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Creative Writing

Stories are at the heart of how we communicate and understand the world. Through this course, you'll gain the skills to join the next generation of creative storytellers.

Course Information

On this course, you’ll learn to draw inspiration from existing literature, before developing your own voice and honing your craft.

A career in creative writing could see you working in publishing, a literary agency, freelancing or in education — and that’s just the start. Whether you want to create prose, scripts, poetry or nonfiction, we’ll help you turn writing into a career. You’ll learn to draw inspiration from existing literature, before developing your own voice. Through a range of exciting projects, you’ll explore the whole writing process — from ideas generation and research to editing.

With visits from published writers and industry professionals, you’ll be able to explore career opportunities and build contacts. When you graduate, you’ll have a strong portfolio and a professional network to kickstart your career. Writers rarely work alone, so this course will give you the opportunity to collaborate with other courses. You might write scripts with animators or filmmakers, or explore narratives with illustrators.

The structure of the Creative Writing course is designed to offer clear progression through each level. Teaching will largely be delivered through lectures, seminars and workshops, supplemented by individual and group tutorials, presentations, and critiques.

Crafting with Professional Writers

This course gives you the opportunity to follow your independent interests and develop projects whilst being guided and mentored by professional writers and/or editors. This will allow you to explore, experiment, and hone your craft, nurtured by experts in your chosen field of study.

The Writing Workshop

At the core of the course experience will be writing workshops that provide safe environments for you to read your work in front of your lecturers and peers, to gain invaluable constructive feedback and help you to become a critically reflective writer

This is an essential part of the writing process and you'll be encouraged to translate the feedback into your practice through editing and redrafting, whilst also offering generous and critical feedback to others.

Level 4 (first year)

Toolkits

Level 4 is an introductory phase where you are given the opportunity to experience different areas of Creative Writing. This year will provide you with a toolkit of fundamental creative and academic skills that will underpin your studies and practice beyond the course.

Through attending writing workshops, you’ll be encouraged to build confidence in sharing your work with your peers and develop strategies for giving and receiving constructive feedback.

In the second and third terms, the Level 4 journey provides opportunities for putting this toolkit into practice through introducing you to a broad range of Creative Writing forms (Fiction, Scriptwriting, Poetry, and Creative Non-Fiction).

A dynamic series of workshops, lectures and seminars, facilitated by staff and visiting industry professionals, are designed to build your competency in employing the four forms whilst developing an ability to reflect on and evaluate your own written work.

Having been encouraged to read widely as writers throughout this level, you will move towards your continuing studies with a solid knowledge of other authors and their work, and an understanding of how this research can impact on your own practice.

The Writing Workshop

At the core of the course experience will be writing workshops that provide safe environments for you to read your work in front of your lecturers and peers, to gain invaluable constructive feedback and help you to become a critically reflective writer

This is an essential part of the writing process and you will be encouraged to translate the feedback into your practice through editing and redrafting, whilst also offering generous and critical feedback to others.

Level 5 (second year)

Looking Outwards

Level 5 opens up the toolkit acquired the previous year, allowing you to look outwards by applying your skills. You’ll identify and write for a variety of audiences and undertake interdisciplinary collaborative projects.

This level begins by equipping you with strategies for pushing boundaries, taking risks and experimenting with responsive writing on location in both urban and rural landscapes.

Through close links and shared teaching with BA (Hons) Illustration and BA (Hons) Film Production, alongside other courses, Level 5 will demonstrate how writers can work with others to produce new and exciting creative work but also gain an understanding of how writing and writers can influence the practices of others.

During Level 5, you’ll develop a more nuanced understanding of form, genre, and style whilst gaining firsthand experience of the different roles of a writer in today’s world.

Crafting with Professional Writers

In your second year, you'll be paired with a professional writer or editor, where possible, who will guide you alongside academic staff as you undertake a project of your choice.

This enables you to follow your independent interests and develop projects whilst being guided and mentored by professional writers and/or editors. This will allow you to explore, experiment, and hone your craft, nurtured by experts in your chosen field of study.

Level 6 (third year)

Living as a Writer

You’ll enter this level looking to strengthen existing industry links and networks introduced at Level 5 through further practical engagement and experiences.

You’ll be encouraged to start looking beyond the course, to develop an awareness and understanding of publishing options, literary agencies, and other creative arts and literature-based organisations, through research and industry visits.

