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BAJournalism & Creative Writing & Social Policy

Why this course?

From crises in the Middle East to the economic and political situation at home, journalism informs our view of the world and shapes our decisions.

At Strathclyde, you can combine Journalism & Creative Writing in one programme taught by internationally-recognised writers, academics and experienced journalists.

Social policy is a theoretical and applied subject which draws on many different disciplines - such as history, sociology, anthropology, economics, law, psychology and politics - to improve our understanding of how different societies organise their resources to meet individual and social needs and how they measure progress in these areas.

This new social policy degree programme gives you the opportunity to learn more about the social and economic challenges facing Scottish society and enables you to place these in a broader international and comparative perspective.

It also addresses some of the major questions of our time, such as how should social policy adapt to a changing global, digital, connected and information-rich world? How can we adapt social policies to the needs of a more diverse society? And how should resources be distributed, not only between generations, but also within them?

Our BA degrees in Humanities & Social Sciences are initially broad-based. In Year 1, you'll study three subjects, including your chosen subject(s).

Journalism & Creative Writing

What you'll study

Year 1

You’ll be introduced to core concepts in both journalism and creative writing and explore the connections between the two areas of writing.

Year 2

In second year, you’ll explore the structure of media institutions and develop awareness of writing techniques common to journalists and creative writers.

Year 3

Areas of study include script writing, features journalism and research techniques for writers and journalists.

Year 4

As an Honours student you’ll prepare a portfolio over the course of the year. There’s also the opportunity to take advanced Honours classes in journalism and creative writing.

Work placement

Although there is no obligation for students to undertake work placements, staff are regularly contacted by newspaper editors seeking help from students with various projects. So there are a good number of opportunities for work experience during the course of study at Strathclyde.

Short work placements are occasionally available to students of journalism during summer periods. These are not part of the course and entry is often competitive. Recent placements have included the communications division of the Scottish Government.

Major projects

Journalism staff are involved in a number of projects involving investigative journalism, digital journalism, health journalism and media talk, and are regular contributors to broadcast and print media. Staff in journalism have also been involved in the delivery of a recent Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

Creative writing staff take part in many of Scotland’s literary festivals, including the International Edinburgh Book Festival, Aye Write and others. Postgraduate students recently organised two creative writing conferences and staff organised and hosted a major international conference on poetry and the visual arts in association with Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery.

Facilities

The department of journalism and creative writing are located in the Lord Hope building, in the centre of Glasgow just a few minutes from the railway stations, bus stops, shops, and restaurants. This location is ideal as it provides a social hub and access to student services such as the library, cafés, meeting areas and exhibition spaces.

Many of the classes in journalism take place in dedicated news classrooms.

Postgraduate study

Our taught graduate programmes combine academic excellence in journalism studies with professional education to industry standards. We offer taught Masters degrees in:

We also offer various research degrees including an MRes in Creative Writing.

Social policy

What you'll study

Year 1

Our Semester 1 module provides a wide-ranging introduction to some of the key challenges facing Scottish society in areas such as health, housing, education and social security.  The Semester 2 module asks how different issues come to be recognised and defined as ‘social problems’.  At what point do individual or personal issues come to be defined as social issues, and why?

Year 2

You'll have the opportunity to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the development of Scottish social policy. You will also discover more about some of the key concepts in Social Policy, including such issues as human needs, social welfare, inequality, poverty, citizenship, and social exclusion. You'll also get the chance to discuss the processes through which policies are made and engage in debates about their effectiveness.

Year 3

You'll be expected to undertake a more detailed examination of the development of Scottish social policy in a UK context, alongside in-depth studies of the particular social policy areas or themes that interest you.  You will also take a class in research methodology which will help you to prepare for your final year dissertation.

Year 4

You'll take a core module in Comparative Social Policy, alongside the more detailed study of a particular area or theme. Your classes will be based around the specialist research interests of the academic staff and you will be engaging in debates at the cutting edge of current Social Policy thinking. The 10,000-word Honours dissertation will be your chance to undertake some original research of your own in a key area of Social Policy.

Major projects

All honours students will have the opportunity to complete a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. The dissertation gives you the opportunity to undertake independent research into an issue which is particularly important to you.

It might be based on a detailed analysis of original sources, such as policy documents or statistical records, or you might choose to generate your own data, using interviews or focus groups.  The opportunity to undertake original research into an topic of particular interest means that the dissertation is often the most satisfying part of any student’s degree.

Postgraduate study

We offer two MSc programmes:

If you're looking to build on what you learned in your undergraduate degree, this is the postgradute course for you.

If you're looking to undertake a postgraduate research degree or embark upon a research career, this is the postgraduate course for you.

Course content

Year 1

Journalism & Creative Writing

Journalism & Creative Writing 1A

The class introduces key concepts in the theory and practice of creative writing. During the course of this semester we focus mainly on the exploration and production of short stories.  This module aims to:

  • introduce you to the basic skills and techniques involved in writing short fiction
  • develop good practice related to the professional presentation of creative work
  • encourage you to discuss creative work collaboratively and constructively
  • introduce you to the skills involved in reflecting critically on creative products and processes

You're introduced to core concepts in both journalism and creative writing and explore the connections between the two areas of writing.

Journalism & Creative Writing 1B

This class introduces key concepts in the theory and practice of journalism. It focuses mainly on the examination and production of journalism as a form of storytelling.

You'll be introduced to the fundamental skills needed to write effective news and features and will have the opportunity to practise these in the workshops.

Social policy

Social Policy & Society in Contemporary Scotland

This class is designed to introduce you to some of the major issues confronting Scottish society and to provide an accessible introduction to some of the key concerns of Social Policy.  It will examine a range of issues, including questions of poverty and inequality, social divisions, health, housing, education, and criminal justice.

Private Issues & Public Problems

This class examines the different ways in which ‘private issues’ become recognised as ‘public problems’.  Using a number of different case studies, such as domestic violence, homelessness or poverty, it will look at the different ways in which social problems have been identified and at the different standpoints from which they can be viewed.

Year 2

Journalism & Creative Writing

Journalism 2

How we gather news, how we write news and how we consume news is changing. The aim of this class is to introduce you to classic and modern newsgathering methods in the 21st century. That means you'll be combining the best of the old with the most relevant and effective of the new.

The foundation stone of journalism is news. That’s what drives newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and online content. So, we’ll be looking at what news is, where it comes from and how we go about gathering it ourselves. The next step is to write news. Therefore, we’ll spend some time examining how best to write news for print and online platforms.

The class is a careful mixture of studying journalism and doing journalism because understanding what you are doing and why you are doing it is just as important as learning how to do it.

Creative Writing 2

You'll study contemporary literature from the perspective of the writer, analysing the craft of writing, as opposed to studying these texts in terms of their historical or cultural context, as you might be familiar with from English Studies classes.

The key objective of a creative writing seminar is to begin to understand the mechanics of how contemporary writers put their work together. Some of this analysis will reinforce and build upon lessons learned in first year relating to the basics of structure, tone, narrative, characterisation etc.

This class seeks to stretch you further, aiming to achieve a more sophisticated understanding of what makes a good story work. As well as working on short fiction, the class studies a novel and introduces some examples of flash fiction and short fiction. There's also a unit designed to introduce you to the basics of writing good contemporary poetry in free verse style and one that introduces the craft of dramatic writing.

The second hour of each class is generally a workshop, with elements of the texts being studied in the first hour used as a platform for writing exercises, group work and discussion in the second hour. Primarily, the second hour of the class focuses on you doing writing of your own. You'll also start to develop rewriting and editing skills. 

Journalism and Creative Writing 2

This class is an introduction to creative nonfiction. It looks at writing that relates to the self, such as autobiography, the diary, the memoir, the lyric essay and beyond. We focus on the way writers have written about themselves and their lives, and will explore how personal experience is transformed into literary and journalistic practice.

During the semester you'll develop your own ideas into written assessments.

Social policy

Scottish Social Policy since 1845

This class explores some of the different ways in which social policy has evolved in Scotland in response to a variety of social problems since the introduction of the Scottish Poor Law Act in 1845. It covers all the main areas of social policy, including health, housing, education and poverty, and also explores the changing boundaries between individuals, families, communities, voluntary organisations, commercial welfare and state over the course of this period.

Key Concepts in Social Welfare

This class explores some of the most important concepts in the academic study of Social Policy, including such concepts as equality, justice, need, happiness, poverty and wellbeing. It also examines a number of different ideological perspectives on these issues, such as liberalism, conservatism, socialism, social democracy, Marxism, feminism and the New Right.

The Making of Social Policy

This class examines the ways in which social policies are ‘made’ at both a national and international level.  It examines the roles played by different actors, institutions and ideas.  It also looks at the ways in which evidence is used to inform policy-making, and at the ways in which we are all involved, as citizens, in the policy process.  These themes are explored with the aid of a series of case-studies, including health and education policies, and the development and implementation of equalities legislation.

