Manchester Metropolitan University

BA (Hons)

Creative Writing

2018 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • Regular readings, visiting speakers and literary events.
  • All strands of our degree programmes offer the opportunity to study abroad for a term.
  • The opportunity to be taught by internationally recognised writers and academics in a variety of specialist areas.
  • Opportunities to work with acclaimed authors on creative writing in a variety of genres. The Department of English at our Manchester campus is a large and vibrant community of around fifty internationally renowned writers and critics.
  • The department is home to the Manchester Writing School, the most successful of its kind in the UK. The Creative Director of the Manchester Writing School is the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.
  •  Students on the Manchester campus have a wealth of opportunities to engage with the many conferences, readings, research programmes, festivals and competitions run by the department, and to build their own networks among our many partners in the dynamic Manchester cultural and creative community. 
  • We pride ourselves on offering intellectually challenging programmes of study in a friendly and student-centred environment. 
  • Our diverse assessment methods support students in developing presentation and team-working skills which are highly valued by employers.

Placement options

The Department of English works closely with a number of external partners, including local schools and voluntary organisations, that will give you opportunities to gain experience in a range of areas, including youth work, education, creative workshopping and video production. These placements are generally on a voluntary basis, though some work in local schools has been waged.

About the course

In Creative Writing, students can expect to develop their work over the three years. The published writers who teach on the BA programme include Helen Mort, Andrew McMillan, Andrew Hurley, Susan Barker, Rachel Genn, Anjum Malik, Monique Roffey, Nikolai Duffy, Catherine Fox, Livi Michael, Gregory Norminton, Adam O’Riordan, Joe Stretch, Michael Symmons Roberts, Antony Rowland, Nicholas Royle, Jean Sprackland and Julie Wilkinson.

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

You will explore genres and understand these in terms of formal and thematic properties: What makes a poem? How is prose different? What is drama? You will explore the relationships between poetry, prose and drama by familiarising yourself with some of the major works that define each genre. You will also consider the reasons why writers make generic and formal choices, and in their own creative writing, they are encouraged to experiment in genres and forms, engaging critically with issues raised by each.

Core Units
Creative Writing as Professional Practice

This unit will introduce you to a range of ways in which writing is practised professionally, in both traditional and contemporary forms and media, including genres of prose, poetry, script, journalism, blogging and copywriting. It will explore emerging opportunities for professional writing practice in the wider community such as schools, community groups and caring contexts. 

Critical Dialogues

This unit is an introduction to a number of key topics in critical and cultural theory. You will gain a range of distinct approaches to the analysis of literary and cinematic texts. Your study on this course will give you the skills required to identify, explain and compare particular critical and theoretical approaches to the study of literature and film. It also develops key skills in referencing and the conventions of academic essay writing.

Language and Technique

This unit focuses on writing poetry and prose and explores how language is formed and used. The tutor will introduce short texts linked to workshop exercises, and will refer to novels, poems and plays studied in the first year English lecture programme.

Story and Structure

In this unit you will meet with other students in workshops to read, write and tell your own stories for page or stage. The unit also explores how to find and research ideas, studying how other writers have plotted plays, screenplays and stories.

Year 2

In your second year, you will begin to specialise by taking two out of three writing workshop modules in poetry, prose and drama taught by practising writers. You are encouraged to experiment and engage with issues raised by formal choices, such as point of view and diction, and to develop workshop and editorial skills. You will also learn about the history of literary transmission of texts, focusing specifically on texts and their relation to technologies of the age, and the nature and resources of the literary artist. Additionally, you will select option units from the wider English programme, including opportunities to study film, and American literature and culture.

Core units

There are three core units: Creative Writing Workshop, Remake/Remodel, and Creative Writing Workshop 2.  Students must additionally choose 30 credits of option units.  15-credit units may be taken only in combination with their co-requisite. 

