Course specification and structure
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UDCWENLI - BA Creative Writing and English Literature

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Higher Education, Certificate of Higher Education, Bachelor of Arts
Total credits for course 360
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Subject Area Art
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 3 YEARS 6 YEARS
Part-time 4 YEARS 8 YEARS
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The BA Creative Writing and English Literature course is designed to increase students’ technique and skill in creative writing and to develop their knowledge and critical thinking about the creative and practical production, distribution, reception and evaluation of literary texts. Students will refine their own creative writing technique and will be able to specialise critically and creatively in the genres of poetry, drama and prose, and will incorporate research and critical thinking about historical and contemporary creative practice in their work. Students will develop their understanding of literary history and criticism, as well as particular periods in literary history (such as the Romantic and Victorian periods, Modernism, Postmodernism and contemporary literature) and understand the place of English Literature in the world. A particular distinction of the course is its emphasis on the historical and contemporary nature of the publishing industry, with dedicated modules and syllabus strands throughout the degree which focus on industry contact and practical project work. The course is situated within the making ethos of the Cass and offers outstanding connections between critical thinking, creative practice and transferable skills. Creative Writing and English Literature students explore their creativity through engagement with ideas at the forefront of literary studies, develop their critical expression and articulacy, and emerge as writers, thinkers and collaborators who understand the critical, historical and commercial dimensions of creative writing and English literature, and its central place in the culture today.
The degree is also rigorously focussed on London as a literary capital, with structured opportunities for cultural enrichment through visits to and projects involving specialist libraries, archives and other centres of culture, and regular contact with literary, professional and publishing industry guest speakers.

The course seeks to provide and foster:

• learning through direct experience, connecting academic and creative studies;
• a culture of independent and critical thought, encouraging the challenging of received practice and ideas;
• employability attributes, through syllabus assignments and contact with external institutions, professionals and companies that create realistic expectations for students, preparing them for graduate-level employment;
• engagement across the School and University, providing opportunities for collaborative project work during study.

Teaching methods include: lectures, workshops, seminars, tutorials, external visits, group critiques, and opportunities for studio practice. Teaching and learning adopts a student-centered approach that identifies individual learning styles and accommodates them.

Lectures provide and encourage a critically informed view of a topic, contextualising the subject. Lectures provide students with a managed introduction to a theme, enabling them to continue with suggested or directed self-study.

Workshops provide students with the opportunity to submit their creative work for group and tutor criticism, both named and anonymously, to engage with immediate feedback, to develop practice through seen and unseen writing exercises, to read or perform their or others’ work, to analyse set texts, and to roleplay aspects of professional life: editorial and commissioning meetings, and pitches for work.

Seminars enable students to debate and explore subjects, questions and assignments with peers and tutors, encouraging an open and collaborative approach to shared learning.

Tutorials support individual learning, allowing for individual approaches to study, and catering for individual interests. Tutorials can be diagnostic or can support specific assignment or project-related questions, and support differing student paths to achievement of learning outcomes.

External visits offer opportunities for vital direct experience with literary institutions and sites of study, and to communicate with and learn from experts and specialists attached to partner institutions and bodies.

Blended learning utilises the University’s VLE platform to support and reinforce reflective learning, to monitor progress through assignments, to foster peer-to-peer communication and collaborative research activity, and to facilitate tutorial support for students and flexible approaches to learning.

Research Skills and Digital Literacy are embedded in the curriculum from the beginning of the degree, and developed through carefully planned assessment structures, practical instruction, workshop, research tasks, and heuristic learning and are supported through the use of the VLE and in curriculum delivery and in tutor expectations of digital capabilities as appropriate to task set and the level of study. Students make use of digital platforms alongside traditional approaches to research, develop and communicate their projects.

The teaching team consists of academic specialists and professional practitioners with extensive experience in the creative and professional production of work in the major genres of poetry, drama (theatre, radio, film and television), creative prose (fiction and non-fiction) and of the publishing industry. In addition, students benefit from regular contact with publishing industry professionals on and off-site.

The course requires strong and consistent use of the Library and Learning Centre, which has a subject-specific librarian offering workshops and one-to-one assistance with printed and online academic material. The Learning Centre offers private study space as well as academic material and the newly refurbished Roding Block offers world-class digital, research, teaching and collaborative spaces for students and staff, with further campus development to follow in 2018/19.

