Are you interested in learning how past events helped shape today’s world? And do you enjoy writing stories, plays or non-fiction? This joint course allows you to do both. Studying History will teach you how human emotions, needs and desires act as political, social, and cultural catalysts for change. You can then apply this knowledge to your writing, whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction. This will make you a versatile writer, who is able to write in depth about the human psyche and how this underlies the changes we see in the world.
Your History lecturers take part in international research projects, working on the frontline of the latest development in the field. All your Creative Writing lecturers are active writers in their field, which means they have excellent links with the industry. One of them was the editor of Granta, a prestigious British publisher. You’ll benefit from up-to-date knowledge of the writing world, giving you the best chances to succeed. You can join up to 1500 competitions in prose, fiction, drama, and short stories.
Hertfordshire is one of the historic counties of England, known for its rich past, museums and market towns, steeped in history. St Albans, where the traditional hot cross buns are rumoured to have originated, is only a few miles away. You’ll be able to visit the St Albans Cathedral and the Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) are only a short drive away in Hertford. Hertfordshire is also known for its writers, including Geoffrey Chaucer and Beatrix Potter. In other words, it’s the perfect place to study both History and Creative Writing. Why choose if you can do both?
You’ll be able to join one of the few Oral History societies run by universities in the UK. This is an optional extra-curricular that is sure to make your CV stand out. You’ll go out and interview real people about the changes and events they have experienced in their own lives. Topics range from retirement to the history of football clubs, immigration and more. The point here is to not only capture factual information, but to allow your interviewee to express their feelings. What did they say? How did they feel? You’ll get a unique insight into real human experience, which will enrich your writing.
What's the course about?
Creative Writing is more than just writing stories. It’s about learning how to engage your readers, how to capture their attention. It’s about how to communicate with others; to help them see the world through your eyes, while still giving them space to use their own views. You can use these skills in many fields and career paths, including communication, education and even business.
History is about learning to understand the modern world, to reflect on past events and their consequences. You’ll learn to interpret, analyse and critically evaluate historical accounts. You can look at British history, but also international history, including that of America. You’ll look at primary and secondary sources and learn about their reliability.
In your first year, you’ll explore a wide range of historical eras ranging from 1450 to 2000. You’ll take a module on the ‘historians’ toolkit,’ specially designed to help with the transition to university. For Creative Writing, you’ll take a module on ‘becoming a writer,’ where you’ll get hands on with writing different genres in two-hour workshops. You’ll also explore writing for the screen, building different worlds in fiction writing and more.
In your second year, all your modules are optional. This means you will be able to choose those modules that suit your interests best. You can choose to look at poetry, playwriting, or literature for Creative Writing. For History you can opt to learn how to make a historical documentary, which encompasses both subjects. You’ll be able to look at the British empire, crime in 16th to 18th century England, and much more.
Work placement/study abroad option: Between your second and final year, you’ll have the option to study abroad or do a work placement for up to a year. Not only will this give you an amazing experience to talk about but will also give your CV a boost. If you’d rather go straight to your final year, that’s fine too.
In your third year, you’ll really hone in on what you’ve learnt so far. Most of your modules will be workshop and seminar based, with complementary lectures where applicable. You can take on a History project, where you independently research an area of your choosing. You’ll also work on a Creative Writing project, which is the culmination of three years’ worth of studying. For your project you can either choose poetry or prose.