An English and Creative Writing Degree

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#21

I create training courses/classes for corporations. Instructor-led, virtual instructor-led (like over Webex), elearning, social learning – whatever fits the bill.

My job is to meet with the stakeholder and the subject matter experts, figure out what they’re trying to achieve, and to design the course. If it’s instructor-led (which is rare in my company), I would go ahead and create the instructor guide, participant guide, and any supporting materials.

Most of what we do, though, is elearning, and that I have to hand off to a vendor to develop. It’s not that I can’t do it – rather there are just two IDs in my department, and we’re each juggling 6-12 projects at any one time. Just no time! I write the voice over script and the assessment questions, though.

A common model in the ID word is ADDIE – Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate. I’m generally responsible for all but development (and occasionally that too).

When I was younger, I was also a trainer, but that job too has become more specialized.

Overall, though, this field is super fun. It’s always different, and I get to be creative with design.


#22

That sounds great. I’ve always loved subjects that combine analysis with creativity. I was about two seconds from switching to a product design program in college, but I would’ve had to almost start over with courses because there was no overlap. I might make my way over to Business Analyst at some point though…

In the meantime, I’m just living vicariously through other people’s career choices haha.


#23

My wife’s second masters is in Educational Technology. Is that the same thing?

btw, a (not so) funny story. She and a colleague originally signed up for a combined masters/doctorate program. The all-male professors hinted that they should only go for the masters. She understood and changed and got her masters. Her friend didn’t and never got her thesis approved so ended up with no degree.

The professors were all academics. My wife took the knowledge into the business world. They begged her to develop a class at the university to teach how to apply it to business. She did and taught it for two semesters getting the highest score any class ever got in that department.

Now this is the funny part. They hinted that if she went for her doctorate it would be basically given to her. She didn’t bother.


#24

I think it’s basically the same thing, but specifically for courses within education (as opposed to the business world).

Hahaha – love the story!


#25

Except my wife brought that to the business world. That’s the class she developed. How to apply it in the business world.


#26

And I could get a job in education if I wanted. (I don’t. The pay isn’t good, comparatively.) I think the coursework of the degrees focus on one or the other.

Instructional design focuses specifically on adult-learners too. I would be surprised if that were true of Educational Technology.


#27

I just asked my wife. She said Educational Technology was for education, but when people like her took it to the business world they changed the name to Industrial Design (or other names depending on the university). So it is the same thing.


#28

From what I understand, it really depends on location and what you want to get out of your degree.

Always doing something off the side is a good option, that way you have multiple skill sets within your degree. It really helps out in the long run, especially if you want to do something creatively (Studying Business and any art hand in hand is really beneficial in the long run).

And with nowadays with technology, it’s easier to network with others in the industry you desire. It’s a matter of looking around and putting your ducks in a row. And with an English degree, you should be able to do quite a number of different jobs with that, but again, that depends on the outcome you desire. Additional training/learning may be required for some other job aspects, but that shouldn’t be an issue since you seem clued up on things and know what you want to do., and also knowing the expectations etc, etc.

As everyone has mentioned with the arts, you always need a solid income off the side. For example, a lot of artists end up being teachers. That way, they have their own studio space and get a decent enough income to live from, so they don;t have to rely solely on the earnings from their art. The same can be said for books. As a random note, it probably wouldn’t be hard to do additional papers for adult education/high school since interpersonal and communication skills are easy papers that can go hand in hand with what you’re wanting to do. There’s plenty of ways at looking in what direction you want to go, but being mindful of every variable is exceptionally useful :wink:


#29

Wow, I didn’t know I was going to get this many responses. Thank you so much everyone for your contribution and advice!

I hope I’m helping others if they’re contemplating about doing this degree.


#30

Hello! I was summoned by @AWFrasier because she thought I might be of help and this actually does happen to be a field of expertise for me since I am a professional playwright with a writing related degree but also I was massively big on academic and pastoral care for a few years, including being pretty high up in my student union, coaching people through their UCAS applications and mentoring people with theatre degrees into writing (though usually plays, not film/TV).

So, cracks knuckles, let’s get into this. Because this is an incredibly multi-faceted, twisty, no good system.

Now, first some context of the world that you’re joining. With the system as we have it in Britain nearly a third of people your age will be going to University and that is a huge difference to the percentage of our parents’ generation. This means that, unfortunately, you pretty much do need a degree in something to have a hope of getting any job after graduating and the job market for young people across the UK is dire right now. In regards to the film industry in Britain, it certainly is a growth market (arts and culture has grown 10% in the last year woooo) but you will almost definitely not be able to make it as a screenwriter, or even in the film industry, right off the bat. So your degree needs to pull double duty in teaching you everything you need to know to develop your craft and land you a job that will pay the council tax after you graduate.

So the main things to consider will be:

  1. Course content
    a) What will you learn to help you achieve your goals?
    b) Will you enjoy yourself
    c) Will your degree be respected in the job market?

  2. Location
    a) Cost of living around your Uni
    b) Can you actually stnd to live in that place?
    c) What are the local industry ties and oportunities?
    d) Will your Uni be respected?

  3. Everything else
    a) Can you get into the Uni or onto the course?
    b) Are you excited about the Uni or the course?

Course content

The things that you’ve thrown up there are: English, Creative Writing and Drama. Of those options, English Literature is the most taditionally respected. It’d be the most flexible option in terms of jobs, with all kinds of generic grad schemes, advertising agencies, office work etc. looking for English students. It won’t limit your options at all, and you will learn a lot about all elements of story craft that will help you achieve your actual goal of becomming a screenwriter. Many English courses even often optional film modules that would be great for you. However, English is one of the most wok intensive degree options around, leaving you little time to work on film projects, especially if you have to fit in a job.

Creative writing, on the other hand, will completely limit your options. There are very few jobs out there looking for creative writing BAs. Not to say that you shouldn’t do it, or that it wouldn’t be really useful, but if you went this way I would recomend also getting a job in an industry where you can climb to management very easily so when you leave Uni you have a degree and demonstartive leadership skills.

Drama is a total balancing act. I would stake my life on saying that a good theatre degree gives you more transferable work skills than any any other degree out there. But good fucking luck convincing employers of that. My theatre degree let me project manage from start to finish massive, sell-out shows, that required so much teamwork and determination and none of my peers from other courses would ever dream of doing that. But despite that, it is still seen as a pretty soft subject so you have to be ready to sell yourself hard afterwards.

Location

There are some areas of the UK that are a young screenwriters dream. If Salford or Manchester aren’t on your radar they need to be, because the Media city is the golden land of oportunity for your field. It’s also a big city with lots of other jobs on offer, relatively cheap to live in and above all fun.

Otherwise London is a great choice, but a very expensive one. It’s easier to stay in London after your degree than to move there from the regions (trust me :frowning: sometimes I wish I’d never left).

If you end up in like…Conventry (Warwick uni has one of the best English and Drama courses going, plus it’s a Russell Group Uni) you’re going to really struggle to find work even with a great degree under your belt. Plus Coventry is a dull, dull place.

And on that note, Russell Group Unis do look more impressive on a CV. It always stands out to me when I’m hiring, rightly or wrongly. They’re prestigious for a reasonand the teaching quality generally is better.

Everything else

What are your expected grades? And your extra ciriculars? Where can you achievably get into that balances all of the above? It’s good to apply to one or two that will really stretch you, because if you really want to get onto a specific course then that course probably really wants you.

And at the end of the day picking a course that you want to do is the SINGLE most impotant factor. You are going to sink nearly £30k on just the tuition. IT’s going to be hard work in the prime of your life. You need to do something that excites you, even if it meets literally none of the other critera.

To sum up: I was always going to go to Cambridge to read English Literature. I easily had the grades, I had a great personal statement, I had all the ambition and then one day I looked at everyone else going to Cambridge and I just…didn’t want to be around them. I didn’t think I’d enjoy being stuck in an expensive, pretentious city with a load of rich arseholes learning Old Norse so that I could better understand ancient texts. So I withdrew my application and last minute started applying for Engish and Drama because I was too afraid that pure Theatre was too soft.

I got accepted everywhere, got headhunted into a few more English offers and accepted an unconditional at a great Uni because it took all the pressure off. But with that pressure off I got less and less excited about going.

On results day I got fantastic results in a year where they really cut bacck on the percentages of As and A*s and someone said to me “have you thought about York? They have a really exciting theatre course, give them a ring.”

I looked at the course and I fell in love. I rang the admissions dean and they had no more spaces but I kept her on the line. She said my application was better suited to English at Oxford or Cambridge but I told her that I wanted to be a playwright, that I’d won the National Theatre New Views playwright award earlier that year but I left it off my application because I had thought theatre was too soft, but I regretted it and I really wanted to go to York and study theatre. She made me an extra place on the course because she liked my passion and honesty.

