBC, and was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2013. Gregory's 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.

As well as his work on Coleridge, he has published book chapters and articles on Wordsworth, Lamb, Keats and Ted Hughes. As Director of the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing in the School of English, he leads our programme of guest seminars and masterclasses with authors, editors and agents for our students, together with a programme of public literary events every year, including readings, book launches, seminars and writing workshops.

Gregory is currently supervising doctoral theses on representations of the domestic uncanny in contemporary short fiction, fictional autobiography and the fragmentary novel, and disability poetics.

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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.

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Andy Conway

Lecturer in Creative Writing

Andy is a prolific screenwriter and novelist with 30 years’ experience of the writing industry. He’s worked as a screenwriter on many films, both produced and lost in development hell, for over 20 years, and runs the Shooting People Screenwriters’ Network, with 11,000 worldwide members. He also co-founded the West Midlands Screenwriters’ Forum, and the new independent publishing collective, New Street Authors.

His feature film, Arjun & Alison, a campus revenge thriller set in Birmingham, toured film festivals around the world and was released in UK cinemas in spring 2014. He currently divides his time between the three feature films he has in pre-production, writing his series of historical fantasy novels, Touchstone, co-writing a guide to the world of self-publishing, and lecturing in Screenwriting at Birmingham City University.

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