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Scope for Creativity in English

There are many students who actively in creative writing. They may submit their original work in the both parts of the course. The faculty does not offer formal classes in creative writing. However, the faculty has practicing novelists and poets who constantly guide students. The poets or playwrights in residence are supported through the Judith E Wilson Fund. These playwrights and poets organize workshops, lectures and readings by a broad range of prominent producers, writers and visiting lectures. In the past, these have included poet Denise Riley, novelist Jeanette Winterson, film and theatre director Nicholas Hytner, poet Kamau Braithwaite, scriptwriter and novelist Hanif Kureishi, critic and poet Professor Geoffrey Hill.

The University of Cambridge offers various prizes for poetry and prose writing. Within the university, students have an excellent opportunity of writing for the varsity, student newspaper and a training ground of many now-established journalists and writers.


A part first is designed and modified with the intention of providing students a general foundation in the study of English literature, thought and life from the Middle Ages to the present day. The syllabus and structure facilitate students to experience the spectrum of material and focus on authors, individual works, themes and genres within the year they study.

The third year, part second, incorporates different options such as the history of ideas, classical and other literature. Students may work on films, novels, narrative poems and lyrical poems and a spectrum of dramatic material extending from Aeschylus to Ibsen. Students have a choice of optional papers that focus on the latest expansion of English literature. These optional papers include topics such as literature and visual culture, American literature and literature written since 1979.

Other papers lay emphasis upon shorter historical periods than in part first or focus upon approximately two major writers. Students may choose to engage directly with theoretical and philosophical issues in papers on political and moral thought and theory and history of literary criticism. If students have good knowledge of language, they may take a paper from Medieval and Modern languages such as 'Dante' or 'The Body'. Students may take papers from the Classics, Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic courses.


The University of Cambridge has pioneered a variety of forms of evaluation and thirty-five percent of each part may be taken by non-exam methods. Generally, the university assesses part first by written exam that are taken at the end of the second year. However, some of the students submit a dissertation, instead of exam, of five hundred words on the subject chosen by them. They also submit a three-essay portfolio in place of another.

In the part second, it is compulsory for all students to create a dissertation of 7, 500 words on a topic of their choice. They may submit a second dissertation in place of a written exam. In both the parts, students may submit their own compositions that may be creative or critical writings. These may play a part in the overall evaluation of students' performance in the degree course.

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