English Language and Creative Writing MA

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UKPASS code: 052069 | Institution code: W50 | Attendance mode: Full-time
Start: 14 September 2017
Duration: 1 year
Location: Central London
Campus: Regent

Important tuition fee information – please read.

Home/EU: £6,000.00
Overseas: £12,500.00

The English Language and Creative Writing MA allows you to explore the interconnections between your knowledge of how language is used and produced, and your literary compositions. It will provide you with a thorough understanding of the linguistic features of English from a wide range of perspectives (theoretical and applied, synchronic and diachronic), as well as leading you to explore the writing process across genres and to take the city of London as one of your main sources of inspiration. The MA will equip you with the intellectual perspectives and the scholarly skills that will prepare you to conduct independent research, and will offer you many opportunities to network with other writers, agents, TV producers and performance poets.

Course content

The English Language and Creative Writing MA is suitable for students who have taken English language, literature and/or creative writing modules at undergraduate level, and others with experience in these fields. It is of particular interest to those wishing to pursue further study, and those aiming to apply their knowledge of language and the writing process in their careers.

If pursuing the degree full-time, you will study 180 credits in one academic year; if part-time, you will normally complete 180 credits in two academic years. You will study three or four core modules (including a 60-credit dissertation on a topic of English language or a creative writing project), as well as two modules from the list of options. The core module English Language in Use will help you acquire the scholarly tools necessary for the stylistic interpretation of literary and non-literary texts, while the modules Tales of the City and Conflict and the City invite you to explore the writing process in connection with prose and dramatic texts.

The teaching is mainly through weekly two- or three-hour sessions for each module, which include tutorials, seminars, practical sessions and workshops. There is also independent self-directed study, and you will be prepared for the Dissertation via structured sessions in research methodology. Assessment methods include submitted coursework such as essays, reviews and exercises; there are no formal examinations.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.

Core modules

Conflict and the City (Drama) 

This module focuses on the craft of playwriting, with a particular emphasis on drama that exploits the possibilities of the urban environment. You will draft a dramatic work of 60-90 minutes, critique the work of experienced dramatists and develop a shared vocabulary of ‘technical’ terminology. It will also introduce you to major new writing opportunities in London and beyond. While contextualising new playwriting within the wider parameters of 20th and early 21st-century drama, the module will encourage you to reflect in depth on your own writing and develop an advanced understanding of the elements of a dramatic text, including characterisation, structure, conflict, dramatic irony and subtext.

Dissertation

The Dissertation gives you the opportunity to conduct autonomous work with supervisory support on a topic you feel passionate about. At the beginning of the module you will have a series of practical seminars on the different issues involved in the process of writing a dissertation, such as finding a topic, the role of the supervisor, research methodology and the conventions of academic writing.

English Language in literary CONTEXTS

In this module you will study English historical linguistics and stylistics, literary linguistics and cognitive poetics. Thus, you will gain a good knowledge of the ways in which the language has changed over time and the stylistic effects of particular linguistic choices, as well as an in-depth understanding of the theoretical frameworks that can be used to describe the interaction between language and literature.

How to Write Creatively: Portfolio 

This module will develop your creative writing skills using a variety of exercises and techniques. It will allow you to put together a portfolio of creative writing inspired by the city through a combination of practical workshops and close reading of established authors. You will also learn to critique your own work, while being challenged to raise your own writing to professional level. 

Tales of the City (Fiction)

This module focuses on fiction writing inspired by the city. Through a combination of exercises, close readings of established authors and critiques of your own work, you will be challenged to raise your own prose writing to a professional level. As it establishes your understanding of prose fiction and treating the city as a primary source or background presence, the module will nurture your potential to be an innovative and independent writer. You will also examine approaches to writing short and longer prose fiction that either overtly takes the city as its theme or employs it as a significant presence.

Writing Project (year-long)

You will focus on one substantial piece of creative work or portfolio of smaller pieces, with a view to submission for publication. The module aims to provide the support needed for you to prepare a substantial piece of creative writing and develop your individual voice in the genre of your choice. As the module seeks to synthesise the discoveries about the city made during the course, and helps you to respond appropriately in your creative work, it will allow you to absorb and process your explorations of the city, and respond through your creative work.

Option modules

Analysing Spoken and Written Discourse

This module offers a range of different linguistic tools for exploring texts. They are analysed for lexical and grammatical cohesion, metonymy and metaphor, and register and thematic progression (Hallidayan functional grammar). Texts are also analysed using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Multimodal Discourse Analysis (MDA). You will acquire a theoretical understanding of the main approaches to discourse analysis, and the practical skills for carrying out these analyses on real texts. You will also gain a broader awareness of how written discourse is constructed by comparing it to spoken discourse, and by discussing it in terms of more general semiotic and communication theories.

Creative Practice

This module will develop your understanding of the aesthetic, ethical and methodological choices that underpin writing practice. You will learn how to evaluate different theories of writing (including realist, modernist and postmodernist approaches), while widening your knowledge of associated literary styles and practices such as stream of consciousness writing, automatic writing, writing as representation and visual writing. The module will also introduce you to the ways in which place, in particular the urban environment, affects writing, and will encourage you to interrogate the ethical and political dilemmas arising from literary production. 

Current Developments in Language Teaching

You will examine current practice and developments in language teaching, including communicative competence in language learning. During this module you will cover a range of topical issues in language learning and teaching, including: content and language integrated learning; individual differences in language learning; language for specific purposes; learner autonomy and strategy training; methodology; neurolinguistic processing and multiple intelligences; skills lessons and real language; and teacher language and national curriculum.

Intercultural Communication

You will gain a greater understanding of what is happening in cross-cultural communication, and develop your ability to do it well. In the first part of the module you will examine critically different theories of the nature of cultural difference and its impact on cross-cultural interaction. You will also explore theories of the intercultural abilities needed to manage such interaction effectively. In the second part of the module you will apply these theories to specific issues in professional contexts of potential relevance, such as language teaching.

Language and the Imagination (Poetic Writing)

You will develop your use of poetic language through a combination of short exercises, close reading of poetry and prose poetry, and critiques of your own work. You will gain a sophisticated understanding of poetic language and its applications to a range of other genres, and enhance your ability to identify imaginative uses of language as a writer and reader of poetry on the city. The module will allow you to develop an advanced understanding of formal poetic structures and of the publishing and performance opportunities for poetry in London.

Sociolinguistics

You will critically explore concepts and issues in sociolinguistics, including: language in face-to-face interaction; language variation, choice, creation, planning, change, decline and death; languages and factors such as age, class, gender and ethnicity; multilingual communities; language and society; bilingualism and diglossia; casual and ritual interaction; conversational interaction focusing on issues such as linguistic politeness; oral narratives, and conversational routines; language socialisation; conversational code-switching; and talk and gender. Throughout the module, attention will be paid to issues of methodology, and the most appropriate methods for studying each topic area. 

The Writing Business

This module focuses on the development of knowledge, personal and professional skills that will allow you to plan your professional development, with a particular emphasis on the writing business in London. Providing useful and relevant information about working in the creative industries through visiting speakers and workshops, the module aims to develop and nurture advanced and transferable entrepreneurial skills and allow you to network with other professionals with confidence.

Translation Studies

This module aims to give you a better understanding of what translation is, how translation is a reflection of its social setting, and what goes on in the mind when a translator translates. Translation Studies has seen rapid growth in recent years, and this module reflects these developments. The topics you will cover include: discourse analysis approaches; equivalence; historical and contemporary translation theories; loss and gain; psycholinguistic approaches; ‘skopos’ theory; the unit of translation; translatability; translating culture; translating ideology; translating literature and sacred texts; and translation and ICT.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is conducted mainly through weekly two or three hour sessions for each module, which include tutorials, seminars, practical sessions and workshops. Teaching will also include visits to selected London institutions to support certain aspects of writing, and you will be encouraged to use various archives, galleries, etc. There is also independent self-directed study, and you will receive one-to-one advice for your dissertation or writing project.

Assessment methods include submitted coursework such as essays, projects, reports or reflective logs. There are no timed written examinations.

Research

The Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster boasts a long established research culture in literature and linguistics. Its commitment to the study of language and its interaction with literature, both from a theoretical and an applied perspective, has led to its more recent expansion of the English language and creative writing areas and the appointment of internationally renowned experts in these fields.

Associated careers

The course will enable you to develop sophisticated critical and creative skills and a widely applicable knowledge base that can be adapted to various fields of language use and study, creative practice and writing business. This course is intended to move you to a new level in your career as a writer by developing your skills as a sophisticated critical practitioner, and your knowledge of literature about the city as well as the writing business. You will be encouraged to network with other writers and identify useful opportunities for career development, partly through the wide range of extra-curricular activities, including writers' events and talks, and partly through the workshops organised by the departmental employability coordinator. The critical and practical skills you will acquire by the end of the course will make you a strong candidate in many areas, including arts management, copy editing, education, freelance writing, journalism, media, publishing, research and academia. 

Further information

If you would like to know more about the MA, please contact Dr Sean Sutherland, the Course Leader.

Course team

Dr Sean Sutherland, Course Leader

Related courses

Students interested in the English Language and Creative Writing MA may also would like to know about the following MAs taught at the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies:

Additional costs information

To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.

Employability

Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.

We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.

During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.

In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.

For more details, visit the employability section on our site.

Career Development Centre

Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.

We can help you to:

  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
  • plan your career development
  • identify your career options
  • market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
  • develop your enterprise skills

We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

Work Placements

Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.

More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.

Career options in your subject area

Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support, including subject-specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.

You can also browse the career options available to you after you graduate on the Career Development Centre's Finding work in your subject area pages and on the Prospects website.

Study in the city

If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.

Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.

Accommodation

After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.

Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships

In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.

Personal tutoring

All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.

Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.

Language support

Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.

Personal advice and counselling

While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.

International Westminster

With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.

Study Abroad and Summer School programmes

Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.

If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.

Sport and recreation

The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.

Students' Union

University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.