BA Creative Writing and Fine Art

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

The BA in Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Literature, Languages and Creative Arts, provides exciting and diverse opportunities for writing across a broad variety of forms and genres. As well as being able to study this as a Single Honours Scheme (W801) you can study it alongside a range of other subjects within the Institute. The following Joint Honours combinations are currently available: 

  • English and Creative Writing Degree (BA, 3 year) 
  • Creative Writing with Art History Degree (BA, 3 year) 
  • Creative Writing and Cymraeg Degree (BA, 3 year) 
  • Creative Writing and Drama and Theatre Studies Degree (BA, 3 year) 
  • Creative Writing and Film and Television Studies Degree (BA, 3 year) 
  • Creative Writing and German Degree (BA, 4 year) 
  • Creative Writing and Scenography and Theatre Design Degree (BA, 3 year) 
  • Creative Writing and Spanish Degree (BA, 4 year)

Under the expert guidance of a team of award-winning writers you will develop creative skills that will enable you to work confidently and effectively in a whole host of styles that are valued and widely sought by employers. In addition, your chosen joint honours scheme will provide an additional set of knowledge and skills which will further enhance your employability and interests. You will find Creative Writing and your chosen combination both demanding and rewarding. Our aim is to stimulate, encourage and challenge your creativity, ensuring that by the end of your degree you will have not only a portfolio of exceptional creative material but also the skills and attributes to flourish in any workplace that demands dexterity with the written word.

Overview

Aberystwyth University’s Creative Writing degree offers a broad curriculum that spans traditional boundaries of genre, form and purpose. You will have opportunities for experimentation with language, media, style and presentation. Immersed in a supportive and vibrant writing community, you will benefit from a whole host of opportunities to work with industry specialists in publishing, performing and developing your work. As a student within the Institute of Literature, Languages and Creative Arts you will become part of a flourishing creative scene with a long and successful history as the spring for aspiring new talent, with 97% of research of international standing or higher. This is particularly the case with the range of joint honours provision on offer for students who wish to pursue Creative Writing as a programme of study alongside another discipline.

Working in the heart of Wales you will have the benefits of all this on your doorstep – an environment that students from further afield can only experience on the occasional “writer’s retreat”. And of course, given our magnificent setting and vibrant culture, we offer you extensive opportunities to engage with the culture and language of Wales; you can learn through the medium of Welsh and English and an appreciation of the potential for experimentation with language is part of the central ethos of this degree.

 Naturally, Creative Writing at Aberystwyth promotes the value of creativity in the workplace as a skill and a mindset with immeasurable application. As well as developing your creative work in a broad range of modes - fiction, poetry, advertising, writing for stage, screen and radio - our experienced team of practitioners will guide you in developing and recognizing life-long skills that will be the cornerstone of your future successes as a writer and beyond. 

As you study, you will develop not only your own creative practice, but also learn to understand the processes relating to writing for a range of literary and vocational purposes. You will explore the connections between creative and critical thinking, and develop a deep understanding of the relationship between professional practice and imaginative thought. On completing this course you will be able to write with confidence, tailoring your work to a broad range of audiences. You will have an acute awareness of issues such as tone, structure, genre and function and you will translate these into your own writing and textual production.

 Aberystwyth University is the perfect location for the study of Creative Writing. Our students benefit from our unique collaborative relationship with Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Based on campus, the Arts Centre is committed to providing you with an excellent resource as a performance space, acting as an advocate for emerging talent and as a partner in creating opportunities for work-based learning. The expertise and support available from the Arts Centre and its staff will be woven integrally into your learning opportunities. Not only will you have this on your doorstep but you will also have access to an excellent university library and you will live and study within a five-minute walk of the National Library of Wales (one of the UK’s five copyright libraries) – so between our resources and our location there is never a shortage of inspiration. Our students’ achievements speak for themselves. Recent graduates and current students have signed to some of the UK’s major literary agents, published with some of the world’s most prestigious publishing houses, including Faber and Faber and Penguin, and have been shortlisted for national and international writing awards. In fact as a Creative Writing student at Aberystwyth you will struggle not to get your work out into the public domain.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction survey results show high levels of satisfaction among English students, with 88% satisfaction rate for the quality of teaching

93% of our 2014 English and Creative Writing graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating, a 4 percentage point increase on the previous year and equal to the overall UK sector average (DLHE 2014). This increase reflects our investment in innovative and strategic student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic Institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

91% of our 2014 Art graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating (DLHE 2014). This reflects our investment in innovative and strategic, student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction survey results also show a significant improvement in many areas of our Art students' satisfaction. Our students reported 90% satisfaction with the quality of the teaching they received and our staff commended for their enthusiasm (95% satisfaction).

