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Study Creative Writing, why & how to study

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. What Creative Writing degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Creative Writing degree?

  4. What topics does a Creative Writing degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Creative Writing?

  7. What do Creative Writing graduates earn?

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

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Creative Writing

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Creative Writing?

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

Few university degrees have course content as interesting, engaging and enjoyable as a Creative Writing degree. After all, most of us enjoy spending our free time reading or watching our favourite films and TV shows. On a Creative Writing course, these activities suddenly become relevant to your education.

What Creative Writing degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in Creative Writing include combinations with other subjects such as literature, film and drama:

  • American Literature with Creative Writing BA
  • Creative Writing BA
  • English with Creative Writing BA
  • Journalism and Creative Writing BA
  • Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance BA

Options may include an integrated foundation year, placement year or study abroad.

What do you need to get onto a Creative Writing degree?

Entry requirements for a Creative Writing degree at a university range from 80–160 UCAS points. This could include the qualifications below.

  • A Levels: AAA–CCE
  • BTECs: DDD–MMP (may also require an English Literature A Level)
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAB–BBBB (Advanced Highers: AAB–ABB)
  • International Baccalaureate: 38–26
  • Universities will usually ask that you have studied: English or English literature at A Level (or equivalent)

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • Degrees combined with another subject may require related A Level subjects
  • General studies and critical thinking A Levels may be excluded from offers

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Evidence of extensive reading and your influences
  • Work experience or volunteering could include teaching a creative writing lesson at school, helping with communications for a charity, office work at a publisher, shadowing a copywriter
  • Involvement with writing or poetry groups or clubs
  • Attending author talks and literary festivals
  • Contributing articles to magazines or a blog, such as those listed on the Scottish Book Trust website
  • Entering an essay-writing, short story or poetry competition
  • Further reading on careers from the websites of professional bodies such as the Publishers Association, National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), Get Into Theatre, BBC Writers Room

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Some courses may require you to submit a piece of your own writing, so be prepared

What topics does a Creative Writing degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Adventures in literature and the history of ideas
  • Composition and creative writing
  • Creative writing drama
  • Epic into novel
  • Future directions
  • Imagine this: prompts for creative writing
  • Writing for publication
  • Writing for short form media
  • Writing poetry and fiction

How will you be assessed?

Assessments are mainly coursework based, and may include the following methods:

  • Coursework
  • Essays
  • Portfolio
  • Presentation
  • Reflective writing
  • Exam
  • A dissertation is usually a final year option

Why study Creative Writing?

In the earlier stages of a Creative Writing degree, the focus is on developing a solid base of skills utilised in all genres. One of these key skills will be the ability to critique the work of others and yourself constructively.

Towards the end of your degree, you'll usually have the opportunity to take more specialist modules that help you to hone your craft in the medium of your choice.

Career-specific skills:

  • Skills in creative writing to the standards required by the industry – whether publishing, film and TV, or for web content online
  • Editing, redrafting and proofreading

Transferable skills:

  • Communication
  • Creative thinking and analysis
  • Digital skills
  • Negotiation
  • Planning
  • Presentation
  • Prioritising and time management
  • Problem solving
  • Research and analysis
  • Self-discipline

What do Creative Writing graduates earn?

Creative Writing graduates can expect an entry-level salary of around £16,000–£20,500.

An editorial assistant could start with a salary of around £18,000–£23,000, increasing to an average of £37,000 for a managing editor. Editorial directors can earn anything between £45,000–£65,000, although higher salaries are rare.

If you enter a career in web or digital content, working as a social media manager or content manager, most roles top out with a salary of £40,000–£45,000 unless you move into strategy or management.

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
  • Brand consultant
  • Copywriter
  • Digital marketing executive
  • Editorial assistant
  • English teacher
  • Games writer
  • Journalist
  • Marketer
  • Press officer
  • Scriptwriter
  • Social media manager
  • Social worker
  • Travel writer
  • Web content manager
  • Writer in residence in prisons

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! Examples of postgraduate courses include:

  • Creative Writing PG/Dip/MA/MSt/MSc/MLitt/PhD
  • Crime and Thriller Writing MSt
  • Comedy Studies PhD
  • English Literary Studies with Creative Writing MA
  • Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA/MLitt

Similar subjects to Creative Writing

If you enjoy a good story, you might also consider:

Have any questions?

Ask our experts! You can email ask@thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk with your question about studying Creative Writing – we’ll be happy to hear from you.

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