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Module QXP-3099:
Creative Writing Dissertation

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

40 Credits or 20 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Zoë Skoulding

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To offer students a critically supportive context in which to produce a sustained creative work in a chosen form.
  2. To enable students to recognise and solve problems in the writing process with reference to wider critical reading.
  3. To explore in detail the relationship between a literary work and its social and cultural contexts.
  4. To enable development of a reflective approach to writing and redrafting that will support future independent and self-critical practice.

Course content

This module involves the production of an extended piece of creative writing of high quality, with an attached commentary, a brief synopsis and/or introduction to the work as appropriate, and relevant references. The main focus of the dissertation is the piece of creative writing, which can be undertaken in any genre after agreement with the supervisor, and must be preceded by a 1,000 word plan of work to be completed (submitted to the supervisor in Week 6).

The critical piece, normally of 2,000 words, can be in a style similar to that of a critical literature essay, or it can be more focused on creative practice or the contextualization of that creative practice, and can use the student’s own work as one of the reference points, as well as containing references to the work of other writers.

The length of the dissertation varies according the genre and is the subject of discussion with the supervisor, but as a guide the total number of words for a prose fiction submission would be between 8,000 and 10,000 words.

A poetry submission will be much shorter. A certain number of poems, usually 25-30, will be agreed with the supervisor rather than a word count. The exact number will depend on the length and complexity of the poems proposed.

The dissertation provides a valuable opportunity for independent exploration and innovation in a literary context. While (if working in fiction) students may choose to work in a particular genre, they will be encouraged to extend its boundaries by challenging market-led stereotypes. At all times they will be encouraged to produce work of high literary and imaginative quality, enhanced by a professional standard of presentation.

A series of introductory seminars will address practical issues and provide a forum for discussion of work in progress, but most of the module consists of independent study supported by six individual supervisory meetings spread throughout the year.

Assessment Criteria


D: A 3rd class candidate's work will show many of the following features: Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas. Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner Little evidence of background reading Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers Some uncertainty over language and syntax Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced In creative work: superficial. Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium Occasionally clumsy and unimaginative


B: A 2(i) candidate's work will show many of the following qualities Discusses ideas adeptly Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant. Shows analytical and clear thought. Gives evidence of relevant reading. Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired. Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps. Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. A few minor errors here and there Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class. In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium.

C: A 2(ii) candidate's work will show many of the following qualities: Discusses ideas, but without much confidence Makes reference to the subject in question, but some important matters not mentioned Fairly clear thought on most occasions, and the arguments relevant on the whole. Evidence of having read some works associated with the field in question. 4 Evidence of planning in the answers, but a lack of coherence at times. Quite accurate expression, though the points may sometimes be presented clumsily Signs of conscientious work deserve a higher position within the class. In creative work: not having quite mastered the requirements of the medium. A few flashes of originality here and there. A respectable effort but not showing any unusual talent. Undisciplined and unsure at times.


A: Typically, the work of a first class candidate will show many of the following qualities: Discusses ideas with confidence and precision Demonstrates maturity and sophistication. Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant. Shows independent, analytical and clear thought Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading. Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language. Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought. In creative work: displays considerable originality Command over medium. May have potential for publication/production.

Learning outcomes

  1. Ability to research and develop a writing project from an initial concept, to extend this into aspects of writing form and function;

  2. Ability to work independently on a long writing project, relating this project to the work of other writers (both known/established and class `peers¿).

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Creative Writing Dissertation 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study


Tutorial 3
Lecture 6

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: