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Guide to Studying Creative Writing

Guide to studying Creative Writing image
iStock.com/KucherAV
If you love nothing more than some time alone with
a hot drink and your notepad, a Creative Writing
degree might be the one for you

What is Creative Writing?

  • Far from having a deceptive name, Creative Writing is exactly what it says on the tin. Creative Writing degrees will cover all aspects of writing, from fiction to nonfiction, poetry to scriptwriting, encapsulating a myriad of different styles to help you flourish as a writer.

Specific or general skills developed

  • In the earlier stages of a Creative Writing degree, the focus will be on developing a solid base of skills that can be utilised in all genres. Among the key skills that you'll acquire at this stage will be the ability to constructively critique the work of others and yourself.
  • Rather unsurprisingly, you will also develop your skills as a writer. Towards the end of your degree, you'll usually have the opportunity to take more specialist modules which will help you to hone your craft in the medium of your choice.

Why study Creative Writing?

  • Although you may already have a natural flair for writing, there's every chance that you're not sure what genre suits you best. Alternatively, you may need an arm around the shoulder and some gentle tutelage to help harness your ability and use it to best effect. With lectures that are often taught by professional writers from a range of backgrounds, a Creative Writing degree will help to achieve these goals.
  • Few university degrees will have course content as interesting, engaging and enjoyable as a Creative Writing degree. After all, the majority of us enjoy spending our free time reading or watching our favourite films and TV shows, but in a Creative Writing degree, these activities suddenly become relevant to your education! No longer should you feel guilty about spending a day reading a novel from cover to cover instead of sat at your laptop writing an essay.

What degree can I get?

  • As you would expect, a Creative Writing degree will usually earn you a BA. There are, however, a small minority of universities who will offer courses that award a BSc, however this is usually the result of a second subject taken in conjunction with Creative Writing, and the areas that you choose to focus on in your studies.
  • If you lack the qualifications required to be admitted to a Creative Writing degree, or simply do not wish to study one, there are also a small number of foundation degrees available in the UK.

What qualifications do I need?

  • Each university will have its own entry criteria for students applying to a Creative Writing degree. Even if you've looked at a few which all have similar requirements, you should always make sure to check the fine print when you've found a course that interests you.
  • Broadly speaking, most Creative Writing degrees will expect applicants to have at least one or two A Levels, of which one is expected to be in English or another related subject.
  • If you're opting for a degree that combines Creative Writing with another subject (e.g. Film Making), you should expect to need a qualification relevant to this discipline.
  • Many universities will make points-based offers, so make sure you understand how to calculate your predicted total and what this translates to in the new UCAS points system.
  • The application process for some courses will also involve submitting a piece of your own writing, so be prepared!

Use our Course Chooser to search through Creative Writing courses.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  • Creative Writing at postgraduate throws up a wealth of opportunities. You can study the subject alone as an MA, you can combine it with other subjects, or you can focus on a more specific area of literature – Children's Literature and Comics Studies being just two examples. The choice truly is yours!

Graduate job prospects

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*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities?

The following is a list of possible career paths – some obvious, some less so – for a Creative Writing graduate:

  • Author
  • Copywriter
  • Press officer
  • Travel writer
  • Journalist
  • English teacher
  • Brand consultant
  • Social work
  • Marketing

Check out the full Creative Writing Subject Table.