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

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

Our BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing with Foundation Year degree course 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....

  • Level Foundation
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of English
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

Our BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing with Foundation Year degree course 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 respected 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.
This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

English and Creative Writing allows 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 respected 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.

With every single module on the Creative Writing course, I’ve evolved my writing style, and I’ve come on leaps and bounds. Not only that, but it helped me to branch out to styles I’d never even considered. I went from someone only really interested in novel writing, to someone who is submitting short stories for anthologies left and right.

Emily Godbold

Why Choose Us?

  • Top 15 for English student satisfaction and graduate prospects (Complete University Guide 2023)
  • 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

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area in our course talks.

Next Open Days: Autumn 2022

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

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

UK students
Essential

80 UCAS tariff points.

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above
  • Equivalent level 2 qualifications can be accepted, e.g Functional Skills Level 2 in English, City and Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Adult Literacy or Key Skills Level 2 in Communication
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment

Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)

See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details

Scottish National 5

  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment

IELTS

Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CDD / 80 UCAS points
  • Must include English Language or Literature A-Level
  • In lieu of English Language or Literature A Level, subjects that include an element of essay writing will be considered as an alternative, i.e History, Religious Education, The Sciences, Philosophy, Film Studies, Communication Studies & Creative Writing all include a component of this. Applicants will be required to submit a satisfactory essay set by the department.
  • For the English and Drama course we will consider A Level in Performing Arts, Drama or Theatre Studies in lieu of English. Applicants will be required to submit a satisfactory essay set by the department.
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

AS and AS VCE

  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 80 pts
  • Must include English Language or Literature A-Level
  • In lieu of English Language or Literature A Level, subjects that include an element of essay writing will be considered as an alternative, i.e History, Religious Education, The Sciences, Philosophy, Film Studies, Communication Studies & Creative Writing all include a component of this. Applicants will be required to submit a satisfactory essay set by the department.
  • For the English and Drama course we will consider A Level in Performing Arts, Drama or Theatre Studies in lieu of English. Applicants will be required to submit a satisfactory essay set by the department.
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

Access to HE Diploma

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3 in an English related area.
  • Language, Literature and Culture subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
  • MMP
  • Applicants will be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English unless you are already holding or are working towards an A-Level in English.

IBO Certificate in Higher Level

  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects, must include English Language or Literature at Higher Level
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 80 UCAS Tariff Points
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall, must include English Language or Literature at Higher Level
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.

Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)

Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language taken at Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) and Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

  • MMP
  • Applicants will be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English unless you are already holding or are working towards an A-Level in English.

Scottish Advanced Higher

  • Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).
  • Must include English Language or Literature or combined Language and Literature subject
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.

T-Levels

  • Merit overall
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.
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.
Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS

Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • TBC

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

UCAS

UK 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

Portfolio Guidance

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

Course in Depth

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.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Year one

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year two

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 60 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 60 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year three

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Download course specification

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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.

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.


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."

View more examples of student work

Employability

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.

Placements

The School is committed to developing strong links with employers in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Several 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.

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.

International

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:

Facilities & Staff

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 £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You will study at both the home of the School of English in Millennium Point, and at our £63 million development the Curzon Building, 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.

Our staff

Dr Sarah Wood

Head of Birmingham Institute of Media and English

Sarah Wood holds degrees from JMU, the University of Liverpool, and Birmingham City University, where she gained her PhD. Her research interests are in feminism and science fiction. She has an article on Octavia Butler forthcoming in FEMSPEC and is working on further studies of Butler as well as of Nalo Hopkinson and slave narrative.

More about Sarah

Professor Andrew Kehoe

Professor of Corpus Linguistics / Director of Research

Andrew Kehoe is Professor of Corpus Linguistics and Director of Research in English. He studied at the University of Liverpool, gaining qualifications in both English and Computer Science. He researches in the field of Corpus Linguistics: the creation and study of a collection of texts (or corpus) in order to extract new knowledge about language in...

More about Andrew

Dr Joseph Anderton

Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Joseph Anderton is the author of Beckett’s Creatures: Art of Failure after the Holocaust (Bloomsbury, 2016), which considers conceptions of the ‘creature’ and ‘creaturely life’ as they appear in Samuel Beckett’s literature and drama. Joe is currently working on his second book, Writing Homelessness: Rough Sleeping in Contemporary British...

More about Joseph

Dr Soudabeh Ananisarab

Lecturer in Drama

Dr Soudabeh Ananisarab studied at the University of Nottingham where she completed an MA in English Literature (Distinction) and a PhD in English. Her Doctoral thesis explored the development of the Malvern Theatre Festival during the interwar years and its connections with the playwright, George Bernard Shaw. Soudabeh has previously taught at the...

More about Soudabeh

Dave Harte

Deputy Head of School and Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies

Dave Harte is Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies. He researches the emerging trend of local community ‘hyperlocal’ news websites and has published widely on the subject. Within the School of Media he leads on teaching and learning initiatives and teaches modules on Journalism Studies, Social Media, and Alternative and Community...

More about Dave

Ross Hawkes

Ross leads the journalism pathway. He was previously a sports writer, sub-editor, page designer, news reporter, web editor, features writer and editor, before leading Trinity Mirror's digital programme in the Midlands. He also founded and currently runs award-winning hyperlocal website, LichfieldLive, which has been used an example of...

More about Ross