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Creative Writing and Film Cultures BA (Hons)

Why choose this course?

Film and Creative Writing go hand in hand: from the pioneers of 1920s Soviet Cinema, through the innovation of Jean-Luc Godard and the 1960s French New Wave, to George Lucas in the 1970s, Tarantino in the 1990s and Greta Gerwig in the present day, great directors have often been great writers. But they've also understood the history, theory and craft of their chosen area.

This combined Creative Writing and Film Cultures degree provides you with a rigorous exploration of approaches to storytelling on both page and screen. You'll demonstrate your understanding through a range of assessments, from traditional essays and presentations to creative work such as videos and screenplays.

Your degree covers the histories and global contexts of the moving image, and theoretical, critical and practical approaches to creative writing. It encourages you to see the connections between not just these two areas, but related cultural forms such as video games, television, theatre and comics. You'll study both popular and avant-garde art, and understand its relationship to its national, political and cultural setting.

Throughout the programme, our teaching team of award-winning novelists, short story writers and film scholars explore creative writing and film as part of a dynamic matrix of cultural influences. We'll help you to develop your own creative practice, and through masterclasses from professionals, prepare you for a range of possible careers in these industries including screenwriting, copywriting, reviewing, archive curation, and cinema programming. You'll graduate with a portfolio of work that you can show potential employers, and a thorough understanding of your chosen field.

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time WP38 2020
2021
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston

  • This course encourages you to explore the relationship between film and other cultural forms and to express your understanding through creative writing, including film scripts, as well as traditional essays.
  • The degree incorporates professional practice. There are masterclasses from experts in a range of film-related careers, such as journalism, scriptwriting, festival management and archiving.
  • You'll be taught by a team of award-winning novelists, short-story writers, directors and film scholars, with expertise in areas such as horror films, cinematic cultural icons, experimental film and film philosophy.

What you will study

This integrated course covers the histories and global contexts of the moving image, and theoretical, critical and practical approaches to creative writing in an interdisciplinary context.

Modules

Each level is made up of four modules each worth 30 credit points. Typically, a student must complete 120 credits at each level.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

In Year 1 you will begin to develop practical skills in creative writing through analysis of published writing and consideration of language and style. You will also be introduced to key issues and approaches for the study of film within the wider context of visual culture, and you will acquire habits of writing, self-reflection and revision necessary to the successful professional writer.

Core modules

Introduction to Creative Writing I: The Writer's Toolkit

30 credits

This module centres upon practical work designed to develop the skills appropriate to the undergraduate study of creative writing. These skills will be focused in the following areas: the analysis and use of published writing; language and style; seminar/workshop practice; and habits of writing, self-reflection and revision. The module will investigate how writers think about their craft and the techniques they use to write most effectively in their various mediums. Weekly lectures will be given by practicing writers who will introduce students to their own published work as well as that of a wide range of other authors. Students will read, analyse and discuss poems, short stories, plays and essays, and will develop a greater awareness of language and style in writing through a variety of exercises. These workshop exercises will allow students to establish guidelines for constructive participation and encourage co-operation and self-reflection.

Introduction to Creative Writing II: Writing that Works

30 credits

This module is designed to familiarise you with a range of rhetorical strategies, aesthetic techniques, redrafting and editing skills, while also providing the opportunity to practise writing and editing in a number of literary and non-literary forms. In "Writing that Works" you are introduced to key techniques for writing effectively and you develop your ability to identify strengths and weaknesses in writing by studying a number of different forms of published texts, both literary and non literary. These abilities are first developed by reading and examining good and bad examples of writing in a variety of forms written for different audiences – from short stories and poems, to newspaper articles, commercial writing, blogs, ads, speeches, emails, informational pamphlets, and business letters.  In addition to the examples offered by tutors, you will be encouraged to source independently further instances of good and bad writing to share with the class in seminars. The next step is for you to practise and obtain tutor and peer feedback on your own writing in these forms and styles. Transferable skills are embedded in the module through the editing and redrafting practice in which you will synthesise the reading, analysis and feedback you have received in order to produce a portfolio of writing that works. The module will make use of the expertise of a number of our Writers in Residence, Distinguished Writers and Creative Writing staff who will present and discuss examples of their own writing that has, and hasn't, worked. 

From Pre-Cinema to Post-Cinema

30 credits

This module takes students from the pre-history of film, and its 19th  century origins in photography, science and optical toys, through to the post-digital, multi-platform era of the 21st. Encompassing both Hollywood and key cinema movements from around the world, the module will explore the development of cinema in relation to its surrounding culture. It looks at how technological and economic changes shaped film throughout its history, and how it evolved into its current form.

