English and Creative Writing - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full-time: QW38
Part-time: apply direct to the University
Attendance:
Full Time (3 years), Part Time (6 years)
Starting:
September 2019
Campus:

The BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing degree course will support you in developing a rigorous and creative writing practice, while also honing your critical and analytical abilities.

You will develop your writing, close-reading and research skills, and learn to craft different kinds of original writing – from critical argument to fiction. In the School of English, you will be taught by respected academics and practitioners offering a diverse range of modules.

You will study literature from various major periods, movements and genres. You will also have the opportunity to produce audio drama, screenplay, short stories and poetry. Your degree will allow you to tailor your studies to your individual interests and career aspirations with both a local and global outlook.       

What's covered in the course?

English and Creative Writing allows you to examine how language and literature engage with societies and cultures past and present, to develop a rigorous, creative and disciplined writing practice, and to express insights into contemporary concerns, affecting the way you and others see the world.

Through workshops with published authors you will hone your writing craft, experimenting with forms including audio drama, screenplay, short fiction, poetry and the novel. You will produce polished pieces of writing using creative and analytical approaches that complement your study of English.

You will benefit from student-focused and research-informed teaching in a friendly, supportive learning environment where you will be taught by respected academics and expert practitioners who foster a community of experimentation, innovation and inclusivity.

Our graduates are characterised by their inventiveness, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity, reflected in the skills and abilities that enables them to adapt to a wide range of career paths and employment opportunities. Throughout your studies, you will develop a range of transferable skills valued in the creative industries and beyond.

The School is committed to contributing to the cultural life of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands. We do this through working closely with partner colleges and schools, by maintaining close links with cultural institutions such as the Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI) and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), and by working with agencies such as Writing West Midlands. In all of this we seek to widen participation and provide opportunities for the community to engage with the discipline and the University.

Why Choose Us?

  • You’ll be taught by expert practitioners and world-leading academics, who encourage experimentation and innovation. Our courses are interdisciplinary by design, offering opportunities to explore literature, drama, language and creative writing, and collaborate in, for instance, student-led conferences and showcases.
  • Alongside your formal learning, you’ll have the opportunity to meet acclaimed authors and industry specialists as part of the activities of our Institute of Creative and Critical Writing. Recent guests include author Kit de Waal, poetry activist Jo Bell, agent Cathryn Summerhayes, and Writing West Midlands’ CEO, Jonathan Davidson.
  • You’ll be part of a thriving creative community, alive with opportunities to develop your creative and critical skills. We encourage you to seek out ways to collaborate with student actors, radio producers, musicians and illustrators across a Faculty equipped with world-class production facilities and an internationally-acclaimed student radio station.
  • While you’ll develop abilities as an independent researcher and effective communicator, responding imaginatively to briefs and completing research projects, you can also submit work to our annual anthology and discuss your creative career with those working in the industry.
  • We contribute to a thriving literary scene, whether it’s holding informal poetry readings in the pub, hosting the launch of the acclaimed Poetry Review, or interviewing Man Booker Prize shortlisted authors at Birmingham Literary Festival. 

BA Hons Eng Creative Writing overview

To welcome all new home and EU undergraduate degree students starting in 2018 or 2019, we're giving at least £150 worth of credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials. Even better, it doesn’t have to be repaid. Terms and conditions apply.

Find out more

This course is open to International students

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work in jobs such as:

  • Authors, writers and translators
  • Marketing associate professionals
  • Primary and nursery education teaching professionals

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Essential Requirements

You must have the minimum of 5 GCSE's at Grade 4 (C) or above which MUST include English Language C+. No other equivalence (including Key Skills) will be considered.

Essential

112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 3 A Levels (or their equivalent).

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements
GCE A Level/ AS Level Grades BBC required. 112 UCAS Tariff points from 3 A level subjects including English at grade C or above. May consider film studies/communication studies/creative writing in lieu of English if applicant submits satisfactory essay set by the department. Remaining points can be made up with AS levels in different subjects. AS level in the same subject of an A level will not be accepted.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with 60 credits, 45 at level 3 and 15 at Level 2 including English at Level 3.  Distinction/merit in 18 credits at Level 3 plus answer set essay question.
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM (112 UCAS points) in related area (e.g. Media, Performing Arts).
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
International Baccalaureate Diploma

Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 14 points  or above from three higher level subjects and alongside other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 112 UCAS Tariff Points.

