Undergraduate study
Creative Writing

Q301 BA/CW (Q303 BA/CWFY for Year 0 entry)


Course overview

Our BA (Hons) Creative Writing enables you to develop your skills across a range of forms, genres and markets including prose fiction, poetry, life writing and creative non-fiction.

This innovative course is designed to inspire and support your development as a practising creative writer. A range of workshops, seminars and our unique creative writing lab helps you gain professional skills in writing, editing, publishing, performance, and writing group facilitation so that you can use your writing and your voice to make a difference in the world.

  • Work with our team of practising and published writers – from poets and performance poets to bestselling authors.
  • Experiment with a range of forms and genres, develop your specialised interests and create your professional writing portfolio.
  • Grow your understanding of critical contexts and frameworks to strengthen and underpin your approach.
  • Publish and perform your work at our events and in our anthologies and blogs.
  • Gain professional skills through a range of opportunities and projects designed to help you to use your writing to make a difference.


Course details

Course structure

Year 0 (foundation year) core modules

Academic Study Skills Toolkit

This module will assist you in developing the personal and academic skills that you will need for undergraduate study. It focusses on developing skills such as information retrieval, evaluation, critical thinking, note taking, presentation skills and group work.

Contemporary Issues in Social Sciences

This module will introduce you to the historical and contemporary development of social science disciplines and will provide examples of theoretical challenges and the ways in which research is applied in society. You will gain an understanding of the critical differences between disciplines and how interdisciplinary research is fostered through collaboration. You will also be introduced to academic standards, ethical guidelines and research protocols, personal development planning and to a range of study and transferable skills relevant to your degree course and beyond.

Fake News: Propaganda and Polemics, Past and Present

This module provides you with the opportunity to develop your skills in thinking critically about the information and analysis presented in an array of media in today’s digital world, drawing on the methodologies of a range of disciplines within the social sciences, humanities and law. You will explore examples of the debates over fake news in both the past and present, and look at how fake news can be used to both support and undermine the status quo, enabling you in the process to become more savvy and engaged citizens.

Historical and Popular Crime, Justice and Criminal Law

This module introduces you to the history of crime and justice, using media representations and crime fiction as a way of exploring crime over time, including aspects such as changes in society, law and education in this context.


This module allows students to identify an area of interest related to their undergraduate degree and to explore this through a small scale research project where students will be required to produce an analysis of an area of focus.

Teesside: History, Literature, Culture, and Society

This module provides you with an opportunity to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to the Teesside region. You will learn about Teesside’s history, culture and society through the examination of various topics which will give you a deeper understanding of the region, both past and present.


Year 1 core modules

Concepts of Culture

What does it mean to say some kinds of culture are better than others? Why are some books discussed as if they are works of art while others are not? And how is it that the culture that surrounds us seems to offer us a place in the world? You are introduced to a range of writers, critics, and theorists who have explored these questions and who have arrived at some surprising conclusions. Some say that culture is used to control what we think and limit what we can do. Others suggest that culture can be the means to freedom and pleasure. You discuss the relation between knowledge and ethics – the idea that your place in the world affects how you experience it and how you respond to it – while at the same time developing confidence in your academic skills.

Creative Practice

You are introduced to the theory and practice of creative writing, as a field in its own right and in the context of English Studies. Based around various types of fictive production including the short story, flash fiction and novella, you study the key themes and conventions of fictional narratives and write your own drafts and stories. You’ll also become familiar with working in a writing group and exploring essential categories such as plot formation, characterisation and setting. You’ll also learn how to edit your work and how to give and receive feedback on creative writing.

Creative Writing Lab 1: Writing and Audience

Why do you write? Who are your readers? What do you need to consider in terms of voice, register, form when writing to and for different audiences for different reasons? You look at a range of different professional writing including online articles, reviews, ‘how to’ guides, interpretative texts used in exhibitions and live text using AR technologies. You use the workshop space to experiment with different forms and approaches to professional writing, working towards developing and editing a final portfolio for submission.

Creative Writing Lab 2: Writing for Social Change

Contemporary writing is fraught with issues around power and voice. Who gets published or read? Whose voices are seldom heard? You investigate key writers, both historical and contemporary, who have played or continue to play a role in social change. You research the representation of writers and writing online and you write your own manifesto, together with an accompanying reflective piece.

