facebook BA (Hons) Creative Writing and History – Bath Spa University

Creative Writing and History

BA (Hons)

Undergraduate degree - combined honours

Key facts

Award
BA (Hons) Creative Writing and History
School/s
School of Creative Industries, School of Humanities
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
Three years full time, or four years full time with professional placement year.
UCAS codes
Institution Code: B20
Course Code: WV91 or SE61
Campus Code: A,BSU

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. Typical offers include A-level grades CCC with a minimum of grade C in English and a grade C in History or related subjects preferred. Applicants without A-level English may still be considered.

View "typical offers" for more information.

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.

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'll prepare for the writing/creative industry career of your choice.

Find out more about our Creative Writing department.

“Bath Spa gave me the opportunity to stretch myself academically and creatively. It was so encouraging to have my creative writing taken seriously by highly respected tutors.”

Recent Creative Writing graduate

What you'll learn

Overview

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.

Course structure

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.

How will I be assessed?

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.

How will I be taught?

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.

Course modules

This course offers or includes the following modules. The modules you take will depend on your pathway or course combination (if applicable) as well as any optional or open modules chosen. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more information.

Year one (Level 4) modules

  • The Writer’s Workshop 1
  • Explorations in Prose Fiction
  • Songwriting
  • The Writer’s Workshop 2
  • Reading to Write Poetry
  • Introduction to Scriptwriting

Year two (Level 5) modules

  • Short Stories
  • Form and Listening in Poetry
  • Genre Fiction
  • Lifewriting
  • Writing for Performance 1
  • Sudden Prose
  • Scripting for Screen
  • Professional Portfolio
  • Writing for Performance 2
  • Performance Poetry and Spoken Word
  • Writing For Young
  • Reading as Writers
  • Creative Writing and Digital Media
  • The Independent Magazine
  • Professional Placement Year

Year three (Level 6) modules

  • Extended Prose Fiction 1
  • Poetry as Synthesis 1
  • Advanced Script Project 1
  • Advanced Nonfiction Project 1
  • Planning and Writing a Novel For Young People 1
  • Creative Enterprise Project 1
  • Teaching Writing
  • Strategy Camp
  • Extended Prose Fiction 2
  • Poetry as Synthesis
  • Advanced Script Project 2
  • Advanced Nonfiction Project 2
  • Planning and Writing a Novel For Young People 2
  • Creative Enterprise Project 2
  • Interactive Storytelling
  • Teaching Practice
  • Professional Engagement
  • Publishing Industry Project
  • Children’s Publishing
  • Writing and Directing for Performance 1
  • Writing and Directing for Performance 2

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

The Creative Writing course is taught at our stunning Newton Park campus.

You'll have access to a range of excellent facilities, including:

Resources

As a Creative Writing student, you'll be able to benefit from:

  • Cameras, audio recording equipment available for students to borrow absolutely free.
  • Full production and post-production facilities, soundstage, screening rooms.
  • Technical staff to help students use hardware and software according to industry standards.

Opportunities

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.

Careers

Current graduate careers include:

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

Creative Writing prizes

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.

Professional placement year

Overview

This optional placement year provides you with the opportunity to identify, apply for, and secure professional experience, normally comprising one to three placements over a minimum of nine months. Successful completion of this module will demonstrate your ability to secure and sustain graduate-level employment.

By completing the module, you'll be entitled to the addition of 'with Professional Placement Year' to your degree title.

Preparation

Before your Professional Placement Year, you'll work to secure your placement, constructing a development plan with your module leader and your placement coordinator from our Careers and Employability team.

How will I be assessed?

On your return to University for your final year, you'll submit your Placement Portfolio, detailing your development on your placement.

Fees

UK and EU students full time

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £9,250
Year 2 Published Jan 2021
Year 3 Published Jan 2022

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2021
Year 2 Published Jan 2022
Year 3 Published Jan 2023

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

International students full time

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £14,500
Year 2 Published Jan 2021
Year 3 Published Jan 2022

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2021
Year 2 Published Jan 2022
Year 3 Published Jan 2023

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

All students full time - with professional placement year

During the placement year, the fee is reduced to 20% of the full time fee. Otherwise, fees are the same as for full time study. This applies to UK, EU and International students.

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

Most of our applicants will have an A or a B in English Language and/or English Literature at A Level. That said, we do judge each application on its own merit and many of our most successful graduates have not fit neatly into standard criteria. Please write directly to the course leader or the admissions team to discuss your individual circumstances.

We also welcome applications from students who demonstrate real commitment to their writing. This commitment may be expressed in publications, awards, and/or engagement with the Apprentice of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

Typical offers

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

  • A Level - grades CCC accepted with a minimum of grade C 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 Merit, Merit, Merit (MMM) 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 score of 26 points required with grade 5 or above in English at Higher Level 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.

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 pages.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Email: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk
Course leader: Gavin James Bower
Email: g.bower@bathspa.ac.uk

Three year course
With placement year

Challenge yourself. Push boundaries. Our hands-on History degree looks to the past to answer the burning questions of today.

  • Study History in a World Heritage City that’s surrounded by fascinating sites – both ancient and modern.
  • Develop compelling communication skills and the ability to diversify across a number of cultural and social sectors.
  • Work with a small, dedicated team of tutors who are experts in a rich variety of historical topics.

History at Bath Spa is anything but typical. First, there’s our amazing location you’ll be based at our idyllic Newton Park campus, which boasts grand Georgian buildings and a fortified manor house dating back to the fourteenth century. With our modern, purpose-built study spaces, and Bristol just on the doorstep, you’re perfectly situated to enjoy the best of old and new. Plus, there’s a wealth of other sites to discover nearby, including Stonehenge and Avebury.

The employability of our graduates (95.6%*) also sets us apart. We want you to become a confident communicator, able to sift through the raw materials of history and re-present your findings to any audience – on any platform. Yes, you’ll write essays. But we also want you to be able to podcast, tweet, blog, create scripts for film and radio, and adapt your style to suit a range of consumers, including young audiences.

To a large extent, you’ll curate your own syllabus from a broad range of modules and topics, including democracy and dictatorship, the British Empire, British and American pop culture, riots, revolutions, and slavery. In your second and third years, you’ll have the freedom to specialise and focus on what inspires you. 

You’ll benefit from close contact with experts in diverse historical perspectives throughout the course. We’re a small team of committed, eminently approachable, inspiring tutors, engaged in fascinating research in topics that range from migration to the Secret Service.

*95.6% of our History graduates were in work or further study six months after graduating (DLHE 16/17).

“I loved the fact that the course was really challenging, and gave me the opportunity to learn about a wide and varied period of history. The tutors were always friendly, encouraging and approachable. It was a life changing experience, and the best thing I have ever done.”

Nicola Tallis, History graduate

What you'll learn

Overview

We combine the academic study of history with skill-based modules to create our ‘hands-on’ History degree. You could find yourself learning to write a funding application for one of your modules, and sifting through primary sources at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre or Bath City Archives on another.

You’ll gain broad historical skills and expertise – how to read historical texts; how to use a wide range of historical sources; how to discuss and debate historical subjects. You’ll also learn to analyse, process information, make decisions, manage projects, network, collaborate, and work with experts inside and outside of the University.

You’ll graduate with a wide range of transferable personal and intellectual skills, relevant both to further academic study and to your career ambitions.

Course structure

Year one
Develop a foundation of historical skills and expertise. At the heart of your first year are two core modules – the rest is up to you. For example, you might choose to study topics such as world heritage, archaeology, society, politics, war, gender, and popular culture in the modern world.

Year two
Start to specialise. You’ll extend your knowledge and build your confidence as you deal with new subjects and approaches. Underpinning this is the philosophy of History – how ideas about the past have changed over time, and how the study of history has influenced, and been influenced by, wider changes in society.

Year three
Focus on what inspires you. Your dissertation or final project is an important element of your third year. You’ll identify and develop your own historical question, conduct research, and prepare an extended piece of writing. New topics are offered through optional modules, such as political, social and cultural history, public history, and the impact of the past on the modern world.

How will I be assessed?

We’ll assess your progress in a variety of ways including essays, research papers, group presentations, projects, portfolios, and reports. There are timed assessments and some modules will have end-of-year examinations.

Our assessment methods allow you to develop and demonstrate different skills. Many of these will help you in the workplace, for example: planning ahead, working to deadlines, and managing priorities.

How will I be taught?

You’ll get to grips with your subject through lectures, seminars, workshops, and individual tutorials.

You can take advantage of the learning support provided across the University, whether to develop your writing skills or to learn how to use new techniques and technologies.

Course modules

This course offers or includes the following modules. The modules you take will depend on your pathway or course combination (if applicable) as well as any optional or open modules chosen. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more information.

Year one (Level 4) modules

  • Europe and the World I
  • Europe and the World II
  • Atlantic Histories
  • Politics, Democracy and Dictatorship in the Modern World
  • Disunited Kingdoms: society, politics and culture in Britain and Ireland
  • Gender, identity and power: themes and approaches
  • War and Popular Culture in the Modern World
  • Heritage and Public History
  • Material Evidence: History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • Fragments of the World: an introduction to World Heritage
  • The World in Ten Objects

Year two (Level 5) modules

  • Making History 1: Sources: the building blocks of History
  • Making History 2: Discourses and approaches
  • The British Empire: from Opium Wars to Decolonisation
  • Censorship, morality and freedom in British and American Popular Culture in the 20th Century
  • Culture, society and politics in 18th and 19th century Britain and Ireland
  • The Great War: Conflict and Society
  • An ungovernable people? Rights and riot in a historical perspective
  • Revolutionary and Napoleonic Europe
  • Ships, slaves and sugar: Britain and France in the Atlantic Trade
  • Immigration and Race in 20th Century Europe
  • Heritage Matters? People, place and politics
  • Presenting the Past: audience, story, media
  • Professional Placement Year

Year three (Level 6) modules

  • Researching the Past: Planning and preparation
  • Dissertation
  • Extended Research Project
  • Animating the Past: Public History in Practice
  • Epoch of Chaos: A global history of the 1970s
  • Islam: Faith, politics and history
  • Conflict and community: Public History, Cultural Heritage and Global Politics
  • Muslim Migration and Islam in Europe in a Historical Perspective
  • More than a Game: Sport and the Modern World
  • Society, Culture and Consumption 1700-1900
  • Secret Service: Intelligence and Espionage
  • History Works: Placement Module
  • Memory, slavery and social cohesion in Britain and France

Opportunities

Study abroad

You’ll be able to make good use of opportunities to study abroad through our Erasmus+ and other international programmes within our network of partner universities, usually taken in your second year.

Field trips

Depending on your module choices, you’ll visit Stonehenge, Avebury, Bristol Harbour, M-Shed, major national museums and galleries such as Oxford’s Ashmolean or the V&A, and hidden gems such as the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes or Dyrham Park, just outside Bath.

Linked to our teaching, trips change from year to year. But our location in the heart of the Bath and Bristol cultural area means you you can learn outside the seminar room. We have The Holburne MuseumRoman Baths and Brunel’s SS Great Britain right on our doorstep.

Work placements, industry links and internships

Placement modules prepare you for the world of work. We have an extensive network of partners across local, regional and national organisations, and can help you make the most of the opportunity to work with them.

You'll be able to work on projects with our partners in the city and region. This might involve research in a historic house, oral history projects, or devising public events and exhibitions. Through these projects, you’ll work collaboratively, manage your time, develop project management skills, and prepare for a future career.

Careers

If you’ve ever wondered what you can do with a History degree, the answer may surprise you. Yes, you could become a historian or a teacher, but we prepare you for so much more.

The transferable skills you’ll gain on this course will prepare you for a career that demands confident communication at all levels. This could include curation for museums and heritage organisations, or work in the public and social services, the charitable sector, or the NHS. You’ll be well-equipped for project management, education, and events management. You may also choose to continue your studies at postgraduate level.

Our graduates have gone into such areas as financial services, the police force, and management training schemes with major retailers, as well as worked for the National Trust, Bristol Old Vic and the Southbank Centre.

Professional placement year

Overview

This optional placement year provides you with the opportunity to identify, apply for, and secure professional experience, normally comprising one to three placements over a minimum of nine months. Successful completion of this module will demonstrate your ability to secure and sustain graduate-level employment.

By completing the module, you'll be entitled to the addition of 'with Professional Placement Year' to your degree title.

Preparation

Before your Professional Placement Year, you'll work to secure your placement, constructing a development plan with your module leader and your placement coordinator from our Careers and Employability team.

How will I be assessed?

On your return to University for your final year, you'll submit your Placement Portfolio, detailing your development on your placement.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

Our campus is a historic resource in its own right. You’ll be based mainly at Newton Park’s outstanding Commons building. Our campus buildings – which include a period manor house, gatehouse, keep, and state-of-the-art learning and performance facilities – are set in an eighteenth-century landscape complete with lake and pavilions.

With excellent links to nearby Bristol, you benefit from all the advantages of a buzzing, modern city, while being based in a beautiful, rural location just outside Bath city centre.  

You'll have access to excellent facilties including:

Resources

In addition to the Library and online access to secondary and primary resources, we draw on the University’s own archive, other archives and museum collections, and the campus itself in our teaching.

Fees

UK and EU students full time

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £9,250
Year 2 Published Jan 2021
Year 3 Published Jan 2022

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2021
Year 2 Published Jan 2022
Year 3 Published Jan 2023

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

International students full time

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £14,500
Year 2 Published Jan 2021
Year 3 Published Jan 2022

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2021
Year 2 Published Jan 2022
Year 3 Published Jan 2023

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

All students full time - with professional placement year

During the placement year, the fee is reduced to 20% of the full time fee. Otherwise, fees are the same as for full time study. This applies to UK, EU and International students.

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

You’ll have a passion for the subject, a curiosity for the sources of things, and how they inform our present, a commitment to finding out more, and a willingness to try new things. You may already have some great ideas about what you like to do and where you’d like to focus. Or you might want to look at historical topics in new ways, and explore aspects of the past you haven’t encountered before.

Typical offers

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

  • A Level - grades CCC accepted with Grade C in History or related subject preferred
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Merit, Merit, Merit (MMM) preferred in a related subject
  • International Baccalaureate - a minimum score of 26 points required with grade 5 or above in History at Higher Level
  • 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).

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.

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 pages.

Get ahead

We encounter the past every day, in news stories and current events; in political speeches and parliamentary debates; in the places around us. You can get ahead simply by listening, looking, and thinking about all of these. If you’d like to do some reading as well, here are some suggestions:

  • Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel, 1997
  • Peter Frankopan, The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, 2015
  • Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, 2014

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Email: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk
Course leader: Dr Alison Hems
Email: a.hems@bathspa.ac.uk

Three year course
With placement year

Website feedback to web@bathspa.ac.uk