Irish Leaving Certificate Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in four Higher level subjects. This must include English Language taken at either Ordinary level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level (minimum grade H5/D1). 
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher Achieve a minimum of 112 tariff points achieved from either five Highers or a combination of two Highers offered with two Advanced Highers.
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) Pass plus grades CC at A-Level including English (or equivalent qualifications) to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS. Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Extra information for EU/International students
Essential
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.0 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

In addition to the above, applicants will also need:

English Group A - Grade 4 or above
OR
English Group B and Ab Initio - Grade 5

Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

International Students

Entry requirements here

 

International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS
PT 6 years
TBC

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 3 years £12,300 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Fees for part time students

If you study this course part-time or via distance learning, you will be charged on a pro-rata basis. This means your fee will be calculated per module.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

View additional costs for this course

Additional costs

The additional costs listed at the bottom of the page are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Worried about personal statements?

Worried about personal statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

Literature, Drama and Origin
20 credits

This module introduces you to various aspects of literature and drama. We will examine a range of important concepts to the study of literature and drama, including authorship, form, genre, intertextuality, as well as various historical contexts. To develop skills in analysing drama, we will study the principles of dramaturgy and engage in practical explorations of a range of plays.

Download the full module specification

Foundations of Language
20 credits

This module will introduce you to some of the key topics in contemporary linguistics and language studies, such as pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and psycholinguistics. You will learn to apply linguistic concepts and terminology to real-life examples of spoken and written language in use. You will study a wide range of analytical frameworks which will deepen your understanding of the structural characteristics of English, and will be introduced to the role language plays in other areas of English studies and the humanities. The module will help you develop your skills in critical thinking, in analysing different forms of data, in identifying and synthesising information from a variety of sources, and in presenting your findings in a coherent and well-organised way

Download the full module specification

Foundations of Creative Writing
20 credits

In this module, you will develop a rigorous and inventive writing practice by experimenting with different ways of gathering source material and generating new writing, and then with shaping and crafting that writing in prose and in poetry. You will also develop strategies for building a sustainable writing practice, reflecting on what helps and hinders you in regularly making new work. You will explore the tenet that creative writing does not emerge solely from abstract ideas and the blank page, but from a regular writing practice that engages imaginatively and playfully with stimuli and constraint.

Download the full module specification

Craft of Writing
20 credits

In this module, you will explore key elements of effective writing, such as character, setting, action and dialogue, and the techniques used to create and control style on the page, such as showing and telling, detail and description, imagery and viewpoint. You will examine each element or technique in a given text and then apply what you have learned in your own writing. Each lecture and workshop will inform a different element of your writing technique, feeding into three new pieces of writing to be submitted for assessment at the end of the semester. This module provides a strong foundation for further study and practice in creative writing in years 2 and 3.

Download the full module specification

Key Critical Concepts
20 credits

This module will introduce you to how theoretical texts and literary criticism can improve the tools with which we carry out close reading. Each week we will read a theoretical text that covers a different concept and learn how to apply that knowledge to literary writing. You will develop the skills to close read and analyse both primary texts (literature) and secondary texts (criticism and theory). This module will help you to critically reflect on both types of text, as well as on what we bring to a text when we read it, and to pay careful attention to literary form, style, and genre.

Download the full module specification

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Literature and Conflict
20 credits

This module seeks to engage you with a focused analysis of poetry, drama, the novella and the novel as specific forms and to equip you with the scholarly tools used to investigate them. We will examine a range of genres and periods, exploring the concept of conflict from war and revolution to social class and gender, as well as at a psychological level. Conflict creates dramatic interest in narrative, but many forms of criticism assume that conflict should ideally be resolved. We will query this and consider how more overtly ideological criticism might explore the contradictions within a text and disclose what the text itself cannot say. This may lead to questioning of conflict, resolution and even how a historical understanding of conflict is important in our contemporary world.

Download the full module specification

Language in Action
20 credits

This module will introduce you to a number of advanced topics in contemporary linguistics and language studies, such as phonetics, grammar, and corpus linguistics. You will expand your knowledge of linguistic concepts and terminology and develop your ability to apply this knowledge in the analysis of real-life examples of spoken and written language in use. You will be introduced to the phonetic and grammatical characteristics of English and you will analyse these phenomena in context. The module will help you develop your skills in critical thinking, in analysing different forms of data, in identifying and synthesising information from a variety of sources, and in presenting your findings in a coherent and well-organised way.

Download the full module specification

Modern Drama
20 credits

This module focuses on a period of theatre history characterised by formal innovation and revolutionary ideas. You will learn about the intersection between notions of ‘modernity’ and dramaturgical styles associated with ‘modernism’. You will engage with the artistic movements that developed in Europe from the late nineteenth century and identify key playwrights and practitioners that brought significant changes to the stage, on the continent and in Britain. You will examine seminal works from this era, both as written texts and in performance, concluding the process with your own practical interpretation of a chosen play, which will be informed by historical and critical research.

Download the full module specification

 
Please note list of optional modules is indicative only. Students’ choice will not be guaranteed for optional modules but a fair and transparent process will be adopted and shared with students.

