Creative Practice: Observation, Imagination and Representation
English and Creative Writing
School of Arts and Media
In a nutshell
This degree gives you the opportunity to produce your own creative writing while studying challenging works of literature.
Guided by published experts, you will discover your talents in poetry, prose fiction, screenplay, playwriting and more. You can choose your focus and specialize in the area of most interest to you – with fields as diverse as children’s fiction, contemporary poetry, fantasy fiction, or conceptual art.
Creative Writing is combined with the study of English Literature, where an understanding of literary history and contemporary cultural issues will feed your creative practice.
Your teachers will be practising poets, novelists, screenwriters and artists. You will have opportunities to see your work performed, to enjoy the community of open mic nights, and to publish your work in our online journal and class blogs.
This course is just one of our English and Creative Writing programmes, which have risen ten places in the 2020 Guardian university league tables.
- Join a close community of award winning professional writers who are experts in their diverse fields
- Develop skills through masterclasses with writers, literary agents, publishers, commissioners and directors
- Learn how to present creative work to a professional standard
This is for you if...
You are highly motivated with a genuine interest in writing and literature
You have a passion for the written word
You are well read, and willing to respond to feedback
All about the course
In the first year of study, you will develop your own creative processes while gaining an understanding of key principles in prose fiction, poetry, drama, cultural theory and philosophy.
In the second and third year of study, you will have the opportunity to specialize in a medium of your choice by combining modules in screenplay, writing for stage and performance, poetry or prose fiction. You will also have the opportunity to choose English Literature modules that deepen your knowledge of particular periods in literary history and which raise challenging concepts around politics, gender and identity.
In the third year of study you have the freedom to complete a year-long creative project, which might be the beginning of a novel, a poetry portfolio, a collection of journalism or any writing project you can imagine.
You will learn to write and respond to poetry. You will learn how to write stage scripts for presentation to producers, learning the fundamentals of good dramatic writing.
Working the Text
You will learn to learn to write and respond to memoir and short fiction. You will learn the basics of creating story, convincing characters, setting and effective dialogue.
Introduction to Drama
You will be introduced to different orms and genres of drama, analyzing plays from Shakespeare to 21st century theatre. You will be introduced to university level research skills which will help you throughout your degree.
Narrative, Fiction and the Novel
From early texts such as Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe to postmodern writers such as Jeanette Winterson, this module examines the history of narrative by tracing the development of narrative strategies and cultural themes such as gender and class.
Introduction to Poetry
You will study a broad survey of historical periods and genres to prepare you for the study of poetry at degree level, enjoying works from Shakespeare’s sonnets to linguistically innovative twenty-first century poetry and many points in-between.
Theory and Practice
You will be introduced to a range of theoretical approaches to literary and cultural practice. You will gain an understanding of how both literary and cultural texts can be read and analysed, and how different theories can be applied to them.
The Romantic Period
Study literature emerging in a time of revolution and consider themes such as the rights of man, of woman, and of slaves, the sublime, childhood, empire, the self, and the gothic. This literary period refines and develops literary forms and styles from previous eras, as well as pursuing artistic experimentation, so this module explores language and form in detail in relation to key themes within their historical and cultural context.
Utopias and Dystopias
Learn to understand the complex relationship between utopian ‘thinking’ and ‘real-world’ thinking by studying and debating representations of utopian societies; you will also study a variety of dystopian texts by authors such as Anthony Burgess, Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, and Ray Bradbury.
Introduction to Children’s Literature
You will look at the development of literature for children since 1744. We will learn how a child develops and how to create children’s literature, from picture books to young adult novels.
Attitudes to English
This module will trace the origins and development of prescriptive attitudes and linguistic insecurity, and the extent to which these ideas are relevant to contemporary users of English. Topics include received pronunciation, grammar and ‘morality’, and politically correct language.
