BA (Hons) Creative Writing and History

BA (Hons) Creative Writing and History

Shape your creative voice and critical skills with a focus on history

Shape your creative voice and critical skills with a focus on history

VW18
3 years full-time
Bishop Otter Campus
  • Learn to write novels, poetry, screenplays, non-fiction and more
  • Gain critical insight into historical societies from a variety of contexts and time periods
  • Learn from published writers and expert researchers
  • Smaller class sizes for better learning
Students sat in a row in class

Overview

Develop your skills as a writer and grow your ability to critically engage with historical debate

Our BA (Hons) Creative Writing and History course grows your ability as a creative writer as you develop your knowledge of historical analysis, critical debate, and research skills.

Learn from our team of practising and published poets, short story writers, novelists, dramatists and screenwriters, as you develop and find the creative writing medium that fits your voice.

In addition, you will explore your passion for history with modules that cover the Medieval period through into the twenty first century: both in Britain and across the world.

You’ll work with experienced tutors and experts who use the latest research to underlie their teaching to ensure that you have access to emerging creative writing techniques and the latest debates within the study of history.

On this course you will:

  • Study the craft of writing short fiction, poetry, novels, screenplays and creative non-fiction.
  • Gain a critical insight into historical societies from a variety of contexts and time periods.
  • Learn from our expert team of published writers and leading academics.
  • Engage with contemporary issues in your writing such as climate change, race and sexuality.
  • Build your degree around your interests.
  • Meet and talk with agents and editors at our annual publishing panel.

The Course

Define your degree path by your creative and historical interests

Year One

In your first year, you will learn to tap into your own experience and engage with the wider world for creative material. You will also begin to examine key events and contexts from throughout The Crusades, The Tudors, and Britain in the First World War.

Year Two

In your second year, you will explore poetry, short fiction, life writing, flash fiction, and writing for children. Your historical studies will explore witchcraft, colonial and decolonisation histories, and thoughts and theologies of Medieval societies.

Year Three

The creative modules in your final year allow you to explore your discipline and genre of choice. You will also explore more specific genres such as YA fiction, flash fiction, digital writing, fantasy, and science fiction. You will explore the novel, short stories and poetry.

Alongside this, your historical studies will conclude with a focus on acts of separation, resistance and change. You will also explore Early Modern shopping and trade, historical attitudes to death, and the representation of history within graphic novels.

This list is indicative and subject to change. You will be able to select either a dissertation in Creative Writing, or in History.

Select a year

The Writer’s Notebook

This module introduces you to keeping a writer’s notebook and how to use this as a storehouse of ideas, images, research and drafts. You will also learn about the journey from rough idea to finished piece as you examine a selection of case studies of notebook entries, drafts, and published work.

Introduction to Writing Short Fiction

This module will build on skills and techniques acquired throughout your first semester, such as: concrete imagery; writerly research; notebook gatherings; and reflections on developing creative work. You will encounter a variety of forms and voices in a range of examples from traditional and contemporary sources in both British and international short fiction.

Creative Non-Fiction: Starting from the Self

This module introduces you to the versatile genre of creative non-fiction, in which writers employ skills transported from fiction to lend dramatic complexity to factual narratives. Using autobiographical material as a base, you will generate dramatic scenes on a variety of topics and themes.

Source and Exploration

The module will train your observation skills. You will learn to apply the world around you to inform you creative processes. You will also learn the value of the ‘concrete’ as opposed to the ‘abstract’ and discover how the ordinary can become extraordinary.

Rethinking History: Theory and Practice

The module draws upon the specialist expertise of our History tutors, as you examine a different approach to history each week from a range of contemporary theoretical perspectives. These will include, amongst others, social and cultural history, the history of women, gender and sexuality, ideology and discourse analysis, postcolonial, postmodern and empiricist histories, the history of the visual image, landscape and public history, the legacy of modern war, and heritage studies.

War and Peace: Twentieth Century Europe and Global Conflict

This module provides you with an overview of European political, cultural, and military history during the 20th century through the study of its major conflicts and global forces. The central focus of the module is the international history of the major Great Powers between 1914 and 2000. You will examine of some of the common debates that often surround the origins of the First World War; the Second World War; the Cold War and debates on the ‘New World Order’.

The United States: An Introduction (1763 – The Present)

This module analyses the distinctive origins of American political thought and constitutional practice, the structures and effects of slavery, the origins of the civil war, the evolution of popular culture with special reference to jazz, the pursuit of civil rights and the emergence of the United States as a world power.

Europe and the Mediterranean World: Society, Identity, Encounters 1450-1700

This module will introduce you to conflicts and relations between southern Europe, the Maghreb and the Ottomans from 1450 to 1700. You will explore the socio-political structure of Mediterranean Europe through the study of early modern urban history with a focus on communities and cultural encounters. Subjects under discussion will include revolts, diplomatic affairs, trade, piracy, spying and human trafficking between Europe and other Mediterranean states.

Creative Writing: Poetry, Form and Freedom

This module will enable you to develop a variety of sophisticated traditional poetic forms and to develop experimental free verse poems within a reflective contemporary poetic practice.

Poetry: 1300 to the Present

The module aims to develop your understanding of rhythm, rhyme, free verse, diction, particular verbal effects, timbre, tone, and voice. It will encourage awareness of the centrality of genre to a wide range of poetic practice from the Renaissance to the present day.

Renaissance to Restoration

This module explores the evolution of poetry and prose throughout the Renaissance era and into the Restoration period of the 17th century, as result of major political and religious turbulence. You will consider the works of Spencer, Marlowe and Shakespeare who begin to explore gender and history in their work, before moving onto the satirical poetry of Donne, Marvell, Milton, and Rochester.

From ‘Angry Young Men’ To Cool Britannia?: A Historical Analysis Of British Cultural Activity After 1945

This module provides you with an opportunity to analyse examples of British cultural activity after 1945 within their artistic, political, and historical contexts. The module discusses a series of key movements of cultural production, for example, ‘the Angry Young Men’; ‘Cold War fictions’; or ‘Thatcherism/responses to Thatcherism’.

Stuart England, 1603-88: Rebellion, Restoration And Revolution

This module introduces you to the Stuart Age, circa 1603-88, as you explore why England went through such a period of extended turbulence and instability in the seventeenth century. You will explore the radical political, religious, economic, social, cultural and intellectual changes that took place in Britain and beyond, in era of constitutional instability.

Popes And Politics

This module examines the nature of papal pronouncements and diplomatic interventions in the continuing evolution of the modern nation state. You will consider these ideas in the new ideological landscapes of totalitarian power, in the two world wars and the Cold War. It will involve an analysis of the ideas, culture and structures of the Roman Catholic Church as they were found at work in the contexts of national and international politics in the years 1864-2005.

Kingdom Of Heaven: Crusading And The Holy Land, 1095-1291

This module assesses the causes and consequences of crusading to the Holy Land between 1095-1291. You will examine the motives of the First Crusaders and the subsequent defence of the Holy Land, including leaders such as Richard the Lionheart, as well as the political and economic ramifications for the Latin East and the indigenous populations of the invaded territories.

Women And Gender, 1000-1600

This module explores the term ‘gender’ and its usefulness as a category of historical analysis. It will then explore major areas of research on gender and sexuality by medieval and early modern historians, examining women across all social strata, from queens and regents to prophets and peasants.

A Social History Of Early Modern England 1550-1750

This module will explore the lives of ‘ordinary’ (i.e. non elite) men, women and children living in England from c1550 to c1750. You will consider key defining factors of the society during this period including social structures; gender relations; lifecycles; urban and rural life; poverty and welfare; crime and punishment; popular culture; and the church.

Environment and State in Britain since 1945

This module explores the British state’s evolving stewardship over the environment since the end of the Second World War. You will examine the connected environmental challenges that the state has faced in this time including pollution, urban change, resource depletion, species conservation and control, epidemics, extreme weather, the threat of nuclear war, and climate change.