Year two

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 60 credits):

Key Critical Traditions
20 credits

This module introduces you to the most influential twentieth-century schools of thought within English. The module builds on the knowledge and understanding developed in the first year module Key Critical Concepts, and offers you the opportunity to develop and deepen key competencies within the wider field of literature and drama. The lectures and seminars will encourage you to employ different critical perspectives for thinking about literature and related art forms, while also focusing on critical and theoretical works in their own right. You will learn to use different tools of analysis that can reveal the unexpected, surprising and exciting possibilities of critical thought. You will also gain an insight and overview of how criticism and theory in English studies has developed historically, as different traditions build on – or break away from – previous traditions.

Download the full module specification

Writing Short Stories
40 credits

This module introduces you to writing short fiction. You will learn from the work of a diverse range of short story writers, exploring the distinctive characteristics of the form, and experimenting with techniques involved in crafting a strong short story. You will identify, practice and apply elements of craft such as narrative structure, voice, diction, dialogue, characterisation and imagery as they relate to the short story form in particular, and experiment with editing and rewriting. You will share your work in progress with other students for constructive criticism, and explore ways of giving effective feedback, as well as reflecting on how to improve your own work.

Download the full module specification

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 60 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Collaborative Practice
20 credits

The ability to work collaboratively in a team is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries. This module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create a group project with students from complementary disciplines.

Download the full module specification

Work Placement
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and ADM Careers+.

Download the full module specification

Foundations of Screenwriting
20 credits

This module will teach you the essential skills of, and principles behind, the writing of short films. Although these principles apply primarily to screenwriting for film and television, this module will instead be concerned with the writing of short films. You will study a number of freely available short guides to screenplay layout and formatting and be trained in the practical application of screenplay formatting software. You will write three short scripts, given as fortnightly writing exercises, and receive detailed formative feedback on one of the scripts, which you can use to improve and develop your work for your final portfolio. You will focus on visual storytelling, layout conventions, and the issue of writing to scale (budget). You will also be encouraged to analyse, but also critique, dramatic construction in terms of character function, motivation and genre.

Download the full module specification

Writing Poetry
20 credits

This module introduces writing contemporary poetry. You will learn from the work of a diverse range of contemporary poets, explore the distinctive characteristics of the form, and experiment with techniques involved in writing both set forms and free verse. You will identify, practise and apply elements of craft such as metaphor, imagery, lexical choice, metre and rhyme and be introduced to editing and rewriting. You will share your work-in-progress with other students for constructive criticism, and explore ways of giving effective feedback, as well as reflecting on how to improve your own work. As contemporary poetry is a means of social communication, we will read poems aloud and use Twitter as an educational tool for the publishing of short poems and for engaging with poetry social networks.

Download the full module specification

Writing Audio Drama
20 credits

The United Kingdom commissions, produces and broadcasts more audio drama – i.e. online, on digital and on radio – than any other country in the world. In this diverse and dynamic medium, writers are able to tell human stories set anywhere in time and space, at a fraction of the cost of television and film production. What’s more – as an old industry saying goes – ‘you see it better on radio’. In this module you will learn how to write compelling audio drama scripts, and engage practically and theoretically with the key principles and techniques involved. You will also be introduced to editorial collaboration, the pitching of projects, and appropriate methods of presentation. Through your workshops, you will learn how to communicate ideas clearly, accurately and effectively both orally and in writing. In devising, developing and writing your own audio drama scripts, you will initiate, manage and complete an independent creative project.

Download the full module specification

Documentary Drama
20 credits

This module will provide you with knowledge and critical understanding of one of the most enduring forms of socially engaged performance: documentary drama. You will study different styles of factbased drama for stage and television, both historical and contemporary, and will be able to identify associated traditions such as ‘tribunal’, ‘verbatim’ and ‘testimonial’ plays; ‘dramadoc’ and ‘docudrama’. You will discuss the balance between fact and fiction in documentary work, the ethical dilemmas and responsibilities involved in creating drama from real-life stories, and the political and artistic value of this type of performance. You will apply this knowledge to the development of your own documentary project, derived from factual material to be compiled, shaped and delivered as a stage performance.

Download the full module specification

Language in Society
20 credits

This module will introduce you to the different intersections of language and society and outline the ways in which language can vary according to class, gender, and age. You will develop your understanding of how to collect, analyse and present language data and results in an ethically responsible and methodologically sound way. You will also examine how language is used to construct social identities, the role of language in wider contemporary society and how sociolinguistic research can be utilised in a non-academic context. You will develop your skills of visual communication, data analysis and data presentation, alongside a careful understanding of the body of research literature within sociolinguistics and how it informs your own work. This module will ultimately allow you to critically evaluate different approaches to the study of linguistic variation and apply your knowledge in designing a research project to investigate language in society.

