Creative Writing and Visual Design

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 Top UK writing course, taught by award-winning practitioners.

  • More specialist strands than any other course in the UK
  • Focus on graduate employability, building industry connections
  • Large and diverse student body – close to 500 students from across the world

"The Creative Writing programme at Bath Spa University is the flagship example of its type."
- External Examiner’s Report (2015)

Why study Creative Writing?

This course is challenging, exciting, and versatile. Here, you can expect a professional level of tuition – and we expect a professional level of commitment and achievement from you in return.

Employability is central to the writing programme. Both individually and in groups you will prepare for the writing / creative-industry career of your choice.

Said one recent graduate: "Bath Spa gave me the opportunity to stretch myself academically and creatively, and - above all - it was so encouraging to have my creative writing taken seriously by highly respected tutors."

Course structure

Our comprehensive programme includes prose, poetry, scriptwriting for the stage and screen, feature journalism, writing for new media, life writing: in fact, whatever you want to write, you’ll find an opportunity at Bath Spa University. We also work with drama and film students to produce films and podcasts, and encourage you to get involved in a wide range of writing-related areas such as readings, performances and magazines.

Modules

  • Year One
    Writer’s Workshop One (general workshop), Poetry, Fiction, Scriptwriting.

  • Year Two
    Specialist core modules (choose one of five) plus a wide range of specialist modules from journalism and new media, writing for young people, traditional “page” poetry, performance poetry, to genre fiction, short stories, nonfiction and more!

  • Year Three
    Creative Enterprise module, dissertation-equivalent modules in poetry, novel writing, nonfiction, and writing for young people. Independent project module, collaborative film module.

Course assessment

Assessment is based on 100% coursework (no exams). Most modules will require you to submit a portfolio of creative writing along with a reflective essay in which you describe what you have learned in class, what you have learned from the set texts and working on your own writing.

Study abroad

Erasmus and exchange opportunities to some of the world’s leading colleges and universities – for instance Queensland University of Technology, Australia, Stockholm University, Sweden, and Bennington College, USA.

Work placements, industry links and internships

Creative Writing has no work experience or placements embedded within the course, but students often find subject-related placements – for instance, with the Bath Literature Festival, or with production companies such as the BBC. The course team will help you on an individual basis as opportunities present themselves.

For instance, in 2012, one student was able to secure a film production assistant’s position working on the Bourne Ultimatum starring Matt Damon on location in Southeast Asia. The course team was able to help him gain credit for this work through the Creative Enterprise and Independent Project modules. In 2014, another student was able to secure a paid placement at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York. His third year of study was tailored so that he could take advantage of that opportunity and graduate with the rest of his class. Yet another student secured a placement at the Old Vic Theatre where she also researched a project for her second-year independent project module.

Competitions/awards

Creative Writing awards almost twenty separate prizes to students each year – for the best short story, best poetry, best group project, best script, along with externally sponsored awards such as the Picador Prize for Fiction – given annually to the most promising work of fiction by an undergraduate – and the Les Arnold Prize for top student in the second year, honouring the memory of poet Les Arnold, who started the writing programme in 1992.

Projects

Students are given numerous opportunities to focus on project work – from the first year core module (Writers Workshop One) to the second year core module and into several project modules in the third year.

Teaching methods

Creative Writing at Bath Spa University is taught through a mixture of workshops, lectures, presentations and tutorials. Workshops offer you the opportunity to read and discuss each other's work in a supportive, informal and informative atmosphere. Lectures are used to introduce techniques and themes in detail. Tutorials provide you with the opportunity to discuss your work with your tutor on a one-to-one basis. Advanced students may also get the chance to work with industry mentors on project work.

We believe that for you to achieve your maximum potential you have to take yourself and your writing seriously, and that the best way to do this is to develop a professional approach. Therefore, wherever appropriate, our modules run to industry standards and adopt industry practices.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Please write to Dr Paul Meyer, Subject Leader of Creative Writing, at p.meyer@bathspa.ac.uk, or the Admissions team listed above.

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grades BCC accepted with a minimum of Grade B in English or related subject. Applicants without A Level English will be considered but will be required to submit a piece of your own creative writing as part of the selection process.
  • BTEC- Extended Diploma grades Distinction. Merit, Merit (DMM) accepted from applicants who demonstrate a strong interest in creative writing. You may be invited to submit a piece of your own creative writing as part of the selection process.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum of 27 points are required from applicants who demonstrate a strong interest in creative writing. You may be invited to submit a piece of your own creative writing as part of the selection process.
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher). You may be invited to submit a piece of your own creative writing as part of the selection process.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Career opportunities

Our graduates are communicators. They can talk, they can listen, and they can persuade. They are confident. They can manage projects through from initial idea to successful completion. They can work alone or as part of a team. That’s why recent graduates have found jobs with the BBC, Random House, and other media giants; they’ve gone into  journalism, teaching, social work, marketing: just about any career that requires a good Humanities degree.

External examiner:
“This is where the modules at Bath Spa are exceptional. The programme and module design is geared to the many facets of the industry. From journalism modules to enterprise projects, and modules involving scriptwriting and film making – all of which address industry standards and encourage external networking – the programme seems fully equipped to point students towards employment. Indeed, I saw evidence that student career choices found expression and sometimes advancement in project and course work. The quality and outcomes of the student work emphatically demonstrates that the programme is working well in this respect.” 

Since 2011, employers such as BMW/Mini, Wiltshire Police, Random House, Hot Press Magazine and Clarks have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including English Language Teacher, Music Journalism Intern, Retail Communications Coordinator Associate and Scriptwriter.

 List of current alumni careers

  • Novelist
  • Children’s Author
  • Playwright
  • Poet
  • Digital Marketing Executive
  • Advertising Copywriter
  • Bookstore Owner
  • University Lecturer
  • Editor (Random House)

What students say...

Ivan Matsumoto (2012):

“Bath Spa recognizes the importance of work placements and will do their best to provide support and guidance. Now I feel even more confident that I have the education and relevant work experience to back up my degree.”

Victoria Knowles (2012):

“The lecturers were really encouraging, and regularly informed me of new writing competitions and other opportunities to get my work published.”

Ieva Lakute (2012):

"The class workshops helped me assess my own writing from a more professional angle. I learnt how to give and accept criticism, both positive and negative. The lecturers were really encouraging, and regularly informed me of new writing competitions and other opportunities to get my work published."

Rosie Mercer (2010):

“Since graduating I’ve set up my own review site. I now review books, television and audiobooks.”

A course that will develop your visual and graphic design ability and skills.

  • Study and combine two areas of creative practice
  • Taught by practicing members of staff
  • Excellent workshops and technical support

Why study Graphic Arts?

Graphic Arts is studied as a subject within the Creative Arts course, so you’ll select another subject to study alongside it. The way subjects interact varies, so the shape of the course depends on the subject you combine with Graphic Arts. For example if you decide to combine Graphic Arts and Creative Writing the subject may function differently than if you study Graphic Arts and Music.

You’ll choose one of the following subjects to study alongside Graphic Arts:

Course structure

You’ll be able to study and practice a wide range of disciplines from typography, illustration, photography, printmaking, web design, book binding and media. As the course progresses you’ll find the emphasis is placed on you; you’ll pursue your own areas of interest, with support from specialist academic and technical staff.

In your first year you’ll develop your practical skills and thinking. You’ll gain new knowledge and hands on experience, through practical typography projects, introductions to industry standard software and lectures on art theory and history.

In years two and three we’ll encourage you to develop your individual areas of practice and contextual research through live project briefs, weekly group seminars, critiques, lectures and individual tutorials.

Modules

  • Year 1
    Attend practical project led workshops, as well as historical and contextual studies lectures, complemented by optional modules in print and photography.

  • Year 2
    Undertake self directed studio practice in your chosen area and work on live design projects.

  • Year 3
    Complete self directed studio practice, work on more live design projects, and work towards your degree show exhibition.

Course assessment

You’ll be assessed by practical portfolio submissions or exhibitions of coursework, supported by research/context folders. At various stages of the course you’ll be required to give presentations, curate exhibitions and work collaboratively.

As part of your historical and contextual studies programme, you’ll be required to demonstrate your understanding and research through short written tasks and group presentations.

Study abroad

You’ll have the opportunity to study in a wide range of locations around the world. Our students have completed Erasmus+ and Exchange programmes in a variety of countries including Norway, Germany, Japan, Australia and the USA

Field trips

You’ll have opportunities to participate in regular field trips across all the Creative Arts course modules. As a department we run at least four London study trips per year. We also organise international study visits to places like Berlin, Paris, New York and Venice (please note that you’ll have to pay for some study visits).

Work placements, industry links and internships

There are opportunities for you to undertake work placements as part of the wider Creative Arts professional practice programme. Past Graphic Arts students have worked with companies such as Oakwood DC.

Competitions/awards

We’ll encourage you to participate in competitions such as the Porthleven Prize and the Gane Trust Travel Grant among many others. Each year you are asked to enter the Penguin Book Cover competition. Our students have been nominated for, and won, awards such as the Threadneedle Prize, the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize and the Royal West of England student drawing prize.

Each year we offer three prizes to our second and third year students:

  • The ‘Beyond the Studio’ Student Prize for Entrepreneurship in Art
  • The Outstanding Art Student Prize
  • The Excellence in the Creative Arts and Contemporary Arts Practice Development Prize

Teaching methods

You’ll be taught by staff who are practising designers and researchers through technical demonstrations, individual tutorials, group critiques, lectures and seminars. Teaching takes place in workshops (year 1) and studio spaces (years 2 and 3).

You’ll benefit from a programme of visiting speakers who will talk about their own practice and their experience working as contemporary designers, curators, artists, makers and publishers within the creative industries.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

For more information please contact Martin Thomas on m.thomas2@bathspa.ac.uk

Entry requirements

If studying A Levels: 260 UCAS points from A Levels, including a grade B in an art/design related subject

If studying a BTEC Extended Diploma: Overall Merit grade (Merit Merit Merit)

Art Foundation Diploma:  Merit

If applying for a combination of Art, Textiles, Ceramics and Visual Design, then we would invite you for an interview and ask you to bring a portfolio of creative work with you to support your application.

Career opportunities

List of current alumni careers

Graduate careers include:

  • self employment as designers;
  • curatorship;
  • gallery administration;
  • teaching;
  • art administration; and
  • community based art work.
  • 90% of students go on to work and/or study in the Art subject area.