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TESOL and Creative Writing (MA)

Course Description

The course provides you with a unique combination of theoretical academic study, robust practical application, and skills development in English language teaching. There is a particular focus on using creative writing in the classroom as a significant part of your portfolio of skills as a teacher.

Course content

The MA consists of five core modules (including the Dissertation) and one optional creative writing module, and is offered both full- and part-time. Full-time students study 180 credits in the academic year, while part-time students will normally complete 180 credits in two academic years.

Teaching methods include weekly two-hour lectures, tutorials, seminars, practical sessions and workshops, together with independent, student-directed study. The Dissertation module consists of preliminary workshops focused on relevant research skills followed by individual tutorials with your supervisor. Assessment is through coursework in the form of essays, reports, oral presentations and creative writing portfolios, as well as the final 15,000-word dissertation. There are no formal examinations

Core modules

- Current Developments in Language Teaching
You will examine current practice and developments in language teaching, including communicative competence in language learning. During this module you will cover a range of topical issues in language learning and teaching, including: content and language integrated learning; individual differences in language learning; language for specific purposes; learner autonomy and strategy training; methodology; neurolinguistic processing and multiple intelligences; skills lessons and real language; and teacher language and national curriculum.

- Dissertation
This initial research-skills module will cover a range of topics, including: investigating and assessing the relevance of potential research sources; issues in research design, including identifying the field of study; planning, conducting and recording of research; the responsibility of the researcher and role of the supervisor; and writing up. The subsequent work you undertake will be conducted autonomously with supervisory support.

- Language and Learning: Description and Analysis
This module introduces and encourages in-depth exploration of core concepts in the description and analysis of language, with specific reference to English language teaching. The module also introduces and encourages in-depth exploration of core concepts in language learning, with specific reference to second language acquisition and the implications of these concepts for the language teacher. The module is divided into two units, the first on language description and analysis, and the second on language learning.

- Using Literature in English Language Teaching
The module focuses on both the use of literary texts as a resource and the use of creative writing activities in the language learning classroom, by providing a working overview of useful, relevant aspects of linguistic and literary theory, and the practical demonstration of learner activities in producing and working with literary texts in the TESOL classroom. The module aims to develop your confidence and understanding of ways in which literary texts can be explored in the TESOL classroom, and the ways in which your own creative writing can be a resource for language teaching.

Option modules

- Conflict and the City (Writing Drama)
This module focuses on the craft of playwriting, with a particular emphasis on drama that exploits the possibilities of the urban environment. You will draft a dramatic work of 60-90 minutes, critique the work of experienced dramatists and develop a shared vocabulary of 'technical' terminology. It will also introduce you to major new-writing opportunities in London and beyond. While contextualising new playwriting within the wider parameters of 20th and early 21st century drama, the module will encourage you to reflect in depth on your own writing and develop an advanced understanding of the elements of a dramatic text, including characterisation, structure, conflict, dramatic irony and subtext.

- Creative Practice
This module will develop your understanding of the aesthetic, ethical and methodological choices that underpin writing practice. You will learn how to evaluate different theories of writing (including realist, modernist and postmodernist approaches), while widening your knowledge of associated literary styles and practices such as stream of consciousness writing, automatic writing, writing as representation and visual writing. The module will also introduce you to the ways in which place, in particular the urban environment, affects writing and encourage you to interrogate the ethical and political dilemmas arising from literary production.

- Language and the Imagination (Poetic Writing)
You will develop your use of poetic language through a combination of short exercises, close reading of poetry and prose poetry, and critiques of your own work. You will gain a sophisticated understanding of poetic language and its applications to a range of other genres, and enhance your ability to identify imaginative uses of language as a writer and reader of poetry on the city. The module will allow you to develop an advanced understanding of formal poetic structures and of the publishing and performance opportunities for poetry in London.

- Tales of the City (Prose Writing)
This module focuses on developing skills at writing prose fiction inspired by the city through a combination of exercises, close reading of established authors and critiques of your own work, as you are challenged to raise your own prose writing to a professional level. As it establishes your understanding of prose fiction and treating the city as a primary source or background presence, the module will nurture your potential to be an innovative and independent writer. You will also examine approaches to writing short and longer prose fiction that either overtly takes the city as its theme or employs it as a significant presence.

- The Writing Business
The module focuses on the development of knowledge, personal and professional skills that will allow you to plan our professional development, with a particular emphasis on the writing business in London. Providing useful and relevant information about working in the creative industries through visiting speakers and workshops, the module aims to develop and nurture advanced and transferable entrepreneurial skills and allow you to network with other professionals with confidence.

Associated careers

This course is intended to move you to a new level in your career as a teacher or writer by developing your skills as a sophisticated critical practitioner, and your knowledge base of pedagogy, the English language and its use in verbal art. You will receive the training and preparation to make significant professional contributions as an instructor, manager or researcher.


At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.

Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.

We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students.

Visit the TESOL and Creative Writing (MA) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You are normally required to have a good first degree or equivalent. Applications from mature candidates with demonstrable relevant experience and professional qualifications (eg CELTA, DELTA) are welcomed. Such applicants may be required to undertake a written entrance test in the form of a short 1,500-word essay and assemble a work-experience portfolio (testimonials, job descriptions, etc). You will also need to give two academic references and submit a portfolio of creative writing, which should not exclusively include poetry. Selected candidates will be invited for an interview.

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