BA (Hons) Philosophy and Creative Writing

About the course

Philosophy explores and confronts the assumptions that frame the way we think, act and see the world around us. Creative writing offers a way for you to do this by exploring new perspectives on familiar themes, expanding your imaginative capacities, and finding ways to articulate ideas in novel and illuminating ways.

On our BA Philosophy and Creative Writing degree, you will be introduced to a range of literary texts, genres and practical approaches to writing, and you will learn how to formulate your own philosophical arguments, to arrive at your own conclusions.

In your first year, you will embark on becoming a writer, including writing for the screen, whilst exploring central philosophical questions, such as whether anything can give meaning to life, and whether our striving to achieve anything of significance is ultimately futile, even ridiculous. The philosophy of film and literature module addresses the assumption that anything is possible in fiction and considers the extent to which that is true.

All our Philosophy lecturers are active researchers, so you’ll share the excitement of doing original work in a supportive and highly-rated academic community. Our Philosophy team is in the top 15 in the Guardian League Table 2019 and rates as one of the 100 best Philosophy departments worldwide in the 2017 QS rankings.

Our Creative Writing team are published and practicing novelists, poets and dramatists and you will gain a clear, theoretical understanding of the discipline, as well as practical skills that will shape your ability to express yourself.

In your second year as a writer, you’ll turn your attention to writing for the stage and consider poetry as well as prose writing. In Philosophy, you’ll choose from a variety of topics, which includes a module on the nature of art, expression and representation (in literary as well as visual art), and modules on influential texts in philosophy, such as Plato’s Republic, which is written in dialogue form.

The final year allows for even more opportunity to tailor your degree to reflect your own interests. In Creative Writing, you will embark on your own project, either on poetry, prose or script writing, whilst in Philosophy, you’ll choose from a variety of modules, including modules on feminist philosophy, the nature of language and meaning, and a module on Nietzsche, who is well-known for his literary style.

From September 2020, subject to validation, we will be offering a new single hons degree in Creative Writing. Find out more information.

Why choose this course?

We give you:

  • A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
  • An exceptional academic team, conducting internationally renowned research
  • Stimulating, innovative courses that allow you to make rewarding connections between two disciplines
  • CV-building potential through work placements and extra-curricular activities

What will I study?

Creative writing offers a supportive, tight-knit community in which to develop your skills as a writer, whatever your level and goals, and is primarily taught through writing workshops. Our philosophy students benefit from being part of a lively and active academic community. You’ll learn through formal courses and extracurricular seminars, while our small group teaching helps you to find your feet in the academic environment. There are plenty of opportunities to discuss critical issues with staff and fellow students, including an optional residential weekend each year.

What job can I get?

On this degree you will be encouraged to understand different perspectives, ask penetrating questions, and identify flawed arguments – skills integral to many professions. You’ll develop many other transferable skills sought by employers, such as creative and critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to communicate ideas in a structured, productive way.

Our graduates have an excellent record of securing roles in a range of industries including teaching, the media, publishing and information management. For those interested in teaching, all Humanities graduates are guaranteed an interview with our School of Education. Many graduates go on to higher levels of study, engaging in research in their chosen fields.

'I certainly developed professionalism and employability through studying Philosophy, primarily through the methods of rational and logical problem solving. I acquired a skill that is useful in whatever field one works in. However, it is enterprise that I most notably improved on while at Herts. I had never really considered starting a businesses or working for myself, but while studying Philosophy (particularly my Masters by Research and my undergraduate dissertation) I realised I was learning self-management and combining this with my new proficiency at problem solving sent me down a new path. Since leaving Herts I have set up multiple small business which are growing healthily. This individuality has really helped me find out what I want to do in life.'

Rob Baggs

BA(Hons) Philosophy, MA(Res) in Philosophy