Prose Fiction: The Dynamics of Change

This module will explore the dynamics of change in the contemporary short story. You will examine model short stories and how they invariably dramatise a significant change in character, and/or situation. In doing so, you will understand how to analyse the devices writers use to shape narrative, and to create tension and conflict.

Experiments in Fiction: Magic, Detection, Sci-Fi and Beyond

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of, and ability to recognise, a range of genres in prose fiction. You will gain an understanding of genre as a means of classification and understand that the way a text employs genre shapes its meaning.

Creative Writing Non-Fiction: Writing Lives

Focusing on biography and autobiography, this module will build your skills in the genre of creative non-fiction. Developing the narrative and research skills acquired in previous prose modules, you will work towards producing an account of a transformative event in a person’s life.

Fairy Tales: Early Modern to Postmodern

Gain an informed historical and critical perspective on a powerful literary and cultural tradition beginning with the fairy tales written in early modern Italy, continuing through Perrault, D’Aulnoy, Grimm, Andersen to the work of more contemporary authors such as Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood. It also asks where we can turn to for modern fairy tales, through a focus on the use of fairy tale tropes in the work of J.K Rowling and Philip Pullman.

Enlightenment Europe, 1688-1789

The ideas of the Enlightenment provided new ways of thinking about science, religion, education, politics and society and the place of ‘mankind’ in the world, but to what extent did the ‘philosophers’ transform society and how enlightened were they? You will explore these ideas as you engage with the works of Locke, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diederot, Rousseau, Beccaria and Wollstonecraft.

Approaches To Research

This module will build on your earlier explorations of research techniques, with a focus on the development of time and project management skills as you begin to prepare for your dissertation. Questions concerning how one starts on a research project and establishes viability of subject to a range of different approaches/theoretical perspectives will be discussed in detail, in relation to how you will choose their own dissertation topic.

Romantics, Rebels, Reactionaries

The module will also assess how far second-generation Romantic poets developed the key Romantic theme of reform, as you consider the influence of the French Revolution on the work of British writers during the 18th century. You will study the work of renowned and revered Romantic poets including Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Wollstonecraft, alongside the work of Mary Shelley and Jane Austin.

Heritage In Practice: Work Placements For History Students

The aim of the module is to introduce you to the ways in which your learning experiences in the discipline of History can be applied to the working environment. The work placement experience will provide you with an understanding of the practical, ethical and technical issues involved in the collection, cataloguing and preservation or conservation of physical traces of the past.

Fascism and Post-Fascism in Europe

By looking at a variety of case studies from across Europe throughout the first half of the 20th century, we will discuss the way in which fascism was both embraced and fought against. In addition, by using literary and cultural forms of post-fascism you will explore how many of the core messages of ideological fascism survived despite being politically discredited.

Culture And Civilisation In Late Medieval England, C.1200-1550

This module offers a thematic and contextual survey of late-medieval England. It commences by problematising ‘The Middle Ages’, focusing on historiography, myth, public perception, and the constructed nature of historical periodisation. The focus is on England, but material from elsewhere may be used, and videos and field trips are normally employed in order to enhance your understanding of late-medieval culture and its conceptualisation.

Art & Knowledge In Europe: From Early Renaissance To Baroque (1250-1650)

This module examines the development of art, knowledge, taste, fashion and beliefs in Europe from c.1250-1650 as you consider the importance of intellectual history, cultural history, science and art as key aspects of European culture. You will pay close attention to a range of textual and visual sources — from literature, diaries, correspondence, journals, painting, sculpture and architecture.

Re-Litigating The Past: State, Media And Historical Injustice In Contemporary Britain

This module focuses on how public histories have been rewritten in Britain over the past three decades, through the interventions of state, media, and voluntary sector institutions. By studying these forms of investigations, you will learn about how private traumas are integrated into or transformed public memory, the ways in which and reasons why silences are maintained or broken, and the place of ‘the past’ in judicial processes.

Dissertation in Creative Writing

The dissertation represents the culmination of your development as a writer. The Dissertation in Creative Writing may take the form of a fiction project, a poetry project, a play or screenwriting project, a creative non-fiction project or, subject to a supervisor’s agreement, an imaginative writing project that is hybrid in form and/or content.

Writing the Novel

On this module, you will write the first chapter of a contemporary novel, deepening skills gained on short fiction modules in Years 1 and 2. Having acquired skills in narrative, imagery, characterisation, and theme, you will now be encouraged to develop these skills in greater depth while engaging with the demands and challenges of a longer form.

Making it Strange: Writing the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Modern Gothic Novel

This module offers you the opportunity to develop your creative skills within genres that focus on worlds that lie beyond the tradition realm of 'realism'. These forms of 'Beyond Realist' texts have a distinguished pedigree stretching back to humanity’s earliest myths, epic narratives, folklore and fairy tales. You will explore how to write within genres such as Science Fiction, Fantasy and contemporary Gothic as you learn their specific complexities and intricacies.

Unforgettable Corpses: Literature, Cultural Memory and the First World War

This module will examine literary products of the First World War, the methods by which the authors reproduced, described and fictionalised their experiences. The second half of the module will also consider the use of First World War tropes in literature produced in the latter half of the 20th century, compare the application of those narrative devices, and critically assess the later use of those devices.

Digital Writing: Writing for the Community of Strangers

On this module, you will harness the skills developed in non-fiction modules in year one and year two to engage with new possibilities in digital writing, including: blogs; games; web-sites; online journalism; Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook; texts; podcasts; comments forums; campaigns; hypertext and the non-linear; e-books; apps; fan fiction; reviews, etc.

Dissertation in History

The dissertation represents the culmination of your History studies as you complete an individual research project on a topic of your choosing. The 10,500-word thesis will include explicit methodological and historiographical dimensions and where appropriate, theoretical discussions integrated into the text.

Unconscious Desires: Psychoanalysis and Culture from Freud to Žižek

This module explores the notion of unconscious desire and the expression of these desires in literature and culture. You will trace the emergence of the ideas of psychoanalysis in the work of Freud and how various psychoanalytic thinkers have transformed the notion of unconscious desire and used it to grasp literary and cultural forms.

Gothic, Romanticism and Women’s Writing: From Mary Wollstonecraft to Jane Austin

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the exciting range of women’s prose writing in the late 18th century, as you consider the relationship between such writing and the political debates of the period. You will discover how this writing, while often underrated, was of importance to Romantic aesthetics, often primarily understood and defined in terms of poetry written by men.

Louis XIV’s France, 1643-1715

This module assesses the extent to which an ‘absolutist’ monarchy was established in France in the seventeenth century. You will consider various historiographical perspectives of the French monarchy, with a focus on the social and cultural contexts of the period as well as the impact of the military tensions with other European nations.

Kingship, Queenship And Power In Late Medieval And Early Modern Europe

This module considers the nature of social, cultural and political power in the late medieval and early modern periods by examining a variety of different topics such as royal ritual and law-making, visual and material culture, and social exclusion and popular rebellion. You will understand how power was conceptualised and exercised in different socio-cultural contexts and chronological periods, as well as consider the role of gendered within power structures and social responses to rulers.

The Cultural History of Death

This module explores how literary representations of the historical and social treatment of the dead presents a vivid insight into the cultural behaviour, ideology and social order of different cultural and historical contexts. You will explore the beliefs and attitudes towards the dead within literature from the Middles Ages through to more contemporary examples and debates.

Pan-Africanism

This module examines the ideologies, political movements and key activists concerned with the political unity and liberation of Africa and the African diaspora from the 19th century onwards. In particular, you will analyse the significance of the ideas of key ideologists and activists, including Edward Blyden, Marcus Garvey, George Padmore, W.E.B. Du Bois, Aimé Césaire, Malcolm X, Kwame Nkrumah, Franz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral.

Henry VIII and Court Culture, 1509-1547: Faction, Faith And Fornication

This module examines the structures and cultures of royal courts of the Tudor period. In particular, you will consider court culture through the eyes of contemporaries in order to explore the centrality of the royal court and its relationship to the localities during this period of such immense change. You will explore the royal court’s political influence, the role of faction and division and the relationship to the literary arts.

International Law

This module introduces you to international law: the body of law which governs the legal relations between or among states and nations. You will study the theories, principles and processes of international law, including its sources, legal personality, jurisdiction and realms of responsibility. In addition, you will also be introduced to debates about the regulation of international activities, including the use of force, dispute settlement processes, human rights, and the role of the UN.

British Cultural Wars

This module explores conflict within British culture from the start of the 19th century to the turn of the new millennium. You will consider the reaction to obscene publications and other literary controversies and moral panics of Victorian Britain, through to the as the liberal reforms in the 1960s and the self-censorship and the baleful influence of Hollywood on British cinema.

Dissertation in Creative Writing

The dissertation represents the culmination of your development as a writer. The Dissertation in Creative Writing may take the form of a fiction project, a poetry project, a play or screenwriting project, a creative non-fiction project or, subject to a supervisor’s agreement, an imaginative writing project that is hybrid in form and/or content.

Dissertation in History

The dissertation represents the culmination of your History studies as you complete an individual research project on a topic of your choosing. The 10,500-word thesis will include explicit methodological and historiographical dimensions and where appropriate, theoretical discussions integrated into the text.

Writing Flash Fiction

‘Flash Fiction’ is an exciting new way of telling stories. By composing their own portfolio of very short fiction, you will be challenged to see the form from the inside, and to focus upon the creative challenges that are unique to ‘flash fiction’. These challenges will be brought into additional focus by workshops that require critical reflection upon the evolving work.

Writing, Environment and Ecocriticism

This module will offer you the opportunity to explore the ways in which contemporary writers and critics engage with images, issues and concepts of the environment in novels, poetry and non-fiction. You will choose whether you wish to engage with the themes of the module as a critic or a creative writer.

Contemporary Short Fiction: Writing the Here and Now

This module will enable you to explore, as active writers and readers, the strategies, innovations and preoccupations of contemporary writers of the short story. You will read and analyse the craft, technique and rigour of three to four highly-regarded short story collections from the last fifteen years.

Commerce And Consumption In Early Modern England, C. 1600-1750

This module examines the emerging commercial cultures of Early Modern England. Using primary sources of wills, business accounts, personal letters, and diaries, you will consider the changing attitudes to business and consumption of the period and how they laid the groundwork for further economic evolutions that influence the way we live today.

Vice To Virtue? The Origins And Outcomes Of The French Revolution 1744-94

This module examines the roots and consequences of the French Revolution, as well the major historiographical debates that continue through to today. You will gain a clear understanding of the political, social and economic context of the revolution’s origins, the complexities and evolution of the Revolution itself, and the fallout and ramifications across the subsequent decades.

Dictatorship, Conformity and Resistance in Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and Stalin’s Russia

This module explores the distinctive ideologies of Soviet Communism, Italian Fascism and German National Socialism, and to consider if and how these were in fact new forms of religion. The module will also examine the construction of these ‘totalitarian’ states in practice, and the experiences of individual and institutions caught up within these contexts, with particular reference to the churches and to cultural movements

A Global History Of The Cold War

This module introduces you to a wider view of the effects of the Cold War beyond the traditional Western-centric view. You will examine the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union in the Middle East, the decolonisation processes in Asia and Africa, the political influence on developing nations in Latin America, and the emergence of China as an additional player.

Globalization and its Malcontents

This module looks at key moments in the development of globalization focusing on moments in which the world came together, such as the Bretton Woods conference in 1944, when the terms of global trade were outlined after the rupture of the Second World War. You will use these examples to contextualise the work of theorists like Arjun Appadurai to develop your understanding of how globalization has shaped twentieth-century history and politics.

Experience

Find facilities and research centres that support your learning

Teaching and Assessment

Learn from published writers and experts from the field of History

Teaching

Much of our teaching takes place in small groups. Within these classes, you will typically discuss good writing practice and workshop your own writing.

Our commitment to smaller class sizes allows you to feel more confident to discuss your ideas in a supportive environment. It also allows your tutors get to know you and how best to aid your development.

Assessment

Creative writing modules are predominately assessed through portfolios of work. Your History modules will mainly be assessed through a combination essays, exams and presentations.

Modules are assessed at every stage of the course, allowing you to clearly see your academic progress at all stages of the course.

Guest Speakers

Gain unique insight into the creative writing industry

The University boasts a blossoming writing culture and community, with regular book launches and conferences.

We also run special events with renowned creative writers. As a Creative Writing and History student, you can use these as opportunities to learn more from those with critical insight into the industry.

Some renowned authors to have visited the University in recent years include:

  • Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy
  • Matthew Sweeney
  • Helen Dunmore
  • Jo Shapcott
  • Sarah Hall
  • Bernardine Evaristo
  • Vicki Feaver
  • Sarah Hall
  • Kate Mosse
  • Alison MacLeod
  • John McCullough.

Work Placements

Gain vital experience within the workplace

The Work Placement module allows you to develop your skills in a work environment and gain vital experience to put you ahead in your future career.

This allows you to gain experience in, for example, a workplace such as a local newspaper or as a writer-in-residence. You will then use the skills you have learnt on your course in order to reflect critically on the world of work.

Alternatively, you could pursue opportunities linked to your history modules and will have the option to work with sector-leading museums, galleries or heritage sites.

Our prestigious partners include Arundel Castle, Emsworth Museum, the West Sussex Record Office, and the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum – the setting for the BBC One show The Repair Show.

Our prestigious local partners include:

  • Arundel Castle
  • Bignor Roman Villa
  • Butser Ancient Farm
  • Chichester Cathedral
  • Chichester District Museum
  • D-Day Museum, Southsea
  • Emsworth Museum
  • Fishbourne Roman Palace
  • Mary Rose Museum
  • Pallant House Gallery
  • Petworth House
  • Portsmouth City Museum
  • Royal Marines Museum
  • Tangmere Aviation Museum
  • University of Chichester Archive Collections
  • Weald and Downland Open Air Museum
  • West Sussex Record Office
  • Worthing Library

Careers

Open up your future career options

Our Creative Writing and History graduates are highly-valued by employers for their strong problem solving and communication skills and often continue into a variety of careers.

Career paths include:

  • Novelist
  • Publishing
  • Teaching
  • Journalism
  • Copywriting
  • Marketing

Creative writing success

The last few years have shown a fabulous flowering of our Creative Writing students’ work. Many students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level have continued on to become published writers.

Many of our students publish and win prizes. In recent years students have gone on to publish novels, poetry collections, win prizes in major competitions such as the Bridport Prize and have poems and stories in magazines such as The Paris Review and Staple.

Former Chichester Creative Writing student Bethan Roberts has recently had her novel My Policeman adapted for the silver screen in a film staring Harry Styles and Emma Corrin, whilst others have also had work broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Postgraduate pathways

  • MA Creative Writing
  • MA Cultural History
  • MA English Literature
  • MRes The History of Africa and the African Diaspora
  • PGCEs
  • Postgraduate Research (MPhil/PhD)

Course Costs

Course fees 2022/23

UK fee
£9,250
International fee
£14,500

For further details about fees, please see our Tuition Fees page.

For further details about international scholarships, please see our Scholarships page.

Entry Requirements

Typical Offer (individual offers may vary)

UCAS
96 - 120
tariff points.
A Levels
BBB - CCC
including English Literature, English Language, English Language and Literature, Creative Writing or Drama at grade B or C.
Access to HE Diploma
Pass
with 12 level 3 credits worth of English units at Merit.
IB
28 points
with English Higher at 4.
IELTS
6.0 overall
with no element lower than 5.5.

FAQs

Frequently asked questions

How do I apply?

Click the ‘Apply now’ button to go to relevant UCAS page.

What are UCAS tariff points?

Many qualifications have a UCAS Tariff value. The score depends on the qualification, and the grade you achieved.

How do I know what my UCAS tariff points are?

Head to the UCAS Tariff Points web page where you can find a tariff points calculator that can tell you how much your qualification and grades are worth.

When does this course start?

This course starts in September 2022.

 

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