You’ll actively explore the mechanics of being a contemporary writer, through developing knowledge in the areas of self-promotion, marketing, managing finances and other essential practical considerations.

It'll be framed by an honest, open and practical approach as to how writers can make an income through their practice. These skills are supplemented by real-world applications where you will undertake practical community- or industry-based live projects that reflect your interests.

You’ll develop a nuanced, sensitive and critically-reflective understanding of how writing and writers engage with the world beyond the university.

The last part of the year involves you working on an extended project in your chosen area of interest, demonstrating a comprehensive awareness of the critical and creative debates with which you are engaged and an ability to critically reflect on your own practice.

All students are registered for the award of BA (Hons). However, exit awards are available if you leave the course early, having successfully completed one or two levels. If you successfully complete a level of the course, you'll automatically be entitled to progress to the next level.

For the award of a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 120 credits at Level 4. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the first year of your course.

For the award of a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 240 credits of which a minimum of 120 must be at Level 5. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the second year of your course.

For the award of a BA (Hons) you must have achieved a minimum of 360 credits of which a minimum of 240 must be at Level 5 or above, of which a minimum of 120 credits must be at Level 6. This qualification will be awarded upon successful completion of your course.

A BA without Honours may be awarded if you've achieved 300 credits, at least 180 of which are at Level 5 or above, and at least 60 of which are at Level 6.

On the BA (Hons) Creative Writing course, you’ll benefit from the expert guidance of our experienced teaching staff. You can read more about their specialisms by exploring their profiles below.

James Cole Headshot

Dr James Cole

James attended the University of Southampton where he undertook a BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing...

Sunomganj boat top

Dr Lauren Hayhurst

Lauren is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Arts University Bournemouth...

Natalie Scott Headshot

Dr Natalie Scott

Natalie Scott is an internationally published poet from the North East of England...

What Makes A Great Story?

How to apply

Once you've found the perfect Undergraduate course, you can apply to study via UCAS, including direct entry applications to second and third year.

When applying through UCAS, use the institution code A66. All of our courses take place on one site, so we don't have a campus code. We'll then use your completed UCAS form to make decisions about your application. You can find out more on entry requirements in our apply section.

When you apply to one of our courses, it's important that you help us get a good picture of both you and your work – so you'll need a great personal statement. We want to know more about why you're interested in the course, your key influences, and what you hope to do after your studies.

If you're invited for an interview, many of our courses will ask to see a portfolio of your work so we can get more insight into your ideas and abilities. To help you, we've created guidelines outlining what we expect from your portfolio for each course.

Portfolio Requirements

We’re looking for students who can express themselves clearly, concisely, and creatively – utilising the written word effectively.

We look for students who have something to say (whether that’s about the real world or invented worlds) and who come with stories to tell – students who can demonstrate a commitment to writing and an emerging portfolio of work.

The course will involve reading as a writer so you'll need to come prepared to read widely across a broad range of styles and genres. You'll need initiative, critical and problem-solving abilities and to be self-motivated.

Your application is an opportunity for you to demonstrate to us your self-motivation and commitment to Creative Writing. You will be driven by passion and the imagination and an excitement to discover the adventures and journeys on which the written word can take you.

You'll use your exceptional communication skills to display a flair for words, demonstrating your experience and passion for writing in your chosen form(s) that might include prose, poetry, scripts and creative non-fiction.

Your personal statement is an opportunity to show us your interest in the course and to show us your potential.

What makes a story great? It has to have heart, it has to have passion. As the poet Maya Angelou said — "people should hear the writing, it should slide through the brain and go straight to the heart".

James Cole, Course Leader

Fees and Funding

The fee that you pay the Arts University Bournemouth provides the necessary equipment and training for you to complete your course.

You may also choose to buy some items of personal equipment such as a laptop or tablet computer, but this is not required; desktop and laptop computers are available for you to use in common study areas, including a loan system in the Library.

Studios and Resources

Throughout the Creative Writing course, you’ll be exposed to professional industries to gain a solid understanding of all the opportunities available to writers.

Interacting with a wide range of writing-related industries will equip you with the creative and critical tools for continuing your writing beyond the course into a professional context, whether in industry or further study and research.

You'll hear from and network with a variety of industry professionals including publishers, agents, arts organisations, and funding bodies to gain a solid understanding of possible ways to make an income as a writer.

Community Writing Groups

There’s also plenty happening in Bournemouth, Poole and the surrounding area to help you find your voice.

Close crop of white chalk cliffs and calm blue sea

Dorset's History

Dorset has a particularly rich literary history, something you'll really be able to make the most of at AUB. 

Inside AUB's Library

The Library

The Library at AUB holds an excellent range of print and online collections

Teaching and Learning

The course has been designed to offer you experiences in a diverse mix of learning and teaching methods to ensure your time at the university is both stimulating and enriching.

Teaching will largely be delivered through lectures, seminars and workshops, supplemented by individual and group tutorials, presentations, and critiques. In consultation with the Course Leader, the teaching team is responsible for co-ordinating individual units of study, and for selecting appropriate methods of delivery according to subject matter and student experience. Level 4 provides you with an introduction to key writing and academic skills through the ‘Fundamentals’ series, whilst Levels 5 and 6 see a progression towards more independent learning and greater autonomy over projects and areas of interest.

The Writing Workshop

At the core of the course experience will be writing workshops that provide safe environments for you to read your work in front of your lecturers and peers, to gain invaluable constructive feedback. This is an essential part of the writing process and you will be encouraged to translate the feedback into your practice through editing and redrafting, whilst also offering generous and critical feedback to others. The course aims to foster critically reflective writers and the workshop is an excellent space in which to develop these skills.

Crafting with Writers

The Level 5 experience offers an exciting opportunity to follow your independent interests and develop projects whilst guided and mentored by professional writers and/or editors. The aim here is to let you explore, experiment, and hone your craft, nurtured by experts in your chosen field of study.

Learning Environments

Throughout all levels, your learning will be enhanced by opportunities to leave the campus and write on location, responding to different environments and geographies. Possible venues include the New Forest, the Jurassic Coast, the Earthhouse at Cranborne, and Thomas Hardy’s Cottage, amongst others.

Collaboration with the film industry

By reflecting the collaborative nature of the film industry, where different disciplines come together to create amazing work, we've created an environment where students produce award-winning films and go on to become some of the industry’s biggest names.

Many film schools can offer the opportunity to specialise and form production teams, but at AUB we forge collaborations like no other. Our productions don't just contain the work of Film Production, Visual Effects and Animation students. With Costume and Performance Design, Make-Up for Media and Performance, and Acting, a full complement of the creative industries makes for a truly unique filmmaking experience. Screenwriting sits at the heart of these productions and there will be collaborative opportunities with Film Production, Animation Production and Visual Effects throughout the course.

Contact hours include all scheduled teaching sessions, but also supervised time in the workshop or studio. In line with national guidance, we include in our calculation of contact hours all the time which is scheduled in the studio for independent study which is also supported by staff (either academic staff, or technicians).

The information provided below gives the proportion of your study time which constitutes contact hours. Where there are optional routes through the course, we've used the figures for the most popular option.

Year 1 (% time) Year 2 (% time) Year 3 (% time)

39

25

36

Assessment and Feedback

Each unit is assessed separately, and the assessment forms part of the unit. Assessment both provides a measure of your achievement and also gives you regular feedback on how your learning is developing.

For every unit of your course, we will inform you of what you are expected to learn, what you have to submit, how your work will be assessed, and the deadline for presenting your work for assessment. This is made available through Unit Information, which is on your course blog.

You'll receive a final mark for each unit in the form of a percentage, which will be recorded on your formal record of achievement (transcript). Each component of assessment is graded using a notched marking scale, whereby only certain marks are used within each grade. The only marks available within any ten-point band are *2, *5 and *8 (e.g. 62, 65, 68). These marks correspond to a low, mid, and high level of achievement within each grade band.

The University has agreed that, during 2019/20, it will run a pilot project. This will mean that on some courses, one unit at Level 4 will be assessed on a Pass / Fail basis only, with written feedback but no numerical grade. If your course has been selected for the pilot, your Course Leader will tell you this, and the details will be clearly expressed on the Unit Information Sheet.

All learning outcomes must be passed to successfully complete the unit.

Trips and Visits

As part of your course you may also get the opportunity to take part in course trips. Previous trips have included:

  • London
  • New Forest

*These trips are optional and some may incur additional costs

Due to the current travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines, it is unlikely that any trips will be planned in the first half of the new academic year. We will follow Government advice as soon as it is available for the remainder of the year.

Creative Writing news

See more of our student work

Through this course, you'll gain the skills to join the next generation of creative storytellers.