Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing

1. Introduction 
Thank you for your interest in the Western Orthodox University Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing programme. The programme is designed to be completed within thirty-six months by a student devoting ten to twelve hours a week, working by distance learning.

The programme is outlined below, but individual details may be varied on the initiative of the Mentor and/or student, always subject to ratification by the University. In principle, the aim is to provide a fully bespoke, individualized learning experience that takes into account the particular strengths, interests and previous learning of the student, and thus offers a flexible but rigorous route to the degree.

The programme currently consists of six modules, listed below with their main topics:

A. English Language, Form and Structure
Study of the principles of metre, the dominant forms of literature (including poetic forms), grammar, idiom.

B. History of English Literature 
Studies in the history of English Literature, specializing in the student’s chosen genre.

C. Philosophy and Aesthetics of Literature 
Study of literary philosophy and aesthetics, specifically the study of “effect” (catharsis, kairosis, kenosis, etc) and of cultural value. Philosophy of fiction and poetry. Schopenhauer’s aesthetics.

D. From Literary Models to Creative Writing
Study of specific exemplars from an established genre of the student’s choice and production of creative writing in direct response to those exemplars.

E. Creative Writing
Studies in creative writing – poetry, prose or drama may be mixed in this module or specialization may be pursued in one or two genres only.

F. A Project in Creative Writing

2. Aims and objectives 
The programme aims to offer the developing creative writer the opportunity to gain a grounded appreciation of their art and to set it in a scholarly context. Unlike some other programmes, this degree is not given over to more-or-less unfettered free expression, but instead considers the study of the techniques and historical/philosophical background of writing to be essential for the development of good creative writing. As such it rightly places emphasis on the student’s own work while placing this in a supportive context. The outcome will be students who are proficient at the craft of writing, and thus have the tools to express themselves with precision readily to hand.

3. Methods of delivery 
The delivery of the teaching for the course is by distance learning. Students will be assigned a Mentor who will be a practitioner in the field and/or an established academic. They will work out the exact details of what is to be studied and how this will be assessed in co-operation with the Mentor with this learning contract then ratified by the University. In most cases, students will communicate with their Mentor via electronic communications (e-mail, fax) although some Mentors prefer to work via postal mail, and many will also offer telephone support.

4. Course materials
The chosen methods of learning are designed to offer the student the maximum of flexibility and scope in tackling the programme.

The individualized nature of the programme means that traditional course materials in the form of structured course notes are rarely appropriate or practical, although it is hoped that where possible, Mentors will make their notes on particular topics available to the student. Students are, of course, responsible for creating their own course notes based on their reading and related work.

Most work within the programme will consist of directed readings from key texts selected by the Mentor. The student will be responsible for obtaining books, which are not included in the tuition fees, although both the Mentor and the University will endeavor to assist in the event of any difficulty in obtaining books. The Mentor will set regular assignments based on the directed reading, most of which will be in the form of an essay or paper. Mentors will also provide guidance on background reading for each topic.

5. Entry requirements 
The usual minimum requirements for entry to the course are as follows:

  • Completion of secondary education (high school)
    and
  • at least three years of professional experience, including prior experience in creative writing (this need not have been published or in a formal context)

Candidates will normally have attained the age of twenty-two years. All candidates will be expected to show a proficiency in the English language.

It is a key principle of the University that each application should be considered on its own merits, and admission to the course and all interpretations as to the eligibility for such admission remain at the discretion of the University.