This programme has an equal balance between English Literature and Creative Writing throughout the three years. This balance works extremely well: the study of literature enables you to learn from other authors and supports your development as a writer, just as your practical experimentation deepens your understanding of the ways in which literature works.
On the English side you will study a range of literature from across all periods from medieval to contemporary, with the opportunity to specialise in your chosen area as you progress. In your second year you will have the opportunity to work with colleagues at the world-renowned Shakespeare Institute in nearby Stratford-upon-Avon on our Shakespeare modules.
For Creative Writing you will develop your skills as a writer of poetry, short fiction and drama for stage and screen. Modules in ‘Contemporary Creative Writing’ and ‘Editing’ will give you alternative perspectives upon the writing process, allowing you to investigate writing at a professional level and develop your critical and analytical skills. In your final year you will complete a Creative Writing Project, a substantial independent piece of work for which you will receive expert supervision, with a completely free choice of genre.
Please be aware that the following information is intended to provide prospective students with an indicative guide of the modules offered by the School. However, our research is constantly exploring new areas and directions of study, therefore some modules may be dropped and new ones offered in their place.
Your first year is made up of core modules which will give you a thorough grounding in different types of literature and different ways of approaching literary analysis in core literature modules: ‘Poetry’; ‘Prose’; ‘Plays and Performance’; and ‘Language for Literature’.
Your Creative Writing modules will give you a foundation in writing across different genres on the double-weighted ‘Creative Writing Foundation’ module, as well as an introduction to the professional aspects of contemporary writing in ‘Contemporary Creative Writing’.
Detailed descriptions of English and Creative Writing first year modules
In the second year you will choose ‘Histories of Literature’ modules to deepen your knowledge and understanding of different literary periods, choosing one from the Medieval or Early Modern periods (A or B) and one from the Romantic/Victorian or the Modern/Contemporary periods (C or D).
Histories of Literature will include modules such as:
A: Chaucer and his Legacies; Popular Fiction before the Novel; Songs and Sonnets
B: Epic Ambitions; Stories of the Novel; Writing the Restoration
C: Romantics and Romanticisms; Victorian Literature; The Fin-de-Siècle
D: Making it New; Literature after 1945; Twenty-First Century Literature
You will also either take our specialist Shakespeare modules ‘Elizabethan Shakespeare’ and ‘Jacobean Shakespeare’ or choose one ‘Themes in Literature’ option module from a selection such as:
- The Gothic
- From Plato to Postmodernism
- Shakespeare’s Sisters
- Writing Fiction
- Russian Theatre
- North American Cinema
- The Language Poets Use
- Transatlantic Literary Relations
- Rude Writing: Satire and its Targets
On the Creative Writing side you will further develop your writing skills in modules on ‘Poetry and Prose Writing’ and ‘Drama and Media Writing’ and will gain an insight into the editorial process on our ‘Editing’ module.
Detailed descriptions of English and Creative Writing second year modules
In your final year, you will choose three modules from an impressive range of Literature Special Subjects, working closely with specialists in each field on modules such as:
- Chaucer: Pre-Modern Writing and Post-Modern Reading
- Contemporary American Fiction
- Fantasy and Fandom
- Gossip, Scandal and Celebrity
- Imagining the Digital
- John Donne and the Metaphysical Poets
- Last Year’s Novels
- Literary Modernism
- Literature and Politics in the 1930s
- Literature and the Law
- Lyrical Ballads
- Medieval Manuscripts
- The Modernist Novel
- New York, New York
- Paradise Lost: Texts and Contexts
- Plays, Pageants and the Spectacular
- Postcolonial Poetry and Poetics
- Postmodern Historical Fictions
- Reading and Writing Scotland
- Remembering World War One
- Shakespeare’s Afterlives
- Shakespeare and Music
- Spenserian Landscapes
- The Work of T. S. Eliot
- Victorian Literature and Science
- Victorian Literature and Travel
- PoMo Historical Fictions
- Bringing Out the Bodies: Technology, Transhumans and Skin
By your final year as a Creative Writing student you’ll have found your ‘voice’ and ‘genre’, and so you will be ready to complete a substantial individual Creative Writing Project, chosen and structured according to your own writing interests. You will also choose a Creative Writing Special Subject focusing on a more specialist genre such as ‘Genre Fiction’; ‘Creative Non-Fiction’; or ‘Writing a Short Film’.
Detailed descriptions of English and Creative Writing final year modules
You will have the option to take a year abroad between your second and final year at one of a wide range of carefully selected partner institutions from around the world.
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: AAA
Required subjects and grades: A level English Literature or English Language and Literature at grade A.
General Studies: not accepted
We do not ask applicants for English and Creative Writing to submit portfolios of their work: instead we ask that you give evidence in your application of your interest in and experience of creative writing, as well as your reasons for wishing to pursue the subject at university-level.
Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.
International baccalaureate update
Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma requirements.
We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
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