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Creative & Professional Writing and Illustration BA (Hons)

Key features of this course:

  • Excellent work placement opportunities, including through Writing West Midlands and Ledbury Poetry Festival
  • Exciting programme of guest speakers for both areas, including Olivier Kugler, Isabel Greenberg, Jonny Hannah, Katerina Manolessou, Ben Newman, Jane Ray, Nobrow and Flying Eye Books           
  • Live brief collaboration with publishers including Frances Lincoln and Lemniscaat (Netherlands) and publications such as You Magazine (Mail on Sunday)
  • Opportunity to travel to destinations in mainland Europe and to showcase your work in London
  • Introduced to exhibition practice through illustration fairs, card sales and exhibitions in the final year graduation show

Book an open day

For more information about teaching, learning and assessment on this course, please see the single honours course pages for Creative & Professional Writing and Illustration.

Both these subject areas are ‘practice-based’, and you learn primarily through ‘doing’. Their interests and preoccupations are highly complementary and studying them as Joint Honours is therefore full of possibility. In your final year, there is the opportunity to produce a piece of work that showcases your development in both subject areas: for example, you might both write the text and produce the illustrations for a proposed book. In today’s world of multimedia communication and publishing, illustrators and writers work together in a multitude of contexts and, in addition, the transferable skills that they need also open up possibilities for careers in other, very diverse employment sectors.

Creative & Professional Writing aims to nurture your confidence as a writer and to support your development as a critical and skilful analyst of your own and others’ writing. Throughout, you will be immersed in intellectual issues informing the discipline and practices of writing and learn to place your own writing within contexts of published work. You will develop expertise in commercial practice (writing for magazines, reviewing, scriptwriting, editing) and understanding of publishing and marketing processes alongside working towards your own, creative development. You will work with published writers, professional publishers and editors with a variety of specialisms including poetry, travel writing, writing for the screen, writing fiction, writing for performance, writing for children, feature writing, blogging and copy writing. Your development and achievements will be assessed by means of a wide variety of writing ‘tasks’ and each of your first two years will begin with an intensive weekend writing retreat. Designed to inspire you for the year ahead, the retreats also seed lifelong friendships and develop networks. In your third year, you will undertake a major writing project of your choice, mentored by members of the course team, alongside participating in a range of activity designed to support you to prepare for progression once you have graduated.

Illustration aims to cover the complete range of illustration genres and forms, including children’s books, editorial and magazine illustration, the graphic novel, reportage, authorial illustration and advertising. With its comprehensive foundation in drawing during students’ first year, it will support development of your work across a wide range of applications encompassing traditional techniques and digital realisation. Cross media projects are encouraged and, in your final year, there is increasing emphasis on growing your knowledge of, and interaction with, professional contexts of illustration. You are taught by lecturers who, themselves, are also professional, published illustrators.

Both subject areas are committed to supporting your understanding of the range of possibilities that could be available to you on graduation, and there are opportunities to explore postgraduate study as well as to investigate, with those who are already following them, career paths in teaching, the creative and cultural industries, the media, marketing, PR and other employment sectors in which arts graduates find work. Studying these courses in combination could be right for you if your creative interests span working in both visual and written forms, and if your curiosity is fired by the possibilities afforded by visual and other communication contexts.

You'll be given the opportunity to publish your work from the very first week and throughout your undergraduate programme, including an intensive writing ‘retreat’ at the start of the course. You'll be able to write for a range of digital, print, audio, visual and performance platforms, including getting involved in the student writing magazine: The Fuse. The Illustration teaching is led by a team of permanent staff including Tobias Hickey, whose professional achievements are acknowledged in international illustration contexts.


Entry requirements

104 UCAS Tariff points

The points above are the new UCAS tariff, which will be used for courses starting from September 2017. See our new UCAS tariff page for more information.


Study options

Full-time or part-time study available

Get in touch

Jack McGowan 
Course Leader, Creative & Professional Writing
01905 542821

Tobias Hickey
Course Leader, Illustration

Admissions Office
01905 855111

Course content

Year 1

Core modules:

Introduction to Writing - a tool kit of techniques for creative and professional writing
Drawing for Animators and Illustrators
Image and Text


Module options:

Life Writing
Writing Poetry
Creativity in Women’s Writing: Difference of View
Introduction to Feature Writing
Illustration and Print Making
Illustration: Origins and Function

Year 2

Core modules:

Writer as Researcher


Module options:

Environmental Writing
Writing for Children
Intermediate Feature Writing
Visual Statement
Illustration Forms and Genres
Location Drawing and Reportage

Year 3

Core modules:

Extended writing project mentored by practitioners
Contemporary Practice


Module options:

Career and Project
Writing for Performance
Hypertexts – Creative Writing in a Digital Culture
Professional Practice
Authorial Practice
Negotiated Project



The Creative & Professional Writing section of this course will provide a foundation for students who are interested in developing writing as a profession, for example in the creative industries and/or commercial markets and an understanding of how writers make a living. Graduates from this course will be very successful candidates for careers in teaching because of the emphasis on writing in the new English curricula. Graduates may equally go on to work in sectors such as publishing, the media, marketing and communications. The course also provides an excellent basis for further study or for self-employment as a freelance writer.

Illustrators are in increasing demand as the media industries expand. Options for the professional illustrator include newspapers and magazines, books, advertising, exhibiting independent work, television and the internet. All these fields are potential showcases for graduates’ work. Our interdisciplinary approach gives flexibility and a wider view of the world that is attractive to employers. Graduates will find career opportunities not only in illustration but also television motion graphics, graphic design, story writing, studio management and advertising.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS

Creative & Professional Writing and Illustration BA (Hons) - WW82

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

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