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Gender, Sexuality and Culture
20 credits

This module explores two concepts central to our understanding of what makes us ‘modern’: gender and sexuality. We will challenge ‘common sense’ understandings of gender and sexuality by interrogating cultural identities, such as queer, heterosexual, homosexual, gay, lesbian, straight and trans. It will introduce you to gender studies and sexuality studies as theoretical, social, cultural, political and historical fields of investigation. There will be a broadly chronological approach to texts and theoretical approaches, moving between examples of twentieth-century fiction, popular culture and theory. You will be given an introduction to literature, culture, and theory as a dynamic field in which issues of gender and sexuality are debated and explored. We will begin by considering where studies of gender and sexuality stood at the start of the twentieth century, and then consider how a number of literary and theoretical texts explore and investigate gender and sexuality. Through these texts we will consider topics such as desire, identity, sexual classification, repression and liberation, the body, transgression, and normality and deviance.

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The Victorians
20 credits

This module covers the poetry and prose of the Victorian period, through which you will learn about the formal properties and trends of literature of the period and the innovations which arose, as well as the historical context including social change, gender roles and religion. You will be encouraged to read widely, and to look backwards and forwards through literary history to enable you to situate the literature of the period in context. There will be a strong emphasis on the close reading of texts and on the importance of research and reading relevant works of criticism; you will be encouraged to develop your research and writing skills and to work independently, which will support your work across this and other modules. We'll also think about Victorian culture and how this remains an important determining factor within modern society.

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Literature and the Child
20 credits

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate the representation and function of the child and childhood in both literature for the child and that for an adult audience. You will study a range of texts which will provide you with a broad historical knowledge of the changing role and function of the child in literature and which you will read alongside sociological, philosophical or educational treatise on childhood. In doing so you will gain a broad historical knowledge of the development of ‘theories of childhood’ from the eighteenth century to the present day and examine how these are engaged with in the literature of the day. You will be able to identify and evaluate how literature has conversely figured childhood as a space of discipline, regulation, play, innocence, higher moral purity, and lived social experience. You will be able to apply these ideas to theoretically informed, critically evaluative readings of a range of texts.

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Multicultural Writing
20 credits
Early Modern Literature
20 credits

This module will provide you with knowledge of key social, political, religious and theatrical contexts relating to literature from the Early Modern period. You will combine this knowledge with key critical and textual analysis tools that will give you the skills to examine several historical, dramatic and poetic texts from the late fifteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. You will focus on the vital role of the early modern period in the formation and transformation of an English literary canon, and discuss key concepts such as materiality, versionality, collaboration and authorship. To do so, you will develop an ability to read closely and analyse textually the language and the literary techniques and devices of this key period, as well as formative skills in archive management.

Download the full module specification

 
Please note list of optional modules is indicative only. Students’ choice will not be guaranteed for optional modules but a fair and transparent process will be adopted and shared with students.

Year three

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):

Writing the Novel
40 credits

This module will provide you with the skills to undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed creative project. You will work individually to initiate, develop and shape a substantial piece of fiction, exploring a subject, style and narrative approach that is of personal interest. You will also work in groups with other students to inform and develop work-in-progress and to produce short presentations on elements of writing craft in relation to your practice. You will be offered guidance on content, structure and style. The outcome will take the form of a substantial extract from a novel, along with a fully-developed synopsis and a reflective, critical commentary. You will work independently, but you will also receive one-to-one supervision along with small- and whole-group support. Your learning will typically be supported by workshops, Moodle activities, seminars and advice from established writers.

Download the full module specification

Major Project
40 credits

You will choose from the following options (please click on the links to view the module specifications):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Writing Creative Nonfiction
20 credits

This module introduces you to writing creative nonfiction. You will investigate the nature of creative nonfiction, exploring the distinctive issues it raises for writers in recent published works and in the original writing you produce during the module; these issues include the ethical considerations involved in drawing from real-life subjects as source material, the nature of truth, the role of research, and the interplay between ‘fact’ and ‘fiction’.

Download the full module specification

Writing Short Films
20 credits

This module will enable you to build upon your current reading and writing of short films, and to develop your range, technique and sophistication as a contemporary screenwriter, applying your knowledge to the writing of a short film script of 10 minutes in length. You will study a guide to writing short films and build on your practical application of screenplay formatting software. You will write one ‘Academy’ short screenplay of 10 pages, on which you will receive detailed formative feedback, enabling you to rewrite towards your portfolio assessment. You will focus on visual storytelling, layout conventions, the issue of writing to scale (budget) and will work collaboratively on writing, planning, shooting and editing a short film of 3-minutes’ length. While a group mark will be given for the collaborative component of the assessment, your moderator reserves the right to mark individually if it is apparent that individuals have contributed more or less than others.

