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Creative Writing with Foundation Year (BA): 6-year, part-time

The BA Creative Writing with Foundation Year is a unique and exciting programme of study that gives you the opportunity to explore a range of disciplines, from prose fiction to poetry, scriptwriting to creative non-fiction.

Under the tutelage of practising published, award-winning writers with a reputation for excellence in their field, you will not only build an understanding of the craft of writing and hone your authorial technique, you will also learn the vital instinct for reading as a writer. Through practical projects and engagement with visiting professionals, you will broaden your understanding of the many aspects of the writing industry. You will also complete an extended creative project in a specific genre in your final year.

The degree provides you with a basis of skills necessary to pursue writing as a profession. It also equips you with expertise transferable to many careers in the arts, education and the media.

Before proceeding to the main degree, you will spend your Foundation Year preparing yourself for a degree in the arts by improving your study and research skills and gaining arts-related knowledge and understanding. You will also have the opportunity to study a language, should you wish to.

Our part-time Foundation Year degrees allow you to spread out your Foundation Year studies over two years. As the 'Foundation Year' is made up of 120 credits, as a part-time student you can take 60 credits in each of your first and second years before starting the main four-year BA Creative Writing. This means that you can take six years to complete the part-time degree with Foundation Year.

Highlights

  • Our Foundation Year programmes will fully prepare you for undergraduate study. They are ideal if you are returning to study after a gap, if you have not previously studied the relevant subjects, or if you did not achieve the grades you needed for a place on your chosen undergraduate degree.
  • In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), English Language and Literature at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality. 
  • You will be eligible to submit work to the annual Birkbeck creative writing journal, The Mechanics’ Institute Review. Read an account of how our students created the most recent issue of The Mechanics' Institute Review.
  • Birkbeck is located in the heart of literary London, in Bloomsbury, WC1. You could be studying in a building that was once home to Virginia Woolf and frequented by members of the Bloomsbury Group, now home to our School of Arts. The building houses our own creative hub which includes the Peltz Gallery, the Gordon Square Cinema and a theatre and performance space.
  • The School of Arts is an official partner of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Opportunities for students have included a year’s free membership of the ICA, private views, discounts on all talks and events, free members' screenings and £3 cinema tickets on Tuesdays, up to 25% off ICA Artists' Editions and a monthly e-newsletter.

Course structure

In Foundation Year 1 you take two core modules and in Foundation Year 2 you take one core module and choose one option module.

If you successfully complete these modules, you will automatically advance on to our four-year, part-time, evening study BA Creative Writing.

Module groups

Birkbeck makes all reasonable efforts to deliver educational services, modules and programmes of study as described on our website. In the event that there are material changes to our offering (for example, due to matters beyond our control), we will update applicant and student facing information as quickly as possible and offer alternatives to applicants, offer-holders and current students.

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

    All applicants, whatever their academic background, must submit a sample of 1000 words of creative writing (fiction, poetry, drama, or screenwriting).

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don’t meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration.
    • Courses of less than six months' duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home students, Year 1&2: £4625 pa
    Part-time international students, Year 1&2: £7140 pa
    Part-time home students, Year 3+: £6935 pa
    Part-time international students, Year 3+: £10710 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    TUITION FEE AND MAINTENANCE LOANS

    Eligible full-time and part-time students from the UK don’t have to pay any tuition fees upfront, as government loans are available to cover them.

    Maintenance loans are also available for eligible full-time and part-time UK students, to assist with covering living costs, such as accommodation, food, travel, books and study materials. The amount you receive is means-tested and depends on where you live and study and your household income.

    Funding for EU students is changing from August 2021: find out about details of these changes.

    Find out more about tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time and part-time students at Birkbeck.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Teaching is varied and interactive and takes the form of lecturer-led sessions on elements of craft, workshopping of students' creative work, class and home exercises, student readings, and individual and group work.

    The Foundation Year is composed mainly of interactive lectures for large groups and tutorial-style classes that support the development of knowledge, skills, confidence and self-awareness.

    You will taught by successful, published authors and practitioners, including:

    Contact hours

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

    On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Assessment is 100% coursework, which may include short creative projects, essays, presentations, a writer's notebook, web publishing and an extended creative work in a specific genre. The compulsory School of Arts elective may include an examination or another form of assessment.

    A creative dissertation is also a compulsory requirement of the programme in your final year.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in creative writing, journalism, education or media production. This degree may also be useful in becoming an author, journalist, higher education lecturer or screenwriter.

    Birkbeck creative writing graduates include:

    • Niki Aguirre
    • Sarah Alexander
    • Laura Allsop
    • Iphgenia Baal
    • Phoebe Blatton
    • Nicole Burstein
    • Tray Butler
    • Melissa De Villiers
    • Liz Fremantle
    • A. J. Grainger
    • Julia Gray
    • Emma Henderson
    • Sally Hinchcliffe
    • Anna Hope
    • Heidi James
    • Olya Knezevic
    • Nik Korpon
    • Matthew Loukes
    • Nii Parkes
    • Helen Pike
    • Nadim Safdar
    • Karin Salvalaggio
    • David Savill.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link. Please note that online application will open in September.

    You will need to prove your identity when you apply - read more about suitable forms of identification.

    When to apply

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol.

    You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply - Birkbeck can offer you a place that is conditional on your results.

    You will also receive information about subject-specific induction sessions over the summer.

    Help and advice with your application

    Get all the information you need about the application, admission and enrolment process at Birkbeck.

    Our online personal statement tool will guide you through every step of writing the personal statement part of your application.