The BA (Hons) degree in English: Creative and Professional Writing enables you to understand writing as a profession while exploring and developing your own creative talent. You'll be supported by published writers and senior academics to hone your writing and apply your knowledge to literary, technical and professional work. You'll acquire skills in pitching, presenting and networking and learn about a range of industries where writers are in high demand.
If you are interested in taking your writing further into a range of creative industries such as publishing, the literary arts including novel writing, poetry and nonfiction, as well as in the media, script and screen writing, marketing, communications and other related activities, this course is for you.
You'll learn from experts in their field who will connect you to creative institutions and networks both regionally and nationally, as you gain expertise in creative and professional writing. You’ll have the chance to work with established organisations as well as develop your portfolio for a varied and fulfilling writing career, and take part in the Sunderland Creative Writing Festival and the renowned Sunderland Literature Festival.
At each stage of the course, you'll study modules such as Submitting Short Fiction and Poetry, Regional Writing, Environmental Writing and The Business of Writing, alongside English Literature and English Language core learning to develop essential knowledge and critical skills.
In the first year – the foundation year – you will study five modules: a module about the foundations of humanities, journalism and media theory, an essential study skills module, a foundation project module, practical numeracy skills, and a multimedia communications module or a new century module depending on your degree choice. After completion of this foundation year, you will then move onto¿the English: Creative and Professional Writing honours degree course.
In year 1, you'll receive a grounding in Language, Literature and Creative and Professional Writing via core modules. In years 2 and 3 you'll develop your skills, knowledge and independent learning, with the opportunity to undertake an Advanced Project in the final year.
You'll be taught via lectures, seminars, and through our online teaching environment (VLE). Our teaching is designed to help you become an active, independent, and reflective learner. Lectures are used to communicate the core content of modules, while seminars and workshops provide you with the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills through a range of tutor-guided activities, including creative writing practice, peer review groups, and redrafting, as well as more academic skills such as close textual analysis, and the guided reading of primary and secondary material. You are encouraged to work in pairs and in small groups, as well as individually.
You are assessed via portfolios of creative work, essays, through innovative measures such as pitches to publishers and writing entries for dictionaries, as well as through group projects and presentations. There'll also be some exams and the chance to take up an industry placement.
You'll also be supported through one-to-ones with academic staff during office hours or online depending on teaching conditions.
The English, Journalism and Media Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules:
Get an introduction to a variety of skills that are intended to ease the transition into Higher Education. Learn what is expected of you as an undergraduate student and how to adjust to degree level study.
Bridge the gap between Further Education and Higher Education. Understand the level of work you will be expected to do at University, how to become an independent learner and how to find answers yourself.
Investigate a topic area related to your degree programme. Projects will vary according to the degree programme of study but typically the formats would include: a review paper, a practical project or analysis of data for a report. Utilise the lectures and surgeries and gain specialist input into your proposed project. While the module is based around independent learning, tutors are on hand to guide the process through the use of weekly surgeries.
Explore a range of storytelling styles employed across the media and the different strategies used to appeal to different audiences. Look at the structure, style and purpose of feature writing, reviews, interviews and news reporting. Build your own portfolio of work, featuring a range of written stories created in the various styles and develop your writing skills, with particular focus on spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Consolidating your numerical skills, see how these can be used in real-life applications, and consider how statistical results are presented, calculated and statistics misrepresented. See how to apply this knowledge in everyday life settings, both at work and at a personal level. Take responsibility for your own learning and ensuring you are able to manage your time and work independently.
Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.
Gain an introduction to the study of language, with a focus on contemporary English. Establish what human language is and explore the history of English and how it varies according to geographical and social contexts. Develop skills in in the systematic analysis of English, focusing on morphology, lexis, syntax and phonology as you gain an understanding of the influence of time and space on the English language. Build upon your analytical skills to help consolidate your knowledge.
Develop your knowledge of regional writing through close study of regional and working-class dialect and text. Focus on how language informs the identity of character and class in creative writing. Get assessed via a 1,250-word linguistic analysis and 1,500-word piece of creative writing that may be submitted to an internal or external market, such as Sunderland University’s Spark Radio.
Learn about the two main genres of writing – poetry and prose – by studying the form and structure of the work of traditional writers and paying close attention to technique. Gain an introduction to the writing of flash-fiction and short stories. Write form and free form poetry. Analyse writing for technique and intention, exploring or adapting these mechanisms in your own creative practice. Gain experience and skills in critiquing your own work and that of others, developing analytical skills and self-awareness in order to further your own writing.