Course aims

The Creative Writing and English Literature degree develops students’ creative abilities and understanding of their creative practice as makers, thinkers and apprentices, and of modern and contemporary English Literature, with additional emphasis on aspects of literary history from the classical, ancient and medieval worlds and the early modern and post-renaissance periods. Students study and develop their creative specialisms in the main literary genres of poetry, drama and prose, and examine local, national and global varieties of English literature. Close attention is given to the cultural, linguistic, technological and professional contexts of literary production and reception. Students examine literary creativity across a range of media and develop their creative and critical abilities in the written and spoken production and discussion of these.

The main course aims (CA) of the BA Creative Writing and English Literature degree course are:

Knowledge and understanding

1. to develop students’ historical and critical appreciation of poetry, drama and prose, and of the value and variety of English Literature in the world;
2. to develop specialist understanding of literary period, context, content and genre, and of the editorial process;
3. to develop students’ understanding of the situatedness of literary production and reception;

Cognitive intellectual abilities

4. to develop students’ verbal creativity and expression;
5. to develop students’ articulation and control of the affective, expressive and ethical power of literature;
6. to develop students’ assessment of literature in relation to complex theoretical and critical discourses;

Subject specific skills

7. to foster clear, accurate, coherent and sophisticated reading and writing techniques;
8. to develop responsiveness to the value, criticism, scrutiny and form of creative literary work;
9. to familiarise students with a variety of professional and academic literary practices, and centres of excellence;

Transferable skills

10. to provide reflective, active and collaborative learning opportunities that enable students to initiate creative projects, and assess their own development and skills;
11. to provide students with the graduate-level skills of evidence-based interpretation and analysis, of cogent and decisive argumentation and of planning and writing to feedback and deadline;
12. to develop student understanding, confidence and specialisms as a basis for further study or professional work.

Course learning outcomes

By the end of their Creative Writing and English Literature degree, students will be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes (LOs), mapped against course aims (CAs) in section 10 above.

Knowledge and understanding

1. Explain and assess the aesthetic, expressive and thematic development of English Literature in prose, poetic and dramatic form, across different media, from 1750 to the present day, and make reference to relevant global and historical developments outside of this period (CA1).
2. Explain and assess the literary production of a given period, in terms of canonical and less well-known literary works, of the different values and culture of those periods, and apply editorial judgement about differences in style (CA2).
3. Explain and assess the significance of literature with reference to political and economic contexts, to commercial production and critical reception, and to the relationship between readers, audiences and writers at a given time (CA3).

Cognitive intellectual abilities

4. Write persuasively, expressively, cogently and analytically across a range of written and spoken forms (CA4).
5. Demonstrate the affective, expressive and ethical power of literature in writing and analysis (CA5).
6. Criticise literature in relation to complex theoretical and critical ideas (CA6).

Subject specific skills

7. Write accurately and clearly based on wide and diverse reading in terms of literary period, style and genre (CA7).
8. Adapt to demand, feedback, context and criticism in the development of writerly form (CA8).
9. Situate understanding and appreciation of literature in professional and applied contexts (CA9).

Transferable skills

10. Reflect on practice and understanding, individually and collaboratively, and assess personal and group development and skills in the context of creative projects (CA10).
11. Interpret and analyse complex work and evidence, initiate and plan solo and group projects, write to deadlines and respond to feedback (CA11).
12. Confidently articulate specialist and common interests as a basis for further study or professional work (CA12).

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

SJ4001 Romantics to Victorians
SJ4013 Theatre and Performance: History and Craft
SJ4014 Poetic Form and Genre
SJ4005 Writer’s World
SJ5000 Genre Fiction
SJ5003 Victorians to Moderns
SJ5004 Writing and Editing Fiction and Nonfiction
SJ5016 The Writer’s Craft
SJ5017 Publishing and the Book: Then and Now
SJ6003 Moderns to Contemporaries
SJ6004 Why Literature Matters
SJ6P03 Project (Creative Writing and English Literature)
SJ6018 The Writer’s Craft
SJ6019 Publishing and the Book: Then and Now

Learning Outcomes LO1-12

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Subject Benchmark Statement; English (2015), Creative Writing (2016)

Assessment strategy

Good assessment is about good modelling, and students’ appreciation of what is required of them as they engage with the subject matter develops in workshop and seminar discussion of their argumentative, critical and creative writing practice, and in exercises led by tutors designed to encourage students’ reflection on and development of their creative, critical and expressive skills. This formative strategy requires students to contribute to workshop and seminar through individual and group discussion of their own critical and creative work, of prepared and unseen primary and secondary material, and to collect, reflect on and review portfolios of cultural and critical material which they research and experience themselves.

