Creative Writing & Media BA (Hons)
Our Creative Writing and Media BA allows you to develop your own creative potential with words while also getting to grips with analysing media. You’ll enhance your practical, transferable skills through improving your writing, communication and research capabilities.
95% of Graduates from Creative Writing and Media state our staff have made the subject interesting. National Student Survey, 2019
- UCAS Code – WP83
- Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
- Start date – September 2020, September 2021
- School – Humanities, Religion & Philosophy
Minimum Entry Requirements
96 UCAS Tariff points
3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language
UK and EU 2020-21 £9,250 per year
International 2020-21 £12,750 per year
The York St John Experience
Creative Writing emphasises the importance of engaging with the wider world of literature in order to develop your own writing. You’ll have the opportunity to study brilliant writing from the past, as well as learning from contemporary creative practitioners. Our course is led by a team of exciting, award-winning writers, and we also have a lively programme of visiting writers and guest speakers. As a student here, you’ll be part of the York Centre for Writing, a hub for innovative new creative work with strong links to the wider literary community and to the publishing industry. Through events such as the York Literature Festival, our students benefit from studying and learning directly from internationally-acclaimed writers. Recent Festival and University guest writers have included Margaret Atwood; award-winning poets Simon Armitage and Daljit Nagra; Booker-nominated York novelist Fiona Mozley; innovative graphic novelist and illustrator Graham Rawle; and Bradford noir-writer A.A. Dhand. We also have regular visits from industry professionals and innovators, including agents, publishers and literary activists.
The Media course recieved a 100% satisfaction rate in the 2018 National Student Survey. The course combines critical and theoretical aspects with practical design and marketing elements as you progress. Studying Media at York St John University involves considering the way Media has shaped our culture and includes elements of Philosophy, Sociology and Politics. This broad approach allows you to decide on what really interests and choose your own path as to what you want to develop as your expertise. This includes being taught by professional designers as well as lecturers who will guide you in your studies. Of course we include opportunities to visit cultural hubs such as galleries, cinemas and other media centres and also you can also get involved with an international field trip.
We also have our own publication in the form of Neutral magazine, which is a showcase for our students' talents in terms of writing, design and marketing. You can find our magazine at: http://2018.neutralmagazine.com/
Level 1 provides a foundation and introduces core creative and critical skills.
Creative Writing modules include:
Introduction to Creative Writing (20 credits)
This module is designed to introduce you to good writing practices and to familiarise you with sharing your work in progress in a workshop environment – which will be a major part of your degree programme. You will be introduced to a variety of strategies and techniques for starting to write.
Forms of Narrative (20 credits)
Good writers are good readers first and foremost. This module aims to introduce you to theories, debates, and practices in narrative, in order to enhance your understanding of narrative as it functions within literature and culture generally. You’ll explore films, novels, poetry, plays, graphic novels, and other experimental forms of narrative. There is a choice of creative or critical assessments.
Writing to Order (20 credits)
This module is intended to introduce you to a range of professional contexts and practices for creative writing. Previous guest speakers have included successful novelists, poets, scriptwriters and researchers, who have shared their professional experiences with students. The module gives you the opportunity to experiment with a range of written forms, as well as sharing your work in progress and learning more about how professional writers work.
Creative Research for Creative Writing (20 credits)This module introduces you to important approaches for researching and inspiring your creative work. You’ll explore different research methods, from using archives to working with real-life experiences and collaborating with experts and artists in different media.
Media modules include:
Writing the Media
This module encourages you to explore and critically engage with a range of contemporary media debates and communications. The module is both exploratory and practical, using a range of current sources, structured exercises, hand-outs and discussion. Drawing upon this material you will explore media issues in relation to persuasion, tone of voice and dialogue. In doing so, you will analyse the ways in which media texts and images operate and start to question what they can learn from them. Through the investigation of these topics you will consider their own cultural practices and how they construct a sense of identity and give rise to certain meanings.
The module aims to introduce the understanding that differing critical perspectives are possible in the consideration and analysis of any given media text or texts. You will explore the subject of ideology through the viewing practices and belief structures of media audiences. Through the study of media communication models and their history, and through engagement with the extensive body of media audience literature (primarily but certainly not exclusively relating to television audiences), you will explore the nature of contemporary mass communication.
This module introduces you to experiences in higher education. It uses a variety of methods to engage you and to develop their your in research, referencing, critical thinking, academic writing, presentation skills and group work. Relevant examples of contemporary topics, themes and images will also be used to illustrate the importance of analysing the media. Overall this module provides a range of skills that will be essential to producing successful work as an undergraduate. A key element will be to encourage the idea that studying is fun as well as hard work.
Media, Culture and Society
This module aims to explore theories and concepts associated with analytical readings of the media. You will examine a variety of ‘texts’ to exemplify essential theoretical perspectives and will introduce key issues and debates relating to Media in social and cultural contexts. In addition, you will be introduced to key methodologies which will be of use throughout their degree and which can be adapted for a wide range of critical enquiry. The module will provide opportunities for you to assess and evaluate key modes of critical and analytical investigation.
The Medium is the Message – Media Evolution and History
The module will introduce you to the area of study known as ‘media ecology’ which encourages an understanding of a medium as anything in which meaning or communication of any sort talks place. Key thinkers in this field are most importantly Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, and Walter Ong amongst a number of others. The module will provide an introduction to the deep history of media and allied technologies (writing, printing, painting) and will examine how media, in the broadest of senses, determine the possibilities of communication, creative activity and understanding.
Level 2 allows you to focus on specific creative forms (e.g. fiction, poetry, script), to develop a critical understanding of form and genre, and helps you to develop key employability skills through project work and professional skills modules.
Creative Writing modules include:
Working with words: Publishing and Performance (20 credits)
The aim of this work-related module is to develop your understanding of the relationship between creative writing practices and employability in the creative industries, by offering you the opportunity to explore and engage with methods and means of literary publishing, production, and performance.
Writing Fiction (20 credits)
An opportunity to read and produce a range of fictional forms, from flash-fictions to novellas, short stories to novels. You will develop an understanding of characterisation; voice; plotting; narration; dialogue and point of view. By the end of the course, you’ll have written your own fiction portfolio.
Writing Reality: Creative Non-Fiction (20 credits)
You will have the opportunity to explore examples of non-fiction such as journalism, creative non-fiction, fictocriticism, manifestos, political tracts, graffiti, non-fiction graphic novels, blogs, online journals, live-tweeting and new media, travel writing, documentary and life writing. By viewing, reading and watching a range of non-fictional texts, you will develop your own original non-fictional texts.
Writing Poetry (20 credits)
From the sonnet to the prose poem, learn about the formal qualities of poetry, how to produce dazzling imagery and perfect rhythm; manipulate voice and pace. You will study a range of contemporary poets, supplemented by visits and readings from some of them. You will produce your own portfolio of pieces by the end of the course.
Scriptwriting (20 credits)
This module addresses the essential elements of scriptwriting – writing convincing dialogue, creating interesting characters, and constructing coherent stories – within a creative and supportive atmosphere. You will develop your expressive and technical skills in writing scripts for one or more of the following disciplines: radio, television, stage and film, culminating in the creation of your own original script.
Adaptations (20 credits)
We look at the different ways books and films tell stories, and what happens to literature and literary characters when they get ‘translated’ onto the screen. In addition to examining specific examples of film adaptation, students can choose to experiment creatively on a project of their own.
Science Fiction for Survival (20 credits)
Drawing on a range of theoretical and critical concepts around utopianism, the module will consider landmarks in the history of Science Fiction in order to develop students’ understanding of key concerns relevant to the genre. The title ‘Science Fiction for Survival’ aims to highlight the way in which science fiction, through its attention to both technology and ideology, encourages readers/viewers to consider the way in which humanity’s post-industrial choices have impacted directly on the well-being of the planet and its diverse human and non-human inhabitants.
Media Modules include:
This module will introduce students to the theory and practice of convergence technology and with associated areas of transmedia activity and network theory. You will be encouraged to engage with the continuing development and evolution of communication technologies and the ways in which these can shape our everyday lives. The module will invite you to consider these developments in communications technology in relation to social, political and cultural factors and how these may affect the production and consumption of meaning and content.
Issues of Taste
This module aims to engage students in debates about the production, reception and contexts of media and cultural products which have produced controversy. It aims to analyse the debates about taste and the reception of text in a range of traditional, new and emergent media and to conduct this analysis using terms from aesthetics, from studies in contemporary media, and from the writings and records of those involved in critical debate and rereading. It will include concepts such as: propaganda, artistic licence, canonical status, acceptability, pornography, ‘harm’, censorship, etc.
The purpose of this module is to explore the significance of popular genres within the fields of cultural production and to appreciate the histories and evolutions of popular genres as indicators of cultural change. The module also seeks to understand the possibilities for social, political and cultural exploration or critique offered through the study of popular genres and to encourage an understanding of popular genres within the context of media production and innovation.
This module aims to acquaint you with critical debates in visual culture and allow you the opportunity to try out theoretical notions in a creative manner. They will be able to integrate material developed in previous and current modules which will provide a potential focus for the later stages of the programme. You will be able to understand the essential relationships between word and image from illustration to the internet. The module will investigate how visual strategies can be used to communicate complex ideas.
‘Globalisation’ is a fundamentally important term in understanding the processes of cultural, political and social change in the modern world. The role of the media in reacting to these processes through representation and articulation, and also in contributing to these changes, is inescapable. The aims of this module are to introduce you to the key theoretical debates and ideas which surround the contested notion of ‘globalisation’ and to examine the ways in which globalisation has been articulated and understood through media representation. The module will also examine the role of the media in reflecting and reacting to the processes of globalisation and its role in affecting emergent, resistant and dominant cultures.
The module examines some of the different processes required to produce a professional portfolio in the context of practical and vocational activities. The module aims to offer you the opportunity to engage with a more vocational element in the media and cultural context of their degree. You will work in groups to produce a portfolio which requires you to consider, amongst other things, marketing, advertising, business cases, product development and effective communication of ideas.
At Level 3 all Creative Writing students have the opportunity undertake an extended Creative Writing Project: a portfolio of work which will develop your independent learning and creative practice skills. There are also modules which provide exciting critical and creative perspectives: Writing Genres and Experimental Writing: Theory and Practice.
Creative Writing modules include:
Creative Writing Dissertation
In your final year, you will be ready to devise your own, original creative writing project. You’ll write a dissertation (an extended piece of writing), in a form of your own choosing with the support of an individual supervisor. This is the creative and intellectual culmination of your degree, and provides the opportunity to focus on researching and developing a piece of work that particularly excites you. Many students find this to be one of the most rewarding experiences of their degree.
You will be encouraged to consider the historical, theoretical, cultural and political dimensions of genre, alongside developing knowledge of the conventions of specific genres. You will also be given the opportunity to critically explore differentiations between “high” and “low” culture. You will develop your understanding of the emergence of genres such as tragedy, satire and gothic, and the conventions of contemporary genres such as romance, horror, and noir.
Contemporary Writing 1: Innovation and Experimentation
This module provides the opportunity to study and develop creative work at the cutting-edge. You’ll look at writing that challenges the traditional boundaries of literature and is fresh, exciting and innovative. You’ll consider a broad range of materials and techniques that will help you to develop your own innovative creative practices.
Contemporary Writing 2: Literary and Publishing Culture Now
This module introduces a range of very contemporary publishing and literary cultures, with a view to helping you position your own work in the contemporary literary landscape. It also has a practical focus, and will help you to develop a professional portfolio that can be sued as a springboard after your degree course.
Media modules include:
The module provides an advanced understanding of the ways in which new and emergent media, communications and other technologies shape our ways of living, acting and understanding the world and our place in it. You will build upon work undertaken in other modules which will enable a richer and more productive understanding into the development of various technologies and our relationship with them as well as recognising the profound global inequalities in the availability and importance of these. By considering the history of communications, media and other technologies you will be better able to appreciate how these affect, contribute to and challenge our notions of human philosophy, ethics, morals and meaning as well as how developments in convergent technology might influence aesthetic activity in its production, consumption and cultural value.
The module aims to further explore and develop the concepts and issues of globalisation, localisation, regionalism and national identity in relation to city cultures. The module will draw upon the media and cultural studies area of ‘urban studies’ in order to consider the representations, symbolic and social structures, development, uses and experiences of the modern and contemporary city. You will be encouraged to engage in experiential exploration of contemporary cities and identify their historical traces. Alongside this, you will consider technological advances and futuristic narratives of the city.
This module aims to encourage students registered for a Joint Award to become independent learners through an extended piece of work which should demonstrate the ability to offer a sustained critical and analytical examination of a student’s chosen, relevant topic and a similar engagement with the literature available on their chosen topic. This module offers the student the opportunity to integrate and develop aspects of the taught components of their programme and to provide a context for the selection, application and exploration of relevant analytical techniques
This Level 3, 40 credit weighted module aims to encourage students to become independent learners through an extended piece of work which should demonstrate the ability to offer a sustained critical and analytical examination of a student’s chosen, relevant topic and a similar engagement with the literature available on their chosen topic. This double module offers the student the opportunity to integrate and develop aspects of the taught components of their programme and to provide a context for the selection, application and exploration of relevant analytical techniques.
Teaching & assessment
The aim of our Creative Writing teaching is to help you to become a better writer. We do this by helping you to understand how literary texts work, which means reading and analysing texts as well as practising writing your own original creative work. We use a combination of different methods of delivery to help achieve this: you’ll find that you are supported to share your work-in-progress in regular workshop settings, so that you get used to developing and re-working your writing with feedback. You’ll also benefit from lectures, seminars, masterclasses, and other opportunities for group learning. There will be a host of additional events and projects that you can get involved in each year to supplement your learning.
Creative Writing is a highly interactive discipline: discussions, debates, peer-feedback, and writing activities are a crucial part of the learning process. We do not want students to be passive learners, but instead expect you to be actively engaged and involved with your degree subject.
With regards to Media you are encouraged to participate in the ways which suits you best and challenge yourself to engage with others regarding debates and creative practices. We pride ourselves on a high level of tutorial support and will always be available to arrange to meet and discuss any challenges ideas you wish to explore. You will have support from the teaching team and be assigned an academic support tutor to offer advice and guidance.
Contact hours and self-study time
In your first year, you will typically study three modules each semester. Each module will normally have three hours of contact time each week, so you’ll have a minimum of 9 hours each week in University. This is just the starting point for your learning, as we also expect that you’ll be engaging each week in independent study: you’ll be undertaking reading and writing activities outside the classroom as directed by your module tutor. Creative Writing and Media is an interactive subject, but also requires you to develop the skills of self-directed writing and time-management that are crucial to being a professional writer. There’ll be additional guest events and individual tutorials with your academic tutor to attend throughout the year.
Your creative writing will mainly be assessed through coursework, and you will often be required to develop a portfolio of original writing accompanied by a critical or reflective commentary. As well as developing creative work and critical analyses, there are other assessment opportunities designed to help you develop new skills and prepare for graduate employment. You will encounter a wide range of assessment opportunities, including project work, organising events and publications, giving presentations, and developing reflective writing.
In Media there are no exams and your work will be considered in a number of ways including essays, portfolios, presentations and creative visual displays. This involves working individually and as a team which is a valuable transferable skill.
The minimum entry requirements for this course are:
96 UCAS Tariff points
3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language
This course is available with a foundation year. This option is ideal if you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto a degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education. A foundation year prepares you for degree level study, giving you the confidence and skills needed to make the most of your course. Passing it guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.
As well as a strong standard of written English, we also look for the ability to demonstrate knowledge and commitment to the subject (and languages in general). This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, through previous study, relevant work experience and wider reading.
Candidates can demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include:
- Further study e.g. additional languages
- Discussion of future career plans
- Demonstrating relevant transferable skills
- Extra-curricula activities such as relevant conference/lecture attendance (e.g. English Language & Linguistics Colloquium Series
- Becoming a member of appropriate societies
- Subscribing to (or reading) relevant journals/magazines
- Being involved in overseas exchange programmes
Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.