Our Staff

All academic staff in the Department of English and Creative Writing are active scholars and experts in their fields. They are either qualified to PhD level or have commensurate experience. Our Lecturers either hold or are working towards a Higher Education teaching qualification and the majority of academic staff also hold the status of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Through their active involvement with the practice, history and curation of art, staff members of the School of Art seek to provide a rich learning environment for the student. Their experience as exhibiting artists, publishing art historians and practising curators actively informs the teaching.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (60 Credits) Fine Art joint honours students must take:

Semester 1

Looking Into Landscape: Reading, Researching, Responding AH11520

Art Practice C AR10920

Semester 2

Art Practice D AR11020

Year 1 Core (40 Credits) Creative Writing students must take the following 2 modules:

Semester 1

Introduction To Fiction WR10320

Semester 2

Introduction To Poetry WR10420

Year 1 Core (40 Credits) You must take the following two modules:

Year 1 Options You may choose the following two modules or any other Level 1 module offered by Departments within the Institute of Literature, Languages and Creative Arts:

Year 1 Electives Fine Art joint honours students may take:

Semester 2

Representing The Body AH10610

Year 2 Core ( Credits)

Year 2 Core (20 Credits) Students must take the following module:

Semester 1

Learning From The Novelists WR20220

Year 2 Core (10 Credits) You must also take the following module:

Year 2 Options Joint honours Fine Art students should select at least 40 credits of art practice from the following:

Semester 1

Painting 1 AR20120

Painting 2 AR20230

Photography 1 AR20720

Photography 2 AR20830

Life Studies 1 AR22110

Printmaking 1- Relief Printing And Screenprinting AR22320

Printmaking 2- Relief Printing And Screenprinting AR22430

Interdisciplinary Making 1 AR23300

Interdisciplinary Thinking 2 AR24100

Semester 2

Painting 3 AR20920

Painting 4 AR21030

Photography 3 AR21620

Photography 4 AR21730

Book Illustration 1 AR21820

Book Illustration 2 AR21930

Life Studies 2 AR22210

Printmaking 3- Intaglio, Stone And Plate Lithography AR22520

Printmaking 4 - Intaglio, Stone And Plate Lithography AR22630

Interdisciplinary Making 1 AR23320

Interdisciplinary Thinking 2 AR24120

Year 2 Options During your second year you must take at least 20 credits from modules with the prefix TC/FM/TP and may choose any other modules from Departments within the Institute upon approval::

Semester 1

Literary Theory: Debates And Dialogues EN20120

Semester 2

Transpositions WR21020

Year 2 Options Students may take a further 20 credits of elective fine art modules from the above list

Year 3 Options During your third year you must choose at least one of the following:

Semester 1

Painting 5 - Paint Directed Practice AR31730

Printmaking 5 - Print Directed Practice AR31930

Photography 5 - Photo Directed Practice AR32130

Book Illustration 3 AR32330

Year 3 Options During your third year you must choose at least 20 credits from modules with the prefix TC/FM/TP and a further 20 from modules with the prefix EN/WR:

Semester 1

Playwriting TP34600

The Writing Project WR30000

Textual Interventions WR30120

Writing And Place WR32120

Semester 2

Playwriting TP34640

The Writing Project WR30040

Writing Science Fiction And Fantasy WR32220

Final Year Options Joint Honours Fine Art students must take either AR30130 or AR32540 in Semester 2 of the final year

Semester 2

Exhibition 1: Graduation Show AR30130

Exhibition 2: Graduation Show AR32540

Final Year Options Joint Honours Fine Art students should select from the following modules for their remaining final year credits:

Semester 1

Life Studies 3 AR31610

Painting 5 - Paint Directed Practice AR31730

Printmaking 5 - Print Directed Practice AR31930

Photography 5 - Photo Directed Practice AR32130

Book Illustration 3 AR32330

Employability

Your BA in Creative Writing will prepare you for a broad range of diverse employment options. You will be a strong candidate for opportunities in any area where the written word is valued. Traditionally our students have gone on to professional futures in publishing, editing, journalism, marketing and communications, teaching, and of course as successful writers in the fields of fiction, poetry, screen-writing, radio and the theatre. What employers value about our graduates is their independence as “self-starters”, their ability to run with a project and see it through to completion with a healthy dose of creative thinking along the way. At the heart of your degree is a direct engagement with career planning and employability. We will equip you with skills that are valued and coveted in the work place and enable you to demonstrate and maximise your achievements. As a graduate of Aberystwyth University you will enter the world of work fully aware of the skills you have developed and with the ability and confidence necessary to utilise and fit those skills to whatever environment you desire. There is a strong relationship between Aberystwyth University and Aberystwyth Arts Centre. As a student, the expertise and support from the Arts Centre and its staff will be woven integrally into your learning opportunities, permitting staff and students to come together with the shared aim of engaging, working and learning in a thriving and dynamic creative culture. Not only will the Arts Centre be invaluable to you as a venue for showcasing your work and engaging with the creative output of others, it will also provide you with unique opportunities for the acquisition and development of lifelong skills, valuable to employers in the creative industries and beyond.

