BA (Hons) Creative Writing

The programme will allow you to gain experience of writing in a variety of literary forms including life writing, poetry, script writing, short fiction and writing for children, as well as developing your critical understanding of the theoretical and conceptual issues central to the practice of writing.

Degree overview

This innovative distance-learning Open degree programme has been designed to be flexible, enabling students in any location to work at a pace that fits in with their particular situation and commitments. The course materials have been written by published writers with experience both of working at an appropriate level of professional excellence in the literary genre concerned, and of teaching students about it. The course tutors are likewise selected on the basis of having practical experience as writers and pedagogical experience as teachers. The number of tutors involved on OCA’s creative writing Open degree programme means that students have access to a wide range and diversity of literary expertise, rather than being reliant on only a handful of teachers.

Each of the constituent course units is assessed by five or six assignments. Students are also encouraged to keep self-reflective learning logs by means of which they can monitor their own learning process and keep their work under critical review. Students are supported throughout by one-to-one contact with tutors, who provide detailed feedback on an individual basis. The Creative Writing degree course units provide students with the opportunity to gain and/or develop a suite of intellectual and practical skills that are necessary for effective writing, but that are also readily transferable to other contexts where good communication, clear expression, coherent thinking and the ability to read critically are valued.

The OCA BA (Hons) Creative Writing degree programme is sensitive to the fact that students will be enrolling at different levels of writing expertise. Some will be novices for whom this is a first serious foray into creative writing; others may already have a portfolio of published work behind them. Whatever they bring with them to their degree, studying through OCA will provide a structured and supportive context within which they may foster their formation as writers and gain educational validation for their work. The Level 6 units have been designed to afford an opportunity to focus on a large-scale creative project. Your progression towards its production is facilitated by a mentoring model of tutor-student relationship; students are able to choose their tutor at this level, selecting the specific individual whose specialist expertise most closely matches the nature of the work envisaged.

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Degree aims

  • Ensure students gain an experience of writing in a variety of literary forms and genres as a craft and as a tool for exploring our environment and experience.
  • Provide an intellectually stimulating programme based on high quality study materials and supported by interaction with tutors – all of whom, as well as being experienced and well qualified teachers, are themselves actively engaged in writing.
  • Develop students’ creative capacities and their ability in interpretation and application.
  • Develop students’ understanding of a range of key issues in creative writing and foster their insight into the way in which social, historical and cultural factors impact on writers and writing. Encourage students to appreciate the intimate interrelationship between reading and writing, and to read widely and deeply – particularly in those genres in which they are writing.
  • Provide an environment which challenges students to think about their own and others’ writing, and in so doing opens up the possibility of changing their creative practice.
  • Develop effective writing practitioners who display self-awareness, analytical and communicative skills, and a high degree of reflection.
  • To develop autonomous learners capable of applying intellectual and practical skills in a chosen area of written communications appropriate to employment, further study, or life-long learning.

Course content

Full details of the content of the Creative Writing Open degree, and pathways available can be found through the degree handbook and pathway documents, downloadable below. If you need more information about the content of this Open degree and the course units available through it, please call the office to speak to an advisor.

OCA BA (Hons) Creative Writing degree handbook

OCA BA (Hons) Creative Writing degree pathway

Creative careers

The study of a Creative Writing degree is usually undertaken with the aim of becoming a published writer. Such an undertaking can be a lengthy process and therefore usually embarked upon whilst already employed. As well as preparing you for the end goal of becoming a published writer, a Creative Writing degree can also prepare you for employment in related fields, such as in editing, technical writing, and in the publishing sector.

Barbara Henderson

Programme Leader for Creative Writing

Most authors will tell you that writing is something they always wanted to do, and I am no different. But when I was a child, avidly reading any stories I could, I was given to understand that ordinary people didn’t become writers. To be an author, I believed, you had to be someone special, almost like a kind of royalty.

It took me much of my adult life to realise this wasn’t true. I became a print and broadcast journalist, including seventeen years with the BBC in the north-east of England. I still wrote fiction in my spare time, but didn’t have the confidence to show it to anyone.

The turning point came when I started a Creative Writing PhD at Newcastle University, under the supervision of Jackie Kay and the international children’s literature expert Professor Kim Reynolds. The children’s novel I wrote as part of that PhD, The Serpent House, will be published by Curious Fox in June 2014.

My adult suspense novel In Too Deep was published by Legend Press in June 2013. I have won various prizes for short stories. I write under the name of Bea Davenport.

I’m very passionate about teaching creative writing. I’ve taught on a range of modules at Newcastle and Northumbria universities and run my own courses tailored to the needs of groups or individuals. My particular interests include children’s fiction, crime/suspense, creative non-fiction, historical fiction and fantasy. But I have very wide-ranging tastes!

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Creative Writing Degree course units

The available course units for the BA (Hons) Creative Writing degree can be viewed below.

Level 1 (HE4)

Level 2 (HE5)

Level 3 (HE6)


Degree Programme Enquiry Form

Please fill in this form to begin the process of enrolling on the BA (Hons) Creative Writing degree or one of OCA’s other undergraduate BA (Hons) degree programmes. You are not committing to anything by filling in this form, and a member of the Head Office team will be in touch shortly to further discuss your application.

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All of our degrees are awarded by the University for the Creative Arts – one of the UK’s leading specialist universities.