Creative Writing MA - any advice on courses?

posted
05-Jun-18, 11:31
edited about 13 seconds later
Avatar for strawberrygirl
posted about 1 week ago
Is anyone on here in the process of applying to do a Creative Writing MA. Or is anyone already on a course?

I'm applying to a few courses at the moment and am finding it difficult to know which ones have the strongest reputation and how competitive they may be, beyond UEA (for which the deadline has passed anyway). I've heard that Bath and Royal Holloway are both good. Does anyone know which other courses have a strong reputation? For example do City Lit or Birkbeck have good reputations? What is a good way of finding out?
posted
07-Jun-18, 10:53
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 1 week ago
Looking at league tables? You mean Bath Spa rather than Bath right?
posted
11-Jun-18, 14:08
Avatar for beancounter
posted about 6 days ago
You could try using the Sunday Times university guide. Their rankings are for undergraduate courses, but should still give a guide as to the strengths of the department. For example, for Creative Writing, Warwick ranks top, but of the ones you mention Royal Holloway is in 5th spot, UEA is 8th and Bath Spa is 22.
posted
11-Jun-18, 14:28
edited about 10 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 days ago
Quote From strawberrygirl:
Is anyone on here in the process of applying to do a Creative Writing MA. Or is anyone already on a course?

I'm applying to a few courses at the moment and am finding it difficult to know which ones have the strongest reputation and how competitive they may be, beyond UEA (for which the deadline has passed anyway). I've heard that Bath and Royal Holloway are both good. Does anyone know which other courses have a strong reputation? For example do City Lit or Birkbeck have good reputations? What is a good way of finding out?


You can look at ranking tables all you like but in my opinion you are just wasting your time.
A better approach would be to understand why you want to do this course (i.e. what job do you want) and see what qualifications they want. Then, if the ranking of a uni really bothers you, I would contact the HR departments of prospective employers and ask their advice.
posted
11-Jun-18, 14:39
edited about 27 seconds later
Avatar for beancounter
posted about 6 days ago
pm133 - why would you want to study in a department that is not well ranked for the subject you want to study? How else would you select a taught course? Not criticising your suggestion - just want an insight as to your answer.
posted
12-Jun-18, 19:05
edited about 8 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 5 days ago
Quote From beancounter:
pm133 - why would you want to study in a department that is not well ranked for the subject you want to study? How else would you select a taught course? Not criticising your suggestion - just want an insight as to your answer.


Let's take the Sunday Times list you quoted above.
Look at the criteria used for ranking and ask yourself how truly relevant they are.
How does a high entry requirement help you decide whether this is the right uni for you?
What about research quality? How can that possibly help when choosing a taught program?
Student satisfaction? I wouldn't trust that metric at all. You can manipulate this one simply by making exams easier and this absolutely happens.
Graduate prospects is a completely useless metric as well because it covers those who take cleaning jobs.

Not one of these criteria is helpful to the OP.
Fortunately none of this matters anyway because all UK unis pretty much teach fthe same stuff from the same books.
Employers in general don't give two hoots about any of it. They hire on a range of criteria. The reputation of your uni is almost irrelevant with the exception of Oxbridge at the top end and some failing ex-polytechs at the bottom.
The entire Russell Group nonsense is just utterly farcical and people whio run these places know it. In my opinion, anyone who thinks they are somehow getting a better education at these places is simply deluding themselves.
They are playing on the ignorance of young people and for me this is just disgraceful.
posted
13-Jun-18, 01:05
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 5 days ago
Hello! My two pence is if someone cares about rankings then let them! If they have the grades to get into a high ranking uni then they should try to do it. I mean why not? Isn't it normal to want to be in a place that has a great reputation and/or is highly ranked as opposed to one that is neither or just one of those things? I think so! I mean why not? Of course other things matter too. Everything can be taken into account.
posted
13-Jun-18, 01:08
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 5 days ago
Ps. In addition to looking at rankings, you could contact the unis and ask for their information on where their graduates end up (by percentage). That could be helpful to know. In addition, visiting the unis could give you a feel for the place and whether you think you could be happy there and whether other people appear to be happy there. You can ask them what it is like - that would be super helpful.
posted
13-Jun-18, 12:01
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 4 days ago
At the end of the day, rankings may be meaningless, but when applying for non-academic jobs you'd be a fool to think that employers think a 1st from Birmingham is the same as one from Aston.
posted
13-Jun-18, 13:05
edited about 25 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 4 days ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
At the end of the day, rankings may be meaningless, but when applying for non-academic jobs you'd be a fool to think that employers think a 1st from Birmingham is the same as one from Aston.


Why would you be a fool to think that?
What matters more is any experience you may have.
In comparison, good employers simply don't care about where you learned thermodynamics or Newtons Laws.
A first is a first unless you got it from an Oxbridge college. If you are lacking, the interview will bring that out.
I really don't know where this myth about rankings comes from. I suspect universities are perpetuating it.
I am certainly not aware of any evidence to back this up.
When students are entering the workplace with up to £60k of debt I think academia has a moral duty to provide evidence that these ranking schemes are credible.
posted
13-Jun-18, 13:09
edited about 11 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 4 days ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Hello! My two pence is if someone cares about rankings then let them! If they have the grades to get into a high ranking uni then they should try to do it. I mean why not? Isn't it normal to want to be in a place that has a great reputation and/or is highly ranked as opposed to one that is neither or just one of those things? I think so! I mean why not? Of course other things matter too. Everything can be taken into account.


There is literally not a single person on here trying to stop anyone caring about rankings. People are offering opinions and that's it. I am not sure what your point is. Both sides have an equal right to voice their opinions.

I have strong opinions on this because nothing about "rankings" is evidence based. It is all based on how good a university is at marketing itself. That offends my scientific brain.
Instead of having a go at me, let's keep things constructive. Perhaps you could simply refute my points in the earlier post.
Change my mind by showing which of the criteria for ranking is relevant and why.
Where have I gone wrong in my analysis?
posted
13-Jun-18, 15:27
edited a moment later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 days ago
Hehe! I am not having a go! Read my post in a neutral tone and you will see! Like you, I was simply expressing my opinion about rankings. It just happened to conflict with yours. Keep it goin' 4 real!
posted
13-Jun-18, 15:50
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 4 days ago
Quote From pm133:
[quote]
Why would you be a fool to think that?
What matters more is any experience you may have.


That would be nice, but it isn't true. People are impressed by fancy qualifications in the same way they are impressed by smart clothes. A Russell Group uni looks good, therefore expectations are already high, which gives you a better chance at a job that someone who turns up in jeans and a t-shirt with a degree from Aston (no offence to Aston intended - picked at random here!).

In a competitive job market, every little thing helps to get you the job, including going to a uni that is perceived to be 'better' than the rest.
posted
13-Jun-18, 19:00
Avatar for AlphaOmega
posted about 4 days ago
I did my MA in an "OK" university around 150 in the rankings and my PhD (fully funded) at a top university - top 20. There was a world of difference; resources, intellectual stimulation, opportunities, contacts... I'd say ask around and try to aim as high as you can. I do not know if rankings are reliable but my own experience with these two institutions tells me that there are difference. In addition, to be admitted to a higher university you pass a more competitive selection, right or not that gives a message to employers.
posted
15-Jun-18, 07:34
edited about 29 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 days ago
An interesting article on the BBC about expected earnings from different universities.
The numbers are all over the place. Some very wild swings depending on whether you are male or female.
Liverpool uni (a RG uni) stood out for me. Need to be careful with any stats though as they can be manipulated to say whatever you want and the sample size would need to be considered as well.

Some examples.
If you want to do a Maths degre. graduates from Kent, Brunel or Sussex universities will on average earn more than those going to Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds, Bristol or Edinburgh. Sussex is ranked below most of their RG counterparts listed above, Kent below all of them and Brunel is just above Aston in the table for Maths at number 56.

For physical sciences such as Chemistry, Keele graduates earn more than Bristol, Southampton and Birmingham.

It's the same picture for English grads.

For Economics, Bath and UCL grads out earn those from Oxford, Nottingham and Manchester.

You could pick any subject and find a similar story.

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