Examine the different ways of reading prose fiction, poetry and drama. Deepen your understanding of the terms and techniques associated with literary analysis and develop a familiarity with the different methods of reading (‘ordinary’ reading, slow reading, speed reading and critical reading). Study of some of the most widely acclaimed novels, short stories, poems and plays by British and American writers, including: Thomas Hardy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, William Blake and Shakespeare. Demonstrate your reading skills and explore short stories, poems and plays.
Gain an insight into the contemporary landscape of UK literature and publishing to see how writing careers are made and supported. Explore through lectures and seminars the skills needed by people working in different roles in the industry, such as editing, proofreading and building creative industries brands (including your own). Examine the developing technologies involved in creative and professional writing careers and businesses, as well as learn about working in different genres, from fiction to cookery books, from travel writing to ghost-writing, from literacy to writing for wellbeing. Prepares for your work placement in Year 2 where you will put this learning into action.
Undertake a short group project on any of the aspects explored in your first semester. Pitch an idea for your mini project in the first part of the module, be given feedback on the practicality of their idea and allocated a suitable internal supervisor. Prepare for The Business of Writing module in Year 2, in which you’ll undertake a work placement, and the Major Project in Year 3.
Explore interactions between language and the contexts in which it is embedded. Discover the relationship between language and society, gaining an understanding of how social variables such as social status, geographical location, and the social networks people belong to influence linguistic variation and change, as well as the role of language attitudes and ideologies. Acquire the skills to carry out your own small-scale piece of sociolinguistic research.
Build on the study of regional and working-class writers and writing from Year 1. Draw on landmark texts from the national and regional landscape, past and present. Study and analyse literary texts in the first half of the module, before moving onto workshops in the second half that encourage both critical and creative writing in response to this initial foundation. Get assessed via poster presentation and a piece of creative writing that should be submitted to an internal or external market.
Take advantage of opportunities to explore contemporary writing in both prose and poetry, as well as more experimental writing. Gain knowledge of current prose and poetry publishers, as well as the skills to submit work to markets. Develop your writing in both forms and demonstrate a strong critical awareness of your work.
Gain an introduction to the main periods of literary history from the Classical to the Victorian and the characteristic genres thereof. Examine key ideas and exemplary sub- genres across all three primary genres (poetry, prose and drama), using extracts from key writers, and learn to consider the importance of historical, social and cultural contexts, and the diverse shaping influences of these contexts. Consider the interplay between literary/historical backgrounds, literary texts, their production and reception and generic adaptations.
Gain an understanding of the obstacles that writers face in creating successful careers, as well as the tools and knowledge to overcome them. Develop your abilities to build a writer’s profile and to seek out opportunities available for writers such as residencies, commissions, teaching, pitches, and funding. Gain practical experience in identifying and writing pitches for funding and commissioning opportunities, contributing to your development as writers. Spend approximately 30 hours on a placement, which will enable you to bring the skills and knowledge you have developed so far in your degree into the workplace and provide you with the chance to draw on these achievements to enhance your understanding of their application beyond the university context.
Develop your creative communication skills while helping the Earth. Write innovative and inspired fiction, non-fiction, essays and life stories that engage with the most pressing issues of today such as the climate crisis, as you explore different styles and forms to suit the wide range of subjects that come under the banner ‘environmental writing’. Critically assess the craft of shaping stories about the relationships between people and planet. Analyse the most important new and historical works in the genre from across the globe, from America, India, and Africa as well as from the UK’s rich history in nature writing.
Learn how to write in a range of feature styles. Discover how to put together a long-form article that provides background and context for a news story. Build on the review-writing skills you acquired in your first year. Experiment with first-person profiles and discover the world of B2B writing.
Understand the concepts and techniques employed in writing drama or comedy suitable for television or steaming service such as Netflix or Amazon. Learn how to develop an idea through the treatment stage, and finally into a script.
As well as options from across the Faculty, for example in journalism, radio or media production.
Explore your burgeoning specialism or passion and develop your connections. Develop a major project in your preferred focus. Take any approach experienced from the course, e.g., a professional writing project, a creative writing project, performance, or project that combines approaches or other specialism drawn from optional modules you may have taken during the course.