Literature Adaptation and the Screen
In this module, you will study a range of literary texts and their screen counterpart(s) including Olive Twist, Psycho and The Great Gatsby. The distinctiveness of each cultural form will be considered, as well as the comparative roles of author, screenwriter and director. There will be opportunities to explore the role of technical and digital arts such as scenography, music, and sound production.
Victorian Literature: Progress and Panic
You will enhance your skills in close analysis, studying 19th Century writing within a range of historical and theoretical contexts. Texts include novels, poetry, and non-fiction and the module covers a range of issues including class, culture, urban experience, women’s writing, decadence and identity.
Revival and Revolution
You are introduced to Irish literature in English from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You'll examine the main texts produced in this period and to relate them to the political, social and historical circumstances in which they were produced. The module will focus in particular on poetry and the drama of the Irish National Theatre, plays by Lady Gregory, J.M. Synge and Sean O’Casey, artistic manifestos, and on Irish fiction produced in this period.
From Salvation to Damnation: Religion, Sex, and Identity in English Drama 1500-1630
In this module you will look at dramatic texts other than Shakespeare’s from the late Medieval to the Jacobean period, roughly 1500-1630. In particular, you will investigate how issues of sexuality, politics, religion, and identity are treated during this period. The module also asks you to consider a range of different theatrical traditions of staging and stagecraft from the period, in order to encourage an appreciation of how those traditions were kept alive on the stage.
Gender, Race and Empire
This module examines constructions of gender, race and empire in fictional and non- fictional texts from the last thirty years of the nineteenth century. We will consider how scientific, literary, political and other texts construct and reimagine the roles of men and women, colonisers and colonised peoples, animals and the environment during this transitional period between the Victorian and the Modern.
Reptiles of Genius
This module studies the most characteristic mode of writing in the eighteenth century: satire. It will allow you to gain an appreciation of the complexities of satire as a mode of writing: you will learn to recognise what it is, what it tries to do, and who writes satire and why. Satire was practised in a wide variety of genres, ranging from drama through poetry to fictional and non-fictional prose. These written forms will be explored, as will visual satire and how to read it.
21st Century Women’s Writing
This module will explore a range of contemporary texts written by women and will include novels, short stories, poetry and other forms of writing including memoirs, creative non-fiction, and journalism. As a consequence, you will learn about the socio-political and cultural climate of today’s society as it affects and is shaped by women.
The Female Gothic
You will analyse a selection of Gothic novels and novellas by women, and learn about the themes of Gothic writing as well as explore the significance of various recurrent tropes and features such as: the uncanny, Gothic spaces and places, the absent/dead mother, voyeurism and surveillance.
Shakespeare In Performance
You explore Shakespeare’s plays through performing them and through deconstructing performances of them. You also enjoy the opportunity here of working with students on other degree programmes.
Theatre Industry: Critical Writing and Contemporary Debates
This module introduces you to various forms of professional writing, and current debates in theatre and the arts industry today. You will review shows, write articles or blogs on current trends in theatre, and discuss the issues that interest you most in a series of panel discussions.
Writing Poetry in the 21st Century
This module revisits some traditional forms. The first part of the module involves creative exploration of the Japanese ‘tanka’ (a relative of the haiku), the sonnet and the sestina and invites you to invent your own original poetic form. In the second part of the module you will encounter a range of innovative approaches to poetry: using sound, collage, found text and visual elements in your writing. The format will be largely workshop-based with writing exercises, sharing work with your tutor.
Writing Fiction: Contemporary Practice
This module will equip you with an overview of the state of contemporary fiction. You will meet a broad range of contemporary practice, from literary fiction to experimental fiction and genre fiction, including ‘chick lit’, historical fiction, crime/thrillers, science fiction, and supernatural/fantasy fiction. You will write the first chapters of a novel, and learn how to pitch and present your work to a literary agent.
You will learn skills of analysing and writing plays for the stage. The module covers history of playwriting, an introduction to the playwriting industry and the development of skills in areas such as concept, story, structure, characterisation and dialogue. You will have the chance to work with professional playwrights in this course and write a play for your assessment.
Introduction to Screenwriting
You will examine fundamental aspects of storytelling: narrative structure, character development, character types, relation of character to plot, the use of subplots. You explore differing conceptual and technical approaches in scriptwriting for theatre, TV and film.
University Wide Language Programme
This module provides the opportunity to learn or develop a language with the University-wide language programme.
This is a double creative writing module that runs throughout your final year. Here you can undertake a self-directed project in the genre(s) of your choosing, while giving and receiving feedback in a supportive workshop environment. By the end of the module you should have 6,000 words (or equivalent) of highly polished creative work.
Optional modules may include:
Scriptwriting for TV and Film
Through a professionally geared script development programme, you will create first a premise, then treatment, step outline and first draft for a complete screenplay of at least fifty minutes. In seminars you will discuss ideas for story, character and theme within the group. Treatments, step outlines and the first draft are developed in one-to-one tutorials.
Biography: Tradition and Innovation
This module puts theory into practice as we examine the literary history of biography, consider the issues and tensions raised by the post-modern context, and explore them in our own biographical writing. Subsequent sessions will address these questions via a number of themes including the history of biography as a literary practice, historical biography, literary biography, celebrity biography through the ages, theoretical approaches to the practice of biography and innovations within the genre. The researching and writing of your own biographical work will be a key element of the classes.
Writing for Performance
The module offers you the chance to explore the theory and practice of playwriting and writing for performance, covering concept, story, structure, characterisation, dialogue, theatricality, rewriting and revising.
All text is visual but both readers and critics often have difficulty sustaining their awareness of its dual nature. You are encouraged throughout to think in terms of close textual analysis and the creative decisions behind a wide variety of different types of texts. They may explore graffiti, site-specific writing – on a mountain, on the side of a building, a bill board; illustrated and illustrative writing; graphic novels; concrete and shaped text; and text-based animations. You can pursue critical or creative paths in your final submission.
British Theatre Post-1950
This module contextualises post-war British theatre in terms of naturalism, the avant-garde and the epic mode. A range of play texts will be explored in relation to form, narrative, action and character while exploring the ways in which they engage with issues of class, sexuality, gender and national identity.
A chance to explore in detail a topic of your choice within drama or literature in an extended piece of critical writing.
This module explores the formal, conceptual and ideological complexities of the modernist period and addresses themes such as the decentred self, the city, the role of tradition, the relationship between gender and writing, the use of myth, and the interaction of national identity and cosmopolitanism.
This module explores recent and contemporary texts in relation to critical issues such as authorship, narrative structure, linear progression, and identity. Selected texts will include novels, films and short stories.
The Language of Names
Names are all around us, and this module explores the linguistic structure, history, development and political significance of names and naming, focusing on the UK but with reference to other countries as well. You will have an opportunity to examine the names of people and places in real life and in literary and other creative contexts.
Shakespeare and the Play of Thought
This module explores the various ways in which cultural intertextuality informs and shapes Shakespeare's approach to character and action. To gain a broader understanding of how Shakespearean drama can be seen as 'the play of thought,' we will analyse Shakespeare's work in terms of literary theories including new historicism, cognitive linguistics, and gender studies.
This module will discuss literature written during the period known as the Northern Irish ‘troubles’, the Peace Process and after. It will consider poetry, prose, drama and film produced in this period, as well as other visual sources (mural, video and performance art) to consider a variety of ways of representing the conflict. While a historical narrative will be presented in the first lectures and seminars, the focus will be on considering how form and content intersect in these fictive representations.
Rebels, Villains and Discontented Minds
The subject of this module is ‘disobedience’: how it was defined, represented, condemned and, on occasions, celebrated in the 16th and 17th century English literature. In particular we will study the many ways in which authors structure specific discourses around socially marginal characters and outcasts (villains, malcontents, prostitutes whose distinctive qualities can include a disruptive and sarcastic verbal idiom) as key figures in the contemporary cultural and historical discourse.