Year 3

Journalism & Creative Writing

Journalism 3

We examine the techniques and art of feature writing. This means building upon key aspects of the news writing class in year 2. It also means exploring why features are important in tabloid, broadsheet and digital forms:

  • identifying what elements make a good feature article
  • how features are constructed
  • what major skills are needed to write a good feature piece

The art of feature writing has been impacted by the use of digital technology, from Tweeting to major long-form article sites. We’ll look in the lectures and, particularly in the workshop activities, at how digital technology has shaped everything including how we actually use that technology to research and source stories.

The history of feature writing in magazine, newspaper and various online forms will be studied. The class will build towards showing the links that exist between shorter feature pieces (profiles, columns etc) and longer magazine articles.

By the end of the class, you'll understand:

  • the links that exist between news writing and feature writing
  • how to tell a story within a feature article
  • how to gather research with an eye to characterisation and narrative
  • how to structure articles
  • how to use creative fictional techniques without losing sight of strict journalistic best practice techniques
The class should also be able to spot what can take a long feature article into other mediums like full-length books and multi-media projects on other digital platforms. 
Creative Writing 3

Covering the technique and craft of dramatic writing, this class looks at writing for screen and for radio, and examines how these skills can be used in fiction. We discuss a range of sources including screenplays by Harold Pinter, as well as radio plays.

Starting with the scene, the weekly workshops allow you to work on structure, plot, characterisation, dialogue and non-linear structure, which you will use as the basis for assessed pieces, which can be either screen or radio plays, or fiction. 

Journalism and Creative Writing 3

The first half of this class focuses on research informed creative non-fiction pieces including the profile, the travel piece, the obituary and the hybrid narrative. Set texts and films include work by Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace and Susan Orleans and examines how these writers have used narrative to capture real life, people and events.

In semester 2 the focus switches to journalism.

You'll attend a series of lectures and workshops which focus on the connection between using ‘real-life’ gathered raw material for journalism-based and /or fictional projects. We'll explore the complex links between non-fiction and fiction, including:

  • How can you use fictional techniques in non-fiction projects?
  • How far can you stretch the ‘rules’ of journalism?
  • What strategies must you employ when gathering material for a non-fiction project which ensures most impact for the readers?
  • How can these projects be exploited to fullest effect without losing inherent integrity and worth?

You'll learn through case-studies how the authors have used real-life as a source for their work, whether it is long-form journalism, documentaries, reportage photography, or journalism-based Hollywood movies.

The class reading list includes:

  • novels
  • adventure narratives
  • travelogues
  • novelists using non-fiction forms for social justice ends
  • novelists using journalistic research-gathering means to add realism and a factual-edge to their fictional-work

Social policy

Compulsory classes:

Research Skills in Social Policy

This class will help you to develop your knowledge and understanding of some of the key methods used by researchers in the field of social policy.  It will introduce you to a number of different qualitative and quantitative methods, and to some of the basic principles of research design.  It will provide an essential foundation for your final-year dissertation.

Scottish Social Welfare in a UK Context

This class examines the ways in which recent political developments have placed questions of social policy at the heart of debates over the future of the United Kingdom.  To what extent do the different parts of the UK face different social problems?  To what extent do different parts of the UK possess a different approach to the resolution of these issues?  How has the governance of social policy in different parts of the UK been affected by its current constitutional arrangements?

Year 4

Journalism & Creative Writing

Compulsory classes

These are the Honours classes currently offered. Not all of these classes will necessarily run every year and you should check with Course Support which are available for study.

Dissertation Journalism

The dissertation is 6000-8000 words long and provides an opportunity to undertake a short research project on an approved topic of your choice. You'll be allocated an individual supervisor who'll guide your research and read drafts of your dissertation.

Please consult the dissertation handbook on MyPlace for further information on the English, Journalism and Creative Writing dissertation options and requirements for entry to these classes.

The ‘special project’ journalism dissertation should consist of 6000 words of journalism and 2000 words of critical analysis/reflection.

Dissertation in Creative Writing

The dissertation is 6000 words long and provides an opportunity to undertake a short research project on an approved topic of your choice. You'll be allocated an individual supervisor who'll guide your research and read drafts of your dissertation.

Please consult the dissertation handbook on MyPlace for further information on the English, Journalism and Creative Writing dissertation options and requirements for entry to these classes.

The Creative Writing dissertation has two components:

  • creative work of up to 6,000 words
  • a 2,000-word critical reflection
Elective classes
Journalism Portfolio

This class is driven by the realities of journalism in Scotland, the UK and wider world, in the 21st century.

The media landscape is changing fast and this class aims to study, impart and practice skills, theories and approaches which will assist us in understanding journalism and becoming better journalists. Technology and journalism have gone hand in hand since the days of paper and pencil.

This class identifies and utilises the latest developments in our digital toolbox which include:

  • online databases
  • online sources
  • discussion boards
  • social networking sites
  • blogs
You'll study how best to use them in producing excellent journalism. Technology can help journalists create great journalism – but it should never overwhelm, control or unduly influence the story. It's only useful if it helps us be produce powerful and compelling work. So, we'll learn how to use classic newsgathering techniques (e.g. face-to-face interviewing) alongside exciting new approaches.

Much superb journalism still exists in print of course. But increasingly, stories are also being published on a multi-platform basis allowing us to see, hear and read additional material which adds depth and width to the stories themselves.

Creative Writing Portfolio

You'll develop your knowledge and understanding of advanced skills necessary to the creation of fiction and poetry. These will be developed via critical and analytical reflection on aspects of enjoyable published work by leading writers in these fields.

You'll undertake a series of writing tasks on a weekly basis designed to foster your ability to manipulate narrative and poetic structures and an understanding of the importance of editing and redrafting your work. You'll also develop a knowledge of some of the major thematic and formal issues present in current British and American fiction and poetry.

The course will be taught through a mixture of workshop, guided reading and practical tasks and is taught by published creative writers.

Media and Literary Publics

This class looks at the development and significance of the various formations of media and literary publics.

We'll examine the cultivation of the literary public in the 17th century, alongside the development of particular literary forms, and will look at the development of political forms of public and its literary expression.  The class will look at literary production as a vital component in the shaping of the social environment and relations.

We'll also examine the extent to which an understanding of public allows us to critically evaluate such issues as cultural distinction, the marketing and branding of literary and media production, and the expansion of political and literary engagement.

Finally, the class will look at the manner in which alternative ideas of media public have been used to create innovative and radical types of media and literary production and consumption.

New Narratives

The class will mainly focus on your own creative output be that fiction, creative non-fiction or poetry.

It will also look at what is possible using traditional and digital media and encourage you to disseminate their work in a number of ways. This could be creating audio recordings or digital 'trailers' of their work to be accessed through a podcast or on a dedicated YouTube channel. Technology used will all be readily accessible on a smartphone or a computer, such as Paper Camera, Hipstamatic, Voice Recorder, imovie, and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

The class will also look at traditional literary magazines, online literary magazines and the emergence of magazines that use new technology such as Electric Literature. Culminating in a public reading, the emphasis will be on how to move beyond the university workshop and engage with the rapidly evolving publishing landscape.

Ethical Issues in Journalism

In reporting the news today journalists face an increasingly diverse range of ethical dilemmas. This can have a significant impact on the manner in which they report the news.

Ethical issues do not only occur in traditional, mainstream reporting. New challenges are being thrown up by the use of the internet as a newsgathering tool, a publishing forum and as a means of interacting with the audience.

This class examines ethical issues relating to truth and trust, taste and offence, privacy and intrusion and respecting people. It considers the procedures that journalists use to solve ethical dilemmas and systems that are used to curb media excesses, both in traditional media forms and online.

Social policy

Compulsory classes:

The Welfare State in Comparative Perspective

This class examines the development of welfare states as a global phenomenon.  It asks what we mean by the concept of a ‘welfare state’ and looks at the ways in which welfare states have developed in different countries.  It also explores some of the major differences between different types of welfare state, using the concept of ‘welfare régimes’.

Dissertation

Many students find that the dissertation is the most fulfilling part of their degree. It will provide you with the opportunity to undertake your own in-depth investigation into a topic of your choice, and to develop skills as an independent researcher.

Assessment

Journalism & Creative Writing

Assessment methods include:

  • essays
  • portfolios
  • presentations
  • group work
  • reports
  • exams
  • reflective diaries

Social policy

You'll be assessed using a variety of methods, including not only traditional essays and exams, but also oral presentations, group work and other forms of assessment.

Learning & teaching

Journalism & Creative Writing

Our learning and teaching aims to help you:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of the professional practices, skills and social contexts of the journalism, creative writing and communication industries
  • help you think and work critically and constructively
  • become a confident and responsible graduate, equipped to develop your potential throughout your career
Guest lectures

A programme of visiting speakers from the world of broadcasting, publishing and newspapers, including Gaynor McFarlane (BBC) and Alan Ramsay (Connect Communications) runs alongside the Literary Lunch, run by our Keith Wright Literary Fellow. This series showcases the best in Scottish writing, and features poets and novelists such as Liz Lochhead, James Robertson and Andrew Greig.

Entry requirements

Minimum grades

Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.

Highers

1st sitting: AAAA

2nd sitting: AAAAB

Required subjects

  • Higher English B, plus one from the list below
  • Maths/Lifeskills Maths National 5 C or equivalent

Higher subjects

  • Classical Studies
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • French
  • Gaelic
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Italian
  • Modern Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish

We recognise a wide range of Highers, however, your profile must reflect a good grounding in essay-based subjects.

A Levels

Year 1 entry:

Minimum entry requirement: BBB (GCSE English Language B or English Literature B, GCSE Maths C)

Typical entry requirement: ABB (GCSE English Language B or English Literature B, GCSE Maths C)

Year 2 entry:

Minimum entry requirement: ABB (two core subjects at AB)

Typical entry requirement: AAA (two core subjects required)

International Baccalaureate

36 (Maths SL5)

HNC/HND

Year 1 entry:

HNC Social Sciences: A in Graded Unit; Maths National 5 C or equivalent

Irish Leaving Certificate

Subjects and grades as for Highers.

Additional information

Personal statement

It is important to take care over your personal statement. We look for information about your academic and career interests, and your range of skills, abilities, and relevant experience. Your personal statement should show evidence you have a strong awareness and interest in the subject you are applying to.

Deferred entry

Deferred entry normally not accepted.

Applicants with Highers

Due to the high level of competition for the number of available places, it is unlikely that Conditional Offers will be made to anyone attaining less than ABB at the first sitting of Highers.

Second-year Entry

Second-year entry for A Level/Advanced Higher candidates is possible with AA/AB in the two subjects you are planning to study.

Admission to Honours

All students will be admitted as potential Honours students. Students may exit with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the end of Year 3 of the programme if they have accumulated at least 360 credits and satisfied the appropriate specialisation requirements. For admission to the final year of the Honours course, a student must have achieved an approved standard of performance.

Widening access

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU

  • TBC

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £9,250

The 2018-19 fee rate will be updated when it has been confirmed by the UK and Scottish Governments. Assuming no change in Rest of UK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2017/18, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and Integrated Masters courses); MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on Integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.

International

  • £14,050

International Study Centre

Please find information about the student fees for university pathway programmes on the International Study Centre (ISC) website.

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my studies?

Students from Scotland and the EU

If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

International Students (Non UK, EEA)

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

Available scholarships

We have a wide range of scholarships available. Have a look at our scholarship search to find a scholarship.

Careers

Journalism & Creative Writing graduates from Strathclyde have won awards for student journalism and have gone on to succeed at national newspapers, the regional press and as published authors.

Our graduates work as press officers, marketing and media officers, freelance journalists, fundraiser and PR assistants.

The most common employment destinations for social policy graduates include:

  • local & national government policy development and research
  • regional & urban development
  • business administration & management
  • third sector/charity research & policy development
  • children’s services
  • education
  • health & social welfare
  • protective services

Contact us

Apply

How to apply – 10 things you need to know

  1. All undergraduate applications are made through UCAS
    Go to the UCAS website to apply – you can apply for up to five courses.
  2. It costs £12 to apply for a course
    The cost is £23 for two to five courses.
  3. The deadline is 15 January each year
    This is the application deadline for most courses. However, please check the details for your particular course. View a full list of UCAS key dates.
  4. You might be asked to attend an interview
    Most of our courses make offers based on the UCAS application. However some might ask you to attend an interview or for a portfolio of work. If this is the case, this will be stated in the prospectus entry requirements.
  5. It’s possible to apply directly to Year 2
    Depending on your qualifications, you might be able to apply directly to Year 2 - or even Year 3 - of a course. Speak to the named contact for your course if you want to discuss this.
  6. There’s three types of decision
    • unconditional – you’ve already met our entry requirements
    • conditional – we’ll offer you a place if you meet certain conditions, usually based on your exams
    • unsuccessful – we’ve decided not to offer you a place
  7. You need to contact UCAS to accept your offer
    Once you’ve decided which course you’d like to accept, you must let UCAS know. You don’t need to decide until you’ve received all offers. UCAS will give you a deadline you must respond by.

    You’ll choose one as your firm choice. If the offer is unconditional or if you meet the conditions, this is the course you’ll study.

    You’ll also have an insurance choice. This is a back-up option if you don’t meet the conditions of your first choice.
  8. You don’t need to send us your exam results (Scotland, England & Wales)
    If you’re studying in Scotland, England or Wales, we receive a copy of your Higher/Advanced Higher/A Level results directly from the awarding body. However, if you are studying a different qualification, then please contact us to arrange to send your results directly.
  9. We welcome applications from international students

    Find out further information about our entry and English language requirements.

    International students who don’t meet the entry requirements, can apply for our pre-undergraduate programmes.

    There’s also an online application form.

    For further information:
  10. Here’s a really useful video to help you apply

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