Creative Writing and Publishing

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How to Apply

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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.”

Study Publishing as a joint subject and learn to shape stories, information and ideas for print and digital.

  • Only course to offer cutting-edge Adobe digital publishing platform.
  • Creative studio-based course about books, magazines, multimedia websites and apps.
  • Graduates employed by BBC, Taylor & Francis and Penguin Random House.

"Adding Publishing to my degree has given me a huge range of opportunities and an advantage over others when applying for jobs. I have really enjoyed every moment of the course."
Frances Bircher, BA (Hons) History and Publishing 2012-2015

Why study Publishing?

Publishing is one of the UK’s largest creative industries and this is an international industry which shapes and presents content across a wide range of subjects. Publishers find an audience for a variety of publication types from books and magazines to innovative apps and websites. We’ll equip you with a wide range of the latest digital making skills, alongside learning core publishing skills, such as copywriting and editing, design and layout, and marketing. Through collaborative project development, you'll gain essential creative workplace skills in working with others, carving out your own role, and achieving high-quality results. You’ll graduate with industry experience and a stunning digital portfolio of your work.

Publishing can only be taken as part of a Combined Award scheme, meaning you’ll study Publishing alongside another subject. By adding a publishing component to your degree you’ll emerge highly employable, with a wide range of skills that give you an edge over other graduates.

Course structure

You’ll graduate with essential publishing skills, from writing persuasive, concise copy and text editing, to communicating brand identity and audience research. We’ll teach you how to layout content and manipulate images using industry-standard software, with opportunities to develop your skills in image use, video; photography; app creation; and HTML.

"The Publishing course was the ideal complement to my Creative Writing degree. Over three fantastic years I was taught key industry skills and the business side of the industry. I left with a fantastic portfolio that is wowing employers!"
Tom Williams, BA (Hons) Creative Writing and Publishing 2012-2015

Additional modules offer the chance to specialise and deepen your knowledge and skill base, and to work on larger personal projects linked to your career aims.

Modules

  • Year 1
    We’ll introduce you to core publishing principles, with a focus on copywriting and editing. You’ll become familiar with layout, production and publishing software. There will be weekly deadlines, so you’ll get used to turning around work quickly and in a well-presented form. Alongside this you’ll start to build an in-depth knowledge of the publishing industry.
  • Year 2
    You’ll gain greater insight into particular areas of publishing, such as marketing, editorial and design. Optional modules allow you to delve deeper into areas such as illustrated books, fiction editing, and the use of publishing skills for social enterprise and charity work.
  • Year 3
    Tutors will guide you to focus your skills and knowledge around your personal creative and career interests. You’ll be encouraged to develop your individual approach as a creator, curator or project manager; your final portfolio will reflect this, showcasing your work for prospective employers. Optional modules cover magazines, book commissioning, digital literary studies, cookery publishing, and children’s books.

Course assessment

You’ll be assessed by coursework, including portfolios, essays, feature articles, reflective commentaries and reports. In some modules you’ll share your work through short, informal presentations.

Study abroad

Students can choose to study abroad; this is a great opportunity to develop knowledge of other book markets as publishing is an international industry.

Field trips

From visiting bookbinders and letterpress companies to climbing Britain’s tallest spire and visiting bookshops for talks and research, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in field trips across the Publishing modules.

Work placements, industry links and internships

Students have the opportunity to work on live projects and collaborations. We have worked with international and local clients such as TEDxBristol, X Media Lab, the National Trust, Forest of Imagination arts events, and Bath Film Festival.

With our support, many students carry out work experience and freelance work. The Publishing lecturers have had a great amount of experience in the industry, putting us in an excellent position to help students and graduates with networking opportunities.

We support applications for the Parragon Books paid internships and work with industry contacts to develop internship and work experience opportunities for students.

Competitions/awards

Each year we award six prizes to students in their final year. These are the Digital Publishing Prize; Public Ambassador Prize; Food Writing Prize; Illustrated Publishing Prize; and Book Innovation Prize.

Projects

  • Social Media Experiment: students have worked on this tutor-directed project, creating live social media coverage of cultural and tech events.
  • Milk Magazine: Publishing students manage this digital and print student magazine.
  • Publishing Workshops for Children and Young People: students have carried out work experience with Publishing tutors who run a wide range of these events in Bath.

Teaching methods

You’ll be taught through creative workshops, skills labs, seminars and lectures. You will learn to be adept at project management and product development following a research and development process. We work on-screen and beyond: creating sketchbooks; making physical prototypes; getting out and meeting people; finding opportunities.

Throughout the course, you’ll work to briefs set by your tutors or industry collaborators, as well as working on your own projects. We expect you to work with flair and enthusiasm, taking your ideas and developing them into industry standard work.

Teaching quality excellence

All lecturers are experienced publishers across a range of fields and continue to practice, enabling continuous updating of courses and access to industry networks.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Please contact Course Leader, Katharine Reeve to find out more: k.reeve@bathspa.ac.uk

Entry requirements

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

  • A Level
  • BTEC.
  • International Baccalaureate
  • 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). Any selection procedure/further requirements will also apply. Access courses accepted in addition to evidence of

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.

Entry is by audition only.

Career opportunities

What graduates say:

"From developing social media strategies to creating interactive websites, digital publishing is an exciting, innovative course that teaches the essential skills needed to enter the ever-developing world of modern publishing."

Holly Smithson (2015) Production Editor, Taylor & Francis

"It taught me industry relevant skills and gave me the opportunity to tailor my learning to suit my theatrical interests."

Laura Haynes (2014) Digital Marketing, Sadler’s Wells

"The Publishing course opened many doors for me. I landed a magazine Web Editor job straight out of university."

Dulcie Carey (2013) Events Organiser, Media Clash Publishing

"It was great to go straight into a Editorial Assistant internship. The digital publishing module was invaluable, enabling me to work in digital environments."

Kara Rennie (2012) Digital Marketing Coordinator, The Booksellers Association

"In my interview I was able to speak about social media and blogs with a degree of knowledge due to this course."

Rebecca Mears, 2010 Graduate, Co-Head of Community and Local, Mumsnet

"I wouldn’t be where I am today without the broad skills and wealth of knowledge I gained and the excellent staff who run it."

Alex Goddard, 2009 Graduate, Senior Production Controller, Penguin Random House

List of current alumni careers

Publishing graduates have gained a range of professions including Production Assistant; Digital Editor; Digital Marketing Coordinator; Events Organiser; and Project Manager. Graduates have been employed by publishing companies including Future, Parragon Books, Taylor & Francis, BBC, and Penguin Random House.

What students say...

"The publishing course gave me all the real-life experience and forward-thinking skills I needed for the workplace. Support from staff and fellow students allowed me to explore my creativity and fully develop my ideas."

Joele Forrester (2015) Editorial Assistant, Food & Drink Ltd.

"Innovative lecturers and knowledgeable technical staff will help you build 'real world' experience and equip you with unique skills. Hard work, but highly rewarding."

Joshua Ryall (2015) Web and Social Media Coordinator, Bath Spa University

"The Publishing course gave me versatility – the chance to create print and digital magazines, websites, and apps."

Katie Curran (2014) Junior Project Manager, Upfront Promotions Agency

"Publishing and English Literature gave me confidence in my editorial, technical and digital skills and to take all the opportunities that were given to me."

Bridie Roman (2013) Editorial Assistant, Titan Books

"The course allows you to gain experience to land that dream job. Very supportive tutors who helped me discover and develop my strengths; three years well spent!"

Nina Camacho (2012) Digital Editor, Mollie Makes, Immediate Publishing