Central to the assessment strategy of Creative Writing is the tutor-led workshop, in which students and tutors read and respond to student work, prepared in advance or in class, and produced and discussed under a variety of conditions (briefed, self-devised, named, anonymous, site-specific, written, spoken, performed, solo and group submission, tutor-set, student-set, etc.) Analysis, criticism, editorial development and professional role play all form part of workshop tasks.

Bolted onto this is a cumulative assessment strategy where different research and critical skills are developed through successive assignments which focus variously on creative technique, descriptive, commentary and summary skills, close-reading, development of argument, selective attention and emphasis, engagement with secondary material in terms of argument and research reach, curriculum overview, exercises in concision and cohesion, editing exercises, portfolio production and review, presentation and group project work, and fieldwork, all of which grow in complexity and demand between levels 4, 5 and 6.

Assessments are posted up on WebLearn and included in module handbooks and, depending on the assessment strategy and pedagogical aim, are either available for the whole module at the beginning of the academic year or released no later than four weeks before an assignment is due. Regular seminar discussion of assignment remits and tutor expectations are conducted in class, and clear assessment rubrics are posted up on all WebLearn modules for all assessment instruments. Further guidance about planning, research and writing assignments is given in regular workshop sessions, and for L4 students in continuous induction.

The entirety of level 4 is diagnostic, which gives students the space to explore, experience problems, and even fail assignments, with a safety net of a 40% overall pass rate to ensure progression into level 5, with no effect on their overall degree class. In effect, all of level 4 is an exploratory year for assessment practice, allowing students to learn from mistakes without penalty.

Feedback on assessment is provided across all levels via WebLearn, the virtual learning environment, and provides students with a growing portfolio of criticism, encouragement and commentary. There is a standard, rigorous attention to the marking of student work amongst all staff, with granular commentary at the level of argumentation, expression and presentation, and conceptual, creative and developmental summary advice given on every piece of work. Staff are also available in weekly one-to-one tutorials to address any student concerns about future or completed pieces of work.

Assessment support is given in advance to students through clarity of instruction and expectation, and external examiners oversee and guarantee marking standards, which are reviewed regularly through quality assurance processes and monitoring throughout the year.

The assessment strategy for the course has been designed holistically, to ensure manageable timing, workloads and clarity of expectations for students, and to avoid duplication of assessment of learning outcomes.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Work-related learning is an integrated and mandatory part of the course, with at least 70 hours working on engagement with live organisations, delivered through establishing contacts with professionals and companies and participating in publishing sector activities and events. The 30 credit module Publishing and the Book, taken at either level 5 or 6, is designated as the employability and placement, or work-related learning module. Students work on group publishing projects, pitch to and receive advice from professionals, and are required to reflect on their experience of a publishing project, research the industry and undertake forward career action planning. The publishing core module is supported by ancillary activities and syllabus content on other modules at levels 4, 5, and 6.

Course specific regulations

ACADEMIC PROGRESSION: As a condition of progressing from level 3 to 4, level 4 to 5 and level 5 to 6, students are required to have gained 120 credits per level, that is, by achieving pass marks (40%) in all four modules in the preceding level of study.

Level 6: In order to achieve an honours degree award on this course, students must have completed and passed each Level 6 module at 40% or above.

Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, in part-time mode, the duration of study for a 360-credit degree will be 6 years.

This course operates “optional core” modules. Students must take SJ5016 or SJ6018, but may not take both. Students must take SJ5017 or SJ6019, but may not take both.

