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Guide to studying Creative Writing

Creative Writing is an exciting subject. To study it is to learn all the skills needed to enter a long, illustrious and ongoing storytelling tradition.

What's Your Story question printed on an old typewriter

CONTENTS

  1. What's Creative Writing?

  2. Why study Creative Writing?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Creative Writing graduate?

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Creative Writing?

Creative Writing degrees cover all aspects of writing from fiction to nonfiction and poetry to scriptwriting, encapsulating a number of different styles to help you flourish as a writer.

Why study Creative Writing?

Few university degrees 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 on a Creative Writing course, these activities suddenly become relevant to your education.

In the earlier stages of a Creative Writing degree, the focus is on developing a solid base of skills that can be utilised in all genres. One of these key skills will be the ability to constructively critique the work of others and yourself. Towards the end of your degree, you'll usually have the opportunity to take more specialist modules which help you to hone your craft in the medium of your choice.

Read our five reasons to study Creative Writing for more information on why you might choose to study this subject area.

What jobs can you get as a Creative Writing graduate?

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

  • Author
  • Copywriter
  • Scriptwriter
  • Press officer
  • Travel writer
  • Journalist
  • English teacher
  • Brand consultant
  • Social worker
  • Marketer

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Creative Writing have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Creative Writing students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need?

Each university will have its own entry criteria for students applying to a Creative Writing course. 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 expect applicants to have at least one or two A Levels, one of which should be in English or a closely-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.

The application process for some courses also involve submitting a piece of your own writing, so be prepared.

What degrees can you study?

As you would expect, a Creative Writing degree will usually earn you a BA. There are, however, a small minority of universities that offer courses which award a BSc. This is usually the result of a second subject taken in conjunction with Creative Writing, and the areas you choose to focus on in your studies.

There are also a small number of foundation degrees available in the UK.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Creative Writing has a lot of postgraduate opportunities. You can study the subject alone as an MA, or combine it with other subjects. You can also focus on a more specific area of literature – children's literature and comics studies being just two examples. The choice is yours!

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