BA (Hons) Creative Writing

Are you passionate about the creative use of words? How they can inform, persuade, provoke or terrify? Our BA (Hons) Creative Writing degree, taught by a dedicated team of professional writers, aims to help you develop your writing and harness your creativity so you can turn your ideas, abilities and ambitions into achievements.

BA (Hons) Creative Writing

Course details

Our BA (Hons) Creative Writing degree explores ‘how to put the best possible words in the best possible order’. Your imagination is boundless and we’ll help you to focus and control your ideas to give them shape, energy and structure. Our dedicated team of professional writers and lecturers will guide you on a journey through the worlds of prose, poetry and drama, and contemporary creative practice.

We’ll nurture and support you in exploring the rich, expressive potential of the English language and your development of the crafts of writing. Alongside this, we’ll examine, from a writer’s point of view, a wide range of creative work in various forms. Small group teaching and one-to-one support are central to our approach, allowing our expert team to offer personalised guidance that’s tailored specifically for you.

You’ll have opportunities to refine and develop your skills at every stage, from initial concept, through planning, background research and first drafts, to editing, re-writing and self-critique. The final year combines the creative, the critical and the practical. You’ll write a significant piece of creative work: a calling card script, collection of poetry or an extended piece of fiction; you’ll research and analyse a chosen area of creative practice; and you’ll undertake a work placement in an area associated with your individual career goals. Throughout the course, you’ll gain confidence, skills and knowledge, preparing you for a successful career in a multitude of industries.

  • UCAS points: 96
  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BA (Hons)
  • Duration: 4.5 years

Course highlights:

  • The Guardian University Guide 2020 ranks the University of Bolton as second in the UK for the study of English and Creative Writing.
  • Also, our Creative Writing courses are top in the North West and second in the UK for student satisfaction according to The Complete University Guide 2020.
  • Our dedicated lecturers are active professional writers and researchers whose work continues to be published, or produced on stage, screen or radio. They bring this wealth of expertise and practical knowledge to their teaching.
  • We have excellent industry contacts and strong links with external creative organisations such as publishers, production companies, theatres, libraries, art galleries, schools, funding bodies and arts development agencies that allow us to offer work experience placements in a wide variety of settings.
  • In particular, our partnership with the nationally acclaimed Octagon Theatre, Bolton means you have opportunities for privileged access to rehearsals, dress rehearsals, professional actors and directors, and discounted tickets for productions.
  • In your final year, you’ll have the opportunity to enter the Octagon Student Prize. Awarded annually for outstanding achievement in writing drama, the winning piece is given a professional presentation with practitioners.
  • We’ll encourage you to submit your work to our ISSN recognised literary magazine ‘The Bolton Review’, and to our annual poetry competition.
  • The annual New Writing Showcase offers you a chance to perform your work at the Bolton Octagon Studio or similar venue.
  • As a Creative Writing student, you'll be eligible to enter work for the Carcanet Poetry Prize and for the And Other Stories Fiction Prize.

Key features:

  • All our lecturers are professional writers and researchers who’ve produced and continue to publish poetry, prose, plays and papers with national and international periodicals and imprints.
  • Experimentation is encouraged and you’ll be introduced to many different types of writing, from creative to critical, to help you develop your voice and gain awareness of the enormous variety of careers that creative writing skills support.
  • We offer a friendly and supportive intellectual community. You’ll be encouraged to get to know your peers from other subjects such as English, Theatre, and Media, Writing and Production, with whom you’ll be participating in a variety of external creative events and/or collaborative projects.
  • There’ll be guest lectures from professionals from all aspects of the writing industry: producers, scriptwriters, poets, novelists, agents, publishers, promoters, and directors. Names you may recognise such as Sally Wainwright, Patrick Ness and Jenn Ashworth have given presentations in recent years.
  • ‘Live Literature’ is our well-established, vibrant series of readings from published poets, fiction writers and playwrights, held in conjunction with Bolton Library and Museum Services.
  • We’ll work to help you develop a range of skills alongside your writing that are highly valued by employers, such as creative thinking, problem solving, communication, team working, time management, research and critical analysis, IT, cultural awareness and lifelong learning.

Entry requirements

  • UCAS points: 96
  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BA (Hons)
  • Duration: 4.5 years

Your Level 3 subjects must include English Language; for instance, A-level English Language.

You should also have five GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent) including English Language.

We’re happy to consider your application if you do not have the standard qualifications, but have a strong portfolio of creative written work and/or relevant previous experience that demonstrates your capacity to succeed in this degree.

You may be required to attend an interview and/or provide a portfolio of work.

If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details. Find out more

Career opportunities

Creative Writing graduates demonstrate a range of subject-specific skills such as how to plan, research and develop ideas in writing, and the principles of writing for different audiences. Transferable skills include effective written and oral communication, creative thinking and creativity, planning and researching, presentation and proofreading, and effective social and digital media use.