Core Units
Creative Writing Workshop
This unit covers topics such as creative writing: poetry; prose; script, considering processes of writing and engaging with writing techniques. Over the course of two terms you will elect to write in two of the following three genres: Prose, Poetry, Script. Accordingly, the unit's learning outcomes are replicated across two terms as in each term a different genre will be covered, providing the same generic skills but honed to the specific demands of the genre. You will, then, study the formal aspects of creative writing, including linkage between form and content, genre and structure.
Creative Writing Workshop 2

This unit complements and builds on Creative Writing Workshop, following the same two-term pattern and providing the opportunity for students to study and practise skills in two newer forms of creative writing not practised in CWW1, for example creative non-fiction, writing for digital platforms, copywriting. 

Remake/Remodel

This unit approaches literary adaptation, critically and creatively. You will consider how writers respond to, and rewrite established texts and analyse the cultural contexts in which stories are adapted and re-adapted. Literature is a continual conversation between the past and the present; you will add voices to this conversation by creatively adapting and reinventing established stories and characters.

Likely Optional Units
American Spaces

Touching upon a broad range of genres, this unit is concerned with critical and creative conceptions of 'space' and travel (both geographic and metaphorical) in American literature from colonial times to the present.

Critical and Cultural Theory I

This unit introduces theoretical arguments about literature as a cultural practice, raising questions about its social significance and how we make value judgements about texts.  The unit will draw upon and link three fields of critical practice.  By analysing texts using Critical Theory, Postcolonial Theory and Disability Studies you will reflect upon the relationship between theoretical models and literary and cinematic representations.

EdLab (15 credit unit)

EdLab units enable you to gain credit for project-based learning conducted in partnership with external practitioners, charities and social enterprises, educational providers and other workplaces. Your project may be the development of products or resources, interventions or educational opportunities.

Engaging the Humanities: Interdisciplinary Learning and Practice (30 CREDITS)

This is an innovative cross-departmental unit provides an opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary context alongside other students from a range of undergraduate programmes within Humanities, Languages & Social Science. Developing research skills, Work based learning, Public engagement Community action Social enterprise experience. 

Enlightenment and Romanticism
This unit will look at the period of British literature from 1688 to 1830, dealing in particular with the emergence of the novel, and the shift from eighteenth-century to Romantic culture.
Film Genre & Mode

The unit introduces theories of film genre, developing your understanding of a range of film categories and other modes of cinematic expression.

Manchester and the City

This unit is concerned with the changing representations of the city in a variety of literary and cultural texts, investigating the underlying ideologies of the city and the varying ways that cities have been theorised. We explore the nature of the city as text and consider the relationship between urban life and artistic form. Is the city a setting? An actor? How does it represent social, linguistic and ethnic difference? What are the historical and social tensions underlying constructions of the city? What relationship does it have to the condition of modernity/ postmodernity? Having first explored the changing concept and meaning of the city, students will focus specifically on Manchester as an example of the city as text.

Nineteenth-Century Writing to Modernism
This unit will develop your knowledge and understanding of British poetry, fiction, drama, visual art and travel literature published between 1800 and 1939.
Postwar to the Present

This unit will introduce you to a range of contemporary British fiction and drama written in the period between the end of WW2 and up to the present day.

Uniwide Language (15 credits)

You can add a foreign language to your portfolio of skills. Enhance your employability by learning Classical Latin, English (as a foreign language), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Modern Standard Arabic, Spanish or Urdu alongside your main degree. Whatever your language knowledge, from beginner to advanced, these classes will take you to the next level of proficiency.

Year 3

You will write a long creative project in the genre of your choice with supporting critical commentaries, supervised by a practising writer. In addition, there are a number of option units available to take, both in creative writing, and in topics from the wider English programme. As well as developing your own creative writing, the course will prepare you for careers in publishing and media, arts industries, teaching creative writing, and degrees in higher education. The course is excellent preparation for our Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, which allows students to develop their craft further through novel writing and poetry routes.

Students take two core units – Creative Writing Project and Beyond the Page – and select 60 credits of Option units. 

Core Units
Beyond the Page

This unit explores professional practice across the literary industry and aims to offer perspectives on working within the cultural industry in general. You will be required to take a literary text of your own - an original piece or something written within another unit, and to publicise and distribute, whilst reflecting critically on the process.

Creative Writing Project

Over the course of two terms, you will elect to write in two of the following three genres: Prose, Poetry, and Script. You will study the formal aspects of creative writing, including linkage between form and content, genre and structure. Work in Prose will entail consideration of characterisation and narrative, work in Poetry will entail work on voice and diction, and work on Script will entail consideration of dramatic action, characterisation, plot and use of the medium.

Likely Optional Units
American Literature & Culture 1945 to the Present

The unit surveys American literature and culture (including black and African American music) from 1945 to the present day. It introduces you to the range and diversity of recent US literature, beginning in the post-World War II period and continuing through to the present day. Alongside the study of literature, students explore the wider cultural scene in the US, in particular, the political and social significance of black and African American music.

Cinema and Nation
This unit explores the ways in which national identity is constructed in the cinemas of the United States and United Kingdom to interrogate formulations of British and American identity, both independently and in dialogue with each other.  
Cultures of Life and Death: Debates In Contemporary Literature, Film and Theory

This unit investigates the question of the human in contemporary cultural debate. In this exchange - between theory and cultural texts - topics such as neoliberalism, bare life and biopolitics, contagion and immunity, bodily commodification, surveillance culture, artificial intelligence and neurochemical selfhood will be explored via a discussion of a range of key theoretical, literary and cinematic texts. 

EdLab (15 credit unit)

EdLab units enable you to gain credit for project-based learning conducted in partnership with external practitioners, charities and social enterprises, educational providers and other workplaces. Your project may be the development of products or resources, interventions or educational opportunities.

This must be taken with the co-requisite unit ‘Reading Children's Literature' (15 credit unit) OR Reading Games (15 credit unit).

Fin-de-Siecle Literature and Culture
This unit will introduce you to end of Nineteenth Century British and European culture and writing by studying the fictional, dramatic and poetical works of individual authors and other texts originating in the fin de siècle period.
Modern Drama

This unit will investigate the ways that dramatic writing has engaged with social, cultural and political debate during the twentieth and twenty-first century. Drawing on texts from Britain, Ireland, Europe, America and Africa, the unit will consider the texts within their historical political and theatrical context, considering the ways in which both thematic content and theatrical form have impacted on audiences.

Modern Gothic
This unit introduces and defines the field of Gothic studies via film, TV and literature as the locus of textual and contextual issues. It explores the mode's responses to historical and social change via psychoanalytical and socio-cultural theory. The unit develops student skills in both close textual reading and psychological and ideological analysis of the mode. It introduces you to the critical and historical field of Gothic studies.
Reading & Writing Games

This unit provides an analytical study of a range of twenty and twenty-first century games both analogue and digital. You will be introduced to the critical and historical field of game studies, and given guidance on the appropriate techniques for writing for gaming and the experience of working with pre-determined project briefs.

Reading and Writing Children's Literature
This unit provides an analytical study of a range of classic and modern texts written for children. It also uses these texts as models for the production of new texts. The unit also covers appropriate techniques for writing for children. It provides you with the skills to analyse a range of children's literature, and to use the resulting knowledge to produce original texts suitable for teenagers and children. 
Reading and Writing Crime Fiction

This unit explores a wide range of crime and detective fiction by analysing it in relation to critical and literary theoretical material, and the historical development of the genre and theories that inform its creative production and interpretation. You will identify formal features of the set texts and distinguish key stylistic elements through creative exercises such as adaptations and parodies.

Reading and Writing Poetry
This unit explores relations between reading and writing poetry. It focuses on reading and analysing a representative range of work by contemporary poets, and introduces you to relevant critical work. It equips you with critical, analytical and writing skills to read and write poetry effectively.
Reading Children’s Literature

This unit provides an analytical study of a range of classic and modern texts written for children. It also uses these texts as models for the production of new texts. The unit also covers appropriate techniques for writing for children. It provides you with the skills to analyse a range of children's literature, and to use the resulting knowledge to produce original texts suitable for teenagers and children. 

Reading Games

This unit provides an analytical study of a range of twenty and twenty-first century games both analogue and digital. Students will be introduced to the critical and historical field of game studies, and given guidance on the appropriate critical approaches and terminology to enable them to read games and gaming.

Representing Trauma
This unit is concerned with critical and creative conceptions, constructions and depictions of forms of violence and trauma, and introduces you to representations and theories of trauma drawn from multiple locations (temporal and geographic).
Shakespeare
This unit looks at Shakespeare's plays and poems in regard to both his contemporary intellectual, political and social meanings and effect, and the influence of his work on subsequent culture, in terms reception, adaptation, and reinvention.
Texting Britain, Texting the World

This unit will introduce students to a range of contemporary poetry, plays, novels, film and television which examines themes of diaspora, race and identity within the national (British) and global context. The first term will focus on Black British literature, exploring the emergence of a cosmopolitan (Black) British identity in the post-war era. Students will critically engage with constructions of ‘home’ and notions of belonging in the inter-generational writings of Black Britons. In the second term we will explore literature of the global south, focusing on the works of writers from former British colonies. The texts studied will be located within the literary traditions from which they have developed, whilst also considering how British colonial rule has shaped experiences in countries such as Nigeria, Jamaica and India. Discussion will be informed by postcolonial, globalisation and cosmopolitan theories.

Writing & Place

This unit will critically analyse the representation of place in key contemporary texts. These texts, drawn from a range of genres, will be evaluated within the frameworks (including literary geography and ecocriticism) provided by contemporary theoretical debates. The unit will also situate creative and conceptual writing about place within the context of 'real world debates': topics to be covered will include environmental crisis, regeneration and the post-industrial city, and digital technologies and spatial literacy.

Writing in Genres

The course will begin with an overview of the genres under consideration; thereafter students will have the opportunity to try their skills in three different genres in workshops dedicated to each specialism. The genres on offer may vary each year depending on staff, but might include three from e.g. historical fiction, crime fiction, fantasy writing and science fiction.In the first term, students will submit a portfolio of short pieces selected from their creative work in these genres. In the second term, students will concentrate on an extended piece of creative writing in their genre of choice. Both the portfolio and the extended piece will be accompanied by a critical reflection on the creative process.

Writing Series Drama

The unit concentrates on the composition of series, serials and continuing drama as opposed to the single play, in the context of critical awareness of contemporary dramatic writing. It reinforces and develops students' pitching, storylining and scriptwriting skills. Students will study the historical development of episodic drama and professional writers' responses to new technologies, including webcasting; key texts will illustrate a range of formats such as cop shows, comedy series, sci-fi, soaps, medical/hospital drama and explore the relationships between generic and 'authored' series. Students will devise the premise for a long-running drama to be pitched in class, and then work in teams to plot storylines over a number of episodes. In the light of feedback from tutor and peers, each student will then write her or his own individual version of the narrative framework for the group-devised story. Each writer will then script fifteen minutes of playing time of the devised storylines

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Methods of Assessment

Creative exercises (including stories, poems, scripts), project work; essays and textual analyses; critiques (self-evaluations); oral presentations; examinations; short class tests; and a major final year project.

Assessment Weightings and Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Study
  • Year 1 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
  • Year 2 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
  • Year 3 15% lectures, seminars or similar; 85% independent study
Assessment
  • Year 1 100% coursework
  • Year 2 90% coursework; 10% examination
  • Year 3 100% coursework
Optional foundation year
  • Study 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
  • Assessment 75% coursework; 25% examination

Typical entry requirements

These typical entry requirements apply to the 2017 academic year of entry and may be subject to change for the 2018 academic year. Please check back for further details.

UCAS Tariff points/Grades required

104-112

104-112 UCAS Tariff points from three A2s or acceptable alternatives. 

An English subject at GCE A Level is preferred, e.g. English Language, English Literature, English Language/Literature or Creative Writing. Subjects such as Drama, Theatre Studies, Film Studies, Religious Education, History, Media Studies and General Studies will also be considered

Performing Arts, Production Arts or Creative Media Production are preferred from applicants studying BTEC qualifications

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Pass Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with a minimum 106 UCAS Tariff Points -  units taken must include some element of literary or cultural study.

International Baccalaureate points

26

IELTS score required for international students

6 with no element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

Applications through UCAS

Remember to use the correct institution code for Manchester Metropolitan University on your application: our institution code is M40

Confirmation of Regulator

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.

Undergraduate Study