MA Nature and Travel Writing – Bath Spa University

Key facts

Award
MA Nature and Travel Writing
School/s
Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Campus or location
Low residency
Course length
One year full time. Two years part time.

Entry requirements

We’re looking for individuals with a real passion for either the natural world and/or places and people, plus a love of travel and/or nature writing.

Above all, you should have an urge to write and be published.

Ideally, you'll have a first degree, but this is not compulsory, depending on your other experience.

For any writer inspired by places, people and wildlife, who wants to be published.

  • Based on actual experiences in the field, including encounters with places, people and wildlife.
  • Provides context of the history, background and genres of nature and travel writing over time.
  • Focuses on getting your writing published across a wide range of media and outlets.

Do you enjoy writing about people, places and wildlife? Are you interested in environmental issues in Britain and around the world? Would you like to be published, and make a living as a travel or nature writer?

This travel writing and nature writing Master's focuses on learning to write from your own experience in the field. You’ll develop your writing skills and techniques, learn from established writers, and examine the history, context and genres of nature and travel writing.

By meeting practitioners – writers, editors, agents and publishers – you’ll gain a unique insight into the professional skills you require to get your writing published.

This low residency course allows you to be based wherever you wish, so you can pursue your academic work while maintaining your current lifestyle. It can be taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two. 

What you'll learn

Overview

We aim to give you an understanding of issues and approaches to the representations of peoples, other species, habitats, places, cultures and environments in various kinds of writing. You’ll graduate with the ability to apply what you’ve learned to your own professional practice.

You’ll study:

  • A mix of thematic topics represented by a variety of writers
  • A balance between historical and contemporary writing
  • Issues raised by eco-tourism, conservation and environmentalism
  • Issues related to the experience and representation of people, wildlife and places in specific locations in the UK and elsewhere
  • The genres and context of contemporary and historical nature and travel writing
  • The history of our connections with the environment and the natural world.

Course structure

Writing in the Field (30 credits)
A broad introduction to the skills and techniques required to write from personal experience, whether about people, landscapes, the natural world, or a combination of all three. By using fieldcraft techniques, based on looking, listening, feeling and thinking, we explore ways of writing about the world around us.

Context, History and Genres in Creative Non-Fiction (30 credits)
An overview of the way the various genres of creative non-fiction writing (for example, Travel Writing, the New Nature Writing, plus other relevant genres such as Popular Science and Environmental Writing) have developed over time, from the past to the present, and how this both reflects and shapes social, cultural, historical and environmental issues in Britain and around the world.

Advanced Travel and Nature Writing (30 credits)
Continuing from what we covered in Writing in the Field, you’ll develop new ways of writing about the world, pushing the boundaries of your writing style and content in order to learn what works best for you as a writer.

Professional Skills in Travel and Nature Writing (30 credits)
Featuring advice from senior practitioners, editors and publishers, this is a practical guide to getting your work published across a range of different media and outlets, including newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, books and on TV and radio. You’ll also learn to plan a trip requiring commissions, and do a pitch and interview of an idea for publication.

A Portfolio of Travel and Nature Writing (60 credits)
A 20,000 word portfolio of your best work, in a range of styles and formats, together with a reflective diary on your progress through the year.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the course handbook or definitive programme document for full details on which modules are core, required or optional.

  • Writing in the Field
  • Context, History and Genres in Creative Non-Fiction
  • Advanced Travel and Nature Writing
  • Professional Skills in Travel and Nature Writing
  • Portfolio and Reflective Journal.

How will I be assessed?

You’ll be assessed through a combination of formative and summative assessments. This will include creative writing pieces, critical and analytical essays, presentations and a broad portfolio of your writing.

How will I be taught?

A large part of your learning is on three residential courses. You’ll undergo an intensive few days of creative writing, discussion, meetings with practitioners and commissioners, and first-hand experience in the field. Please note that you’ll have to pay for travel, food and accommodation on the residential courses.

You’ll also learn online. You’ll have internet-based seminars and group discussions on Google Hangouts. You’ll also post your work on our Virtual Learning Environment, where your peers and tutors can critique it in detail.

You’ll benefit from one-to-one sessions with your tutors.

Opportunities

Fieldwork

The three residential weeks include fieldwork opportunities followed by related writing exercises. In addition, we encourage you to develop a programme of your own, and to engage in at least one major trip during the course of the year, which is linked to two assignments.

Work placements, industry links and internships

You’ll have the opportunity to make connections with key practitioners and commissioners in your field, though no formal internships are available.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

The course is low residency, so apart from the three residential weeks, you'll be taught online.

The course is taught:

  • Online using Google Hangouts and our Virtual Learning Environment, Minerva
  • Through 5-7 day residential courses in the UK (these will include field trips).

Fees

Please note: Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are not generally eligible for the UK (Home) fee status. Please refer to the international student rate. Irish citizens and those granted Settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme are eligible for UK (Home) fee status. There are also other circumstances where this may apply: See UKCISA for more information.

UK students full time

Course fees
2021/22 entry £7,790
2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

UK students part time

Fees shown below are for part time study over two years, although some courses may be available over longer periods.

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £3,895
Year 2 Published Jan 2022

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023

2023/24 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2023
Year 2 Published Jan 2024

International students full time

Course fees
2021/22 entry £15,070
2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We’re looking for individuals with:

  • A real passion for either the natural world and/or places and people
  • A love of travel and/or nature writing
  • Above all, an urge to write and be published.

Ideally you should have a first degree (for example, BA/BSc), but this is not compulsory, depending on your other experience.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the 'apply now' button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

Interview and portfolio guidance

We usually hold interviews at Corsham Court campus. Please submit two to four pieces of your writing before the interview, which we can then discuss face-to-face.

Want to apply for this year? 

Many of our postgraduate courses have a limited number of student spaces. To avoid the disappointment of the course being full, we recommend that you apply now.

Late applications (generally those made after 31 July) will only be considered if places remain on the course.

Need more information or still have questions? Contact us to discuss your situation.

Course leader: Stephen Moss
Email: s.moss@bathspa.ac.uk

Website feedback to web@bathspa.ac.uk