Post/Colonial African Literature
This module will analyse a selection of African literature of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, exploring a range of aesthetic, theoretical and political questions relating to a variety of literary forms, including poetry, novels and graphic narratives.
University Wide Language Programme
This module provides the opportunity to learn or develop a language with the University-wide language programme.
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What will I be doing?
Teaching on the course is through:
- Lectures: a formal method of teaching, with one lecturer addressing a large group of students from different courses
- Tutorials: an informal method of small-group teaching that is student-oriented and often student-led
- Seminars: an informal teaching situation which tends to be a mixture of tutor-led and student-led discussion
- Practical workshops; where new skills will be demonstrated and which could include a talk from someone in industry
- Creative writing workshops
- Individual supervision; which allows us to critique your work and give feedback
- Practice-based creative projects
- Student-directed study where projects are assigned and deadlines given
- Throughout this course you will develop both transferable and analytical skills
On creative writing modules, you will be assessed through portfolios and other creative assignments. For the English element, you will be assessed through a combination of exams and coursework such as essays and presentations. Most modules incorporate some form of diagnostic assessment in order to allow you to identify your strengths and weaknesses prior to undertaking your final exam or essay.
Exact proportions will vary according to your option module choices: some modules are assessed entirely by coursework, others are a combination of coursework and exam. You may also choose to do a dissertation.
School of Arts and Media
The School of Arts and Media is the largest School at the University of Salford with more than 4,000 creative students. Across sites at MediaCityUK and the University's Peel Park campus, we offer a huge variety of courses, from Fashion Image Making and Styling, Television and Radio, Creative Writing and Music to Journalism, Animation, Design and Performance.
This broad range of disciplines offers enhanced opportunities for specialist and interdisciplinary study, including collaborative work across subject areas.
What about after uni?
Graduates from this course have progressed on to a number of career paths including banking and finance, in schools, retail and commerce, web design, community arts work, freelance writing and further qualifications.
This course is designed to support your personal development and foster skills to enhance your employability.
This course responds to the needs of industry in developing both creative talent and subject expertise. We have close associations with literary, academic and professional bodies such as
- The BBC
- Red Telephone Press
- Legend Press
- Erbacce Press
- If not P then Q Press
- Knives Forks and Spoons Press
- The Theatre Royal, Hyde
- British Isles North West section of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
- Old Vic Theatre New Voices Company
- The Biographers' Club
- National Association of Writers in Education
- Carcanet Press
- HOME Manchester
This provides you with a number of benefits such as theatre visits, networking opportunities, guest speakers, master classes, workshops and work experience opportunities. You are encouraged to enter competitions on a regular basis.
What you need to know
We are looking for highly motivated students with a genuine interest in writing and literature, good communication skills, who are also proactive and willing to take advantage of the many opportunities that we offer.
You do not need to be a published writer, but your interest in and passion for the written word should be evident. We are looking for enthusiasm, wide reading, and a willingness to respond to feedback.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS
International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.
English Language at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent) is required. Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) is preferred but not essential.
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
Grade C or above in any subject.
UCAS tariff points
BTEC National Diploma
BTEC Higher National Diploma
Applicants will be considered for entry into year two
Applicants may be considered for entry into year two or three. Applicants are normally invited to bring a portfolio of work to an interview
Access to HE
Irish Leaving Certificate
Pass Diploma with 71% overall
Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)
We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.
There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home/EU||2020/21||£9,250per year|
|Full-time international||2020/21||£12,960per year|
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.
Scholarships for international students 2020/21
If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our international scholarships worth up to £5,000. Our international scholarships include the Salford International Excellence Scholarship.
For more information go to International Scholarships.
All set? Let's apply
Course ID QW38
Start this course in September. Call 0300 555 5030 to apply through Clearing.
Our phone lines are open during the following hours:
- 13 August: 07:30 – 19:00
- 14 August: 08:00 – 18:00
- 15 August: 10:00 – 16:00