Modules required for interim awards

BA (Hons) Creative Writing and English Literature

Level 4:

SJ4001 Romantics to Victorians
SJ4013 Theatre and Performance: History and Craft
SJ4014 Poetic Form and Genre
SJ4005 Writer’s World

Level 5:

SJ5000 Genre Fiction
SJ5003 Victorians to Moderns
SJ5004 Writing and Editing Fiction and Nonfiction
SJ5016 The Writer’s Craft (Alternative Core)
SJ5017 Publishing and the Book: Then and Now (Alternative Core)

Level 6:

SJ6003 Moderns to Contemporaries
SJ6004 Why Literature Matters
SJ6P03 Project (Creative Writing and English Literature)
SJ6018 The Writer’s Craft (Alternative Core)
SJ6019 Publishing and the Book: Then and Now (Alternative Core)

N.B. The alternative core taken at level 5 may not also be taken at level 6

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The course is designed to encourage students to reflect upon their learning and make connections between historical, critical and applied perspectives on literature, between their personal experiences and the literary explorations of and challenges to individual and society, and between critical, creative and commercial literary engagement. In addition the course is designed to help students reflect on the learning and skills acquired throughout the course and how these can be applied to subsequent employment. Students develop written portfolios and reflective and group projects from the beginning of the course, drawing together their independent learning, their study at university, their scheduled field visits and their wider informal learning. Students are supported throughout their degree to become independent learners: this is reinforced by their own research and essay writing, creative portfolio and project development, and in particular their final year project. Digital literacy is embedded in all modules so that students can develop their thinking and professional skills in a range of learning contexts, within and beyond the university.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

The course is taught so as to provide subject specific skills highly relevant for professional and creative writing, publishing, broadcasting, journalism, literary, arts-based or teaching careers. Students also develop transferable skills such as competency in research, writing to length and deadline, presentation and discussion skills, and use of IT: relevant to all contemporary workplaces including publishing, private sector business, and public sector careers. Students are also well equipped for postgraduate study in literature or an associated field.

Career opportunities

Graduates have gone on to successful careers in publishing, editing and related industries as well as publishing their own creative work. This course is also excellent preparation for further study or research.

Creative Writing graduate and Somali-British poet Warsan Shire recently collaborated with Beyonce on her new album, Lemonade. The album, which sees the American superstar recite extracts from five of her poems, has catapulted Warsan into stardom in the US. Having graduated from London Metropolitan University in 2011, Warsan published Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth that same year and was named the first Young Poet Laureate of London in 2014.

Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grades BBC in three A levels (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification)
  • GCSE English at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent)

If you don't have traditional qualifications or can't meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing our Creative Writing and English Literature (including foundation year) BA (Hons) degree.

If you are a mature student with significant work experience, you are invited to apply for this course on the basis of the knowledge and skills you have developed through your work.

As part of your application to study Creative Writing and English Literature we would also like you to submit two pieces of writing of 500 words each.

The first should be a creative piece and you may write this in the form of a short piece of fictional prose, a longer poem or sequence of shorter poems, a fragment of dialogue for performance on stage with one of more characters and some indication of setting, theme and scene or a piece of creative non-fiction such as nature writing, travel writing or memoir. You can write in any style, form or register and you have complete freedom in terms of theme.

The second piece of writing should be a critical appraisal of your interest in studying Creative Writing and English Literature. This should combine reflection on your experience of reading and writing literature so far and speak clearly to the themes of justice, equity and participation. London Met is committed to making your education a transformative force for social justice and social mobility. You should try to answer the following question: "How can reading, writing and publishing literature contribute to a better world?''

To study a degree at London Met, you must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. If you require a Tier 4 student visa you may need to provide the results of a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

If you need (or wish) to improve your English before starting your degree, the University offers a Pre-sessional Academic English course to help you build your confidence and reach the level of English you require.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2013/14 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 01 Sep 2013 Last validation date 01 Sep 2013  
JACS codes W800 (Imaginative Writing): 50% , Q320 (English Literature): 50%
Route code CWENLI

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 04 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SJ4001 Romantics to Victorians Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR WED PM
SJ4005 Writer's World Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR TUE PM
SJ4013 Theatre and Performance: History and Craft Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR THU PM
SJ4014 Poetic Form and Genre Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR THU AM

Stage 2 Level 05 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SJ5000 Genre Fiction Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR TUE PM
SJ5003 Victorians to Moderns Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR FRI PM
SJ5004 Writing and Editing Fiction and Nonfiction Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR MON AM
SJ5016 The Writer's Craft Alt Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR THU PM
SJ5017 Publishing and the Book: then and now Alt Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR WED AM

Stage 3 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SJ6003 Moderns to Contemporaries Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR THU AM
SJ6004 Why Literature Matters Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR MON PM
SJ6P03 Project (Creative Writing and English Literature) Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR NA  
SJ6018 The Writer's Craft Alt Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR THU PM
SJ6019 Publishing and the Book: then and now Alt Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR WED AM