Critical Practice

You are introduced to the practice of textual analysis. You learn the tools and strategies you need to explore the way that literary and visual texts establish meanings, and how they are structured to achieve particular effects. You develop your skills in reading as a writer and your creative-critical practice. You cover a variety of strategies for detailed analysis of the ways literary and visual texts establish meanings and how they are structured to achieve particular effects. You consider literary and symbolic form from its largest, generic components to its smallest, linguistic ones. You learn how to evaluate formal features of texts. You consider how critical judgements are made concerning specific texts – whether they are deemed to be good, bad, better or worse and on what grounds. You consider concepts such as beauty, unity, consistency, persuasiveness, coherence, engagement, ambiguity, complexity and emotive or affective impact. You also consider how textual forms interact with one another and how the appreciation of textual forms changes historically. Finally, you develop study skills in the practice of academic writing and research.

Romantics to Realism

You are introduced to two major literary movements: romanticism and realism. You explore the dynamic relationship between texts and their historical and cultural contexts and important critical issues and terms. You explore key examples of romantic poetry and fiction, before moving on to consider the rise to prominence of realist fiction and autobiography as major literary genres of the Victorian period.


Year 2 core modules

Creative Writing Lab 3: Experimental Writing

What do we mean by experimental writing? Could it be argued that all writing is experimental? Is experimentation a key part of creativity? How can we make our writing more experimental? You read and discuss a range of different experimental writing. You explore and experiment in your own writing, in response to a series of prompts and exercises. You also discuss the theory of creativity.

Creative Writing Lab 4: Writing and Wellbeing

Writing and wellbeing is a new and exciting area of creative writing, but what does it mean? What is the relationship between writing and wellbeing? And how can writing be used to improve wellbeing? You discuss the theory behind writing and wellbeing, and consider both qualitative and quantitative research. You plan your own project in your chosen context. You also reflect on your own experience of writing for wellbeing, by following a sequence of writing prompts and exercises, and keeping a writing journal. This module is useful if you want to work in the area of writing and wellbeing, for example with community groups or within health and social care.

English and the Real World

What have English literature and creative writing got to do with the 'real world' of work and careers? How do you translate academic knowledge into different forms and communicate it to different audiences? And what are the relationships between scholarly, writerly and professional skills? You address these questions to support your career plans. You focus on a range of ‘real world’ scenarios and you produce a written portfolio – incorporating a lesson plan, a marketing plan, and an academic journal abstract – showcasing the breadth and scope of your skill set and demonstrating the connections between professional, scholarly, and creative work.

Life Writing

Life writing is an increasingly popular and diverse form of creative writing incorporating biographies, memoirs, diaries, journals, letters, blogs, vignettes and self- and autobiographical fictions. It is also an area which blends the personal and professional in a variety of dynamic interactions with our known and unknown selves. You explore a number of developmental approaches to the subject, and use key examples from famous writing lives, you create a secure environment to experiment with your own textual life.

Make it New: The Age of Modernism

You explore one of the most innovative artistic movements of the twentieth century – modernism. You examine the diverse ways in which writers of the early 20th century sought to ‘make it new’ (Ezra Pound, 1934) by experimenting with new modes of literary expression. You explore the relationship between literature and other forms of cultural expression (such as visual art, music, and film) and examine the dynamic relationship between modernism and modernity. You explore the ways artists and writers responded to historical and cultural change.

Transformative Practice

You improve your creative writing and reading practices by transforming the work of other writers, directors and artists. You select your own source material to experiment and translate it into your own form of creative expression. You’ll be expected to read widely about theories of transformative or ‘crossover’ writing and include draft material in your weekly writing journal.


Final-year core modules

Creative Writing Lab 5: Group Facilitation

What happens in a writing group? What does it mean to facilitate a writing group? What are the skills needed by the leader of a group? What happens in a group? What is group theory? You analyse what happens in a writing group from the point of view of a group member. You also have the chance to lead a group session of your own, and reflect on your experience. You explore different kinds of groups. You develop your confidence and skills to plan and deliver effective writing workshops and courses in a range of settings including schools, community groups, health and social care.

Creative Writing Project

You undertake a major piece of creative writing of up to 10,000 words. It represents the culmination of your creative writing studies as an undergraduate, and is based around a ‘statement of intent’ as part of a negotiated learning contract with your supervisor. You explore a specific type of writing in depth, and reflect on the process involved in its production. You address topics and issues faced by independent writers in order to develop your own transferable skills in this area. You are supported by an appropriate supervisor, with access to relevant materials and a VLE discussion board with peer writers.

Major Project: Live Brief

In your final year, you publish an article in the Journal of English at Teesside or a major piece of creative writing in The Teesside Review. This module is the first stage in that process. You work on a themed special issue of the publication as part of its editorial team. As part of that team you scope the brief, identify and produce resources for the project, and plan your own individual contribution with support from your group. You also recognise and articulate the broad range of skills you have acquired and use them as part of the planning process for your graduate career.


and two optional modules

Betrayal: Literature, Modernity and Trust

You examine literary texts from the late 19th to the late 20th century where trust and distrust play fundamental roles. Trust operates on a number of levels, from the thematic to the formal, from texts in which trust and betrayal form the basis of the plot-line, to works which undermine the reader’s trust in the text by challenging the expectations of genre. You also question authenticity of narrative forms and experimental strategies. Recently, financial crises, political uncertainty and the loss of confidence in organisations such as newspapers and supermarkets can have a profoundly destabilising effect on society. Such crises demonstrate just how much is taken on and how much depends on – trust under the conditions of modernity. Why is trust so important? What happens when trust breaks down? And what are the relationships between literature, modernity and trust?

Contemporary Historical Fiction

You engage critically with one of the most widely-read categories of contemporary fiction – the historical novel – by studying some of its most innovative recent examples and placing these into literary-historical context. You explore the ways historical novels exploit and interrogate traditional boundaries between literary and non-literary forms, between genres, and between literary and popular fiction, in order to discuss the ways in which a category of fiction that is often critically maligned, or discussed narrowly in terms of its historical accuracy, can also provoke illuminating and wide-ranging critical analyses. You discuss the diverse forms and techniques used to represent the past, and a type of fiction central to the contemporary literary market, using a sophisticated critical vocabulary.

Detective Fiction and Crime Drama Since the Time of Sherlock Holmes

You examine selected examples of detective fiction from the time of Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the famous Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories over a period of 40 years (1887–1927). Detective fiction became extremely popular and many now lesser known detectives caught the public imagination. You study a range of other serial detectives from the aristocratic Lady Molly of Scotland Yard to the destitute Hagar of the Pawnshop, from the young Miss Cayley, newly graduated from Girton College to the ‘the old man in the corner’ solving mysteries as he sits in a café drinking milk and eating a bun.
You move on to the television age - you examine popular detective television drama to explore how key conventions of the literary genre have developed into contemporary culture and what crime fiction can teach us about modern day socio-economic concerns and developments in criminology. You explore online databases such as British Periodicals Online and British Library 19th Century Books to discover, read and critically consider the range of stories available. Then you look at series such as The Sweeney, Cracker, Life on Mars, Sherlock, and Happy Valley, among others.

Questions of Feminism

Feminism has had a huge impact not only on society but also on literature – authors and critics have created radical new ways of thinking and writing about gender and sexuality. You build on the work on representations of gender and sexuality in the first and second years of your degree. You focus on the diversity of contemporary feminist theory – from Marxist and psychoanalytic feminist theories to African American and queer feminist theories. You explore the questions raised by these theories through close analysis of a range of late twentieth century and contemporary fiction. Texts explored could include Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop (1967), Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970), Pat Barker’s Blow Your House Down (1984), Jackie Kay’s Trumpet (1998) and Sarah Waters’s Affinity (1999).


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

Our unique weekly Creative Writing Lab will help you to grow your writer’s toolkit in a supportive and nurturing environment. By writing together in response to a range of texts and ideas, you develop your confidence and learn how to gather and shape ideas. By workshopping your own work-in-progress and offering detailed feedback to others, you gain the skills to become a confident reader and crafter of your own work.

A range of modules support your critical skills and provide opportunities for you to experiment and then specialise in form and genre, including poetry and prose fiction, life writing, transformative writing, and experimental writing. You also learn about literary history from the Romantic period to the age of Modernism, and explore cultural theory as you consider approaches to writing for social change.

Some modules offer a flexible approach to learning, using the latest online and digital learning technologies so that you can more easily fit your learning around your other commitments.

How you are assessed

With no formal examinations, you are assessed through learning journals, essays, presentations, and portfolios of your own creative writing with an accompanying reflective and/or critical commentary, culminating in a major creative writing project, all of which develop advanced skills in creative, academic and professional writing, as well as high-level presentation and communication skills.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Typical offer: 96-112 tariff points

For entry to Year 0 (Foundation Year) a typical offer is 32-64 tariff points from at least two A levels (or equivalent).

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

This course is designed specifically to help you to gain the transferable skills in creative and critical thinking and writing that equip you for a range of careers including in writing, publishing and editing, the wider creative industries, education and training.


Information for international applicants


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Entry to 2019/20 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£11,825 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years or 4 years including foundation year
  • UCAS code: Q301 BA/CW
    Q303 BA/CWFY for Year 0 entry
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 tariff points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



2019 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants:
£4,500 (120 credits)
More details about our fees

  • Length: Up to 6 years
  • Attendance: Daytime
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 342312
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)

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