Teaching Creative Writing at undergraduate level: Why, how and does it work? (Bath Spa)

Creative Writing


This project did not seek to provide an exhaustive survey of the rapidly changing discipline of Creative Writing in Higher Education. Neither did it set out to provide any kind of benchmarking statement relating to current practice. Instead, it sought to draw together and to clarify both the variations and shared features of a range of Creative Writing programmes.

Project design

The project involved the analysis and comparison of course descriptions and materials but also drew on a range of detailed interviews with staff and students about their experiences of Creative Writing as an academic discipline.

Key findings

The report makes available rich and detailed interview-based perspectives on Creative Writing as well as eight profiles of Creative Writing programmes. It suggests that Creative Writing is a confident, pedagogically-innovative discipline but suggests that its teachers need to identify ways of communicating more successfully about that success to students, colleagues and the broader community.

It will be useful to anyone who is drafting or modifying documentation and curriculum outlines in relation to a Creative Writing programme.

Learning outcomes

The report helps to map the history and current institutional contexts of Creative Writing programmes in Higher Education. It maps the trend away from ‘single module’ or MA level provision to the widespread implementation of undergraduate and doctoral programmes in Creative Writing. At the same time, it provides a detailed insight into the views of staff and students who are involved in these programmes. This dual perspective allows for the identification of the workshop as the primary mode of delivery and for its reconsideration in terms of its efficacy in supporting teaching and learning. The report identifies the discipline of Creative Writing in HE as being both vibrant and reflexive.


Project leader

Dr Steve May
Bath Spa University College

Research period

January 2002 – March 2003