Authorship and Active Audiences

30 credits

This module asks where the real meaning of popular stories lies - with the original author, or with the audience's interpretation. It begins by exploring theories of authorship in literature, and traces the development of these ideas through the film studies of the 1950s and 1960s to concepts of the ‘showrunner' in contemporary television. It then surveys the ways in which screen audiences have been studied, from World War Two propaganda to present-day work on fan videos and fan edits, mash-ups and tributes.

In Year 2, you will develop a more sophisticated and focused understanding of your subject areas and the synergies between them. You will study four modules across the year, experiencing a variety of learning and assessment methods.

You will have the opportunity to progress your creative writing skills by exploring the relationship between theory and practice across arrange of modes and genres.

You will also learn from industry specialists in a range of fields such as film journalism, scriptwriting, festival management and archiving, and will feed this learning into your own portfolio of written and creative work.

Core modules

Screenwriting

30 credits

Film is often seen as a director's medium, rather than a writer's. This course doesn't debate the relative claims of either - it retains a strong commitment to the visual - but its primary focus is on the construction of script and, in particular, the screenplay of the mainstream narrative film. The cornerstone of the module is an exploration of what makes an effective screen story through analysis of dramatic structure. The tutors on this module, both experienced screenwriters, contend that all genres of screen narrative use essentially the same core principles of storytelling and that an understanding of how these principles work is a creative tool: we can use them to create our own stories and adapt them to different forms. First, through close study of several successful films - focusing in particular on structure and character - you will be taught the contribution of the screenplay to how a film is constructed and why it succeeds. Second, with particular emphasis on dialogue and the craft of visual storytelling, we will guide you to the creation and completion of your own short screenplay, providing you with models (in both film and script form) from a selection of short films, and teaching you how to present and format your script.

Students will be invited to demonstrate their knowledge of structure and screenwriting craft in analysis of a feature film. In TB2 they will pitch an original idea for a screen narrative before developing their own screenplay.

Independent Creative Writing

30 credits

This is a dissertation-style module, taught through a combination of small-group sessions and individual tutorials, in which students will have the opportunity to work on a sustained creative writing project of their choosing. They will produce a substantial piece of writing in a chosen form, having undertaken contextual reading in that form and engaged in other research as appropriate, such as location scouting, conducting interviews, or visiting archives and specialist collections. Through group workshops and presentations, as well as one-on-one tutorials, students will receive constructive feedback and guidance on how to plan, structure, write, revise, and edit their projects, and gain advice in developing the skills and habits necessary to working independently. In addition, students will learn how to plan strategies for the possible dissemination and promotion of their projects in the world outside the university, as professional authors would, such as through various methods of publication or performance. By learning to work independently and by planning the dissemination and promotion of their projects, students will acquire the entrepreneurial skills and abilities necessary for success in self-employment and in other professions.

Writing about Film

30 credits

Students will have the opportunity to work with a series of guest professionals from the film cultures industry, including festival programmers, reviewers, scriptwriters and journalists, to develop their own portfolio and shape their future career aspirations.

Global Film Cultures

30 credits

What artistic innovation has emerged from the diverse cultures of 'world cinema'? The module explores the dynamic between local and global, and the need to balance cultural specificity with a more cosmopolitan appeal. It examines the changing relationship between world and national cinemas, the influence of Hollywood and American culture, and new trends from other media and visual art forms that might resist this dominance.

Year 3 is a ‘capstone year' during which you will complete a major self-designed creative writing dissertation project. You will use the practical, critical and analytical skills developed across years one and two, to research a topic of your own choice.

Other modules will help you to manage your research and introduce you to further ideas and ways of working that may influence your career choices.

Research is key throughout the third year, in both the modules delivered and in the increasing focus on your extensive, independent study.

Core modules

Box Set Drama: Writing for Television

30 credits

This is the module that can make you rich! On terrestrial and digital platforms, in both drama and comedy, the returning drama series remains TV's holy grail - pulling viewers in for episode after episode, season after season, box set after box set. For producers and writers - and the ‘showrunners' who are both - a returning series can be a goldmine. So how do these TV blockbusters get made? What makes them successful? And could you write one?

Taught by two highly experienced professionals, Box Set Drama is a practical and creative module which explores how a returning drama or comedy series is conceived and constructed - and gives you the tools to write one. Through close study of a few successful shows (and some not so successful), you will learn how to structure a series, build characters and stories, hook an audience, and dramatise action for the screen. Building from concept to treatment to script, with the aid of practical exercises and regular feedback, you will then develop a pitch for your own original show, aimed at the current television market. If you are keen to understand screen narrative and genre, find out how television drama works and explore writing for a visual medium, this module is for you. You will be taught basic principles of scriptwriting and storylining and, after two stimulating and entertaining semesters, will have generated a pitch and supporting portfolio for your own idea, written to industry standards.

Creative Writing Dissertation Project

30 credits

Creative Writing Dissertation Project is a year-long 30-credit module which showcases and synthesises students' practical skills, knowledge gained, and creative talent nurtured and developed throughout their creative writing degree. It documents them in a unique portfolio that can be presented to a range of audiences, potential sponsors and employers. The specific nature and dissemination of the project is influenced by the type of joint-honours degree you are taking and this is reflected in the proposal initiated and developed by you yourselves in discussion with your supervisor. The project also builds on accumulated experience in research and creative writing in an inter- and transdisciplinary context, as it encourages you to make use of lateral thinking in order to draw on knowledge from across your course in conceptualising and producing their creative dissertation. It fuses creativity, initiative and imagination cultivated in a practice-based writing course with skills gained in joint disciplines in a way which resonates with the demands of contemporary creative economies and job markets.

In its format, the portfolio of work included in the Creative Writing Dissertation Project reflects stages of project development and execution encountered in a range of creative and research industries (proposal/bid, creative practice, dissemination and evaluation). Specific phases are designed to strengthen initiative and enterprise, in a process which benefits from employability-related skills gained in Level 4 and Level 5 modules such as, but not limited to, Writing that Works and Independent Creative Writing.

Throughout the project, you will gain knowledge of the most effective ways of presenting creative work to a wider audience including employers, sponsors, and commissioning bodies. Against the increasing dominance of self-publication, you will learn how to operate successfully in the literary market without traditional networks of support. The work on the portfolio emphasises transferable skills and employability, as well as entrepreneurship and self-reliance, whether you are preparing to enter the job market, work freelance or progress to postgraduate study.

Power and the Image

30 credits

The module explores the relationship between politics and the image, from a range of critical approaches including post-colonialism, post-modernism, and post-humanism. We look at a range of films that run counter to dominant discourses in relation to race, gender, sexuality and the body, including mainstream and European cinema, science fiction and neo-noir.

Special Topics in Film Cultures

30 credits

This module is research-led and changes year on year in response to changes in the industry and the research environment. Students will be able to create a range of responses to the module in their assignments, including the production of media artefacts accompanied by critical commentary.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer 2020

112 UCAS points from Level 3 qualifications (A-levels, BTEC Diploma, Access Diploma, IB Diploma, etc).

A-level: English Lit. / English Lit. & Lang, Creative Writing or similar, grade C required.

General Studies/Native Language accepted when 1 of 3 A-levels or equivalent.

Entry requirements 2021

UCAS tariff points: 112

Additional requirements

Entry on to this course does not require an interview, entrance test, audition or portfolio.

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English Language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.0 overall, with no element below 5.5

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Academic support

Our academic support team here at Kingston University provides help in a range of areas.

Dedicated personal tutor

When you arrive, we'll introduce you to your personal tutor. This is the member of academic staff who will provide academic guidance, be a support throughout your time at Kingston and who will show you how to make the best use of all the help and resources that we offer at Kingston University.

Your workload

20% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Type of teaching and learning

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1
  • Scheduled teaching: 66 hours
  • Guided independent study: 234 hours
Year 2
  • Scheduled teaching: 66 hours
  • Guided independent study: 234 hours
Year 3
  • Scheduled teaching: 66 hours
  • Guided independent study: 234 hours

How you will be assessed

Type of assessment

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1
  • Coursework: 100%
  • Exams: 0%
  • Practical: 0%
Year 2
  • Coursework: 100%
  • Exams: 0%
  • Practical: 0%
Year 3
  • Coursework: 100%
  • Exams: 0%
  • Practical: 0%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetable

Your individualised timetable is normally available to students within 48 hours of enrolment. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9.00am and 6.00pm. For undergraduate students Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities, but there may be occasions when this is not possible. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally attracts 20 students and lecture sizes are normally 10-30. However this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

Many of the Creative and Professional Writing teaching team are published authors, with extensive experience and professional links: they will help you to develop your skills, networks and gain access to industry contacts. Their expertise and knowledge is closely matched to the content of the modules on this course.