It was a “soft” degree, in an expensive city (that I still live in, and I hate) away from London where all the theatres are. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. I loved my course so much and I learned more than I ever would have on a stuffy English Course.

Everything that I’ve outlined is important pragmaticaly but nothing is as important as doing something you love. You can make it work!

I hope any of that was useful. As I said I used to coach people through UCAS applications and then also mentor students at Uni. So if you have any questions shoot them my way! I’ve been to acadmic conferences at Unis all over the country so I might be some help.


#31

I knew summoning you would be a good idea, you absolute babe :heart:


#32

God I love academia and all it’s nightmare nonsense :heart:


#33

I have a BA in English Literature and I’m an Assistant Director at a learning center. Is that my dream job? No, that would be… an English professor :heart_eyes:

I’ll be going back to school after my spouse gets out of the military and we settle down.


#34

These three points make this post gold. Don’t overlook “b”. You really want to enjoy your job. But don’t forget “d” (don’t look for it, it’s not there). When you achieve your goals (“a”), will it pay the bills?


#35

Woah, I cannot thank you enough! If I have any more questions about the UCAS applications in the future, I’ll definitely ask you. Thank you! :grin:

My university of interest is the University of East Anglia (also goes by UEA) which is in Norwich, I believe it’s northeast of London and only two hours by train. I absolutely fell in love with their campus and the city of Norwich. I haven’t been there yet, but judging on the photos and the videos on Youtube, it looks beautiful!

The accommodations that they provide seem quite nice and cozy and the environment also looks very friendly and welcoming. It is said to be one of the top 20 universities in England and top 200 in the world, as seen on their website. I believe they have a program to set students with agents and help them with jobs outside the university and in the workforce, though I have to have a better look into that. The university also has hundreds of clubs and societies, which seem very fun.

And with the coursework, it says that with these courses (of English Literature, English Drama, English Creative Writing etc) that there are no exams. They simply mark on submitted coursework, participation and observation. To me, this is amazing because I major exam anxiety and stress which is hard for me to deal with.

These were the few courses from UEA that I was considering;
BA English Literature
BA English Literature and Drama
BA English Literature with Creative Writing
BA Scriptwriting and Performance

There are other courses from UEA that do interest me, however since English is my best subject when it comes to results I was more invested in researching the English courses that they had to offer.

I’m still looking into other universities in England, so I’ll be sure to look at Russell Group Universities. So thank you for mentioning it!

I think the only thing that concerns me with the English degrees are the factors after graduation such as; what career can I pursue after graduation that I’ll be passionate about, and how will I find that job? Is it easy, or is it hard to find employment?

However, in the country, I’m currently living in which I’d like to keep private. I’d most likely return after by studies in England since my family is here. Anyway, since English isn’t the main language here, those who know English fluently are respected. I think having a degree from a university in England would possibly allow me to have more job opportunities here as I’m bilingual and a native-English speaker. I think it would also showcase my level of education and skill. I know for a fact that many large corporate companies here always look for individuals that know English fluently. So many I have an advantage as I’m living in a non-English speaking country? Though I should just expect that I’ll find immediate employment because of my English speaking skills, I’ll still have to research more into the workforce.

I also have a few questions about the UCAS applications. I’ve only just begun my research into university and the process of it, can you briefly explain the process of the UCAS application and what is needed to apply in the case of an international student?

And since this is new territory for me, would I just need the results of my final high school exams in my application? And, I do have several awards from my high school that display my achievements in my subjects, would providing that in my application matter?

Thank you so much for your help, once again! I’m going to save your post so I can come back to it in my own time. :smile:


#36

Good luck with your future studies! I hope you become an English professor. :smile:


#37

Does anyone know any universities in England that are known for their English, Literature and Art courses? I dive more towards good teaching, flexible course content as well a welcoming campus and good accommodation.

So far I’ve noted down the University of York, Cambridge and Oxford to check out.

Thanks in advance!


#38

I can concur with Oxford. My relative who used to work at Oxford mentioned how a number of their staff are good writers and know the struggle of wanting to be published, etc, etc. Apparently he used to talk with them a bit when he was teaching there, even though it was a completely different field to his lol :joy: