BA (Hons) Creative Writing and Theology

BA (Hons) Creative Writing and Theology

Develop your creative voice and study key concepts of theology

Develop your creative voice and study key concepts of theology

VW68
3 years full-time
Bishop Otter Campus
  • Learn to write novels, poetry, screenplays, non-fiction and more
  • Consider fundamental theological questions and debates
  • Learn from published writers and expert researchers
  • Smaller class sizes for better learning
Students outside cloisters

Overview

Develop your skills as a writer and consider key theological questions and concepts

Qualify with a degree that gives you skills in creative writing alongside theological analysis, critical debate, and research.

Our BA (Hons) Creative Writing and Theology degree allows you to learn, and then specialise in, a wide-range of creative writing disciplines including: fiction, novels, screenplays and creative non-fiction.

In addition, you can explore fundamental ethical and philosophical questions, and how to investigate the place of religion in society.

You will learn from our team of practising and published poets, novelists, and screenwriters, as well as leading experts in the field of theology.

On this course you will:

  • Study the craft of writing short fiction, poetry, novels, screenplays and creative non-fiction.
  • Consider fundamental theological questions around God, religion, and society.
  • 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

Deepen your creative writing practice with theological study

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 a number of fundamental theological questions and concepts.

Year Two

In your second year, you will explore poetry, short fiction, life writing, flash fiction, and writing for children.

You will also take modules that deepen your understanding of theological and philosophical ideas, including those focusing on philosophical and ethical issues and / or those concerned with theology and biblical studies.

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.

Your theological studies will allow you to further explore your interests, with modules that focus on Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, ethics, and the philosophy of religion.

This list is indicative and subject to change. You will be able to select either a dissertation in creative writing or in theology

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.

The Problem of Human Nature

The module investigates different understandings of human nature. What makes humanity distinct? Are we rational animals? Do we have souls? What is the relationship between thinking and our embodied existence? We will explore how a range of understandings with particular attention to the wider philosophical implications.

Faith and Reason

This module explores the relationship between faith and reason. When are beliefs justified? Are some beliefs beyond rational explanation? Why do people hold such beliefs? What cultural assumptions inform the way that we think about belief, reason and God?

What is the Good Life?

The module will introduce you to classical and contemporary ideas about the nature of happiness and its implications for living well. It will begin with an introduction to Aristotle’s idea of virtue ethics discussed in the Nicomachean Ethics. This will then be compared with contemporary ideas such as Layard’s study of happiness, religious discussions of the same topic, and significant alternate ideas such emotional intelligence, and self-actualisation.

The Quest for Truth

The module investigates the relationship between philosophy and science by examining debates about different conceptions of truth. Is truth something that can be measured? Is there reality beyond the material world? Contemporary society values the explanatory powers of social and natural sciences – is there still a place for a distinctively philosophical approach to questions of truth?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Freedom and Justice

The module investigates different philosophical approaches to freedom and justice. What constitutes a free action? Can freedom be granted? What are the key components of a just society? We explore different traditions with careful attention to their historical and cultural context while considering their ability to illuminate contemporary issues and debates.

Critique, Suspicion and Revolution

This module traces the development of Western philosophical ideas from the height of modern thought through the deconstructive methods of postmodernism, as you explore the challenges to modern concepts of being, reality, knowledge and subjectivity. You will investigate questions surrounding the place of philosophy in the modern world as you evaluate the legacy of modern and postmodern philosophy and its ability to address contemporary issues.

Philosophy and Theory of Religion

This module allows you to investigate the connections between philosophy and contemporary theories on religion. Whilst recent philosophical debates have questioned the division between humans and the rest of nature, contemporary theory of religion has moved away from an understanding of religion as only a set of beliefs. Bringing together these philosophical and theoretical strands can help us re-evaluate the nature of religion and its role in contemporary society.

Bio-Ethics

This module introduces you to the concept and debates of bio-ethics. You will become acquainted with the major problems in bio-ethics, especially those relating to the beginning and ending of life and discuss them multiple ethical approaches.

Saints of Sinners: Politics and Religion in the Contemporary Era

This module examines critically the role of religious ideas in contemporary political life, in particular the ways in which a variety of theological perspectives shape and influence contemporary political movements. As such, you will examine the role of religion in politics and its re-emergence as a political force and key influence on identity. The focus will be on the UK and USA with reference made to the place of religious belief in global politics.

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.

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.

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 Theology

The dissertation is the culmination of your degree, as you produce a research project on a specific aspect of theology. The dissertation consists of a study of 9,000 words on a topic agreed between the student and the module coordinator.

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.

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.

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.

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

Political Theology

This modules asks how theological and religious concepts shape our understanding of a range of political ideas. Does this mean that Western society is fundamentally religious? Or do theological and religious ideas take on new meaning in secular or post-secular society? We will look at these issue from a variety of theological, sociological and philosophical perspectives.

Philosophy and the Future

This module investigates different philosophical conceptions of the future. Beginning with religious understandings of eschatology, messianism, millennialism and apocalypticism we will see how these ideas relate to philosophical notions of progress, utopianism and dystopianism. We will ask how we think of the future today, examining a range of philosophical texts as well as film, television, music and visual art.

Revisioning Religion, Gender and Sexuality

The module will begin by examining the development of feminist theologies, thealogies and feminist studies of religion in the Jewish and Christian traditions. This will lead to an exploration of a range of the further developments which have emerged as result of these early developments such as womanist, mujerista, body and queer theologies as well as diverse feminist spiritualties across a range of traditions.

The Theology and Politics of Paul the Apostle

Paul’s letters in the New Testament have had a major influence on the formation of Christianity as well as on political, ethical and philosophical questions more generally. This module varies between close readings of key Pauline letters and discussion of key problems – such as gender, social change, and freedom – raised by the Pauline texts throughout history.

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.

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.

Experience

Find facilities and research centres that support your learning

Teaching and Assessment

Learn from published writers and experts from the field of Theology

Teaching

Our team of experienced tutors and experts use the latest research to underlie their teaching. This ensures that you have access to emerging creative writing techniques and the latest debates within the study of theology.

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.

For your theology modules, you will be asked to write essays as you might expect, but you might also write book reviews, reviews of films, write reports on projects, make a video, construct an exhibition and make presentations.

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

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 of choice.

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 to work closely with local institutions that are also engaged with questions of literature, culture and history, including New Park Cinema, Chichester Festival Theatre, and Pallant House Art Gallery.

The city of Chichester, with its rich history and literary culture, is a perfect place to enhance your knowledge of our cultural past and present.

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 Theology 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.

Careers

Open up your future career options

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

Career paths include:

  • Novelist
  • Publishing
  • Teaching
  • Marketing
  • Journalism
  • Communications and PR
  • Local and national government
  • Copywriting
  • Human resources
  • Youth work

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 English Literature
  • MA Cultural History
  • 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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