Creative Writing and Philosophy and Ethics

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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.”

Truth, knowledge, meaning, reality – ask and answer crucial questions with this course.

  • Global – study philosophy from Western and Eastern perspectives
  • Contemporary – explore current debates, dilemmas and approaches
  • Applied – use philosophical concepts in real time, on real world projects

“I have been challenged, supported, and inspired during my time here ... My way of thinking has been changed by what I've studied, and I can happily say that I have become a confident critical thinker, and a more thoughtful human being.”
– Jessica Tamsin Milton, Philosophy with English Literature student

Why study Philosophy and Ethics?

 This Philosophy and Ethics course explores the assumptions, beliefs and values which shape human behaviour and our responses to it. You’ll explore our relationships with the natural world and our attitudes towards the past and in the present.

The course addresses the key questions which underpin all academic disciplines and concepts, so combines well with other subjects, contributing to your confidence in tackling them.

You must study another subject with Philosophy and Ethics; it’s offered as a Major, Joint or Minor component of a Combined Honours award. You can choose from a wide range of disciplines and build expertise in a related area or from a different perspective. Popular combinations include Psychology, Geography, History and Creative Writing. If you would like to take this with Study of Religions, you should apply for Religions, Philosophy and Ethics.

Course structure

Rather than teaching philosophy primarily as a history of ideas – although we do explore this – we focus on the application of current philosophical thinking in contemporary settings and circumstances. You’ll consider our responses to environmental crisis, for example, or questions of identity, belonging, roles and responsibilities.

We consider Western philosophical and ethical perspectives, and introduce you to the systems of thought of India and China. This mix and inclusiveness makes our Philosophy and Ethics course particularly distinctive.

Modules

  • Year One
    We introduce you to the principles of philosophical and ethical enquiry. We’ll equip you with some basic methods to philosophically analyse and critically examine core concepts in epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. There is an optional module in global religions and philosophy which looks at major traditions, movements and key thinkers.
  • Year Two
    You’ll focus on philosophy in the Indian and Chinese traditions. Optional modules explore ethics within humanist and religious traditions, medical ethics and social justice, and environmental politics and nonhuman rights.
  • Year Three
    You’ll bring together and develop philosophical ideas through the study of morality, identity, or gender. There are opportunities for in-depth study through a dissertation or an employment related project.

Course assessment

Assessment is mainly through coursework such as essays, projects, presentations, or online discussion.

Study abroad

Our students make good use of the opportunities to study abroad through Erasmus and other programmes, usually in the second year, with one of our many partner universities. You’ll be able to find out more about this during your first year, including meeting up with students who have already benefited from the experience.

If you opt to join one of the study abroad programmes, you might find yourself in Denmark, Spain, Australia or North America. We have developing partnerships with universities in China and the Far East.

Field trips

Fieldwork and visits are an integral part of the course. We visit religious communities, mosques, temples, gurdwaras and churches.

Teaching methods

Our focus is on ‘doing philosophy’ and developing your confidence and capacity for philosophical analysis and debate. We’ll support you through lectures and seminar work, as well as individual tutorials and support.

Special projects in years two and three and the dissertation in year three provide opportunities for independent work which builds on your own interests, adds new dimensions to your thinking, or relates to plans for future careers and personal development.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above)

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

Philosophy and Ethics develops many skills valued by employers such as clarity and precision in thinking, the ability to recognise unnoticed assumptions, the expertise to present a strong case, and to see the ethical issues involved in everyday decisions. Graduate careers for which Philosophy is good preparation include: law, civil service, local government, journalism, financial institutions, management, and IT. Some of some of our students have gone on to teach Religious Education, Philosophy and/or Citizenship in secondary or primary schools, where there is a shortage of specialists. Others have gone on to further academic study.

Since 2010, employers such as Global Xchange. Ethicall, Citizens' Advice Bureau and Birmingham University have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Healthcare Assistant, Fundraiser,  Children's Home Activities Coordinator and Assistant to the Communications Director.

What students say...

Lindsay Horler, Philosophy & Ethics with Study of Religions, Year 3:

“I chose to study this particular course because I was interested in studying Eastern as well as Western philosophy, and Bath Spa is probably the only University in the UK which offers such an in-depth enquiry into Eastern philosophical thought. While studying Philosophy & Ethics with Study of Religions at Bath Spa I have not only enhanced my intellectual skills, but I have also developed as a person. By thinking critically about philosophical ideas from Anglo-American, European and global perspectives, I have been able to think critically about my own philosophical beliefs.

What I enjoy most about Bath Spa University is that I can speak to my course tutors whenever I have questions to do with my course, or anything else for that matter.”