Download the full module specification

Nature Writing
20 credits

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to create focussed observational writing based on personal interaction with the natural world. You will develop the skills to compose poetry and creative non-fiction based on your own research and observations. You will learn how to make precise scientifically-informed and researched description, creating a balance between observation and evaluation and between the presence of the author-narrator as a character in the text and the otherness of what you are describing. Finding an appropriate language for describing the non-human is often a central concern of contemporary nature writing. At the end of this module, you will be able to situate your own practice as a writer of poetry and prose within contemporary nature writing.

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Forensic Linguistics
20 credits

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to critically analyse linguistic data and apply the results of the analysis to legal settings, focusing mainly on legal discourse, courtroom discourse, police interviewing, authorship analysis, and plagiarism detection. You will study a wide range of topics which will provide you with a broad understanding of different sub-disciplines of forensic linguistics and language and the law, each with its own methodological approach. You will develop skills necessary for interdisciplinary research at the intersection of linguistics, forensic sciences, legal studies and psychology. You will focus on how to ensure your data is representative, to develop robust methodological approach, and to present your results in a logical way meeting the requirements set by relevant bodies in a range of legal contexts.

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Language and Gender
20 credits

This module will introduce you to the main critical debates, concepts, and research approaches in the field of language and gender. You will discuss a variety of key theoretical areas, supported by relevant scholarly research, and you will learn to critically evaluate the role that language plays in gender relations and gender stereotypes. You will carry out independent fieldwork on a topic of your own choice related to language and gender, and you will develop your skills in data collection, analysis, and evaluation. The module makes use of a variety of data sources, including electronic corpora, written, visual and spoken media, questionnaires, and you will learn to apply your knowledge of language and linguistics to investigate and analyse such data. Over the course of the module, you will also acquire a range of skills which will support your long-term personal and professional development, including self direction in problem solving, communication skills (written and verbal), independent critical thought, and effective time management.

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Teaching English as a Foreign Language
20 credits

The module is based on experimental and experiential techniques allowing you to encounter TEFL teaching methods, as well as improve your knowledge of phonetics and phonology, grammar and vocabulary, syntax and punctuation. The module will equip you with a solid understanding of TEFL approaches alongside a practical skill set for planning lessons and courses, assessing language proficiency, facilitating the learning process, and managing classroom dynamics. The module will help you utilise skills and linguistic knowledge gained during your first two years of study in the applied settings of teaching English as a second/foreign language. You will also draw on literature, drama and creative writing strands of the programme due to the emphasis on the inherent value of cultural and literary experiences in the foreign language acquisition process. You will focus on developing engaging teaching materials for potential learners and practise completing tasks similar to those required as part of the interview selection process for TEFL jobs. Throughout the module, special emphasis will be placed on continuous professional development as well as identifying career options in the UK and abroad. You will be provided with several voluntary opportunities, including providing language support for international students, teaching English classes for international students within the Faculty, or observing commercial classes in Birmingham.

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Literature, Art and Philosophy
20 credits

This module is concerned with philosophical aesthetics that is the branch of philosophy that deals with questions about the nature of art and beauty. We will take a historical view of aesthetic theory, beginning with Plato and Aristotle and moving through to twentieth-century thinkers such as Collingwood via Kant and the Romantics. Major forms of aesthetic theory – from the mimetic to the mystical – will be considered with reference to individual works of art. The bias is towards literature, but we will also study painting, sculpture and other visual arts. The first part of the module covers a broad history of ideas (indicated above); the second part focuses on notably ‘philosophical’ works of literature by Shakespeare and Shelley. The idea is to study some works of literature in depth to understand how the various theories might be applied to individual works, and also to think about the limitations of this process.

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The Gothic
20 credits

This module focuses on literature in the gothic tradition from its inception through to the present day. During the module, the development of the gothic form will be traced from its origins through to recent manifestations of the genre. Gothic literature often reflects social and cultural trends as well as providing a space to manifest cultural anxieties, expressing a society’s suppressed desires and fears in an acceptable literary form. Such texts can therefore be read not only as escapist, but as serious texts which seek to express often radical, socially unacceptable or psychologically-submerged ideas. The module will enable you to identify these undercurrents as well as to explore the major themes and aesthetics of the genre. You will be encouraged to interrogate texts with an eye to these issues, including those of gender, race and class, and to contextualise the texts in order to analyse and understand the changing concept of Gothic.

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Psychology in Victorian Literature
20 credits

The module explores the relationship between literature and the development of psychological thought in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries before the advent of laboratory-based experimental work. Ideas about character formation which inform the literary examination of character in nineteenth century poetry and prose will be placed in the context of philosophical and scientific descriptions of mental development during the period. The connections between nineteenth-century psychology and "pseudo-scientific" discourses such as phrenology and mesmerism will also come under scrutiny, as will the close relationship between psychology and Victorian medical discourse.

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Speculative Fiction
20 credits

What if a book was discovered that revealed an advanced alien civilisation? What if humans could merge with machines? What if the world were slowly crystallising around us? What if humanity had all but destroyed itself? The ‘what if’ in these questions signals a moment of hesitation, a gap that opens up between what is and what could be. This is speculation. Speculation is something we all do. It allows us to reimagine the past, recontextualise the present and consider new futures. It can be a liberating but also a destabilising activity because it asks us to question the ways in which we make sense of who we are and the world around us. In this module you will consider how literature can be a vehicle for speculation. You will be able to identify the formal literary techniques and devices used to enable speculation and then apply them to a series of texts from the late twentieth century and twenty-first century to consider how these can help us think about new pasts, new societies, new identities and new futures.

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Shakespeare Studies
20 credits

This module will consider a range of primary and critical texts relating to Shakespeare’s canon. In general, you will consider the reasons for Shakespeare’s prominent position in the English canon and in wider popular culture and society. You will focus some attention on Shakespeare’s social context, early modern theatrical settings and conventions, and the language of Shakespeare’s works. You will also consider how Shakespeare’s works operate in performance and film. To do the above, you will examine in detail a selection of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, histories and poems, considering textual aspects meticulously, while relating the texts to wider issues of reception and impact. Emphasis will be placed on using a range of critical interpretative methods when approaching the plays, as well as on utilising digital literacy (such as online archives) in order to develop a knowledge of key research skills required by early modern literary scholars as well as basic archival skills.

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Moral Philosophy
20 credits

With the study of ethics at its heart, this module draws on the wide range of intellectual disciplines which are used to understand and critique both longstanding and current issues with moral and political dimensions. It seeks to foster the capacity for independent thought, critical awareness of other perspectives, and an ability to think through the wider picture. In doing so the module assists in articulating the value of the humanities in a democracy as well as developing an appreciation of the values of citizenship, especially in terms of the challenges and opportunities which globalisation gives rise to. The module will enable you to write about contemporary moral and political issues for an educated general readership in a way that is both serious and engaging. As such, it forms a crucial link between the experience of academic study and its application to a range of graduate careers.

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Milton’s Epic
20 credits

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate one of the most important works in English literature: Milton’s major epic poem, Paradise Lost. This module focuses extensively on this poem and its various contexts. You will read the entire epic thoroughly in order to enable you to analyse the themes, characters, settings and language of the work. You will develop an understanding of Milton’s political, religious and literary ambitions in relation to his key works. You will also read and discuss some of his non-epic works.

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Film
20 credits

This module allows you to apply your knowledge of existing formal, narratological and historical concepts to the medium of film, and to develop further conceptual frameworks derived from or unique to film. The module will be concerned with the structural and cultural features which can be seen to determine readings of film narrative. Generally, though not exclusively, the module will find its location in the area of popular film. It will take as a starting point the model derived from what David Bordwell calls ‘The Classical Hollywood Cinema’. This will enable you to begin to theorise issues such as Genre and Auteurism as well as the semiotics of film, so that the general formations can be analysed with reference to their subversion by counter-cultural formations. Particular reference will be made to three generic sets: Film Noir, Melodrama and Horror. By referring to these case-studies, you will be encouraged to develop critical/theoretical analyses of films of your choice.

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World Literature
20 credits

World Literature explores global dimensions of literature and introduces key debates in Comparative and World Literature. You will widen and deepen your knowledge and understanding of literary movements you have studied on previous modules, especially modules focusing on the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. World Literature will provide new insights into how certain literary trends in Britain were pioneered, paralleled or developed overseas whilst also offering you the opportunity to join up major lines of development in global literary history. Exploring a variety of novels from different parts of the world, the module emphasises what is distinct about literatures from specific geographical areas. You will look at how novels considered as part of ‘World Literature’ have developed in formal terms, from nineteenth-century realism to the contemporary cosmopolitan novel. You will develop a global outlook on literature by tracing how realism as a form has been challenged by and renewed in successive ‘moments’ or ‘turns’ of literary history. You will explore the major debates and theories of World Literature through international literary history, comparative literary analysis, looking at themes, and tracing the recurrence of images and motifs.

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The Uncanny
20 credits

This module explores ‘The New Phenomenology’ which deals with experiences of the self. We will read Freud’s classic essay on ‘The Uncanny’ and associated materials bringing contemporary philosophy to bear on some literary and film texts. Place and displacement, anxiety, melancholia and unease feature in this work.

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Please note list of optional modules is indicative only. Students’ choice will not be guaranteed for optional modules but a fair and transparent process will be adopted and shared with students.

Course Structure

In Year one you explore core subjects in English Literature, Drama, Language and Creative Writing through a combination of face-to-face lectures, seminars, field trips, workshops, online tasks, group work and – crucially – independent research and practice. You will build on these theory and practice-based elements in the second half of Year one, deepening your understanding and practice of elements of writing craft across a range of forms and genres (such as audio drama, memoir and screenplay), along with other disciplines of your choice.

In Year two, you have the opportunity to specialise further. Depending on the modules you choose, project work in creative writing might include writing screenplays and pitches for short films, crafting short story collections, poetry pamphlets, or writing and producing audio drama. You will complete either a collaborative project or work placement, or you may choose to spend your second semester studying abroad. You also have the opportunity to draw on the full range of English modules which will help you develop your skills in critical analysis, investigative enquiry and synthesising ideas from a range of sources – all skills highly valued in the workplace.

In Year three, you can keep exploring new fields of study, while also deepening your understanding in your chosen specialisms. This might include exploring new forms, for instance, by researching and writing creative nonfiction (which includes travel writing, autobiography and literary journalism), or by specialising further as a poet or screenwriter. You will also choose options from the full suite of English modules available. Alongside your studies, we advise you to attend face to face sessions with literary agents and other industry professionals visiting our Institute of Creative and Critical Writing. You will complete a major independent project, such as a substantial extract of a novel, enabling you to showcase all the skills you’ve learned during your degree. 

Teaching and learning activities

Teaching and learning activities may include lectures, seminars, practical workshops and guided independent study. You will also have access to a wide range of extracurricular opportunities, including theatre trips, seminars by prestigious guest speakers and published authors and a programme of scholarly and creative events. Online facilities, such as the University’s Virtual Learning Environment Moodle, are used to guide, support and enhance your learning experience.

You will benefit from tutorial support and spoken or written feedback on your learning and preliminary work to help you in preparing for and reflecting on your assignments. A wide range of assessment methods are used in the programme, including essays, presentations, performances, conferences and creative portfolios, giving you the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills.

77 per cent of research undertaken by lecturers from the School of English, classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF2014)


Links

The School maintains close links with cultural institutions such as the Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI) and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) and works with agencies such as Writing West Midlands.

View more examples of student work...

Overseas Opportunities  

We encourage you to consider taking the opportunity provided by the Erasmus scheme during your time with us. Recent graduate, Charlotte Keogh, studied for a semester in Austria as part of her undergraduate degree.

Charlotte said: "Going to live and study in Austria was the single most terrifying and tremendous experience of my life. I left England with a self-taught basic knowledge of German (meaning I could say “hello”, “goodbye” and “can I have a glass of water please?”) and left being able to hold conversations with the gorgeous old ladies who shared my tram journeys through the city every morning."

Read Charlotte's story

Further Study

After completing your undergraduate degree, you might want to progress to our  MA in Creative Writing or any one of a multitude of postgraduate programmes, including PGCEs for teacher training, programmes in digital marketing, journalism and public relations or conversion courses such as the Graduate Diploma in Law programmes.

Trips and Visits

Novelist Jim Crace conducted a workshop that was held over three consecutive days in which time he imparted his professional knowledge to the participating School of English students. Jim covered his own personal approach to writing and making your own novel marketable. The students took part in writing activities and shared their work with the group to spark their discussion of creative writing.

Enhancing Employability Skills

Employability is embedded across our programme, from sector- and industry-specific skills in creative writing, drama, linguistics and literature, through to transferable skills that hold real value regardless of your employment direction, including literacy and numeracy, time management and organisation, oral and written communication, team work, initiative and enterprise, creative and analytical thinking, self-direction and discipline, independence, information gathering and interpersonal skills.

You will have multiple opportunities to engage in problem solving and problem-based learning, particularly through individual assessments and collaborative practice modules, and to reflect on your own career development needs through participating in the Graduate+ scheme and other employability schemes over the course of your degree.

95 per cent of our English graduates are in work or continuing their studies.
(2015/16 DLHE statistics)

Placements

The School is committed to developing strong links with employers in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Several language and Creative Writing modules have explicit employer and industry engagement, where you work in collaboration with employer and external partners over the course of the semester and are encouraged to adopt industry-standard practices to facilitate connections and links independently with external partners.

In the case of the Work Placement module, you will have the opportunity to develop skills and abilities in a sector-specific context, while ensuring that academic aims and objectives are met as part of your wider learning journey.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Links to Industry

We regularly seek out opportunities to build further links with partner organisations in the region, including Creative Black Country, Birmingham Literary Festival, Birmingham Museums Trust (including Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), Black Country Museum Trust, Arvon Creative Writing Foundation, Flatpack Film Festival, West Midlands Screenwriters' Forum, and other Schools within the University, in addition to publishers, charities, third sector organisations, and more, in Birmingham and beyond.


Learn from industry experts 

The school regularly organises talks and visits that will provide you with the chance to learn from industry experts with guest masterclasses and visiting authors.

Novelist Jim Crace delivered a series of workshops with students, giving feedback on their work and an insight into the world of professional writing and the publishing industry. Student Nabiyah Saddique said: "It was beneficial to students like me who want to write and be an author by career, to see how his experiences have shaped him and how he has created such beautiful pieces of work from these experiences."

Jim also enjoyed the chance to work with the students: "Everybody tried their hands at pitching an idea, writing the opening paragraphs of a novel, and line editing. It was testing and daunting but nobody fell short. The level of commitment and ability was astounding. London publishers should be beating a path to the School of English; it houses writing talent in abundance."

Firewalking

BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate Jobs

Our graduates are characterised by their extensive subject knowledge, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity, reflected in the skills and abilities that will enable them to adapt to a wide range of career paths, employment opportunities, or further study at Master’s or PhD level.

Graduates go on to careers in teaching, librarianship, marketing, journalism and public relations.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.

The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £260 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

The Curzon Building

Our School of English is housed in the Curzon Building, a £63 million development, located on our City Centre campus, in the vibrant second city that is Birmingham.

Discover your bright and open learning spaces, your 24 hour (during term time) library, drama, media and radio studios, along with state of the art lecture theatres, and a variety of sociable break-out areas, all adding to your unique learning experience.

The Curzon Building
Curzon Building entrance
Lecture theatre in The Curzon Building.
ADM English Discussions
ADM English Discussions 2
Curzon Building - Social space
Entrance to Curzon Library, which is open 24 hours a day during term time.
A selection of books in our six storey library.
English Drama Workshop 3
English Drama Workshop 1
English Drama Workshop 2
English Drama Workshop 4
Drama room controls 1
Drama room controls 2
The ASK desk – your first point of contact for all queries related to university life.
The light filled atrium leads into the café and restaurant.
The restaurant has a diverse menu with affordable and high quality food.
Curzon Building - Eagle and Ball bar
Eastside Park

Our Staff

As you have a great deal of choice throughout your degree, it’s likely you’ll come into contact with many of our inspiring, research-active staff, including Anna Lawrence, Subject Leader for Creative Writing and a novelist and poet, whose interests include collisions between the magical and the industrial, Andy Conway, specialist in screenwriting and founder of Digital Film Studio and talent development hub, BFilm Micro, and Rhoda Greaves, award-winning short story writer.

Gregory Leadbetter

Dr Gregory Leadbetter

Director of the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing

Gregory is a poet and critic, with research interests in English Romanticism, poetry and creative writing. His poetry collections include The Fetch (Nine Arches Press, 2016) and The Body in the Well (HappenStance Press, 2007). A regular contributor to The Poetry Review, and his work is published widely in journals and anthologies. He has written radio drama for the BBC, and was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2013. Gregory's book on Coleridge’ s poetry, the transnatural, and the dilemmas of creativity, Coleridge and the Daemonic Imagination (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) won the University English (formerly CCUE) Book Prize 2012.

As well as his work on Coleridge, he has published book chapters and articles on Wordsworth, Lamb, Keats and Ted Hughes. As Director of the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing in the School of English, he leads our programme of guest seminars and masterclasses with authors, editors and agents for our students, together with a programme of public literary events every year, including readings, book launches, seminars and writing workshops.

Gregory is currently supervising doctoral theses on representations of the domestic uncanny in contemporary short fiction, fictional autobiography and the fragmentary novel, and disability poetics.

Read Gregory's full profile

Anna Lawrence

Deputy Director of the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing

Anna writes prose and poetry. She is particularly interested in the interaction of the magical and the mundane, and her first novel, Ruby’s Spoon (Chatto & Windus, 2010), is set in a fictional Black Country town where witches and mermaids may (or may not) reside: Susan Hill wrote that this was “one of the best first novels I’ve ever read”. Her critical writing on Margaret Mahy and prize-winning poetry explores similar territory.

Before coming to Birmingham City University, and after leaving her job as a trainee prison governor, she facilitated community writing workshops and site-specific writing projects. Anna gained a first class degree from the University of Oxford.

Read Anna's full profile

Andy Conway

Lecturer in Creative Writing

Andy is a prolific screenwriter and novelist with 30 years’ experience of the writing industry. He’s worked as a screenwriter on many films, both produced and lost in development hell, for over 20 years, and runs the Shooting People Screenwriters’ Network, with 11,000 worldwide members. He also co-founded the West Midlands Screenwriters’ Forum, and the new independent publishing collective, New Street Authors.

His feature film, Arjun & Alison, a campus revenge thriller set in Birmingham, toured film festivals around the world and was released in UK cinemas in spring 2014. He currently divides his time between the three feature films he has in pre-production, writing his series of historical fantasy novels, Touchstone, co-writing a guide to the world of self-publishing, and lecturing in Screenwriting at Birmingham City University.

Read Andy's full profile