The basics
Study abroad : Subject Guides

Creative Writing: Express yourself

Creative writing

The recent example of self-publishing by Amanda Hocking and her e-book ‘Switched,’ a young-adult fiction novel, has encouraged your amateur writers to get their work out there. If you are attracted by the creative and expressive side of writing and want to polish your skills in the writing industry, you could also have your chance to shine.  A degree in creative writing will further enhance your abilities and improve future prospects.


Course overview

A creative writing degree encourages an environment where prospective writers can experiment, be imaginative and ambitious, as well as reflect on their practice. The course will give you the opportunity to write literary novels, historical fiction, crime, science fiction, children's stories, as well as screenwriting or short fiction, depending on your choice.


Aims of the course

The course aims to give students practice in writing creatively from direct sensory experience and detailed observation; explore language and style in different literary forms; develop discrimination and choice in drafting, evaluating and editing texts.

The course is suitable for students who wish to build confidence, sensitivity and critical understanding of their own work and the work of others. It will also help you understand where your own creative writing fits in with contemporary creative writing, both in terms of the writing itself and in relation to such issues as the market, writing practice and current debates within differing genres.

If you are an international student looking to pursue a career as a writer, do not be discouraged by the language differences. The principles that you learn in a creative writing course can be applied to your native language and, what’s more, being immersed in an international environment will prepare you better to perform in a competitive global world.


What the course entails

You will get a chance to learn and practice a wide array of skills in this course. Some of these include: approaches to writing, language and genre, poetry and drama, prose, 20th Century Fiction, Reading and writing poetry, fiction, non-fiction, editing processes, drama, and autobiography.

Some other topics are:

  • Making notes and turning your notes into poems and short stories
  • Using all your senses to describe
  • Creating character and making people speak
  • Voice, language, imagery and structure
  • Plotting your work
  • Redrafting and editing



A degree in relevant subjects, equivalent qualifications or notable experience as a creative writer is also desirable. To apply for this course you will also need a portfolio of written work to be considered. Many students have started their portfolio of written work through their blogs and personal websites. These could be a good start to gain confidence writing about your experiences and points of view.

Another important requirement is the English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 or equivalent, requested by most universities and colleges if your native language is not English.

You will be expected to show strong commitment to writing and have samples ready to show to your university admission office. In some cases, you may also be interviewed as part of the admission process.


Career opportunities

Upon finishing the course, your skills will be highly valued in a range of employment fields in areas such as literary production, publishing, journalism and the media. You can also further your studies in relevant postgraduate courses.

You can combine this course with english literature, film studies, journalism, mass communications, media studies, and philosophy to better your chances for employment and experience after graduation.

The most amazing asset of a degree in creative writing is that provides you with transferable skills that you can use in any other work environment, believe it or not. Writing reports, research, any office communication, etc. need good communicators ready to convey a message in a clear and effective way.

Whatever course you plan to enrol in, make sure you have made the right decision as doing a degree takes determination and commitment.


Related content...

If you are attracted by the ‘news fuss,’ a career in journalism can also be combined with creative writing and literature. Learn more from Rachel, a journalism student in her Q&A.

Read our entry, ‘Top 10 study abroad words of wisdom’.

Which cities made our list of the 'Best student cities'?

Read a very interesting article on famous authors’ perception on the creative writing courses boom, 'Can you teach creative writing?'

Search for a course

Choose a country
Study level*
About Author

Creative writing

Aspiring journalist and Cambridge University graduate, Londoner 'by adoption'. Tweeting for @hotcourses_Abrd