Skills and experience gained outside of the curriculum are also fundamental, helping to showcase your interests and passion for writing. Many students write for and/or edit university newspapers or magazines, enter competitions or join a student writing group or society. Evidencing such activities will improve your chances of securing that graduate role, and help establish your reputation as a writer.

What can I do with this qualification?

There is a demand for good writers in every sector, and skills in this area will enable you to access many opportunities. In media, you could consider journalism, editing, researching or publishing. Copywriters also prepare advertising copy for use by publications or broadcast media to promote the sale of goods and services.

Business opportunities exist for writers in finance, professional services, administration, government, education and retail. Creative writers can write fiction or non-fiction, historical biographies or children's stories, poetry, lyrics or plays.

Technical writers develop scientific or technical materials, such as medical reports, equipment manuals, catalogues, operating and maintenance instructions, or project proposals. There are also opportunities to become self-employed and write on a freelance basis.

Some of our graduates have become professional authors. Our graduates have also moved into careers in script editing, arts administration, venue management, film and theatre, drama production, publishing, teaching, digital media content, local government and advertising.

Alternative career options

  • Writer of/for prose, poetry, stage, screen, radio
  • Publishing
  • Script editing
  • Libraries
  • Education and training
  • Arts administration
  • Social media and search engine optimisation
  • Content marketing
  • Public relations
  • Proofreading/copyediting

Professional recognition

The University of Bolton is linked via creative partnerships with Bolton’s own Octagon Theatre and Carcanet, a leading and prize-winning poetry publisher based in Manchester. The university is currently fostering links with South Yorkshire’s leading literary development organisation, The Poetry Business.

Writers and lecturers who teach on the course have established links with a variety of media and organisations, including The Guardian, The Poetry Society, NAWE, The British Council and Arts Council England.

Fees & funding

No fee information is currently available, please contact Student Data Management on 01204 903059 or for more information

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

How to apply


You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or


International applications are not possible for this course

As an international student you are not allowed to study this course because of the restrictions on your visa.

We offer a wide range of full-time courses in lots of different subjects, many of our courses start in September and January. If you would like to see what courses are available please visit our Course Search.

Teaching & assessment


Modules listed below are a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules as part of the course.

  • Scholarship
  • Off the Page
  • Writing Poetry and Fiction
  • Stories and Narrative
  • Writing Drama
  • Writing for Short Form Media
  • Critical Dialogues
  • Writing Drama: The Turn of the Story
  • Writing Fiction: The Character of the Writing
  • Future Directions
  • Writing Poetry: The Shape of the Voice
  • Writing for Publication
  • The Writers' Room: Drama
  • The Writers' Room: Fiction
  • The Writers' Room: Poetry
  • The Writer's World
  • The Professional Author
  • Creative Dissertation

Teaching, learning and assessment

We take a blended approach to teaching and learning that involves face-to-face sessions and online learning. You can expect a mix of seminars, lectures and tutorials, workshops, guest lectures, visits, live readings by authors and poets, self-directed study, IT sessions, library and guided study. The university’s e-learning portal Moodle supports online learning and we encourage you to use the internet for research.

Lectures introduce you to the core course content, while seminars allow you to explore subjects in greater detail, gain insights into professional practice and learn about the craft of writing for different audiences. Tutorials offer you one-to-one support, detailed feedback from tutors, and space for discussion. You’ll also undertake considerable guided, independent study; for instance, library research and background reading, preparing for seminar and tutorial activities and, most importantly, your own creative writing and redrafting.

Guest lectures by speakers from a variety of creative disciplines and relevant employment areas will offer you the chance to develop your knowledge and understanding further.

Formal assessment determines your final marks and allows you to demonstrate that you’ve met the learning outcomes for the course. You’ll need to present coursework, for instance, creative pieces that you have written or critical commentaries on your own or other’s work.

We also use other means to help you learn, provide you with feedback and inform your development, though these don’t count towards your final module mark. In particular, you’ll receive feedback on first drafts. These will help to identify any areas which would benefit from extra attention on your part, or where you need extra support from your tutor. In your final year, you’ll benefit from direct feedback from both your tutors and classmates through the workshop method.


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up to date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (91%), Practical exams (9%)
Level Two Coursework (100%)
Level Three Coursework (97%), Practical exams (3%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (66%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (34%)
Level Two Guided independent study (73%), Placement/study abroad (3%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (24%)
Level Three Guided independent study (81%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (19%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • Course type:
  • Start date:
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
    BA (Hons)
  • UCAS points:
  • Duration:
    4.5 years

Contact us

Jill Marsden
Programme Leader
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903238

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903