Our Film Cultures teaching team have an established record of teaching and publishing on film and its surrounding cultures. The team includes Professor John Ó Maoilearca (philosophy, posthumanism), Professor Will Brooker (cultural history and audiences), Carmen Rabalska (representation, gender, post-colonialism), Dr Corin Depper (art film, the image, philosophy), Dr Simon Brown (British film, American television, the horror genre), Dr Patrick O'Neill (youth culture).

Academic teaching is supported by visiting speakers and guest lecturers who enhance your learning.

After you graduate

Graduates from this course have worked in the creative industries as writers, directors, stand-up comedians, outreach workers, technicians, producers and events managers. They work in publishing, journalism, advertising and marketing, arts management, new media, education, community arts, the public relations industry, business, and therapeutic fields.

A number of graduates have gone on to postgraduate study in Film, Theatre, Creative Writing, Media or to teacher training. Our alumni have published novels in a variety of countries as well as gaining employment in a range of industries where accurate and imaginative writing is valued. We have industry links with publishers, film professionals and literary agents, as well as working writers in a variety of fields.

Course fees and funding

2020/21 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK or EU), 'Islands' or 'International' student. In 2020/21 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category Amount
Home (UK and EU students) £9,250*
International Year 1 (2020/21): £14,600
Year 2 (2021/22): £15,000
Year 3 (2022/23): £15,450

For courses with a sandwich year, the fee for the placement year can be viewed on the undergraduate fees table. The placement fee published is for the relevant academic year stated in the table. This fee is subject to annual increases but will not increase by more than the fee caps as prescribed by the Office for Students or such other replacing body.

* For full time programmes of a duration of more than one academic year, the published fee is an annual fee, payable each year, for the duration of the programme. Your annual tuition fees cover your first attempt at all of the modules necessary to complete that academic year. A re-study of any modules will incur additional charges calculated by the number of credits. Home/EU tuition fees may be subject to annual increases but will not increase by more than the fee caps as prescribed by the Office for Students or such other replacing body. Full time taught International fees are subject to an annual increase and are published in advance for the full duration of the programme.

Eligible UK and EU students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest-rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

2019/20 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK or EU), 'Islands' or 'International' student. In 2019/20 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category  Amount
Home (UK and EU students) £9,250*
International Year 1 (2019/20): £14,200
Year 2 (2020/21): £14,600
Year 3 (2021/22): £15,000
Islands (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) To be confirmed by the Island Authorities

For courses with a sandwich year, the fee for the placement year can be viewed on the undergraduate fees table. The placement fee published is for the relevant academic year stated in the table. This fee is subject to annual increases but will not increase by more than the fee caps as prescribed by the Office for Students or such other replacing body.

* For full time programmes of a duration of more than one academic year, the published fee is an annual fee, payable each year, for the duration of the programme. Your annual tuition fees cover your first attempt at all of the modules necessary to complete that academic year. A re-study of any modules will incur additional charges calculated by the number of credits. Home/EU tuition fees may be subject to annual increases but will not increase by more than the fee caps as prescribed by the Office for Students or such other replacing body. Full time taught International fees are subject to an annual increase and are published in advance for the full duration of the programme.

Eligible UK and EU students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest-rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Text books

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences.

Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses.

Printing

In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.

Travel

Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.

For this course you will be 

  • involved in processes of making, as means of exploration, experimentation, and understanding your practice, by using a diverse range of media and materials
  • required to purchase your own copy of books, for required reading
  • required to produce physical artefacts for assessment 
  • able to participate in optional study visits and/or field trips

However, over and above this you may incur extra costs associated with your studies, which you will need to plan for. 

In order to help you budget, the information below indicates what activities and materials are not covered by your tuition fees 

  • personal laptops and other personal devices 
  • personal copies of books 
  • optional study visits and field trips (and any associated visa costs)
  • printing costs
  • your own chosen materials and equipment
  • costs of participating at external events, exhibitions, performances etc.

The costs vary every year and with every student, according to the intentions for the type of work they wish to make. Attainment at assessment is not dependent upon the costs of materials chosen.

Note for EU students: UK withdrawal from the European Union

The Government has confirmed that EU students applying for places at universities in England in the 2020/21 academic year will be eligible for student loans and grants throughout their degree programmes.

The decision means they will be eligible for the same funding and support available to current EU students and the University will continue to charge at the 'home' fee rate.

These rights will continue for the full duration of their courses, even if the UK exits the European Union during that period.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

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