Gain an understanding of gender, sexuality and other stereotypes, and how you can unpack these issues of identity in your writing. Develop an understanding of the debates relating to gender and sexuality in contemporary society, using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). Trace the various approaches to gender, sexuality, and other identities since the 1970s and how these have come to influence our understanding of identity today. Get the opportunity to creatively respond to these ideas and histories, through workshops full of writing exercises, writing-focused reading, and peer critique.
Consolidate your knowledge and understanding of what it means to be a ‘reader’ in a ‘professions-facing career-focused’ (PFCF) context. Professional writers, and those who work in the creative industries with writers, do not read like ‘ordinary’ readers. Find out how to read like a professional so you can apply this knowledge to your own professional practice.
Explore examples of digital writing from a range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, essay, gaming and audio such as podcasts, working towards an assessed portfolio of work. Examine digital terminology, social media content such as BookTok and Instagram.
Develop advanced insight into the contemporary landscape of UK literature and publishing and how they shape writing careers. Explore advanced technologies involved in creative and professional writing careers and businesses, and how publishing now spans TV, film, graphic novels, adapted versions for children and other audiences. Gain analytical skills to discuss works of cross-media publishing. Complete the module by submitting proposals for publishing projects for authors and writers in the UK market.
Understand how many films and television programmes that we see today are adaptations, whether that be from true stories, novels, plays, games or short stories. Write a 30-minute script adaptation for film or TV. Attend lectures, seminars, screenings and practical writing workshops.
Gain an understanding of the development of radio drama within the BBC and in independent production and in experimental drama. Participate in production workshops in idea formation, pitching, production management, scriptwriting, casting, studio direction and creative production.
You can also select modules in scriptwriting, journalism and audio drama.
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Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.
Eligible entry qualifications:
If you're unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!
** If you've studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you'll need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you're able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.
If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.
The annual fee for this course is £9,250 if you are from the UK/Ireland/EU settled/pre-settled.
If you are a full-time UK/Irish/EU settled/EU pre-settled student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fees for the full four years. UK and EU settled students may also be eligible to receive a maintenance loan.
Please note, this course is not available to international students.
Learn more about settled status, pre-settled status, special discounts, visa requirements and Common Travel Area (CTA) agreements for the Republic of Ireland applicants in our Help and Advice article.
Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.
This information was correct at the time of publication.
After your foundation year you will move onto the BA (Hons) English: Creative and Professional Writing course. This course blends the best of a traditional English degree with innovative teaching and exciting connections to the creative industries both regionally and nationally to help budding writers, creatives and creators make your mark. This is not a ‘traditional’ creative writing degree but one that prepares you for writing both creatively and professionally.
Whether you want to succeed as a poet or novelist, social content editor or games narrative designer, or want to learn about what’s needed to be a book publicist or copy writer, this degree puts the creative and writing professions within your reach. The course introduces you to the skills necessary for the kinds of careers you will find across the creative industries in the 21st century, and helps you get in and get on in the career you want.
You'll be well placed to enter many areas within the creative industries, such as literary agencies, publishing houses, galleries, museums, theatres, and writing development organisations, as well as across the journalism, media, marketing, communications and PR industries. Potential jobs include: freelance writer, novelist, poet, games designer (narrative), publicist, publishing assistant, marketing, PR/communications, copywriter, advertising executive, digital writer, editor, content writer, content editor, proofreader, researcher, translator, journalist, reporter, scriptwriter, screenwriter, radio writer. Many of our graduates work as editors, journalists, writers, teachers and within publishing.
gives everyone in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries the opportunity to participate in a range of projects, workshops, talks, industry visits and career events.
This exciting week encourages interdisciplinary working, broadens your experience, to build your confidence and help develop your career path.
Your course will keep you busy in class and across campus as you get involved with our publishing platforms. As part of the course you’ll go on placement to organisations that suit your goals, from literary agencies to copywriting houses, including student writing residencies and opportunities in the region’s cultural venues and festivals.
You’ll have the opportunity to be involved in Spark Sunderland, the 24/7 community radio station, based in the David Puttnam Media Centre. Spark is award-winning and has been consistently recognised at the Student Radio Awards, Community Radio Awards and the prestigious New York Festival Radio Awards for many years. Students are responsible for programme production and creative ideas which could be your step into writing radio drama, or scripting comedy shows. In the same building you can also learn from the many writers who work from here, including BBC Newcastle journalists and the team at Tyne & Wear TV, a professional TV station run from our Media Centre.