The range of combinations on offer also serve to enhance your employability in different ways, for example we offer three combinations of Creative Writing with an European Language. Modern linguists are statistically amongst the most employable graduates. Many of our students go on to teach the languages they themselves have learned and a high proportion of our graduates go into administrative and managerial posts. A degree from the European Languages Department is a qualification which opens the door to many professions in Britain, such as the civil service, tourism, social work, librarianship, publishing and broadcasting, and our degrees also take our students across the world.

Our language schemes are four-year schemes and your year abroad will set you apart from the majority of graduates, demonstrating your ability to live in a foreign environment, and immerse yourself in a different culture. Alongside this, the university will offer you a range of initiatives to help improve your employability skills. Paid work and work experience opportunities are available in the University and the town, and the Careers Advisory Service are able to assist you in planning your future, putting together a CV, and looking for work during and after your studies. Furthermore, the University’s Personal Development Portfolio, in which you record and reflect on your academic studies, the development of your skills and your plans for the future is a useful way of tracking your progress through your studies, and can help you to decide what career might be suitable for you.

You may also wish to consider writing alongside combinations from the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies. Again, this opens a range of possibilities within the industries covered but with the added advantage of a specialism in writing.

Finally, we offer more practical options i.e. Creative Writing with Scenography and Theatre Design and Creative Writing and Fine Art. These options present an opportunity to refine your choice of study quite specifically. The Scenography combination for example draws on the range of possibilities in the field of set, costume, lighting, production and performance design. Many graduates have also found employment in a variety of different areas including teaching, administration, marketing, management, and public relations. Furthermore, the degree will help you to begin developing your own ideas into realisable projects, equipping you as a cultural entrepreneur. Pursuing a joint honours course with Creative Writing will offer a range of possibilities e.g. Writing for Stage. This alongside the Scenography provision will equip students with an holistic and broad range of skills in preparation for a career in theatre production or theatre management.

The Fine Art provision at Aberystwyth is distinctive and our graduates’ journeys are both diverse and rewarding in terms of career. Recent School of Art graduates have moved on to become secondary school teachers, higher education lecturers, art gallery managers and curators, children’s book illustrators, photographers and graphic designers, art directors in publishing, medical illustrators and employees with the Design Council, Arts Council, Tate Gallery, Royal Academy, Carlton Television, The Observer, Saachi Gallery, Damien Hirst, BBC, and the Universities of St Andrews, Lancaster, Leeds, Brighton, Kingston and Oxford.

Transferable Skills 

Studying for a degree in Creative Writing will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. As an Aberystwyth graduate you will: 

• Have the ability to express ideas and communicate information effectively in a broad range of contexts; 

• Offer outstanding skills in creating, forming and manipulating the written word; 

• Be an effective problem solver; 

• Demonstrate excellent creative thinking, informed by critical rigour; 

• Have a proven ability to work both independently and as part of a team; 

• Exhibit excellent time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines; 

• Possess self-motivation and self-reliance and have the ability to develop appropriate and effective strategy; 

• Have valuable research skills that are trans-disciplinary and adaptable to any research context. 

Year in Employment Scheme (YES) 

The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement. GO Wales GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching and learning will take place through a range of traditional and non-traditional settings with particular emphasis on practical workshops and discursive seminars. Where appropriate the formal lecture will be utilized to convey specific knowledge-centred material, although the lecture will not be the cornerstone of delivery as is a common feature of undergraduate study. Emphasis will be placed on smaller group settings with small-group tutorials employed for specific teaching contexts. Alongside a structured and demanding timetable of practical and conceptual learning you will also be expected to carry out a significant level of self-directed research, writing and creative activity – all essential in terms of developing and refining your own writing.

Many of our courses can be followed through the medium of Welsh. If you are bilingual or a Welsh learner you can develop your language skills by studying a proportion of your degree in Welsh and submitting assignments in whichever language you choose. No matter what you decide, we will support you in working and learning through your language of choice. 

Assessment will be continuous with the majority of your work taking the form of portfolio submissions. We place a significant emphasis on the “critical commentary” which accompanies and complements each creative portfolio – the commentary gives you the opportunity to explain and develop your critical thinking in concert with your creative ideas. There will also be opportunities for assessment via the traditional essay when addressing theoretical subjects. Traditional examinations will be limited (depending upon what you choose to study) but dynamic forms of assessment such as performances, productions or readings of your work will be supported by oral examination.

Key Information Set

Key Facts

UCAS Code: WW18

Tariff Required: 300

Entry Requirements: GCSE: Grade C in English or Welsh. Grade B in A level English Literature and grade B in A level Art plus satisfactory portfolio.

Course Length: 3 Years

Related Courses: